G'day all, it was "All Change" for the last time at Albury on that now distant Monday morning. The last broad gauge "Spirit of Progress", a long rake of blue and gold steel cars was in the dock platform with the usual S class 1800hp cab unit on the front. My 1960 Victorian Railways public timetable has SOP departure time as 7.50 am for an 11.30 am Melbourne arrival but I'm not sure of our actual times.
Albury to Seymour, 129.25 miles, was the standard "Spirit of Progress" experience, mostly mile after mile at 70 mph, no slackening at the stations as we exchanged the Miniature Electric Staff for each section on the automatic exchanger at line speed.
At Seymour all that changed. To mark the occasion two of the very few remaining A2 class 4-6-0s awaited our arrival, 995 leading 996 both in the able hands of Big Wheel crews, the Wodonga crew that had brought us south from Albury and fresh Seymour men.
I think most of the population of Seymour was there to see us off.
And did we go off!!
This was the Grande Finale, it was one of those times that you'd want to be in two places at once, standing precariously in the open doorway of the leading van or trackside anywhere to watch the two old flyers tear through with the very last "Spirit of Progress". I did have a newspaper print of a shot taken at Tallarook but unfortunately it's gone.
As you can see we had quite a welcoming party on our arrival at Spencer Street Station, fortunately I'm not one to worry about getting people in the shot because it was pretty near impossible both at Seymour and Spencer Street.
Mostly the photos are self explanatory, 996 is backing the train out to the Passenger Yard and 371 was obviously a Pass. Yard pilot that day.
Spencer Street Station was in the throes of it's early sixties rebuild at the time and there is evidence of that in some of the photos.
We now have a completely new station on the same site, it's called Southern Cross Station and so I've posted a photo I took just a few days ago. I stood more or less where I photographed the arrival of the train in 1962. The fella in the foreground of the old shot is Roger Hill I think. I can't remember if you travelled on the trip Roger.
Anyone who would like to respond to my posting or provide any pictures of this great trip, certainly the best I ever travelled on, feel free to use the mailing list. It seems too that a lot more people get these postings than are on the list. I will of course acknowledge the source of any contribution and am very keen to see photos and any information about the trip would be most welcome.
I've tried to attach the photos in chronological order but no matter what I do it never seems to turn out right.
All previous postings can be found at http://teenagerailfan.blogspot.com