Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Farewell 2015

I threatened one more post for 2015 so here it is...I have been reflecting on the 250+ snaps and videos I have taken of trains this year and there are a few personal favourites - as well as quite a few dogs! It didn't take too long to select a personal favourite which is the following shot.

Yep, a couple of humble and tatty 48s stowed at Werris Creek on the 4th day of July this year. Why did I pick it? Well, it was part of a great weekend away in those parts but its a bit of a sentimental favourite too.  Going back a few years my annual photo collection was littered with 48s but these days they are scarce beasts in my hemisphere.  Probably not before time you may well say, but I do fear for their continued operation on the mainlines of NSW.  

If they are to operate then perhaps it will be only with Graincorp on their seasonal wheaties, a condition that I discovered 48215 (nee 48149) to be in on the same day and at the same location.

So, there you have it... these were the only two 48s I saw all year earning their keep.  Sure, I have seen the two butter-menthol hued 48s doing their XPT transfer work around Sydney and a couple of restored/heritage units, but its otherwise been a lean year!  

Even with 165 units in the class I always lapse into thinking that I have tons of shots of every 48 that ever went around. Not quite the case, though I think the case is proved with 48157 which haunts me.

I only have a couple of shots of 48153, the earliest being from 1 March 1984 when it and 4809 (another haunter of mine) were snapped at the Erko end of AcDep shunting the Southern Aurora cars.

And 48161 has been similarly elusive - only got it for the first time in 2009 at Port Kembla squished between a couple of mainliners...

So before I finish off the year I want to thank everyone who has indulged me by visiting this blog over the last year. I don't measure value by page views but getting these shots out and onto this blog is far better in my opinion anyway, than have them festering in some mouldy drawer. 

Fittingly, I will depart this blog for this year with my final train-shot for 2015. It was one of those classic events - know the train is coming, left things to the last moment, broke thong when running to bridge with camera, had to run in bare feet with baby in backpack on-board - get to hear the Alco go through under the bridge with 20 yards to run. Make the effort and get it disappearing around the corner at Hurlstone Park...

Happy New Year... May 2016 bring you all the little Alcos you desire!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Flyer

Hopefully this won't be the last blog for 2015, but it may be.  I trust all have survived Xmas and Santa has been good.

I was leafing through a few spreadsheets this afternoon and was amazed to see that today is the 45th anniversary of the last steam hauled Newcastle Flyer. The honour that day in 1970 went to 3820 but I only have shots of her classmates.  Here to start is a couple of 3813 ascending Hawkemount around 1969 on the Midday Flyer.

3820's immediate sibling, 3821 seemingly standing still but probably rocketing along.

Another one from Hawkemount, this time the evening Flyer with 3822 up front.

The demise of steam haulage of the Flyer was the start of a general deterioration in the service.  By the late 1970s non air conditioned rolling stock was a sometimes replacement, like this day when 4618 took the Flyer out of Sydney.

And here is a little cameo of 3820 - I have great hopes of seeing a black 38 ride again.


Friday, December 18, 2015

A few 48s in Central

Here's a few shots I nearly didn't take.If you are like me, there is never a real lot of time between getting to the station and getting on the train. Usually just enough time to get a pie, muffin, donut (or all three) and a coffee. 

It was only every third of fourth trip that I managed to get out the camera, which was (at the time) a shocking little plastic instamatic. It produced low quality grainy prints which gives the grittiness in the photos I am now about to post.

In 1994 I was chasing 44s, 45s and 442s.  I would stop for those.  Less so their little Alco sisters, the 48s.  Anyway, here are a few to remember from the first half of that year...

The year was only a fortnight old when I found 4804 alongside platform 1, but obviously couldn't be bothered walking over to photograph it up close.

I returned the following day to find the 28th and 31st members of the class tied up against 42212.

I was so happy I even took a second shot - a close up of 4831's cab.

On 18 January I found 4841 hiding behind a real mainline loco.

On 24 April 1994 4859 and 4826 were working a ballast through the yard.

And finally, on a cold winter's evening in June 1994, 4817 was found in the same place as 4804 had been captured earlier in the year.  This time I did walk over.

Ciao for now!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Hey Porter!

With apologies to the late great John R Cash, I thought I would post a few photos of a class of loco that we saw all the time (being Wollongongians) but never thought to hunt down before it was nearly too late. The eight Porters at Australian Iron & Steel's Port Kembla's steelworks.

We never snapped them in action but thankfully the senior photographer worked at Australian Iron & Steel and so risked life, limb, disciplinary charges and an honourable mention in the Illawarra Mercury just before the demise of 75% of the class in early 1975 to get the following four snaps inside the plant.

Here is a line of stored locos. OK, so we can't really blame him for cutting off the front of the first loco.  This was being shot on an Agfa Instamatic which had a viewfinder that indicated the general direction in which the photo would be taken.

Better luck with this side-on shot.

The next two shots show the last hours of the unlucky six locos -Bandicoot, Brolga, Baradine, Burrawa, Bellbird and Badger.

In writing up this post I actually discovered that only Bandicoot had been built by Porter in the USA. Four of the class were built by Clyde and three in the steelworks itself.  And apparently I thought Badger had escaped the fate of its siblings to reside in Dorrigo but authoritative sources (Wikipedia) suggests that it is actually Bantam with Badger's plates. So, it appears I am never too old to learn a couple of things.

Ciao for now!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Xmas tradition continues...

Today LVR and 3801 Ltd ran their annual steam tour for disadvantaged kids out of Central. Always a good and happy scene to pass by on the way to work. Those kids are very special. So are the volunteers who pull it all together.

Here's a few shots of the consist.

Ciao for now!