Friday, December 30, 2016

Double headers

A Facebook group that has graciously permitted me to join has been running a theme for December 2016 which involves double-headed steam, or a double header involving a steam loco to be more precise.  It has been a very good month! The better half has commented a couple of times about how much time I seem to be spending on Facebook.

Anyway, I have dug a few up which I am about to post. Thought I would pop them up here too so I can have a bit more of a ramble on about them.  First up is 5395 and 5593 just south of Wollongong on a tour train around 1965. 

It is on the short north that our photo collection seems to have most of the steam era double headers. Here is 3509 and a 36 at Gosford in 1965 - appearing to be refuged to permit a 44 to pass.

The next photo comes from a location a few hundred yards further north.  It is of 3532 and a 60 on what appears to be W44 April 1967.

A third one from the short north - 3654 and a Garratt on Hawkemount around 1969.

Then t the west for the final two shots this year - and both are black & white so please do not adjust your monitors. It is 1965 and 3653 and 3825 are approaching the climb on Tumulla Bank with gusto. 

Further west still, 3652 and another pig are climbing away from Molong.

So folks, that was 2016 in a blog.  I still managed a post a fortnight, even after blowing up a computer and managing to lock myself out of Blogger for a couple of months. Thanks for reading and commenting on my posts throughout the year. I will be back (in 2017)!


Friday, December 23, 2016

Well kept Alcos

There are presently a fair few 48 class locos getting around in a fairly tatty state.  We can all understand the rationale - paint subtracts from the bottom line. Still, it does set a tone. I am no expert but it feels like we are in one of those periods when there are more well worn than pristine locos floating around. The last time I felt like this was the early 1990s - just before a great number of venerable locomotives were retired and/or scrapped.  Perhaps 2017 will be another 1994, with many locos coming out of service once this harvest is over?

Anyway, during that last great period of weather-beaten liveries, I happened upon 4539 shunting around Acacia Ridge yard.  It was on 21 October 1990 to be precise.

Here is the old Alco lifting a load of loaded container flats...

Different gauges, different owners... QR's shunter looks on...

Not all 45s were in a shabby condition - the comparison with 4502 is stark...

It at least showed some foresight not to give the old girl a lick of paint. 4539 was scrapped in 1994 after Sims Metal Recyclers paid a handsome $18,000 for its carcass. 4502 has survived another 20+ years and now rests just inside the western edge of NSW, at Broken Hill.

Merry Christmas all!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Oh Wellington

This post is in part to reference a private conversation with the Senior Train Hunter about the liveries of Shell oil tankers and to also post a couple of shots I have posted elsewhere (from memory).  

It is a warm day here in Sydney and these shots convey the heat of the Central West of NSW to me anyway.  The first one is black & white and from May 1979. Its how I usually find Wellington - devoid of trains. But it is a beautiful building and that awning can save you from the heat.

Here's the shot in question from the conversation - 3610, a western pig - is about to obscure a lovely Shell tanker in Wellington yard.

And this one feels even warmer - 6004 on 8 April 1966 with a good sized load.

And where better to cool off on a hot day than the Macquarie River? This one from 1963 - you could bathe and still enjoy the odd steam loco thundering overhead.


Monday, October 24, 2016

He's back

I have been a little quieter than normal over the past two months on this blog but to borrow a phrase from a well-known Halloween movie - He's Back!

My absence was due to my clumsiness and a certain daughter's ingenuity. She first - cups of tea don't need to be poured into modems to test connectivity. Given she is all of 18 months I guess I have contributory culpability for leaving the modem in an accessible spot.

The temporary loss of the modem was overcome by using the data off my phone to access the Internet. Unfortunately it was the additional lead that tripped me up one Saturday morning about two months ago, leading to me falling onto my laptop with disastrous results. There is much to be said for keeping precious photographs in the 'cloud' and not on hard drives. While I am still slowly recovering files I have finally managed to remember the password to get back blogging, so here's a short post with a few snaps of shunting at Sydney Terminal over the years.

First up, the utilitarian 7920, captured sometime in the 1960s.

Second, the just plain ugly head of a 41 class, snapped at the head of a tour train on 11 February 1973. Yes, as usual, in the rain.

Number three was a good looking shunter - the mighty 73 class.  Here, 7339 shunting the western carriage sheds after dark in the 1980s. Its a bit over-exposed but you get the picture (dad pun intended).

And finally, how it always ends up before it ends - a 48 class. Here it is 4831 in the early 1990s.

So, I will be back shortly, and hopefully with a series of decent blogs. Back to the file recovery process.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Wilton Hill

These days its too overgrown and it would probably trigger a national security emergency, but in 1982 it was technically possible to pull off the highway near Wilton and trot up to the top of a hill overlooking the Main South for a Saturday morning of rail photography.  To give you an idea of where I am talking about, here's a location shot showing the mighty little Suzuki which took us half way up the hill.

 I have these photographs marked as January 1982, but that is just a proximate date.  I do remember it got bloody hot but it was still quite fresh (and quite early) when the first train arrived - the Spirit led by a 442 and a 44.

The Spirit was followed closely by 4447 and 44223 on the Southern Aurora - worth two view of this one!

Coal - Tahmoor coal - was king this morning as the following shots show.  First up, 8010 and 4880 head south - bloody telegraph poles!

Then two shots of 8031 and 48146 on an up coal - the second shot just for the white roofed van.

And then 8004 and 4809 on a down coalie.

