Twenty three years ago today, on 1 February 1992, Australian National assumed the responsibility to provide locomotives for the Indian Pacific. Prior to then it was possible to find just about anything hauling the train, including branch liners.
We were generally blase about photographing the IP as it was a loco-diesel hauled passenger train. Yes, another thing in life we were profoundly mistaken about. Lets have a look at the few times when we could be bothered.
The first two are of marginal photographic quality but describe the initial loco rostering - double 46s from Sydney to Lithgow and then double 44s from Lithgow to Parkes. The first is from the train as it climbs the Blue Mountains.
In May 1977 4485 and another western division 44 rip through Raglan. The difference in shades of paint on the two locos is rather significant.
Once west of Parkes, the IP was usually a single 80 class roster. 8021 has made it to Broken Hill and someone has run to the end of the platform before it gets decoupled.
In January 1982 we did one of those summer road trips where you nearly froze and it rained all the time. It did stop for a bit at Wallerawang with 44210 and 4452 up front.
The following year we tried something similar and got a similar result - this time with a 442 leading an 80 class.
In July 1985 we found 8046 arriving at Parkes for a crew change - otherwise the bloke in the foreground is just a very enthusiastic passenger.
In July 1986 we spent a week chasing trains over the Blue Mountains. One we didn't manage to miss was the Indian Pacific. In fact we caught it twice: firstly going west through Zig Zag and then the eastbound service at Lithgow.
When Australian National took over responsibility for the IP life didn't get quieter. I will finish with their greatest statement on the style of that train - double CLPs in the special IP livery.