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?