Monday, 6 August 2012

Re: Monday Morning Photo; Wednesday Afternoon, 25/07/2012.

dunno about that dad, those are pretty serious bell bottoms! i like
the caltex 'clean rest rooms' sign - as if that would EVER happen now.
do they even have rest rooms anymore?

and just say i went to ride the 26, would you happen to be driving it?
otherwise, it's a bit far for me ; )

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Monday Morning Photo; Wednesday Afternoon, 25/07/2012.

 The eastern edge of the Ballaarat commercial district, the corner of Victoria Street and Main Road which was the junction for the Victoria Street and Mount Pleasant tram lines, the right hand rail of the latter is visible at the bottom right corner of the frame.
I remember that it was a Sunday afternoon and the lack of life in the street certainly points to that. Sunday was certainly still the day of rest back then.
Single trucker number 26 is drifting down the hill in Victoria Street while that kid with the old fashioned bike looks on.... mildly interested.
The entire scene is very dated but there is an exception. The young woman crossing the road, oblivious to number 26. This was 1971, her grand daughter in 2012 could be dressed almost identically without seeming in the least old fashioned........ but there would be an iphone in her pocket!

P.S. You can still ride 26 today at the Ballarat Tramway Museum in Wendouree Parade. It is a very nice little tramcar.
P.P.S. my previous posts can all be read at

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Monday Morning Photo. 16/07/2012.

G'day all, this is Ballaarat [that old spelling again!] in the miserable winter of 1971. Single truck car number 30 is in Barkly Street heading for Mount Pleasant and as I recall it is early afternoon. But it is well into the twilight for the city's tramways.
Mud, slush, broken kerbing, corrugated iron and no trees, essentials of any Australian inner city landscape of the time. As are the other vehicles in the photo. A couple of work-a-day Holdens and a Yank Tank, a Dodge I think. The Holden deferring to the Dodge back in those days of the lethal "Give Way to the Right" rule. The Dodge probably driven by a bloke who had made his way up in the world, a successful plumber or butcher perhaps!
Residential Mount Pleasant is just visible at the top of the rise. A mostly weatherboard late Victorian era suburb.
I'm sure the whole scene is tidier these days...... but methinks much less interesting without number 30.
Peter Bruce.
P.S. Two books which may be of interest.
The Golden City and its Tramways by Alan Bradley. Published by the Ballarat Tramway Museum.
Last Tram at 11 by William. F. Scott. Published by Full Parallel Productions.
My blog/archive:

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Re: Thursday Arvo Photo. 21/06/2012.

For what it is worth, the existence of three gauges at Port Pirie was noted by Prof C. Below in his monumental work, the Vedgymight History of Australia. I attach a pic of the relevant pages.

See pic above. PB.

Thursday Arvo Photo. 21/06/2012.

G'day all, it's been a long while since I last posted, and I know that I have posted this photo before but I decided to give it another run. I know some of you wont have seen it anyway..... it was a long time ago.
I was visiting my friends Jenny and Mark last week and we were looking at some of my pictures and Jenny took a fancy to this one. Not so much as a railway photo, more I think as an image of a time and a place.
And that got me thinking the same way. I've always been interested in the setting as much as the subject.
Going by the open doors on the leading baggage motor it's my guess that the three car Bluebird is the morning service from Adelaide and it has just left Solomontown and is heading for Ellen Street where the remaining passengers will step carefully down onto the roadway.
I've had a look at Google Earth to try to locate those background houses with the towering TV aerials but today's railway alignment is different. I think those houses may be on Albert Terrace and that the broad gauge line was originally closer to that street. Maybe Cliff Olds can shine some light for us.
And speaking of light I really like the way the mid-winter light has picked out the contrast between the stainless steel fluting and the dark blue window band on the sides of these Bluebird railcars.
For those unfamiliar with 1960s Port Pirie it was served at that time by three railway gauges, the 5'3" and 3'6" of the South Australian Railways and the standard gauge, 4'8 1/2", of the Commonwealth Railways transcontinental line. Only the standard gauge remains, it connects south to Adelaide, east to Sydney, north to Darwin and west to Perth.
Apologies for my sketchy memory.
Best regards,
Peter Bruce.
My previous postings can be found at:
And also the National Library of Australia's Pandora database, which I must check myself. 

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Fw: Monday Arvo Photo. 16/04/2012.

This photo leaves a lot to be desired technically but I've kept coming back to it over the years, the scene and the setting has drawn me back.

Like my memory it is hazy and indistinct but still to me it is full of interest.

The low sun, the long shadows, the distant trees and the dirt road, the track in through the railway fence and the pole line, the fettler's sleeper pile and water tank.

All leading the eye to a steam hauled local goods train on a main line railway.

It is late in the day for the steam locomotive in Australia and getting towards the latter days of the railway as THE common carrier and as a large scale employer of all grades and skills.

