03 December 2014

A Christmas tradition

One of the best Sydney Xmas traditions is the Special Kids Christmas Special.

Each year 3801 Ltd runs a special train to Rosehill Gardens for unlucky kids who are lucky for at least a day. Today is that day.

Today 3237 is on the front...

There is a connection with Eumungerie, as 40 years ago this loco was a Dubbo loco. And today it looks better than it did then.

It will be a hot one for the crew.

And an immaculate 4501 tails the 10 carriages.

Always good to see a P in Sid-en-née. Repeat after me... Always good to see a P...

Ciao for now!

24 November 2014

Not where I thought?

Here is a photograph of a fairly everyday experience from about 1965 (I think).

The loco in question - 3222 - was allocated to Dubbo in 1965 and 1966. It looks like the train it has behind it is a very healthy up pickup, with wool and wheat loading. 

The railway precinct is also rather interesting - the edge of the turntable can be seen, along with the water tank and carriage shed. Gillespie Bros. flour mill can be seen in the background, along with a relatively rare Metcalfe silo.

I had always had this photograph pegged as Gilgandra - principally due to the fact that the word 'Gil' was written on the slide mounting frame! Fairy reasonable conclusion to draw...

But now am not so sure. I am fairly sure the Metcalfe silo is out of town, and Gilgandra had a turning wye rather than a turntable (or maybe both?).

Wherever it is, its a cracker as a modelling proposition given most of the major infrastructure is on one side. Dead flat too.

The clue to where it is - and it may yet be Gil - may lie in the S trucks at the front of the train.  It appears that the second is part filled with some sort of uncovered aggregate or rock.

Enjoy the mystery!

09 August 2014

A grim future for Eumungerie's farmers

Graincorp have recently announced their 'Regeneration' project, which will result in the closure of tens of grain silos across NSW in a triumph of value stripping out of a former publicly-owned service.  Its a nice bit of 'regeneration', if you define regeneration as sawing off one of your legs in the hope that the lost weight will mean that you can run faster.

For the Coonamble line it will mean that Coonamble and Gilgandra are the two primary sites, with Gular as the third site.  Curban will be held for overflow in future years, while Armatree will remain open for overflow in 2014/15, then to move to 'non-operational' from 2015/16.

Eumungerie and Combara will be placed into 'non-operational' - in simpler words, closed. Last year's harvest was probably the last.

All may not be lost, yet. Graincorp will rent you a silo at Eumungerie, Combar or Armatree. All you need to do is download a form from their website.


04 August 2014

Village life in 2012

I am planning  bit of an assault on clearing some of the 'blog backlog' over the coming months.  One thing I thought would be timely is a bit of a look around the village of Eumungerie as it stands now.

These photos were taken around dusk on 12 January 2012.  No trains in this one, but there are few landmarks in Eumungerie that don't reek of railway.  First up, the railway yard...

Next, where all thirsty railway workers go - the pub. Currently known as the Drover's Dog.

And here is the village post office - or at least it was in 2012.  Hopefully it is still there...

This well-restored property's substantial out-building with chimney is a reminder that 40 odd years ago this was Pope's Bakery.

The local petrol station has seen better days, about 50 years ago.

And now for the Eumungerie-Coboco Hall.  Lucky it wasn't built at Coboco, as nothing exists at that location these days.

This rather substantial buildings was once the general store, and sold the best lollies in town.  The best of everything, actually.

Time to leave Eumungerie, with a shot of why it ever existed...

18 May 2014

Colourful 30Ts

In early 1968 Dubbo loco depot staff apparently took to their yard shunters with imagination and a nod to history.  The following two photographs record their efforts, some months after they occurred.  

Perhaps the most garish livery ever to be applied to a NSW steam locomotive in revenue service was that applied to 3144T.  Here it is in Dubbo yard, much faded, some time later that year.  The slide quality doesn't help, but you get the idea of the the inventive highlighting of the painters.

In a marginally less deteriorated slide, 3144T's stablemate, 3028T, was snapped on the same day.

Two very fine looking elderly ladies!

News that a HO scale 30T may soon hit the shelves of hobby shops has caused me to think of the possibilities of recreating the following scenes. Not by me of course - I am far too poor, but hopefully someone can...

06 April 2014

A few semi-precious rocks

From 1913 to 1941 the Rail Commissioners published most excellent annual reports, full of detail and with an acerbic commentary.  While Eumungerie didn’t get much attention in the second element, it did have a full set of data published about its railway activities – comings and goings of people and things.  There was even an attempt at summarising the financial statements for the railway – salaries paid, tickets sold and goods receipted.  Given the small scale of railway’s non-grain operations at this location, fairly intimate details could be discovered – for instance, a ‘one man station’ for many years meant that the porter’s salary was the sum total of ‘salaries paid’ in the published copy of the annual report.  Anyway, a couple of columns attracted my attention and for once it had nothing to do with wheat. 

A little coal was transported in and out of Eumungerie, but not much of it.  Across those 29 years of records a whole 14 tons of coal arrived in Eumungerie by rail – seven in 1917 and another seven in 1925.  Doubtless this was a novelty, as the locals relied upon the iron bark from the regional forests for their consumption. Even more surprisingly, 10 tons – one railway truck – of coal was exported from Eumungerie in 1915 (two years before the first load arrived!).  Who knows? Clerical error possibly?

Other minerals were also railed into and out of Eumungerie.  By ‘other’, both I and the Commissioners mean ‘other than coal’.  On the in-bound trip, 925 tons of ‘other minerals’ arrived on site.  I suspect that the largest commodity was some form of organic mineral, like super phosphate, being trialled on crops. Two years – 1938 and 1939 – accounted for 808 tons of imported ‘other minerals. 

