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Thread: RAIL TALES Thread, tell your rail stories here

  1. #51
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    What a small world!

    In 1971, I was working in the shed at ACDEPT Eveleigh ( Redfern ) when a mate told me of a major derailment at Mittagong, that had closed the Main Southern line and all passenger trains were being diverted via Unanderra and Moss Vale.

    So that evening, I stayed back at the depot till the Southern Aurora crew signed on.

    I asked if I could get a cab ride to Goulburn as the train was going via Wollongong.

    So I rode the Aurora to Goulburn and then got a cab ride back, on the Sydney bound mail.

    The mail was originally going via Unanderra, but we were held at Moss Vale for a while and then rerouted via Mittagong, and would be the first train over the single line section put in place at Mittagong.

    It was just breaking dawn as we passed through Mittagong and there was wheat everywhere.

    I managed to get some photos of the mess and while not to clear, it was still too dark, but if I can find them, I’ll post them up.

  2. #52
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Yass NSW
    When I was doing my electronics apprenticeship at Orange in 1982 at the then NSW Government Stores Department we were educated at Newcastle TAFE, this being the only TAFE that ran electronics trades as block release program. My TAFE weeks would start at 07:30 on Monday morning with a departure from Orange Station usually on a 620/720 railcar to Lithgow, although there was at least one occasion when it was replaced by a tin hare. Change at Lithgow for an interurban, then change at Strathfield to catch the early flyer unless I was running late in which case it was into Central to await the next one. I'd usually get into Newcastle around 16:00 and take a bus out to the Sunset Motel in Mayfield where we government apprentices would subsidise the private guys accommodation and they would pay us back in beer, there was a room in the back corner of the Motel that had six beds that we consistently booked for 3 years.

    The return trip was another exercise in adventure for a 16 year old lad with the Flyer departing at about 15:50 which we convinced the TAFE teacher that we needed to depart at afternoon tea time on Thursday to catch. There was usually an apprentice from Wagga and myself on the way back to Sydney where he would catch the Southern Aurora back to Wagga at about 19:00 and I would catch the Western Mail at 22:20, usually after a few hours exploring Sydney on the rail network to kill time. Some favorite destinations were Bondi Junction shopping Centre, Circular Quay, Burwood Shopping Centre or just wandering around the shops in Pitt and George sreett in the city. Once on board the Western Mail it was a "luxurious" sleeping berth, mostly often in a TAM but occasionally we would get a BAM or an EAM. In winter the trip over the mountains was pretty cold and on one occasion I remember it being too cold to have my head outside the sheets. A bit of a bump and a thud in Lithgow as they took the electric locos off and put a 44 class on the front with an arrival in Orange at 04:00, picking up my ute which my parents had dropped off at the station the previous afternoon (they only came and picked me up at that unsociable hour once if I recall) and a drive home to Molong with a couple of hours sleep before going back to work in the morning. The privilege of a sleeper meant I was expected to show up on Friday for work.

    All these adventures were organised by visiting the railway station with a travel warrant (in triplicate if I recall correctly) signed by the officer in charge at Government Stores where I was then issued with the appropriate tickets to allow my travel. There were a couple of times where I had to jump from a moving train being shunted towards East Fork and on to Parkes when the conductor forgot to wake me up. Towards the end there was no cup of tea and ration of plain Arnotts biscuits when I was woken up either due to budget cuts.

    I reckon I had a front row seat to see the final gasp of old style NSW Govt railways travel, when I was traveling the XPT fleet were only just being introduced, and while services were starting to be cut the mail trains still ran to most corners of the state every night.

    Go home, your igloo is on fire....
    2014 Chile Red L494 RRS Autobiography Supercharged
    MY2016 Aintree Green Defender 130 Cab Chassis
    1957 Series 1 107 ute - In pieces

    Assorted Falcons and Jeeps.....

  3. #53
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Its late 1976 and the driver and I had been driven by Railway Call truck, from Moree to Boggabilla, up on the Queensland border.

    There we had relieved a crew who had just finished loading 26 RU 4 wheel wheat trucks.

    We left Boogga at about midnight and worked the train back down the line to Crooble, where we shunted 20 Aluminium bogie wheat wagons to the front of the train.

    At Crooble, I swapped over with the driver, who took up the rest position in the fireman’s seat.

    The guard walked back to the van and gave me a Continuity Test and once I had the air back, I started out for Moree.

    The line from Boggabilla to Moree was rated as a Pioneer Line and as such, had a maximum track speed of just 40KPH.

    The standard practice when leaving Crooble with a full load, and we had two 48s, 20 wheat wagons and 25 RUs, so we had a full load.

    Southbound from Crooble, the track drops down a long gentle slop to a creek crossing, which is nothing more than a small pipe under the track, then there is a short but sleep climb after the creek.

    So you get up power as quick as you can, to try to get the maximum speed possible by the time you reach the creek. You have no chance of reaching the speed limit so you just leave it in 8 notch all the way up over the next climb.

    At the creek, the 48 rocked violently to the fireman side, throwing the driver out of his seat and on to the flood.

    He yells out “Keep the throttle open”, which I did.

    We seamed to be going OK and then about 30 seconds later, the air goes and we come to a stand.

    The driver reckoned the BUs had uncoupled and “As I uncoupled them, it was my job to go back and couple them up again”.

    There was a service track of sorts, on the fireman’s side of the train, so I took the hand lamp, which you would have had a hard time reading a news paper with, and set off down the back of the train.

    It was a bitch black night, I got to the last of the bogie wheat wagons and shut the Brake Line cock and continued towards the rest of the train.

    A short while later, I hear the guard’s voice “They are stacked up” and he shines his touch on the pile of RUs.

    We would find out the next day that the first 14 RUs has stacked up all over the place.

    The guard already had his bag with him, so we strolled back to the engine and gave the driver the bad news.

    We worked the remainder of the train back to Moree and let Werris Creek know of the mishap.

    The driver and I had the rest of the day off, but the next two days, we were roasted on the day shift on the work train at the derailment ( as penance for the derailment ).

    After the Speed Tapes were read, it was clear the train was well under the speed limit and the derailment was put down to the Up Rail sinking in the mud and was at least 2 inches ( 50CM ) below the level of the Down Rail.

    The photos show the result and cleanup.

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