Western New South Wales 1964.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Fw: Monday Morning Photo. 19/03/2012.

G'day all, it's Friday 24th of June 1964 and W44 the ore train from the  Broken Hill mines has just arrived at Orange East Fork behind the two 60 class Garratts that have brought it from Molong. I had arrived at Parkes the previous evening and had bedded down in the waiting room at the station trusting myself to wake at 6.00 am in plenty of time to join W44 about 6.30 and ride through Molong to Orange. I expected a single Garratt as far as Molong where it would be joined by a second one for the grades east of that point.
I spent a rather restless night waking every hour but somehow I missed 6.00 am and was woken at 7 o'clock by a little 32 class loco struggling to lift the Peak Hill goods out of the yard so I bolted down to the highway and managed to hitch a ride with an old bloke driving a '48 Ford ute.
We beat the train to Molong, it rolled in shortly after behind a couple of 49 class diesels so I hadn't missed much.
The two diesels came off in a yard full of trains and after quite a bit of to-ing and fro-ing we got two of the big Garratts coupled to the front of the ore train, both bunker first. I thought I'd probably have to ride the van but I managed to get invited up onto the second loco after I got a curt knockback from the blokes on the leading engine.
The full goods load for the section for these two engines was 1000 tons and they had their work cut out for them over an undulating road. The 60s rode fairly smoothly up to about 40 mph but any faster they developed a pretty violent up and down motion, at least our 6042 did.
So here we are at Orange East Fork, the lead engine, 6011, is cutting off and 6042 will take the train on.
East Fork was the yard for through trains to and from the west and also the loco depot. Like the other main lines in New South Wales the West was constantly busy and at this time almost 100% steam as far as Parkes, the ten 49 class GM diesels mostly worked west of there.
I got a lift into town with the engine crew in the driver's Holden EH wagon. I was ravenous by this time but a steak with chips and salad, some bread and butter and a pot of tea soon fixed that.
Peter Bruce. 
All my previous postings are at http:// 

Friday, 23 March 2012

Fw: Monday Morning Photo. 19/03/2012.

G'day all, Cliff was good enough to fill me in on the details of the W44 operation. Thanks Cliff.
Peter Bruce.

I received your photo again today, but from another source, which prompted my reply below.
Presuming that you are not fully aware of the Broken Hill - W44 situation, ore on that train was consigned from the Consolidated Zinc Corporation Ltd and the New Broken Hill Consolidated mines in Broken Hill to the Sulphide Corporation's Cockle Creek smelters, about 800 miles to the east and just south of Newcastle N.S.W.   All three companies were owned by the then Conzinc Rio Tinto company, hence the shipment of ore from those two mines only.   Also those two mines were the only ones in Broken Hill connected to the N.S.W. Govt. Railway standard gauge, the unique 700 mile marker (from Sydney) being between the Broken Hill Crystal Street marshalling yard and the Zinc mine.
The other two mines in Broken Hill at that time i.e. North Broken Hill Ltd and Broken Hill South Ltd railed all of their ore on the 3' 6" narrow gauge (Silverton Tramway Co. to the S.A. border, thence South Australian Railways) to the Broken Hill Associated Smelters at Port Pirie in S.A., about 250 miles to the west.   Some ore from ZC Ltd. and NBHC mines also went there.   North B.H. Ltd, B.H. South Ltd., and the Zinc Corp owned third shares in the Port Pirie smelters.   The N.B.H.C. didn't exist when those smelters were built, hence no ownership in them.
My father worked in the Zinc Corp. mill in the 1950's-60's and spent some time on the weighbridge there.   He said that when W44 first started (21st January 1961), hoppers were used however the ore would not readily discharge.   Various degrees of moisture content were tried, the more sloppy consistencies setting like concrete by the time that Cockle Creek was reached.   Consequently gondolas were substituted.   W44 was always diesel hauled from Broken Hill by 49 class diesels since inception, steam taking over east of Parkes.
The Port Pirie smelters still operate but are now owned by Nyrstar.   I went past the site of the Cockle Creek smelters late last year and the whole area seems to have been razed.   Unbelieveable! 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Monday Morning Photo. 05/03/2012.

G'day all, when I was a young man [a teenage railfan] I would have thought that harking back 50 odd years was attempting to penetrate the mists of time!...........but now it seems like just turning back a few pages to refresh the memory.
 Unfortunately some of those pages are missing or torn or perhaps just a little bit smudged. Attached are a couple that aren't.
Peterborough, South Australia again, 1962-63. Google Earth was unimaginable back then but it is worth a look now, the basic shape of the 1960s railway establishment can still be seen and the Roundhouse still stands as a homage to the railway and the town it once served and was served by.  An aerial photo taken in the '60s would have been mostly smoke haze.
I've decided to put up two photos this week, partly because I've been absent for a while and partly just because.

