Saturday, March 12, 2016

Northwest 1991 style

In  October 1991 the Senior Train Hunter and I headed off for a 3 day extravaganza to Werris Creek.  Although we had planned it for months, the first day of the trip (23 October) turned out to be the day of the first general strike in NSW in about 60 years - so no trains were running. At least we didn't need to worry about missing much.

We booked into our favourite motel at Willow Tree (with views of the main north) and then headed up to Werris Creek loco for a look around.  At least it was relatively safe to walk around the loco depot, knowing that a silent Alco wasn't going to come out of nowhere to crush you.  Here's a few shots of that evening foray.

The Creek was Alco heaven in those days.

Anyway, we got a good night's sleep as we figured that what we had missed out on on Day One of the trip surely needed to run on Day Two, right? Never really works out that way.  

Actually, we should have foreseen the next plague - rain.  The first train of the day was one of those 'driving to get into position... is that a headlight????' moments. Sure enough, it was  44201, 4511 and 4481 on a down freight.

If you want to see how we it really was, here's a link to a video of the train rolling through.

We also got lucky in Quirindi, and not just at the cake shop. We found the bankers 3505, 4493 and 3513 there as well.  But they shot off, shortly afterwards.

Here's a quick video of how three Alcos can leave town, quickly.

We then set up at Ardglen, hoping or a busy day.  

Excluding XPTs, we got four trains over the next eight hours. The first quarter of the sightings involved 8131 and 8102 on an empty coal off to Gunnedah.

Then it was time to see 48144, 48145 and 48120 climb the grade.  They were heard long before they came into view.

An eternity later, 48138, 48151 and 48154 worked up the same grade with a grain train.  This time there was a bonus, with double 35s banking the train.  Here's a few shots of the working.

Here is a very shot clip of the two bankers passing.

For the fun of it, lets interrupt the steady diet of Alcos with an XPT.

Back to the fun.  This time it was 8106 and 8130 coming back from Gunnedah with a loaded coal train, again banked by the 35s.

The final (fifth) train of the day arrived at dusk but managed to only get up the grade well past dark.  A 44 led two 48s, banked by the two 35s. No photographs possible. An indistinct video produced. But I'll never forget the sound around the hills.

Day Three will need to wait to another time.  Hope you enjoyed this much....



  1. many thanks for posting - I travelled to Werris Creek for the first time with John Scott, and that icon of Australian railway modelling, Norm Bray, back in about 1993...? I later revisited Werris Creek with John Scott a few years later and my photo albums are full of pictures, though we missed the 35 class bankers. I visited Werris Creek again with John Scott and Anthony Taylor in 2001 and stayed in the Werris Creek Hotel. Railway nirvana for train-starved railfans from Victoria!

    1. Haha! And we often headed south in the hope of seeing those VR Blue and even VLine orange beasties! I never met Norm but know of his reputation - a terrific modeler with a great eye for detail.