G'day all, it's Friday 24th of June 1964 and W44 the ore train from the Broken Hill mines has just arrived at Orange East Fork behind the two 60 class Garratts that have brought it from Molong. I had arrived at Parkes the previous evening and had bedded down in the waiting room at the station trusting myself to wake at 6.00 am in plenty of time to join W44 about 6.30 and ride through Molong to Orange. I expected a single Garratt as far as Molong where it would be joined by a second one for the grades east of that point.
I spent a rather restless night waking every hour but somehow I missed 6.00 am and was woken at 7 o'clock by a little 32 class loco struggling to lift the Peak Hill goods out of the yard so I bolted down to the highway and managed to hitch a ride with an old bloke driving a '48 Ford ute.
We beat the train to Molong, it rolled in shortly after behind a couple of 49 class diesels so I hadn't missed much.
The two diesels came off in a yard full of trains and after quite a bit of to-ing and fro-ing we got two of the big Garratts coupled to the front of the ore train, both bunker first. I thought I'd probably have to ride the van but I managed to get invited up onto the second loco after I got a curt knockback from the blokes on the leading engine.
The full goods load for the section for these two engines was 1000 tons and they had their work cut out for them over an undulating road. The 60s rode fairly smoothly up to about 40 mph but any faster they developed a pretty violent up and down motion, at least our 6042 did.
So here we are at Orange East Fork, the lead engine, 6011, is cutting off and 6042 will take the train on.
East Fork was the yard for through trains and also the loco depot. Like the other main lines in New South Wales the West was constantly busy and at this time almost 100% steam as far as Parkes, the ten 49 class GM diesels mostly worked west of there.
I got a lift into town with the engine crew in the driver's Holden EH wagon. I was ravenous by this time but a steak with chips and salad, some bread and butter and a pot of tea soon fixed that.
All my previous postings are at http:// teenagerailfan.blogspot.com