It’s the export of ‘other minerals’ that really interests this writer.  Between 1913 and 1923, someone or number of businesses forwarded an average of 155 tons of one or more non-coal minerals from Eumungerie.  Exports occurred only three more years after then, in 1930, 1931 and 1941.  It suggests a fairly low value, small time operation, possibly with road transport filling the breaching years.  My guess is river sand. Second best guess is gravel.  Happy to be corrected or confirmed on this matter.

As you can guess by my general non-plussed state in the prior paragraph, there isn’t a real lot more I can add.  It was likely that the minerals were transported in bags, loaded from the wool dump and collected by either No. 16 or No. 6 Conditional Pick-ups, which ran Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but were not scheduled to run on the same day.  If it was bagged sand, it may even have been stored inside the goods shed if not tarped in the railway yard.

So, there you go, another mystery due to the sands of time….

02 March 2014

The 1954 Royal Tour

Probably the busiest day ever for Eumungerie and the entire Coonamble line was 10 February 1954 - and I have forgotten to mark the 50 year anniversary of this event (three weeks ago).  So, lets get started...

At the time, the usual scheduled rail services were composed by a single return passenger service running daily except Sunday, and a mixed pick-up operating thrice weekly.  However, on Wednesday, 10 February 1954, additional and altered train arrangements for the Coonamble line were put in place in order to convey passengers to Dubbo to meet Queen Elizabeth II on her first royal tour.

The first additional train operated was an empty car movement from Dubbo at 2:00am on the day, resting at Eumungerie for three minutes from 2:49am and reaching Coonamble at 5:44am.  This train formed No. CC Up Passenger departing Coonamble at 7:00am.  It arrived at Eumungerie at 9:55am, and was held at this location for 17 minutes in order to cross No. 45 Down Coonamble Mail.  The up service arrived at Dubbo at 11:00am.

The second additional service was formed by cars off No. 59 Down Passenger the previous Saturday.  It left Dubbo as an empty car movement at 3:00am on Wednesday morning, and also spent three minutes at Eumungerie from 3:49am.  Arriving at Coonamble at 6:44am, it left at 8:10am as No. JJ Up Passenger to Dubbo.  This train crossed No. 45 Down Coonamble Mail at Gilgandra, passed through Eumungerie at 11:16 and arrived at Dubbo at 12:05pm.

The third additional service was provided for school students, as well as the general public.  The positioning run to Gilgandra left Dubbo as No. 31a Down Passenger at 5:45am, being formed by the cars from the previous day’s No. 31 Down Passenger, meaning that it conceivably was a loco-hauled RUB set.  This service also took three minutes to work through Eumungerie – this time at 6:34am.  Arriving at Gilgandra at 7:13am, 32 minutes later it returned to Dubbo as No. 28a Up Passenger.  This service passed through Eumungerie at 8:26am.

The final morning service involved the usual mail train working, albeit to an altered timetable.  No. 45 Down Coonamble Mail left Dubbo 44 minutes later than its usual departure time of 8:06am.  As noted above, it passed No. CC Up Passenger at Eumungerie and No. JJ Up Passenger at Gilgandra.  It arrived at Coonamble at 12:42pm – 62 minutes later than its usual arrival time.

The evening return services were led by No.45G Down Railmotor, which left Dubbo at 5:10pm, passed through Eumungerie at 5:52pm and arrived at its terminus of Gilgandra at 6:26pm.  It returned 10 minutes later, as No. 46G Empty Railmotor, running through Eumungerie at 7:06pm to arrive at Dubbo by 8:15pm.  If required, the same railmotor set then formed No. 47G Down Railmotor service, which is described below.

The first evening loco-hauled passenger service was run for school students only, departing Dubbo at 6:20pm as No.10C Down Passenger.  It crossed No. 46G Up Railmotor at Eumungerie at 7:09pm, and arrived at Coonamble at 10:08pm.  This train returned to Dubbo as No. RC Empty Passenger at 11:30pm, arriving at Dubbo by 3:46am on 11 February, then working through to Orange.

The second evening loco-hauled passenger service departed Dubbo at 7:40pm as No.15J Down Passenger.  It arrived at Eumungerie at 8:29pm, and arrived at Coonamble at 11:30pm.  This train returned to Dubbo as No. RJ Empty Passenger at 12:50am on Thursday morning, and would then form No. 58 Up Passenger on the Friday. 

I don't have a photo of the day's events from my (possibly republican) family and the only railway-related photograph of the day that the internet comes from the excellent NSW Records site.  The following snap shows an immaculate 3306 ready to return royalists to Nyngan.

The photo gives the clue that a mixture of 30T and 32 class locos were pressed into service for the event.

Thus ended quite possibly the busiest single day for passenger traffic on the Coonamble line.

How did it all go? Well, the Queen visited for a whole 90 minutes, after landing at 3:30pm.  She got to see a whole bunch of sheep bums... (another one from NSW Records).

The Sydney Morning Herald reported the following day that:

The Royal party... landed at Dubbo in bright sunshine and the town give them an overwhelming welcome... The big event of the programme was a visit to a typical country show.  Here was a new, friendly easy-going world of men in broad-brimmed hats, bushmen in athletic singlets and trousers, of sheep "hearing, tree-felling and whip-cracking. 

The Queen was obviously delighted by the novelty of it all-by the guard of honour of rows of prize rams and ewes, by the cheery wave she got from an axeman in a tree felling contest.
Enthusiasm steamed from the Dubbo crowds...

Enough for now!

05 January 2014

Starting 2014 with a P

Happy New Year!

One of my resolutions this year is to finish off the 'great pre-war history' of grain transportation along the Coonamble branch line. This should enthuse the few readers of this blog as much as it does me!

In the meantime, just to keep faith with my loyal few readers here is 3230 on a down empty wheat at Eumungerie in September 1967.