Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Monday Morning Photo. Wednesday morning, 26/11/08.

G'day all, I've been reading through the Queensland Railways timetable for long distance and country lines* issued on 1st September 1964 and it has brought back to me how the various State Railways in Australia handled the whole transport task. Reading this it is almost as if air and road transport were still somewhere in the future. The timetables themselves are fascinating enough but the intricate parcels rate scales not to mention the Rules and Regulations really take one back to another time. A time before 1900 very often when the railway was the only way.
The photos attached which were taken at Mount Morgan give some idea of railway life in the Central Queensland hinterland in the early 1960s. Everthing moved at a pretty leisurely pace much as it had done for decades and my guess is that the QR at Mount Morgan might have employed maybe 40 or 50 people if there were engine crews based there..... and it was only 25 miles from Rockhampton.
A change is coming though, 1400 class GM diesels are hauling coal up from the coalfields south of here, some of it even in bogie steel hoppers.
All this is gone and the Queensland Railways and their coal haulage are big time now.
I'll have to get up there sometime soon and have a look for myself.
It was hot, overcast and very humid and the flat light made for flat looking pictures but I suppose that's better than no pictures.
Peter Bruce.
* Price. 1/-.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Monday Morning Photo. 17/11/08.

G'day all, Saturday arvo in Bundaberg, not much happening apart from 999 pottering around the yard and recieving some attention from my two fellow travellers, Graeme Westwood and Kevin Taig. I remember this day well as we parked our kits in the Cloak Room while we went up the street for a feed and when we got back the station was deserted and there was no way we could retrieve our stuff. It gets cool at night even in Bundy sometimes and with no blanket or sleeping bag you feel it, I wrapped myself up in a copy of "The Australian". I think we camped in a railmotor trailer in a siding down by the river.
The other three shots are all around Rockhampton again, English Electric 1202 is southbound on a fast goods and 520 is knocking wagons around Port Curtis yard.
1108 is working in from the west through Port Curtis Junction and the C16 is ambling past McConnell's Hotel in Denison Street. Just another outlet for the dreaded local drop "Mac's Rockhampton Beer". There was never a better advertisement for Temperance.
Best regards,
Peter Bruce.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Monday Morning Photo. 10/11/08.

G'day all, the elegant building behind the C16 and it's ballast train is the original Rockhampton Railway Station. Elegant it certainly was but the Refreshment Room and Bar offered Mac's Rockhampton Beer and the three thirsty travellers fronting the bar soon found out what an evil brew it was, one sip each was enough. As I remember we were far enough north to wash our mouths out with something from the Carlton Brewery at Cairns.....but maybe we even settled for a 4xxx or two. I think Mac's went to the wall not long after and I like to think that we helped it on it's way.
Anyway the unknown C16 is about to meander the full length of Denison Street. Does this still happen in Rocky?? Minus the 4-8-0 of course.
614 has just left the Port Curtis yard heading out of Rockhampton, I suppose this is suburbia now. The two Garratts are meeting at Kabra which was the junction for Mount Morgan and the coalfields to the southwest. The predecessor of todays monster coal trains can be seen at the right of the frame. We took the very short mixed train approaching out to Mount Morgan on this late afternoon..... I think we had probably arrived from Emerald behind the other Garratt. My memory is very patchy at this distance, it was all but 45 years ago.
More Queensland next week.
Best regards,
Peter Bruce.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Monday Morning Photo. 3/11/08.

G'day all, the climate in coastal Queensland was pretty humid and oppressive when I took these photos in early December 1964 and I think that comes across in the shot taken at Rockhampton Loco. For those who didn't know them these QGR Garratts were painted a strong, bright red. They worked west of Rocky, out to Mount Morgan and Emerald having been displaced off the North Coast line by diesels, this was well before the massive expansion and electrification of the Central Queensland coal traffic. Even so Rockhampton was a very busy rail centre.
I don't remember the location of the other photo, somewhere north of Rockhampton is the best I can manage, 1070 is on a southbound roadside goods I think and the van of our northbound train is just visible at the left of the picture. A large part of our 2000 mile return journey from Brisbane to Cairns was in the van of trains just like this one. 12 to 14 hours for 100-120 miles wasn't unusual. These were the least important trains on the North Coast line and they got put away for every other train. 3 hours in some remote loop was par for the course, a couple of crosses and maybe a run-through. A great way to see the country though. As long as you had enough tucker and a waterbag you were pretty much OK.
Maybe more QGR* next week.
*Queensland Government Railways.
Peter Bruce.