Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Monday Morning Photo. 28/12/09.

G'day all, I was away last weekend, hence no Monday Morning Photo.
So here is the last posting for 2009. Some final pictures from Fassifern, New South Wales.
Two of them are consecutive, 3674 leading a Garratt on a down goods train. Firstly waiting for the signal to clear and then minutes later rolling downhill past me and my camera.
The vertical shot makes a nice bookmark.
T'other photo shows a 40 class Alco diesel of 1951 vintage which the NSWGR actually acquired before the 60 class Garratts.
So that's it for 2009, thanks for all the nice comments along the way.
Best wishes to all of you and to your families for 2010.
See you then,
Peter Bruce.
P.S. All the previous postings can be seen at http://teenagerailfan.blogspot.com

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Monday Morning Timetables. 14/12/09.


G'day all, my Tools of the Trade posting last week seems to have aroused some interest, not in the camera, but in the Timetable it was resting on.
So I thought a selection of early 1960s Public Timetables might be appreciated.
They were must haves for any traveller of the day.
But if you were a serious explorer of our various railway systems and were more than happy to brace yourself in the van as the slack ran in and out on a long goods train somewhere west of Woop Woop you really needed the relevant Worker, i.e Working Timetable......For the use of Employees only!
Not only was it more or less useful as a guide to railway traffic; being able to pull one out of the bag was a pretty handy way to big note oneself.
If you had a W.T.T. you were no railway dilletante, you were a fair dinkum railfan.
Well that's what I thought anyway. Perhaps I was right!
Peter Bruce.
P.S. Hopefully we'll get to see some of Roger Hill's work pretty soon. He's working on it.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Tools of the Trade.


Photo attached of the first two things packed before setting out for New South, I use the word packed rather loosely.

The old Zeiss and the NSWGR public timetable.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Monday Morning Photo. Tuesday 8/12/09.

G'day all, this weeks photos are all taken at the down [north] end of Fassifern station, it might be helpful to take a look at Google Earth. There have been changes obviously but although it is no longer a junction station the line of the Toronto branch can be made out all the way to Toronto starting as the Greenway Pathway.
I think the Newstan Colliery junction is in the same place but now there is a connection to the north as well.
I am pretty sure that all four of the photos where taken in the company of Roger Hill who fills a bit part in one of the photos. Roger, I'd like to see some of the pictures that you took, I'd be very surprised if they weren't a bit classier than these offerings.....how about it?
I'm never sure of which order the photos will appear in but the northbound Garratt shot gives some idea of the station layout and the lie of the land to the north with the colliery line branching to our left.
Roger and I had planned to camp in the waiting room 'til first light but the signalman had other ideas so we ended up sleeping on the platform benches at Booragul, the next station north and returning on the first train next morning. I slept easy just a few feet from the roar and clatter of frequent southbound trains and woke at daybreak.
In time for the dramatic departure of the double headed coalie from the Newstan siding. I don't remember where the crossover to the up line was, perhaps between the platforms. In these two shots the train is still on the down line. Standard goods loco 5346 is giving the 60 class Garratt a bit more than a helping hand.
Later in the day, at 2.59pm to be exact, the down Midday Flyer paused very briefly at Fassifern to make a Toronto connection, a few doors slammed shut, the loco whistle popped and 3806 marched the Flyer out of Fassifern for a 3.25pm Newcastle arrival.
I took all these old time photos with a Ziess Nettar folding camera, its big advantage was its size, folded it was about 35mm thick. The disadvantage was that it only took 12 frames a roll so you had to be fairly sparing. I still have it although it's been retired since 1968 when I bought a beautiful Pentax Spotmatic from Bourke's Appliances, the ACTU store.
Explanation; ACTU= Australian Council of Trade Unions. As a member of the Australian Tramway and Motor Omnibus Employees Association I was entitled to a discount at their store.
Peter Bruce.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Monday Morning photo. 30/11/09.

Just before the up morning Flyer was due at Fassifern a down goods train would ease around the curve and come to a stand at the stick on the down approach. On this morning it was 3524 leading 6010. Most mornings the signal would clear just as the Flyer tore through Fassifern station and if you were lucky and had picked the right spot they would cross right in front of you. That is what happened on this particular lucky day.

I like the idea of strolling up the street to buy the paper of a morning and pausing to watch this daily drama before turning for home and a cuppa.

I think the first Industrial Age was intrinsically dramatic but most of the drama was out of sight behind high walls and away from the public gaze.

But the railway was public, and dramatic, and complex, and fascinating.
Not to everyone I'll grant but an awful lot of people would pause to watch the Flyer pass.
I can't imagine why you wouldn't.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Monday Morning Photo. 23/11/09.

Fassifern, NSW, 88and a half miles north of Sydney, 16 miles south of Newcastle and the one time junction station for the Toronto branch.

