25 October 2016

He's back - Part II

I have been a little quieter than normal over the past two months on this blog but to borrow a phrase from a well-known Halloween movie - He's Back!

The reasons for my absence are explained in the most recent post on my other blog (NSW Rail Rambler) but just lets summarise to say it was my own clumsy fault. I am still slowly recovering files from a near-dead laptop so while I continue in that chore I thought I would post a quick blog to keep the loyal few in suspense, to borrow a line from another Don(ald).

No blog would be complete without a photo so I thought I would post the following one of the front end of blue 3028T in Dubbo loco, circa 1968. The news that Austrains is contemplating releasing a HO gauge version of this very loco has made this humble and poor scribe very happy. I do hope that they accurately reflect the deterioration in the buffer beam correctly!

So, until I have recovered the remainder of my files, adieu!


30 May 2016

Not quite there

My last couple of posts may have hinted at a degree of excitement in being scheduled to ride 6029 into Eumungerie last Saturday.  I think I may have even highlighted that only ill health or mechanical misadventure could stop me.  I forgot to add safeworking gremlins.

We did get to ride the Garratt and we did get to travel along the Coonamble branch line.  But only as far as Mogriguy due to a loss of time as a result of needing to shunt through Dubbo yard.  And yes there was rain and personal hardships (like poor coffee) but we had a great time.  Here's a few snaps of the day.

Here is 6029 at rest at Dubbo just before the shuttle up the branch line.

HL203 leads the train around the triangle and out onto the branch - well, nearly, this is still technically the (cross country) main line though it wasn't once considered such.

The latest iteration of Troy Junction signal box has a rather utilitarian aspect to it.

Rolling towards the Talbragar silos at Brocklehurst.

Out on the branch line proper. Wide open spaces and great light.
 The clouds returned for our return to Dubbo - coming around the triangle.

After our branch line foray, we chased the next shuttle to Guerie.  Here it is headed back to the big smoke.

Great work by the ACT Division of the ARHS to get the Garratt out to one of its old stomping grounds.  And many thanks to the tens of volunteers who made it all happen.  

I recommend definitely getting along to the Bathurst or Orange shuttles if you can over the next fortnight.

Off to work!


27 May 2016

1 sleep to go

So, bag packed, cameras charged, tickets purchased, weather forecast appropriately predicting rain. One drive and one sleep to go. Barring a medical emergency, a mechanical breakdown, what could go wrong?

I thought I would post just a few photos in a premature celebration of being able to head up the Coonamble branch line behind a steam loco this weekend. Each poses a question?

Will the railway bridge be able to take the weight of the train like it did this day in 1963 when 3088T nimbly trotted across it? I am not concerned about the Garratt making it across, but I am worried for those in car A if one of their travellers has pigged out on sausage rolls for breakfast earlier that day.

Next question: will it be as wet on Saturday as it was when the following photo of the approach to Eumungerie's yard was taken? The answer is, yes, of course! Every time I ever head to the country to photograph train I make it bloody rain, without fail. I should be rewarded for this talent. 

And finally, will we be as comfortable as these sheep seem to be when they were behind 3262 passing through Eumungerie? Answer: I hope so.

So folks, you may guess that I am fairly excited.  Will hopefully update this blog by the end of this weekend with the results of this trek.  By curious irony I won't get a photo of a Garratt at Eumungerie as we are there for a whole 4 minutes and (quite reasonably as there is no way to disembark), there will be no way to grab a couple of shots.


15 May 2016

Garratt North!

A chance look at the ACT ARHS website on Wednesday afternoon disclosed that 6042 6029 is planning to do shuttle tours out of Dubbo on 28 and 29 May (more information on these shuttles is at canberrarailwaymuseum.org).

I had initially presumed that these shuttles would follow the pattern of others run previously by 3801 Ltd and the NSW RTM - that is, stick to the mainline.  It was only a half in hope request from the Senior Train Hunter that I checked the itinerary to find that amidst the Dubbo-Guerie shuttles, there are two planned to Eumungerie.  A Garratt returns to the Coonamble line after nearly 50 years! Woohoo!!!

I have mentioned previously that I never saw a Garratt on the line as most of the workings were at night and such operations came to an abrupt end on 9 January 1967 when 6011 caused the rail bridge over the Talbragar River to partially collapse under its weight.  My post on this blog from 4 January 2012 recounted this event: http://eumungerierail.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/talbragar-bridge-collapse.html.

Anyway, some 49 years later a Garratt is once more scheduled to head to Eumungerie, this time over a replacement bridge. And we have tickets to be right behind it in car A.  I have always held hope of getting a ride along the branch by steam, but I always figured it would be most likely to be behind a 32 or a 30T - and this would be great.  But a Garratt - that's one to tick off the bucket list.

