08 August 2015

The last passengers...

Next month it will be 40 years since regular passenger services were withdrawn from the Coonamble line on 22 September 1975. Funny how time slips away.

I have used a couple of these photos years ago but haven't really put up a complete set of what the last decade of passenger services was like. A couple really aren't all that 'publishable' - but I have low standards so please just flick through them!

Starting from 1966 here is the Far West Express off to Coonamble on an overexposed (or just very sunny) day.

In January 1967 the same service was photographed.  This time it had the purpose-built guardsvan attached (I think it was coded ETP?), whereas the first photo had the more standard EHO van.

Even though the photographs have deteriorated a lot, I still marvel at the sheen displayed on the diesel rail cars - something that was never maintained in later years.  This sheen was not just displayed on DEB sets.  On those days that the Far West Express ran elsewhere, the Coonamble line received a visit from a 2 car diesel set with van.  Here it is on 12 April 1966. The varnish extended to the EHO which can be seen a little more clearly in this photograph.

The pride the Railways took in their rolling stock did not stop at their motorised rail cars.  Even when the anticipated holiday loadings necessitated the replacement of the 2 car diesel with loco-hauled passenger trains, the rolling stock was polished up nicely. 

I think this shot was taken around 1968, as the top of the wheat bulkheads can be seen behind the second carriage. The loco is 48101.

The next two photographs were taken in 1969, and were probably taken on consecutive (very cloudy) days.  The 1960s were a period when it did rain in the central west of NSW, especially when we went there on holidays.  In this next photo, 48103 leads two BS/FS carriages and a VHO van.

And this penultimate offering is from the shady side of the tracks, taken on a cloudy wet day, and the photo was underexposed. It is 48102 running with the 'two carriage & van' consist.

And I'll finish with a black and white snap from 1970. With 5 years still to run (though we didn't know it then) the 'good camera' wasn't even taken out to get this train.  Instead the old Agfa Instamatic was used and this then 7 year-old cub train hunter was allowed to take this photograph - funny how some things stay with you.

Ciao for now!

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