Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mount Pleasant crossing

This contribution focuses on a modest little piece of infrastructure just north of North Wollongong station which existed for approximately 110 years in various guises.

CC Singleton;s book, Railway History in Illawarra noted that the Mount Pleasant crossing opened on 21 June 1887.  It was one of those rare instances in NSW where the Government's rails crossed a private railway line.  In this instance it was the 3’ 8 '/2” gauge Mount Pleasant Tramway that did the intersecting.

According to Singleton, the crossing was on the level and at right angles. The location was further complicated by the diagonal intersection with a level crossing for Bulli Road.

Duplication of the Government's railway in 1913 resulted in the construction of a new signal-box to control the road crossing. Apparently this lasted until 1923, by which time the Bulli Road crossing had been diverted onto a new overhead bridge that crossed at the
intersection of the two railways.

Singleton noted that 'with the signal-box set in a recess in the overbridge abutment,
it was one of the most complicated pieces of engineering to be found on the system'.

Time for a few photographs.  This first one shows the 1923 overhead bridge, along with the 1913 vintage timber signal box.

 A close up of the bridge shows the gap left by the removal of the Mount Pleasant Tramroad tracks.

And here's a close up of the signal box. Love the 'convenience' provided in the little room.

These other photos are from 1983, just as the new overhead road bridge was being commissioned. New drainage infrastructure is also clearly observable.

And the final shot we have of the signal box, basking in the afternoon sunlight.

Preety sure that the box did not survive the razing of the landscape associated with the electrification of the Illawarra.



Thursday, March 24, 2016

Katies in the Gong

In 1966 two tours using 55 class locos were run to Wollongong.  By this time I think the two locos used were the last two of the class - 5593 and 5597. Could be wrong there!

First off, on 12 March 1966 5593 arrived in Wollongong looking very spruce.

5593 was on its way to Port Kembla to collect South Bulli No.2 for restoration.  While all this was being arranged, the then rather exotic 7003 took the train around the Inner Harbour.

 Here is the little loco all loaded up on a well wagon, ready for transport back to the Big Smoke.

Another industrial loco apparently wandered around the precinct to take a look at these proceedings. 

The second tour was run in October of the same year, this time with 5597. Here it is in Wollongong and later at Coniston.

Would be good to see 5597 ride the rails once more.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Katoomba - winter 1983

Here's a few shots from Katoomba in the winter of 1983 as a harbinger of cooler weather.

First up, 4615 hides behind a few poles whilst heading up a CUB set.

Probably the same afternoon, a good shot of all the poles at Katoomba station - with a candy 46 on the front of set 84 in the background.

Here is my favourite shot of Katoomba, 46 classes and cement trains.  And I think I may have posted this one once before, but its soooo good.

Time for some more modern electric power - this time 8505 on a down service.

Its slightly younger cousin, resting in the up relief.  This looks to be taken at another time during the week.

Finally, a real goods train!

Will finish up with a practice which is long gone from NSW railway workings... tractor shunting goods wagons.


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....