Anyway, to mark the occasion, here's a snap of a Garratt in Dubbo loco from around 1965.

And to keep commemorating the upcoming event, here's another of a Garratt moving down the yard.

Anyway, now that I have our tickets I certainly encourage anyone who wants a really great experience (watching two old blokes thoroughly enjoy themselves), get tickets for that Saturday shuttle to Eumungerie. 

Wonder what are the chances of a cab ride?

21 February 2016

Moving animals

New year, new resolutions. Thankfully one of them this year wasn't regular postings on this blog!

There has been some progress in the background since I last posted.  A veritable trove of Trove articles have been read, which promises the uncovering of the minutiae of a small village in the mid-century years of last century. Not all of these are rail related, but there was an amazing number of washaways, derailments and reasons for late mail deliveries.

On the HO scene, I engaged a works contractor to re-establish a static version of Eumungerie station in his garage. Its up and replete with the basic buildings, but needs detailing. Much more. So to start I thought I would investigate the stock races - though I can only remember them being called sheep races.

The races were a favourite hangout of mine, slightly less so during snake season which seemed to go for 11 months of the year. They were great to climb on and to ride the swing gates.  Though there was a 'pong' as we called it then which lives to this day. It just wasn't snakes you needed to be careful to watch out for when running around the races.

So I thought I would just grab a few photos and get into it this afternoon. Well, after a solid hour of hunting I have given up with the weakest collection of shots ever.  This first one (which I have posted before) starts promising - it gives an idea of the actual races and the drovers' shed - pretty sure that is what it was - happy to be corrected. It was taken in 1965.

Then all I could muster is a distant shot of the yard taken around 1963 (two years earlier) which I have chosen to show as 'extra large' so I can pick out a few details which are missing from the 1965 shot. First, some things are in both shots - like the water column and the drovers' shed (though note the small water tank against the north wall obscured in the 1965 shot).

The major change is that the two signals in the 1963 shot below are gone from the 1965 shot.  There is also a huge telegraph pole which seems to have disappeared from the landscape.

While I still know net to nothing about the races and yard from this photo, at least I have enough evidence to go out and but one of those lovely Austrains ways & works train packs. The wagon next to the LFX looks interesting - maybe an old D truck with a gangers' shed on top.

Now this last photo was in very bad shape when I scanned it.  I have retouched it as best I can - with a lot of lightening and noise reducing. Itdoesn't show the sheep yard, races or even the shed, but it does give a bit more of a clue about the wagon attached to the LFX. Oh yeah, and there is a 30T with what seems to be an extremely large load of coal in the tender for one headed to Dubbo so it may have worked tender-first out from there to shunt the yard and possibly pick up the works vehicles.

 Hope you enjoyed these fairly ordinary shots.  I am off to build a red shed.


14 December 2015

Signal frame

Again, its been a while. Just to let those who watch this blog that its author is still kicking here are a couple of my favourite shots of Eumungerie.

The signal frame was always out in the elements at Eumungerie, although somewhat protected by being located between the two buildings on the platform.

In 1979 the remaining building needed a paint job, but the frame still looked very servicable and well-used.

While the frame only possessed seven signal levers, there was a very nice signalling diagram to assist staff.

Here's a view of the rear of the station building (again in 1979) sowing the rear of the frame.

Even after the demise of the final station building, the frame lived on.  Here it is around 1995 when the NSW Railways were entering their minimalist phase.

The signal frame was gone at some stage in the following decade, leaving only the  hut.

So there is another little piece of Eumungerie's railway history remembered.

Ciao for now!

22 October 2015


Its been too long! I was scrolling through the diminishing list of photos of Eumungerie, thinking of what next to inflict upon you poor sods. Then I found these... four photographs taken over the course of a decade or so with one common element - beasts.

The first is from the mid-1960s and it has 3004T headed south with a two BSVs loaded with sheep and then a BCW. Probably a fair few beasts loaded into other wagons out of view too.

I thought the last photo was a bit strange in that wagons moving sheep and cattle were adjacent to each other on the same train - my otherwise tidy mind prefers to remember stock trains loaded with steaks or chops, but not mixed grills.

Then I looked at the next photo - its the four wheel version of the same thing. This time its a GSV immediately behind 3262, then a CW.  This time the beasties leaving the Coonamble branch were being accompanied by an empty ballast wagon, and probably others. Keen eyed observers may also identify another beast - in the form of a young laddie, scurrying away.

The pattern of beef and sheep is continued in this shot of 3203 headed north, with empties.  The date is 13 April 1966.

And finally, about a decade on, the motive power has changed but not the rolling stock. A morning northbound pickup, led by 4910, has a string of at least eight cattle wagons. Within that string there is still variety in style and hue.

Its time to leave the beasts of yesteryear - the steam powered, the internal combustion and the grass fed ones.

Ciao for now!