Given that I have written more about grain traffic on the Coonamble branch than any other human (how's that for a claim to fame?) I should really know 'stuff', but I don't. It falls to the generosity of time and spirit of others to improve my education, along with a couple of decent national institutions. I am going to drag a few of these influences together in this post.
First, a very straightforward explanation of peak season wheat train workings in the Eumungerie area provided by my father...
When the peak was on, a train of empties would arrive early and drop off the Eumungerie allocation on the silo track. These would be gravitated or barred to the chute and loaded.
In the afternoon a loco (tender leading) and van would arrive from Dubbo and pick up the now loaded train and return it to Dubbo. The original would have continued on dropping off empties as allocated towards Gilgandra.
As this area of land was marginal for wheat growing, there was extensive use of superphosphate. This came from Newcastle or Port Kembla in tarped 'S' trucks. These were often added to the afternoon engine/van train and placed on the loading bank or near the crane.
Finally in the late afternoon the original loco would come back from Gilgandra and head to Dubbo with its loaded train.
Second, many will know of Col Hussey's most excellent blog Essence, worth reading both for the HO railway under construction and Col's explanation of real life operations on the NSWGR. Through the Aus_Model_Rail chat group Col recalled that during the large 1964/65 wheat harvest, trains that operated from Dubbo as far as Gilgandra were worked by bogie tendered 32 class as there was a triangle there to turn them there. On specials that ran as far as Eumungerie they ran tender first out and engine first back. So, I think we have corroboration!
Finally, the benefit of having decently resourced national institutions? I refer in particular to the National Library of Australia's Trove website which contains 15,000 references to Eumungerie alone. It also has a series of photographs taken in December 1958 by a Mr J Tanner. I am reproducing several of the series below to illustrate the wheat loading process at Eumungerie.
First up, the morning train has been out and deposited a collection of BWH and RU hoppers on the silo road. One BWH has been loaded and a RU is in the process of being loaded.
Here is a close-up of the RU being loaded - great OHS!
Inside the road receival facilities farmers were either dumping bulk grain, or emptying bagged grain.
Emptying bagged grain would have been particularly lousy and hot work. Lucky this bloke is well dressed for it!
Finally, other farmers have a decent wait, especially if every bag needs to be emptied. Note the loaded BWH and directly behind it, a rare shot of the station officer's residence.
I strongly encourage everyone to log onto the Trove site - it is a national treasure. I'll refrain from calling Col and my father national treasures, but they are very useful sources!
Ciao for now!