G'day all, as I said.......to be continued.
We woke to an early and distinctly chilly Sunday morning as our cars were moved over to the long main platform at Albury Railway Station and shortly a pair of very clean 38 class Pacifics, each in a different shade of green, backed onto the train.
Sydney was 399 1/2 miles away and these two engines would take us all the way there topping up with coal at Demondrille as was routine with the 38s on the Long South.
Our first stop was at Table Top just 9 miles north of Albury where we crossed both No.1, the Melbourne Express and No.3, the Melbourne Limited Express, the very last of their kind and both headed by 38s in honour of the occasion. An absolutely momentous experience that I will never forget.
Photos...sorry, no....when I got my film back from processing almost every frame was damaged, mostly with massive scratches in the emulsion, the photos I've included are the only ones I could recover of the northbound trip.
We went into the loop at Harefield to cross a southbound bound freight and attached is a relatively undamaged shot of our train waiting, the through line stick* is off and visible at the right of the picture.
The other two photos were taken on the Bethungra Spiral just south of Cootamundra. One on the actual up line Spiral and the other on the double track nearer to the top of the grade, probably not far short of the Olympic Way level crossing.
[I got this far yesterday when I was interrupted by two of my sons and dragged kicking and screaming to the local pub to watch the footy on cable TV, Freo v Melbourne. For the first two quarters I did a lot more more kicking and screaming while Freo was all over Melbourne , but then we came home with a wet sail after half-time and almost overan them so I settled for just screaming. Noel, apologies for not responding your text message, I had left my phone at home.]
The Southern line was very quiet that Sunday and we took our time and had plenty of photostops 'til we got to Goulburn which we left over 20 late.
But did we make up time!! The two engine crews really got the bit between the teeth and we had some very fast running all the way into Central. I seem to remember a lot of Buffet Car crockery coming to grief on one of the curves and we beat the boom gates at a level crossing near Campbelltown....... no speed recorders on steam locos in N.S.W.
Dave MacCartney tells me we got in about four early, nearly half an hour regained over 139 miles.
And then we turned around and came home, we were back in Albury not too long after sunrise, this time behind 3823 and 3825. The cold, misty shot was taken at Albury Racecourse.
Next week we'll get back to Melbourne later on the Monday morning.
If anyone can fill in the photographic gaps I'd be very pleased, it was so disappointing to get such a damaged roll of film back and so miss some of the highlights of the trip.
Again.....to be continued.