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 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.