 The mines at Broken Hill, just over the border in New South Wales, shipped their lead ore west to the smelters at Port Pirie via the South Australian Railways Peterborough Division. The 400 class Beyer Garratts did much of the work but the mines shut down for a few weeks over the Christmas-New Year period every year and the Garratts got a bit of a break and the Division went quiet.
408,402,409, 405 and 403 are taking it easy over the break. That's half the Garratt fleet, the other half must have been out on the track.
The other pic shows 402 on the table and only a couple of T class 4-8-0s lurking smokebox first in the shed. That's what you would have expected to see back then, 48 or maybe 49 weeks of the year.
Best regards,
Peter Bruce

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Monday Morning Photo, 13/02/2012.

G'day all, I'm not 100% sure exactly when I got the attached shot, it was either late in the winter of 1962 or late-ish in January 1963 and I'm also not at all sure that the leading loco is T226 but at this remove it doesn't really matter much. Either way I hadn't reached my 19th birthday and I was camping in the Waiting Room at the Peterborough station and there was no place I would rather have been.
Going by this photo and also by my last posting I wasn't wasting the dark hours sleeping, there was just too much going on, the yard at Peterborough never slept and Train Control very obligingly announced trains as they reported at the station before and in daylight hours that gave me plenty of time to walk out beyond the yard limits for a photo.
Cliff Olds, who is a member of this mailing list, worked at Peterborough in steam days and he has pointed out that trains would arrive at Peterborough behind a Garratt at 900 tons and the train would then be built up to 1100 tons and depart doubleheaded by the Garratt assisted by a T class 4-8-0, a class much modified since its debut 60 years previously. The westbound train in the picture is one such, the Garratt will come off at Belalie North and the little T class 4-8-0 will work the load through to the lead smelters at Port Pirie.
The picture itself is pretty heavily cropped from a 6x6 negative and technically very ordinary, too bad, no me it is Peterborough and its night time sights, sounds and smells.
As I've said before, I don't yearn for the Good Old Days but I'm sure glad I saw them.
Best regards,
Peter Bruce.
See for postings back to 2008 and some repetition!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A Correction.

Peterborough always confuses me, 404 is actually heading east, towards Broken Hill.
Peter Bruce.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Monday Morning Photo. 30/01/2011.

G'day all, hopefully my mailing list problem is solved.
Apropos of recent Friday Afternoon Photos posted by Bob Wilson and contributions by Cliff Olds and others I thought the attached photo of 404 might be of interest. The late Ray Graf and I called at Peterborough during January 1963 on our way back from the Eyre Peninsula and found the 400 class Garratts and the ore wagons for the Broken Hill-Port Pirie traffic had all been converted to auto couplers.
404 is at the west end of Peterborough yard preparing to depart for Port Pirie and the lead smelter. In the shadows at the left of the picture is the railcar shed and the scene is lit by the brilliant light towers at either end of the yard.
I was in Peterborough recently, it was a railway town for about 100 it's just a town that the trains pass through and whistle for the two level crossings. Many of the townspeople have no memory of what it once was and most of the trains are road trains. I'm very grateful that I saw it in its pomp. I wish I could do it again.
Peter Bruce.
All previous postings are at

Monday, 2 January 2012

Re: New Years Morning Photo. 01/01/2012.

G'day all, I received the following from Bendigo resident and motorman Mick the pub would the White Horse Hotel. It's a bit embarrassing to have made the same mistake twice so by way of penance I've attached another photo, similar location but taken at ground level.
Peter Bruce.

A correction – the image depicts California Gully – not Long Gully.  See my reply to your post on TDU dated 9th March 2004 at the following link -
What you appear to have done is turned 180 degrees at the same vantage point and captured the image of maximum traction #5 passing through California Gully on its way to Long Gully and from there to Bendigo and Quarry Hill.


Re: Monday Morning Photo. Wednesday 14/12/2011.

G'day all, a few days after I posted the Monday Morning Photo for 14/12/2011 Chris Wurr went out and shot the attached photo which I have resized and compressed. Apologies for the time taken to pass it on.
Thanks Chris,
Peter Bruce.

G'day Peter,

Here's a comparative shot to this weeks photo.
You were standing on a mullock heap on the slopes of Windmill Hill.
The bogie car has just passed theManchester Arms Hotel [still trading] and is coming past St. Matthew's CofE on the corner of Creeth St.
In a few moments it willpass the Rose of Australia Hotel, which is also still trading.
With the tree growth in the foregroundit took a while to find the exact spot you were standing.
Note the communication tower on Mickey Mouse Hill has been joined by another.
The house in centre foreground of mine is the same house bottom left in your's.

Cheers from Chris in Bendigo.