Sunday, April 30, 2017

View from the Hill

We always knew it as Lithgow Hill growing up. Unless there was a flat tyre, an overheated engine or a passenger requiring medical treatment, this was the first stop on our sojourns to points west for family-related purposes. Others know the location as the PoW Memorial on Chifley Road. 

The best part about getting to the Hill was the chance to sus out what was in Lithgow loco. In the mid-60s this was easy as deforestation was a civic virtue. Over the last 50 years vegetation has taken back the Hill, as the following shots show.  Hardly worth stopping these days, unless you are prepared to climb a gummy.

These first two shots are (I think) from 1964/65 or so.  The first shows a garratt in the garratt siding, and the second has a couple of 36s arriving from the west.

While the roundhouse lasted another 20 years it was usually stuffed with brown diesels so we didn't photograph it (grrrr). By July 1986 it was gone and replaced with this shiny facility. Triple 85s can be seen getting away for a run up to Zig Zag.

In the following October it was looking a bit more lived in - with a few vintage Alcos taking up residence.  The first fronds also make an appearance.

By the early 1990s the disturbing practice of kneecapping 46s was underway. The following shot from 4 October 1993 shows 48s, 80s, a 73, 46s and an 86 in the shed nearest the Hill.

By January 1996 the trees were growing, the shed seemed emptier and the list of 46s awaiting their fate had grown past 20.

This final shot was also from January 1996. It was very much a sneak through the branches. On the upside it showed Alcos.

These days I don't even stop and I reckon the area might have just a few snakes waiting for the next photographer.


Saturday, April 22, 2017


This second installment from Frank Barrett is shorter than the first (posted 26 March 2017) but just as interesting - for the all too few people in the world who care about the Richmond to Kurrajong railway. The line was closed in 1952 so if these photos are from that location - and I think they probably are - I am guessing they were taken shortly before its closure.

The photos show 2024 arriving and then ready to leave the terminus. 

I love many things about both photos, including the driver who appears in both, the timber load in the yard, the beaten look of 2024, the panelled carriages and the imperious stance of the station master. But nothing beats the bloke in the white shirt looking into the camera as 2024 arrives.  The mixture of bemusement and seeming annoyance that someone would waste scarce camera film on such a mundane scene is as apparent now as it was when Frank got the original shot developed nearly seven decades ago. 

And sadly that is all we have of Kurrajong.  Next installment we head north.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Footscray, a rejoinder

Still digging through those photos from 1974.  Actually found that we did break the rule of not bothering to photograph sparks.  Here is a couple from West Footscray - a Tait and a Harris set. Modest, unadorned affairs.

A here is one for GlennofFootscray - I have long admired your blog. As a token of appreciation, here's a modest contribution to night tram photography from a bitterly cold week night in May 1974. The telltale lines show that the tram moved mid time lapse.

Certainly not much was happening that night!


Saturday, April 15, 2017

South of the border, down Footscray way

When I was a nipper in the early 1970s the family's white Cortina 440 was pointed south to Melbourne on a couple of school holidays.  Its destination was Geelong Road, Footscray - a gritty place in the 1970s but within a couple of blocks of the mainline (surprise surprise).

You have never experienced cold weather until you too have stood on a pedestrian overpass at Footscray on a May evening waiting for the night trains to come out of Spencer Street. And they were always running late so you ended up just being frozen and Dad would get into trouble... 

It was only marginally warmer in the afternoons, even when the sun was shining.  On Saturday afternoons you could stand at a certain point on the bridge and look westward through a gap between two grandstands to watch the Footscray Bulldogs getting their weekly whipping. That started another passion which went unrequited until last September when they rewarded me with a premiership. But that is another story.

On the upside locos I had never seen before trundled by - along with prehistoric red suburban Tait sets which we never photographed because they were suburbans!   Here's a couple of blurry Agfa images that we did manage to keep from those days (May 1973). Lets start with a W249 with a few four wheelers.

More serious horsepower was caught in nearly the same spot when double Ss came through on the broad gauge.

I do remember the 1974 holidays as being sunnier. And it brought out X37 and GM34 (GM24?) on an interstate freight.

Triple Ts, including T409, were caught the same afternoon... evidence of the third T is circumstantial...

And this T nearly snuck past us the other way...

And I think I'll finish with something that probably nearly didnt make the cut because it was a railmotor but I am kinda glad the trigger was pressed.

Happy Easter all!