The line to Newcastle was always known as the Short North and for most of every 24 hours it almost hummed with traffic with perhaps just a little lull in the middle of the day.

Anyway you wanted to be there at daybreak so you caught a late train out of Sydney and dossed down in the Fassifern waiting room for a few hours.

The first train came up from Toronto not long after six and here it is pulling into the curved branchline platform on a quiet Saturday morning. After a brief halt it will join the main line and head for Newcastle.

The traffic was pretty constant so maybe a Sydney bound Mail Train and a goods train or two would disturb the neighbourhood briefly.

But the real disturbing was done when a double headed coal train came out of the Newstan colliery siding and attacked the bank south of Fassifern station. This day the racket was produced by a 59 class 2-8-2 leading a 60 class Garratt. Do you see what I mean about disturbing??

I reckon though that the highlight of the highlights was when the morning up " Newcastle Flyer" swept through the station and went past me up the grade hammer and tongs a little after 8.00 o'clock just as a 45 class Alco slid down the hill on a goods....the sun was just right and so was the timing.

I read something quite encouraging in the paper on the weekend. John Szarkowski, the curator of the Museum of Modern Art, contends that "a photograph doesn't have to be a polished work of art, doesn't even have to be especially competent, to be interesting,full of meaning and visual energy". I suppose that's what I've always thought but never been able to put into words. As I said, encouraging words.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Monday Morning Photo. 9/11/09.

G'day all, the public face of the Victorian Railways at the mid-century was blue and gold, the four streamlined S class Pacifics and their matching steel cars.
On the other hand the everyday face was black and red, usually a dirty black A2 leading a string of dark red wooden bodied cars the pick of which were the twelve wheel "E" cars.
As soon as the VR got their first GM diesels the Pacifics were replaced at the head of the North-East name trains and not long after they were all cut up.
That is another story and a shameful one too.
The last of the A2s lasted in traffic until the early sixties and their final starring role on the big stage was running the last broad gauge "Spirit of Progress" from Seymour to Spencer Street Station on the 16th of April 1962.
I think 986 was the last to go but 995 and 996 made up for it on that 16th of April.
Attached are five photos from those last days. "The Big Wheel" is just a detail from "995&996" that I though worthwhile.
As the two North Melbourne shots show railway property wasn't off limits in those days so long as you asked first and excercised a bit of common sense while you were there.
Apologies for the long absence.
Peter Bruce.
P.S. All my previous postings can be found at http://teenagerailfan.blogspot.com along with links to some other very interesting sites.
P.P.S. Yeah I know it's not Monday but better early than not at all.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Monday Morning Photo. 26/10/09.

G'day all, limbering up for a full resumption of service on the Monday Morning Photo and just so you can see that I havn't been totally wasting my time I submit the attached as evidence.
I spent yesterday at Ballaarat with No. 27 and today, Sunday, I passed a very pleasant day on the narra' gauge from Belgrave to Gembrook in the company of engine 7A, the red one, my son Adrian and some old mates.
Time very well spent.
And now I'm tired.
Best regards to all.
Peter Bruce.


My apologies for the prolonged absence of Monday Morning Photo. Some other matters have taken precedence and time has been a bit short. I am away for a couple of weeks now but have every intention of resuming the series soon.
I have just selected a couple to attach to sort of keep the pot simmering. Hope I havn't posted them before. I will go through my previous postings when I get back so as to avoid going back over my tracks.
Back soon,
Regards to all,
Peter Bruce.
Bob Wilson and John Phillips, your weekly contributions are much appreciated.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Monday Morning Photo. 17/5/09.

G'day all, No.9 was the early morning mixed that travelled down the Illawarra line all the way to Nowra. The time I rode it it actually left Central at 2.10am, the attached T/T is a later one.
By the time I boarded I had trouble finding a seat, most compartments were occupied by sleeping shift-workers on the way home to the suburbs and a real bed.
3641 was the engine and all the way out through suburbia the train slowed at wayside stations and homebound workers dropped off .
The Pig came off at Thirroul and was replaced by 3221.
As far as I can make out from my 45 year old notes I rode as far as Bombo where we see the stationmaster about to hand the staff up to the approaching passenger train which I joined and rode back to Wollongong.
I travelled by myself on this trip and was away for about a week. I slept wherever I could find a more or less level surface, mostly in station waiting rooms but I always made sure that I had at least one good meal a day to keep the energy level up. I didn't want to miss anything.
Peter Bruce.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Monday Morning Photo. 4/5/09.


G'day all, really weary tonight, probably because I've been staring at the screen while scanning multiple photos for this series on the Illawarra.
So just three shots and not much to say.
All arrivals at Wollongong. At this time the South Coast line was just about 100% steam operated but the daily name train the "South Coast Daylight" was usually run with Budd cars.
Not this day though..... 4460 arrives on an airconditioned set.
Typically for the NSWGR the 44 is running blunt end first.
Peter Bruce.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Monday Morning Photo. Tuesday 28/4/09.


