Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Monday Morning photo. 9/03/09. More from Cliff.

Hi All,

Herewith some photos of Peterborough loco and its contents, to add to Peter's evocative photos taken from the coal gantry. Three were taken on Easter Sunday in 1965 when we drove to the Peterborough hospital to see my sister and brother who had been involved in a head on road collision near Yunta. They suffered facial cuts but were, and still are O.K. I also visited the loco depot. The roundhouse was in decay as can be seen.

401 was stabled outside the roundhouse on what looks like the departure road run around.

404 and its mate are on one of the storage sidings with the steam grab used for removal of ashes from the pond is stabled behind it. The pond may have been filled in by then. Behind is the boiler house with its tall chimney (locos had funnels according to my loco instructor Bill Girdler, buildings had chimneys).

The next photo shows T 251, Garratt 407 and other stored T class locos. These were stored on the roads between the oil store and Yongala Road. Also evident are X type trucks which came in a variety of options. The one with the white diagonal stripe has no doors and was used for ore transport exclusively. Others had one door per side, others two. They were known colloquially to railwaymen as "large". The reason proffered to me was that they were larger than their predecessors, the C type, and a C can be seen between the X's. C's still existed in the 60's but were only for departmental use (ash transport etc.). Between T 251 and the X's seems to be a small steel sided 4 wheeler, can't remember their classification and they also were not in regular service.

The fourth photo was taken with a very cheap 35 mm camera that I used when I had B & W film in the Pentax. I think that the camera was free if you bought 6 rolls of slide film, and that was well before "made in China" was heard of! It was 1969, the W was in exchange for T 181 and had come down from Broken Hill on the "Farewell to Narrow Gauge" ARHS trip and I think was cut up at Terowie. The T is 257 and its tender is fitted with an auto coupler which was not common. No T class loco front ends were fitted with auto couplers, only about 4 tenders were, which of course could be swapped from loco to loco. The reason was that all bogie ore trucks and many others had been fitted with auto couplers by 1969 and there was a 600 ton limit behind a hook/auto adaptor coupler which robbed the T's of their full potential if fitted with a hook coupler. Also evident in the photo is the coal gantry and the Port Pirie lower quadrant home signal and note that the ash pond that should have been in the foreground, has been filled in.

Back to Peter's photos, in addition to my previously forwarded comments, I was lying in bed a couple of nights later and recalled the row of old toilets at the loco depot. I checked the western photo and sure enough, there they are between the ablution/locker/crib room building and the accident train crane, just this side of the time office. At a guess they would have been built in the 1920's when the roundhouse was built and were certainly operational in my days there. They were demolished many years ago now.

Another point of clarification, the S.A.R. did have coal stages and that is exactly what they were - elevated horizontal platforms on which coal was stored, then shoveled into loco tenders by some unfortunate soul. They were situated at stations with minor loco facilities or were anachronisms of the pre gantry days (Minnipa and Cummins still had them after the gantries were erected, but they were not used) and were for emergency use only. The regular coaling locations had gantries of one sort or another, the concrete version held 200 tons I think and were at the major depots whereas smaller steel (e.g. Naracoorte, Bordertown, Mt. Gambier, Cockburn) or timber gantries (e.g. Cummins, Minnipa) sufficed for smaller depots.

Cliff Olds

Lionel Noble has also forwarded comment on the photos:-

Been looking at those two shots that you sent. Like going home to see them, beautiful. Just a couple of things that maybe of interest. The Carp's shunting engine is facing the correct way. It was easy for both the shunter and the Engineman for hand signals. I think safety had something to do with it. Many years ago Gordon Stewart was under a truck there servicing a triple valve when a shunt movement caused his leg to be damaged. I know that from that day he had an unusual walk and used a stick. I knew the family.. I don't know the year it happened, before my time. He was the air brake fitter at the Carp's. From memory the switches to that road had a lock, Not sure if that was before, or after it happened. You have heard about the horse that got away haven't you?

The engine standing on the far right on it's own is the pilot engine. That was known as the pilot road. The 'Rat' (V class) was left on the pilot road too at times. The one on the right of that adjacent to the shed was the run -around road and used when there were other engines standing on the out-going road preparing to enter traffic..The Pilot crew were responsible to look after both engines. Often the Running shift Foreman, Jimmy Crawford, would poke his head in the door of the Pilot room and ask "How's the Rat"? He was assured that the Rat was ok. After he left then one of the pilot firemen would dash off and have a look!
You can see the slabs of cement for the toilet soakage pit adjacent to the bike shed.

Finally, I was led to believe that the two incoming and out going pits, in line with the oil store, were in the old sheds before the round house. I think if you look at the old pictures of those sheds you can get the idea. The old oil store on the far right of the picture was part of the original sheds prior to the round house being built. You may know that anyway. It was in the same position as in the early days.

This is pretty rough Cliff, but I think you will understand it having been in that Depot.
They were wonderful days for me. I married the love of my life there 62 years ago in May. Not at the loco depot, but in the Methodist church!

Monday Morning Photo. Tuesday 17/03/09.

G'day all, I've been encouraged by Cliff Old's contributions to scan more photos from Peterborough and three are included here. I'm tardy as usual.

Tardy for a reason though. Often before I go to sleep at night I try to re-visit and re-create those distant days, always hoping that my memories are approximately accurate.

