Saturday, December 1, 2018

A few more from the river

Every time I post photos from the collection of Ian Brady I feel a bit conflicted, but I figure that if you or your loved ones decided to sell photos then they are accepting of a somewhat wider audience.  And all I can see is the absolute public benefit in giving these five masterpieces an airing before their current owner shuffles away, in one form or another.

Public benefit? I think it is demonstrated by the following shots, apparently taken on New Year's Eve, 1956. Lets start with what I believe to be round top 3606 - though it could be the super pig(?) on what looks like a long distance day train - or it could be a relief given the time of the year.  Perhaps to Kempsey, Werris Creek or Cessnock? Just magic.

Next in the deck was a more prosaic P class - but these days it would be the stand out shot. An obedient BOB set trails? The loco crew may have decided to give the photographer a show.

Time for some Pacific action! First 3824 on an up service and then 3816 on what I guess is the down morning Flyer (going from shadows).

Lets wrap up this series with a return to the 19th century conveyance - the dog box! This train too is quite eclectic - LFXs, steel cars, R cars and a heavy van.

More from Mr Brady and yours truly later this month.


PS - for the back story as to how I was lucky enough to receive these photos, see my post from October 2017.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

A few from the south

School holidays in our family meant the chance to hook up an impossibly small caravan to the family 4 cylinder vehicle and tour the off-peak locations of the State of NSW - read, the Snowies in summer and the North Coast beach tour in May. Regardless of where we went, there was always a railway line just around the corner.

January 1978 was no different to many other family holidays.  Baking in the car, baking in the caravan.  Visiting towns where you literally melted into the bitumen.  And that brings us to Tumut.  Well, just outside of Tumut, near Gilmore.  Here we waited one weekday morning for the arrival of the railmotor from Cootamundra (the motor from Coota in local venacular).  

While I can't tell you the precise date I do remember the time - just after 9am.  Moreover, I remember the local radio station - most likely 2WG from Wagga Wagga - finishing the news broadcast, resulting in Herb Albert's Tijuana Brass playing the introduction to the John Laws program.  How's that for errant trivia? Anyway, double CPHs hove into view around this time.  There was no way you would be getting a closer shot that this one - too many Joe Blakes at that time of year.

The other notable railway location we visited that holiday was Griffith.  Notable because it was at least 45 degrees.  Two shots were grabbed that day.  I suspect the 2 car diesel is the connection off/to the Riverina Express, while the X class was just doing its stuff.

The lack of shadows in these two shots give a clue to the time of day - high noon or thereabouts.  

Until next time!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Flat Captain

A couple of blogs ago I mentioned I was on the move - leaving a home with a view of the Metropolitan Goods Line literally over the back fence to a farm miles from rail action.  The big move has now happened. Its a weird thing. Two or three times a day I hear an 81 or a MZ in the distance, which is pretty amazing as the nearest operational railway is 60 kilometres away. Guess its just withdrawal symptoms.

Anyway, today I took the opportunity to divert a family outing a short distance (44 kilometres) to check out the nearest railway action at Captain's Flat.  Turns out I am about 50 years late. Others have commented on it before me but there is a substantial amount of infrastructure still in place.  Here's a few shots.

The station is now on private property. The platform sign is visible from the road but I was getting out of Dodge, so didn't stop. 

The line back to Bungendore looks in reasonable nick in most places.  I have seen worse in western NSW still being used for grain traffic.  Here's a couple of snaps as we approached Hoskinstown from the south.

For a line which hasn't operated for 50 years, it was still pretty interesting.  Either that, or I am really a sad case at the moment.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Getting to Dripstone

Just been trawling through  a few photos instead of working, and came upon these long-forgotten ones. I have been trying to repress the memory of this first one for four decades... I stayed with one of my non-train loving cousins instead of following Dad down to Bathurst railway station.  He, and my sister and another cousin, cadged a ride up Raglan Bank in a 47 class banker.  Here is a shot looking back at 4537 and the train.

I got the consolation prize - the next day in the same general vicinity we scored the Indian Pacific with 4485 and a sister 44. Pretty sure I have posted a version of this slide before but, hey, its double Alcos...

