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.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Grey Ghost

I always rather liked the livery 4499 obtained for its working of air conditioned expresses along the South Coast. Of course, my preference for it meant that I rarely managed to see it. One exception was an afternoon (I think in or around 1986) when I got these shots at Central.

I think we managed to catch it on one other occasion, first at Coniston (Conno to the locals) and then on its way to Unanderra (Unanderra to the locals - but we know how to pronounce it).


Monday, July 11, 2016

Views from Zig Zag

I was too young to see steam working over the Blue Mountains so big electrics seemed to me at least to be the way to tackle the incline out of Lithgow, headed east.

Thirty years ago this month I headed up the mountains with Senior to watch a steady parade of electrics do their stuff on passengers and freights.  On the Wednesday afternoon we snuck out to the Zig Zag, to perch ourselves at a lookout facing west into the winter sun.  Here are a few shots from that afternoon, into the sun.  I am not quite sure of the order so I'll just load them and see how it all goes.

First up, an 86 on a down empty grain.

Followed by double 86s, banked by double 85s.

After the bankers dropped back down the hill (sorry, muffed that shot), an empty coalie rolled past with two 86s.

 An 85 on a down ore train.

We had come to this location for one shot - the Indian Pacific.  Initially I was disappointed that the sun was close to setting by the time it rolled through.  These days I love the atmosphere that the following shot sort of captures.

It was a very good afternoon - just a couple of hours out of life.  I don't normally post shots of the train hunters in action but this was the scene. Coffee out of a thermos, Mum's cake or a few biscuits. So I will leave you with a picture of how to relax.