22 May 2011

This is where it all starts...

...The branch line to Coonamble that is! 

You are standing in May 1979, looking at Dubbo yard, facing east, near to the ground at the eastern-most tip of the station platform.  

To your immediate left is the platform road.  The large signal gantry is the starting point for the branch line. Careful examination of the track work shows the turnouts (points) leading away to the left from the platform road.  That's where it all begins.

This photograph is a little gem, full of the quintessential country depot.

First of all is the vintage worker's train on the right.  It appears to be a HG, S wagon and an FO - which is a long way from home (starting life as a suburban carriage).

To the immediate east of the workers' vans is the goods shed, with its distinctive covered road.

Two large signal gantries straddle the tracks - one a common feature of most significant railway yards across the State.

As its now 1979, steam is long gone (with one exception - a tender from a standard good loco being used as a water ginty - but that is another story).  With the demise of steam, Harman coal stage, water tanks, water columns and two-road shed have all been removed.  For a substantial depot, Dubbo was left with rather pitiful shelters for the staff to maintain locomotives.

On this day in May 1979, two 73 class shunters sit idle, along with a 44 class mainline locomotive.  Of great interest is the locomotive to the right of the 73 shunters.  What appears at first glance to be yet another example of the 165-strong 48 class, is something rather more exotic.  It is an 830 class on hire to the NSW Railways from the South Australian Railways - I think its almost certainly 847.  More too about this cute little foreigner too, but later on.

Lurking inside the shed is another branch line unit - most likely a 48 class.  Alongside the 830 class is a goods guards van; probably a weather-beaten MHG seeing out its days in quiet style.
To finish off the scene is the almost obligatory palm trees, providing welcome shade to railway workers even in mid-May. They remain standing, 32 years later, just in case you are interested.

I trust you have enjoyed a viewing of the launch point of the Coonamble branch!

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