Below are a few scenes from a recent visit to Pothana Lane in the NSW Hunter Valley (near Branxton).
Early in the morning of Wednesday, June 18, the Miniature Electric Staff (MES) system of safeworking in operation between Kiama and Bomaderry was suspended and replaced with Pilot Staff Working (PSW) to permit the miniature electric staff instruments to be removed, with the system of safeworking to be replaced with Rail Vehicle Detection (RVD). This would be the final step in replacing all MES sections on the Sydney Trains (formerly RailCorp) suburban and intercity network. Continue reading “Staff and Semaphore”
Given our recent performance, there’s plenty of reasons to just stay home and watch the cricket. Having said that, when the opportunity to chase a Qube Logistics freighter during daylight hours on the west arises, it’s a convincing case to get off the coach and get a plan in motion. This was how, when many were settled in front of the TV, we found ourselves peering over a cliff into Glenbrook Gorge, looking for trains.
We arrived at the gorge at a little after 2pm. Content to laze in the shade (occasionally panicking when we imagined we heard a family of brown snakes stealthily moving towards our position) and watch the NSW TrainLink Blue Mountains services drifting down the mountain. Finally, as the clock approached 5pm, some action! A diverted (and delayed) 7SP5 Pacific National superfreighter to Perth was photographed grinding up the grade towards Glenbrook Tunnel behind NR Class locomotives 67, 23, 76 and 116.
On a day in which many people filled The Gabba in Brisbane to watch Day 2 of The Ashes series, passengers and train crew on the Central Coast line (known as “The Short North” to railfans and railwaymen alike) were having a less than exciting day. Problems seemed to come thick and fast disrupting both NSW TrainLink passenger services and freight trains in both directions. Myself and a handful of other enthusiasts gathered at Cowan Station to bear witness to the proceedings.
The troubles began at Wickham early in the morning when a motorist damaged level crossing equipment at Wickham (Newcastle). Train services were suspended in both directions between Broadmeadow and Newcastle and buses were called in to replace (and later to supplement) train services. This then had a flow on delay to freight services heading south from Broadmeadow yard, as they were unable to leave on their paths – forced to wait in the yard for the late running passenger services to pass, to permit the slower freighters to follow. Continue reading “Cowan”
CFCL Australia have accepted the first delivery of their new “CM Class” locomotives from MotivePower Inc. The first of the class, CM3301 “Red Handed” was delivered by FL220 to Goulburn on July 27th, 2013, having been unloaded at Port Kembla the day before. Running as train number 9271, FL220 hauled a covered CM3301 and wagon NOGF 5251. The train departed Port Kembla Inner Harbour at 1700, bound for Goulburn via Unanderra and Moss Vale. CM3301 is not the first of CFCLAs locomotives to carry the name “Red Handed”, with this name previously being carried by RL301.
This was not the first interesting train to traverse that line today, with 3642 having hauled a tour train to Robertson earlier in the day. The newest, and one of the oldest locomotives in the state passing through the same town within a matter of hours? Couldn’t plan that better if you tried!
Click on any image below to view a larger size (link opens in a new window).
With thanks to Richard Whitford for his assistance.
442 Class – A Story of Survivors
The 442 Class, or “Jumbos” as they are often known, are an excellent example of how former Government owned locomotives that were withdrawn and set aside have found a new lease of life in the brave new world of private rail operators. Many of the surviving class members have seen their fair share of operators come and go, and yet they have survived them all, and the majority will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Introduction & Government Service
The 40-strong 442 Class was introduced as a replacement for the NSW Government Railways fleet of 40 Class locomotives. The 40 Class had originally entered service in 1951, an almost off the shelf American Locomotive Co. (ALCo) design, modified for NSW conditions and loading gauge. By the late 1960s, the 40 Class were beginning to become unreliable and a rebuild of the class to keep them in service would be uneconomical. The concept of trading-in older locomotives to offset the cost of new locomotives was proving to be a popular concept in the United States of America, leading to the New South Wales Government Railways (NSWGR) signing a tender with A. E. Goodwin Ltd to accept the 40 Class units as trade-ins on twenty new main line diesels. This concept would prove to be too ambitious, with only limited parts (traction motors, compressors, auxiliary generator, eddy current clutch and power take-off) being re-used. Whilst the initial order of twenty was being built, a further twenty were ordered to ensure the entire state could be dieselised, pushing out the last strongholds of steam in NSW.