G'day all, some work-a-day photos from the Illawarra.
3320 got a guernsey last week arriving at Thirroul; the fireman taking a spell. This week he is bending his back as the same train starts away from the station stop. That looks very much like a handkerchief, knotted at the four corners, keeping the cinders out of the Brylcreem. I'm confidently tipping that he is what used to be called a "New Australian". A term which has fallen from favour, it's ideological soundness questioned. I think it is perfectly OK and is not at all disrespectful. I predict a revival. Australia's transport and industry would have struggled for survival in the '50s and 60s without New Australians.
The other three shots are all at Wollongong station, 5414 coming and going on a rake of Australian Iron and Steel hoppers for the steelworks at Port Kembla.
3093 is arriving from Port Kembla on a local. This is suburban travel before it was sanitised.
Looking at the station buildings you wouldn't reckon that they served New South Wales' third largest city. They reminded me of my local Melbourne suburban station at Canterbury when it was at ground level.
Best regards,
Peter Bruce.
Previous postings can be found at,

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Monday Morning Photo. 20/4/09.

G'day all, going away for a few days so I'm a day early.....this is certainly an improvement on three weeks late or not at all.
I havn't got a clue which order these photos are going to appear in but lets assume that the shot of the Central Arrivals board pops up first.
A quiet spell at Sydney's Central Railway Station, after the a.m rush and during the week between Christmas 1962 and New Year 1963. Summer dresses for the ladies and not a pair of jeans to be seen. No backpacks, only ports.
Central was the hub of the State of New South Wales back then and you could stretch the point and call it the hub of the nation.
This almost somnolent scene really doesn't do it justice, typically I would have had trouble getting a clear shot like this, typically it was thronged.... bustling and rowdy and raucous with the shuffle of hundreds of feet, locomotive din and amplified announcements.
3390 is arriving at Wollongong mid-morningish. I had been up the street for a small mountain of bacon and eggs, bought the paper and spent a little time in the bar on the other platform with a pint of Old and The Sydney Morning Herald. I'd never had a pint before let alone heard of Old.......Resch's, Toohey's or Tooth's, I can't remember.
Thirroul, an up train. The fireman is taking a spell, the Station Master has wandered out of the office to close the barrier gate and collect tickets and the bloke in shorts on the down platform is taking a mild interest in something that is utterly commonplace.
Best regards and more on the Illawarra next week,
Peter Bruce

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Monday Morning Photo. 6/4/09. Part 3.

This is about it for the Peterborough Division, hope I havn't overdone it. I was 18 going on 19 and in the words of Cliff Olds "I wouldn't have missed it for quids". In case anyone is mystified by the old Australian argot we might say today that "I wouldn't have missed it for bucks". Doesn't work though, does it?

A quid was a pound in the old pre 1966 money and the new dollar unit was equal to half-a-quid or ten bob. Ten bob as slang for a dollar hung on tenuously for a while but eventually succumbed to the mighty buck. Bob Menzies was our Prime Minister and our dollar would have been the "Royal" if he'd had his way. We must have been incipient republicans even back then because that little bit of forelock tugging got laughed into oblivion. Deservedly.

I've tried to pass on a bit of the feel and atmosphere of Peterborough in the early '60s.

I look back and I realise how lucky I was. Dinosaurs still walked the Earth and I saw them.

The Illawarra next.

Best regards to all,

Peter Bruce.

Monday Morning Photo. 6/4/09. Part 2.

G'day all, three more offerings from long ago in a real railway town.

The Rat was No. 97, the loco pilot/shunter, I always wondered why it's steam dome was nearly as big as it's boiler, it did look a bit deformed. Especially with a funnel that looked like a couple of jam tins soldered together!


Peter Bruce.

Monday Morning Photo. 6/04/09.

G'day all, desuetude* describes my state since last I posted. Never let it be said that I'm lost for words. Come to think of it though I did say that in my last Monday Morning Photo post.

To make up for my neglect I've scanned a few extra photos from the Peterborough Division. Some of these I've sent before but those of you that have seen them can look away now if you like.

So here is the first installment. More during the week.

The level crossing is the one at Hurlstone Street, I think.

220 is running through the platform road having come into town from the east. Note the S.A.R issue verandah waterbag hanging off the cab.

The roundhouse shot is pretty self-explanatory, I was trying to emulate the the photos that I had seen in "Trains" magazine and the S.A.R was the only railway in Australia that followed U.S. practice and always stabled their engines funnel first.

Best regards,

Peter Bruce.

*the word has been bouncing around in my scone for days, I just had to use it. I'm sure no-one will need to look it up!!