Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The lost children of Wollongong

The last two posts have been rather sombre affairs so I thought I would take it up a notch before the month is out... this time covering the motley collection of vehicles which seemed to congregate on the eastern (down) side of Wollongong station.  

I had started planning this post with a question - which wagon or carriage are you aware of that stayed in (some sort of) service but remained in the same place for the longest.  I had been thinking the diner parked near platform 15 at Sydney Terminal - it always seemed to be there in the 1970s and 1980s.  I have surprised myself by apparently taking a photo of it (AB91 methinks) in 1981, and then being able to find it for this post.

But I digress, Wollongong. This next shot was taken sometime between March 1961 when the Budds were introduced to the Illawarra, and mid-1965 when steam had disappeared.  The photo was taken from one of Dad's favourite family-dinner-out locations, the top floor of the Sydney Wide Discount store on the corner of Crown Street and Gladstone Avenue.  We got hundreds of chip dinners on the top level of this store, so Dad could snap shots like the following.

From the shadows, I am guessing this was a midday sojourn.  My interest is only for the three vans in the left of the picture, but I guess other readers may be interested in what was squatting around the turntable.  This next shot gives you a better view of its inhabitants.

But I digress once more... back to the vans.  Rolling into 1966, 3014T did a week or so of relief work in the Illawarra whilst the usual 30 tank was serviced.  On dusk on 28 April 1966, 3014T can be seen pulling past one of the more unusual vehicles in the collection.

One day I will Photoshop that slide.  OK, by 1969 when the NMRA visited rainy Wollongong and points south in CPH19, the line up may have changed somewhat.

I have nothing from the seventies to add right now, but the following snap from the favoured location in 1980 shows the collection of vans had been joined by an FO-type carriage.  And yes, not ot digress again but those orange things in the yard are AIS diesels.

It only took me two years to get around to it, but I did manage to photograph that carriage.  I could be totally wrong but I think it was carrying the title of L875 at the time.

And here is L875 with its collection of six runty orphans.

I suspect the line-up didn't stay together for long.  By December 1983 L875 had been joined by a number of cream-coloured vehicles.

And then the great leveler, electrification, came.  This final shot show Wollongong yard under transformation.  The little collection of vehicles have gone - most likely trundled at a slow speed to the back of Port Kembla, then torched. Oh dear, ending a blog on another sad note.

I will try to devise a cheery post over the next week or so.


Monday, April 22, 2019

1965 Liverpool railway accident

On 31 October 1965 a goods train collided with a suburban train at Liverpool station.  As the accident occurred at 1:15am there was only 15 or so people on the passenger train. Unfortunately, one of those passengers passed away at the scene as a result of injuries sustained in the collision.

One of our family members, who lived nearby, went to see the result of the accident the next day.  The following two photos were taken, and show the devastation caused by the accident.  I have debated whether to ever post these photos, given their nature.  On balance I have decided to publish them to illustrate the lack of safety design in earlier rolling stock.  I will be on this blog at some stage in the future complaining about the crappy seats in Waratah trains, but I think I would prefer to be in a modern suburban carriage than what was on offer in 1965.

The poor lad who lost his life that morning (he was 19 years of age) was in one of the rear carriages of the train. Those carriages received the brunt of the impact from the Albury-bound freight train, which was travelling at 60 mph (100kph) at the time of the accident.

Back next time with a cheerier installment.


Thursday, April 11, 2019

Vale Phil Clarke

Earlier this week the sad news arrived that Phil Clarke, long time rail fan from the Illawarra, had passed away.  I wrote a short piece on Ausloco - Phil's favourite online medium - but its also appropriate to acknowledge his great friendship on this blog.  It also gives me a chance to run a few photos and (hopefully) his videos.

Phil (aka PVC) was a habitual rail photographer.  He had his favourite spots and trains, Cowan, Rhodes, Canterbury, Dulwich Hill, Picton and Werai curve. So regular were his visits to some of these locations he would be invited to share a cuppa with the station staff while videoing the passing trains.  He has left a rich tapestry of the changing nature of NSW railways over the past two decades.  Here is the quintessential, steady-from-the-shoulder, Phil the Video-er shot, from 1998.

I have realised I have more photos of Phil's back than his front, and for once I have a shot of him not videoing.

Phil was not just a rail fan - legend has it he served the warmest muffins on the Cockatoo Run when it operated out of Port Kembla. He was also a long time member of the RTM’s Illawarra Group and the Illawarra Model Railway Association. During a period where he sported a dashing mo, Phil (left of picture) rests in the cab of 3801 after another arduous muffin run.

Phil’s railway modelling reflected his taste for the contemporary. No sooner had a piece of new rolling stock entered service than Phil would use his considerable skills and his former employer’s considerable resources to create a HO model. If delays occurred to a loco’s release in real life, Phil would sometimes beat the prototype into existence (such as the Silverton Cs). One of those Cs is lurking in the background of this shot of his now demolished layout.

Outside of railways, Phil was an accomplished football (he called it soccer) referee and administrator. He was an active volunteer, driving elderly people to medical appointments and participating in his local church. He was devoted to his wife Joyce, his extended family and his wide circle of friends. 

Phil loved a yarn, especially when trackside. He was an avid video recorder, who has left a rich legacy of rail videos. These were spread far and wide as he was generous in sending his videos freely to anyone who asked. His videos grew to be really professional affairs, with annotations and printed discs.

So, time for a couple of Phil's video efforts.  This first one of 4468 and GM27 on a trippy at Canterbury c2003-04 comes from one of the first DVDs he made.  I picked this one because Canterbury was pretty much home base for him for many years.  He would be there by 8:00am and not leave until 4168 had rolled through, usually just before 2:30pm.

And now for one of his last efforts - from late November 2018. This one is from Dulwich Hill, where the station staff were magnanimous and friendly, and Phil could avoid using the steps to get across platforms.  I picked this snap of a track inspection vehicle because Phil loved the new stuff as much as the old, and he had a keen appreciation for the technical side of railways (which he would patiently explain to this knucklehead).

If you are lucky enough to have a PVC rail video or one of Phil’s trains (he divested his collection a few years ago), please give them a run in memory of Phil. If you have a Toohey’s Old handy, Phil would reckon you have the making of a good night.