The other end of the train was nearly as interesting, and certainly much cleaner than the front end.

Anyway, i had been looking for photos of a little place called Dripstone, which was the station where Arthur Edward Jones had been sent in 1925.  Arthur is one-eighth of the reason why I am here today - he was my paternal great grand-father.  He was the station master at Dripstone between 1925 and 1927.  Fifty years later, both the station building and the station master's house were standing. We only took a solitary shot of each.

The station is now gone, but the house (or a bit of it) lives on in a remodelled dwelling on the same site.  Of course, Arthur is gone too and I am going to leave you with a report of his leaving of Dripstone - from the Wellington Times in April 1927.  Seems he was bit of a 'live wire'.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

When 3501 came to town.

On 29 August 1968, 3501 made what I think was its last trip to the Illawarra. Here's three shots of this tour.

The first has 01 on the down platform road at Wollongong.  See if you can spot Wally...

Yep, some hoon is photobombing from the end window of what I suspect is a HFL?

The next two shot is from a photostop at the Inner Harbour.  Do this these days and you'll be either run over by quad 82s or arrested for breaching national security.  Or both.

Number 3 shot is the loco shooting back through Mount St Thomas, which suggests the photographer was too slow to the location to get a front-on shot, or it got mucked up somehow.


Thursday, October 4, 2018

The innocence & incompetence of youth

In 1978 I was an accomplished photographer, or so I thought. I was also a teenager and so I couldn't be told anything. Or maybe I just didn't understand the complexities offset viewfinders... anyway, that situation explains the following shots.

We had been advised that the rolling stock for the workers trains was to be 'upgraded', which we took to mean that the pre-WWII carriages were to be withdrawn. We had managed to basically get no photos of their predecessors (the FO sets) prior to their withdrawal earlier that decade so we weren't going to be caught out again. This time we grabbed the trusty Agfa instamatic and headed down to North Wollongong station one sunny afternoon.

Norff Gong (as pronounced by those in the know) is best for up trains in the afternoon, and I think I may have already posted this first one of 4825 previously. It hints at what is to come - as the loco just squeezes into the left of the frame (buffers don't count).

Down trains were a bit tricky as they would burst out from under the road bridge adjacent to the Mount Pleasant Signal Box at full speed, and really only hit their anchors on the final approach to the platform. We weren't so hung up about SPADs in the 70s. This meant a bit of a scramble out of the Datsun 180B if you weren't paying attention.  But one of us was paying attention when 4870 cruised into town.

As film was expensive, this was the last of the down trains photographed that afternoon. We also seemed reluctant to photograph anything other than 48s on workers trains - goodness knows what pearls we let slip by.

Anyway, back to offset viewfinders.  The following shots aren's entirely attributable to Agfa's design department. I had been warned, but I had also been told to get close in on the train as we wanted shots of the carriages. Well, as 4892, 4856 and 4828 worked their trains though, I snapped away... 90% of a train is still a train?  Here they are for posterity.

So, you can bet there was a bit of an inquest when this roll of film came back from the developers. I still wince when I see them, 40 years later.

And if it was bad enough, we did hang around for one last shot.  We were hoping for five railmotors headed to Waterfall.  Instead we got three - or rather, 2.9.

Thanks for hanging around, too.  Will return with some of the Senor Train Hunter's blurred shots in my next post, as we work hard to maintain low publishing standards.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Bound from South Australia

In December 1979 I was part of a group trip to Adelaide.  Unfortunately my fellow travellers had little time for railways so it was only as we returned to NSW that my persuasive arguments won through.. hehe.

The first place I made the travelling troop stop was Olary, on the Barrier Highway in eastern South Australia. This photo pretty much sums up Olary - just add 9 million blowies and open the oven door to get the full ambience.

Even after the Olary stop, I was allowed to choose the caravan park in Broken Hill that night.  I think the one I chose had a small selection of steam locos quietly rusting behind it.  If the photos seem blurred its because I was more worried about the local snakes than framing the perfect portrait (all of my photography in the 1970s was done in thongs). I am not sure of the identity of the loco in the first shot, the middle shot is of Y82 and the final shot is No.99.  Nearly 40 years later, I am not even sure this was Broken Hill!

