G'day all, I think that it was in late November 1963 that three of us, Graeme Westwood, Kevin Taig and I, set off for Queensland. I can't be sure about the exact time but maybe Kevin can set me right. We left Melbourne on the morning Albury and travelled on to Sydney on the South Mail in the leading car which was an LFX, an ancient vehicle whose classification meant that it was a compartment car with a lavatory serving each pair of compartments. A slightly up market dogbox!! But that virtually guaranteed us against a visit from any railway official who may have been interested to see our non-existent tickets. 401 miles and 48 chains of travel on the NSWGR Commissioners.
I've always been grateful.
"The Brisbane Express", train number 17, via Wallangarra, left Sydney three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It was an early afternoon departure at 1.55pm and arrival at Wallangarra on the NSW-Qld border was at 8.20 the next morning by which time we'd covered 492 miles, close to 800 kilometres.
We had a 46 class electric to Gosford and a 43 class diesel on to Broadmeadow but from then on it was steam all the way to Brisbane.
This week's posting will take us to the border.
Out of Broadmeadow we had 3616, unique in NSW as the only engine fitted with the Geisl exhaust ejector, hence the funny looking stack.
At Werris Creek a pair of 32s took over as far as Armidale [I think], thence a single 32 to Tenterfield and the last 11 miles to Wallangarra were handled by a 50 class 2-8-0.
Wallangarra Railway Refreshment Room provided us with a good breakfast during the 32 minutes allowed to change to the narrow gauge Queensland Government Railways train.
The only decent photo this week shows 3616 backing down onto the Express at Broadmeadow, then we have a shot at Muswellbrook which shows a not untypical NSWGR overnight train, a couple of insulated vans, a string of 1st and 2nd class sitters and a couple of sleeping cars. A pair of mail or luggage vans brought up the rear.
By the time we got to Tenterfield behind 3315 the rake was much reduced.
We would have been the only passengers travelling the whole way to Brisbane as there were two trains every night taking the much shorter North Coast line and they catered for the through loading. The route via Wallangarra was the original connection between the two capital cities though.
Next week we'll take the train to Brisbane.