Friday, July 31, 2015

The fabulous 60s

Went down to the local station this morning to watch the star attraction of the NSW heritage railway scene steam by on its way to Botany.  

I got talking to one of the many who were down there.  He was in his 70s I guess and told me that when he he was a lad catching the train to school 60 years ago there was often a Garratt held at the signal on the metro goods line, waiting for the triangle at Dulwich Hill to clear.  There he was, 60 years later, capturing it on his iPhone. There's progress.

Anyway, before I load up this morning's proceedings, here's  a couple of 60 classes in revenue service in 1966/67. Both at Campbelltown, both on coal trains. First up, 6002, in February 1966.

Now just check out those cars behind 6016!

A quarter of a century later in May 1993, 6029 was slumbering under its tarpaulin in Canberra.

And now to today - ditch lights blaring... the grand dame steaming through Hurlstone Park.

And if you want to watch it run through, try this link to my youtube channel.

Ciao for now!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Taking the MEX to Mexico

On 2 August 1986 the railway authorities decided to amalgamate the two premier named trains on the east coast into a single service between Sydney and Melbourne. Instead of continuing with either name, the Southern Aurora or the Spirit of Progress, they decided to resuscitate an even earlier name, and so the Melbourne Express was reborn. 

It even got a nickname or sorts, the MEX. No doubt that encouraged patronage.  At least you could say you could take the Mex to Mexico, so I did. Almost no-one saw the pun, or appreciated it.

It was an inglorious attempt to stave off the inevitable, rather than to invest and compete.  And the inevitable arrived after just seven years, in the form of an XPT service.

I managed to get a fair few photos of the train locos resting adjacent to platform 1 at Sydney Terminal, and I also scored quite a few rides on the train thanks to my employer (who was always willing to pay for a cheaper option than flying). So here are a few...

Here is the quintessential Mex horsepower - a single candy 81.  On 6 June 1993 it was 8166's turn.

If it wasn't an 81, it was an 81 in another guise.  Here is G519 at Spencer Street Station on 21 October 1992 after it had hauled me to the southern capital.

This is the view that I walked past a 1,000 times and photographed but once. G517 (you are going to have to trust me on this) at the front of the Melbourne Express on 16 September 1993.

When the decision to replace the loco-hauled trains with XPT services was announced I got a bit more serious about photographing the Mex. Even managed two or three times a week! Here's 8177 on 16 November 1993.

And here is 8175 on the third-last Mex.

And now, for the final service... on the evening of 20 November 1993 we ducked across to Tahmoor (just south of Picton).  Fittingly a very big train was hauled by a G and an 81. Not happy snap, but a video.

And then is was all over.  I will get around to doing the Mex's sister train, the Sydney Express, eventually.

Ciao for now!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

More from Norff Gong

Don's stupid photographic rule #37... don't waste scarce film on light engine movements.  I never did, anyway, until about 1994.

Here is another installment of 'what ran past the back fence at my grandmother's place at North Wollongong'.  In the case of light engine movements, thanks to my stupidity, this will be a short but fairly interesting blog.

Lets start with a couple before I could hold a camera.  This first one is pretty notable, he says immodestly.  It is of 2001 and a PWD loco - thought to be 1803 - headed on a one way trip to Thirroul and points north after the closure of the Reid's Hill loco depot in 1964.  I think the 18 class is just along for the ride.

Going the other way, here's double 55s headed to Unanderra to take up banking duties on goods trains to Moss Vale.  Nice to see both a Wampu and a turret tender in tow.

Nothing says 1970s in Wollongong like a 48 class, so I need to include at least one.

And to wrap up, the other form of traction to work past the back fence.  This was taken in May 1994 and by then I was taking photos of light engine movements.

Ciao for now!