Once we were back into NSW proper, things got more familiar.  Like at Dubbo.  Here we found the Comet and a couple of 44s lurking in the yard.

Then it was home via Forbes and the railway high-point of the trip - the Lachlan Vintage Village.  As the other tourists participated in convict floggings and generally tried to avoid the 110 degree heat, stupid here was snapping away at the following.

Nothing quite like an undressed tank loco...

And then there was a selection of narrow gauge beasties...

And that was about it!  Can't believe it was 40 years ago - maybe that caravan park was Peterborough?

Until next time, 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Over the fence

This post is a little bit explanation, a bit reflection and a small bit an advertisement/plea/community service announcement…

It has been a fair while since the last post.  Most of my intervening hours have been allocated to a flurry of home renovations as we prepare to sell our house in Hurlstone Park. Its meant a lot of backyard time, which is usually a good thing as we share a fence with the Metropolitan Goods Line. Unfortunately, I have tended to have a hammer or a spade in hand, rather than a camera. 

When we bought here I thought I would never leave… it has always been a dream of mine to camp out beside the Metro Goods Line and this is what I have been happily doing. It has taken 5 years but I now possess skills every train hunter should have – like being able to tell an approaching Helga just by its whine (don’t get me started on QBXs!). But for a whole bunch of reasons (the compelling one is that we have bought a farm we couldn’t afford), it is now time to leave.

But its been an interesting 5 years. We arrived only months after the last of the 44s were withdrawn, so I moped for a couple of years until they made a return in 2017.  They still wander past, but very occasionally.

The more modern Alcos seem to be increasing their presence along the line, after a pretty lean period.  Their heyday was 2015, when 80/80 or 442/80 combos were seen regularly.

Darling, there is an Alco at the bottom of our garden.

The days of regular quad C classes rumbling the entire suburb appear over, with their removal from the 1491/4190 container service.  Here’s close the last time that triple Cs worked that service, taken from my ‘around the corner’ go-to photography spot – the Melford Street overpass.

While not as rumblingly authoritarian as the C class, even as recently as this week the locals could not help but be impressed by a solitary G.  I fluffed the shot so here is an earlier one from September 2016.

Five years is a pretty short period, but even in that time some interlopers have arrived and left.  Aurizon, for one.

Then there are the regulars… working from home over the last year has meant that my day is timed by the Fletchers train (8148) around breakfast, a Helga at 10:30, Carrot and Spud on the Crawfords service by 2pm and an 81 on a cementy around dusk. And lots of others in between of course (usually about 20 in daylight hours).  But here’s a few shots of my regular friends…

Its not the worst way to live a life! One I am particularly fond of runs most days, in the afternoon.  It is of course the littlest Alco in the village off to deposit or collect an XPT car or two.

At the risk of sounding too much like a sell-job, one of the nicest things about this area is that someone who shares our interest also worked on the local council.  As a result of his/her intervention, there is a lovely park at the end of our street where I can sit on a bench overlooking the Foord Avenue underpass (technically doing, ahem, work). Here’s a couple of recent shots of this location.

Anyway, you have heard enough of my extolling the virtues of my locale. It will be a big wrench to leave when we have to, and now the renovations are over there will be more sitting in the garden/park or at the local bridge, snapping the local wildlife.

If you are still reading this and know of anyone who appreciates the sound of an Alco in the morning, information about our house sale is available from this link, or just drop me a note in the comments under this post. 

I am serious – I am just plain sick of my real estate agent telling me there are people in this world who think that living next to the Metro Goods Line is a detraction. I would very much like to prove him wrong by selling this home to someone who appreciates rail traffic as much as we all do (should!). Let’s show him and all these uninformed people that sharing a back fence with the NSW Railways is a joy! In fact, even if you don’t want to buy the house, please just ring him anyway and let him know just how mistaken he is!

Who doesn’t want a chance to wave to the driver on 8037?

Cheers, Don