It was also a morning for the express passenger trains - the 'varnish' as the Americans coin it.  Here's a couple of landscape shots of the Canberra Monaro and then the Inter-Capital Daylight expresses.

I apologise for this next one - I was youthful and always looking for a new angle. This is a DEB set on the Riverina Express run and I decided to shoot it through a set of binoculars - oh well.

More humble passenger consists included these CPHs on the Picton squirt.

Equally prosaic was the Goulburn day train with a 48 up front.

More colourful was 4836 on its sister service.

Back to the freighters - here is an up wheatie with a 422/442 combination. I believe them to have been 42202 and 44229. 

I stuffed the approach photo of the up Southern Highlands Express being led by a 421, but here it is going away as 8021 and a 48 approach on a down coal.

Finally, the aforesaid 8021 heads down the hill. And I gt the telegraph poles right on this one!

Sorry for the dark grainy nature of some of these shots.  I had loaded the camera with cheap, slow Kodak film which was suitable for low light photographs.  Who knows why I did - call it youthful enthusiasm.  Will leave you with a degraded shot of my two compatriots that morning - father and Frank B. In the next photograph Frank is the one lining up the money shot of the day.  Father looks like here is wondering when the morning tea will arrive or if the Suzuki will get towed.


PS - Cheers to all my friends in Petrograd who regularly tune into this blog.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Gipps Road level crossing

When I was a whippersnapper the closest level crossing was at Gipps Road,Wollongong.  As Wollongong grew it became quite a bottleneck on afternoon peak hours, particularly given its proximity to a set of traffic lights.  Even though some of the family were quite keen on trains, there was unparliamentary language used on many occasions if the family sedan was detained in front of the boom gates.

Anyway, I loved the gates, especially if walking across them as you had the novelty of a chicane and those uneven timber boards to navigate, usually in a a pair of thongs.  All rather exhilarating for a lad growing up in the Gong in the 1970s.

Like most things one loves, absence makes the heart grow fonder.  So this afternoon when I realised its been 30 years since its passing (or more), I just had to dig out all the photos I have of the level crossing.  And then I found this motley collection.  Maybe I didn't love it as much as I do now - though its replacement the Tramway Bridge is a much better place from which to watch trains.

Here's the only one I have of the box in action.

From another angle, the gates have just opened and what looks like a Cortina passes a NRMA roadside van.

And now for a couple of the box closed and waiting for demolition.

By the time these shots were taken the boom gates had served their purpose and were resting, awaiting removal.

Not a bad place to leave it - resting in the long grass.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sunday morning

Just reflecting that this blog has now 100,000 visits, which is brilliant and thank you to everyone who has stopped by.

When I started this blog abut 6 years ago I never figured I would stick it out for 165 posts or that I would reach 6 figures on visits.  When the mob and I started snapping away over 60 years ago I guess the thought was that the photos would be seen by about 7 people. Technology is a wondrous thing.

This little milestone (a big one for this little rambler) has reminded me that when I kicked this blog off in 2011 my only alternative way of sharing photographs was to upload them into a file folder in the Ausloco chat group.  Over the last 6 years I have created a Youtube account, a Flickr site and I now also contribute - albeit to varying degrees - to various Facebook groups. And now I lurk on Instagram,Pinterst etc.

This activity is now so much a part of my life it gets difficult to remember a time when it wasn't so all pervasive... like 50 years ago. Sunday mornings then were dominated by Sunday school (thanks Mum, a valiant effort always doomed to fail) and steam trains. Most tours to the Illawarra stopped in Wollongong for watering so it gave a good chance to catch anything once a whistle had been heard. Sometimes a RTM newsletter had given the advance notice but most times it was a mad rush to grab a camera, shove the kids in the back seat (me and my sister) and point the Cortina in the direction of Wollongong yard.  Here's half a dozen results of those mad dashes. 

First up is a back-lit shot of 5215 and 3802 on tour on 26 July 1964 - almost 52 years ago. It looks as cold and wintry as today.

 Two years later we found 3322 taking water for a Moss Vale tour on 17 July 1966.

3644 made a number of tour trips to the Gong, such as this one.

Now to the 1970s and here is a shot to show that we weren't just fair weather photographers - like this one of 3214 from 1972.

Its 1970s partner in P class crime was 3203, and the weather looks only slightly better.

Looking back at these shots I am amazed by the detail that my mind has forgotten - the point rodding, the wooden railing off the end of the platform, the water column. But there is one thing I haven't forgotten, which is the sound of a loco whistle.  The next photo of 5917 is captioned as having been taken in January 1979. But when I was sitting here about an hour ago watching Insiders I heard the same loco blow as it headed out along the East Hills line. The sound of a Sunday morning!




Friday, July 15, 2016

Port Waratah loco

Wintry Saturday afternoons lend themselves to blogging. And so it is today.

Not really sure what made me think of Port Waratah depot. Anyway I have, so here comes a dozen snaps from that location running from April 1964 through to the end of steam.

From that earlier period, 5251 leads a line of stored steam locos.

This line of stored steam sandwiches a 35 between two standard goods locos. 

Next up, working steam, but a bit quirky.  5195 has an EHO in tow. 

5114 has a shunting tender attached, in the foreground of the coaling tower ramp.

A couple more shots from around this location. First up, 1904 up high.

 Then 3090T going about shunting duties (taken from a heavily degraded slide)

And 3246 getting coaled at this location.

1955 was caught shunting non-air four wheel coal hoppers.

Finally, to the turntable - 5475 is adjacent to the roundhouse.

And to finish off with a couple of garratts between shifts.