Whilst the details might not be spot on I do remember what it was like. I remember vividly the presence of 404 just before departure for Broken Hill.The racket was incredible but Peterborough slept through it. It was the town's bread and butter and every night was the same.

The other two photos were taken down at the Roundhouse. There are more and I'll post some next week, not necessarily on Monday.

Best regards,

Peter Bruce.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

From Cliff Olds re Monday Morning Photo 9/03/09.

I left Peterborough loco in the spring of 1961 and transferred to Gladstone loco however, little had changed when you took these evocative photos.

From left in the photo looking west:- The Port Pirie main line is just out of shot; then there are the repair roads leading to the workshops. Beyond the workshops were the livestock van washout roads. I note two Ogn bogie grain gondolas "top on" (the Obn's came later) with an assortment of trucks beyond. Ogn's had yellow/orange painted doors and the tare did not include the weight of the tarps or ridge poles whereas the later Obn's had red doors and the tarps and ridging were included in the tare. The Ogn's will require welding if they were in for bodie repairs, they were all steel. The roads nearer the water tower serviced the carpenters shop and were always the scene of much activity on day shift because all ore wagons (bogie On's and four wheel X types) were timber sided and suffered regular substantial damage at the hands of the unloading grabs in Port Pirie, for which B.H.A.S. would not accept any responsibility. Lew Roberts mentions this in his book "Rails to Wealth" about the Silverton Tramway. The lead and zinc ore quickly deteriorated steel bodied wagons, so that was not an economic option. The carpenters shop warranted its own shunter on day shift, rostered as the "carps shunter" and was always referred to as that, although to my memory, the T class is facing the wrong way. My memory might be defective there, after all it was 48 years and many megalitres of beer and port ago.

Behind the water tower is the employees amenities building which housed ablutions, lockers and a crib room. That building still stands to my knowledge, I certainly used it within the last ten years when volunteering at Steamtown Peterborough. Beyond that is the time office where we booked on and off by having our timesheets stamped with the time and date in the appropriate place (a Bundy clock still existed in Gladstone). The time office was razed years ago. Beyond the time office is the roundhouse.

The accident train consist is on the dead end spur leading to the time office, with the steam crane as the last vehicle. Adjacent is a rake of water tanks, necessary for the N-E of S.A. where water can be a scarce commodity. The two opens at the end possibly contain loco ashes (although the contents appear too light in colour), waiting to be used as ballast on the Quorn or Wilmington lines. Real ballast for the main line was usually in hopper trucks.

Then we have the "inward" road, then the "outward" road, both of which passed over the pond where ashes were dropped when cleaning or dropping the fire in coal burning locos and went either side of the coal gantry (NEVER a coal stage in S.A. - sore point with certain publishers). Fuel oil was also dispensed adjacent to the gantry, as all Garratts and many T class used that fuel. The steam powered grab used for emptying the ash pond is on the adjacent short dead enw, complete with an ash truck. I can't remember the name of the road next to the right where the T class is, but the next road is the oil store road where the Y class "rat" shunter often stood when not immediately required. The oil store is the building adjacent where we cleaners went to receive out allocation of cotton waste, solve-F (like kerosene) and tallow if cleaning a hot boiler. Mel Rouse worked in there and it was he who "measured up" newly qualified firemen for their shovel!!!!

Behind the oil store are a number of storage roads where locos and rollingstock out of service (temporarily usually) were stored. Adjacent is the road to Yongala and Port Pirie and across the road was the railway hostel where I lived in 1961.

The boiler house with its tall chimney is obscured by the pall of smoke.

Not a lot to say about the photo looking east, from left is the Quorn main line, loco roads (I note what looks like the Y class "rat" and two trucks of ashes) then the Port Pirie main line with the "home" signal adjacent. Beyond the level crossing (Hurlstone Avenue I think) is the Peterborough station yard and immediately on the right is the old Superintendents house where I used to be instructed by Bill Girdler in the intricisies of steam locos, preparatory to passing my "Cleaners Preliminary Mechanical" examination. Beyond the yard and out over the level crossing (Silver Street?) were the stock yards, Dowds Hill tunnel and the arid pastoral country.

Now, I'm sure that I have probably not got everything correct and have probably missed a couple of points, so I will forward this to Lionel Noble for comment. He was a loco inspector at Peterborough in this era and is the real expert.

Cliff Olds.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Monday Morning photo. 9/03/09.

G'day all, I've been a bit lost for words over the last few weeks, don't know why, I'm not short of photos, maybe I've just not tried hard enough for the words.

All along though I've had these two pictures in mind, they follow more or less directly from my last posting and were taken on my first visit to Peterborough in the winter of 1962.

Be assured that we had paid a visit to the loco foreman's office before scaling the coal tower and that no objections were raised. It was just the usual " Go for your life boys, just be a bit careful".

Can you imagine that happening in 2009??

Cliff Olds, were you working at Peterborough roundhouse in mid '62? Maybe you can fill us in.

I wish I'd had a better camera and a bit more photographic nous when I took these photos, I had neither but I cherish these shots and these memories.

And I am forever grateful for those easier days and those hospitable and tolerant South Australian railwaymen.

Take these as you see them. They're not too flash and if anyone else has similar photos I'd love to see them.

Weston Langford, I have your book and I certainly recommend it to all who might be interested in revisiting Australasia in the 1960s...... Or visiting those days for the first time. Great title too.

Best regards,

Peter Bruce.