Among those of us who are used to photographing trains on The Short North, one knows what a “typical” (ie, surprise free day) will consist of. Allow me to pause, and gather my collection of notebooks that I drag around in my bag to record times, sightings and consists to give you an example. The below sightings are all from 10th of August, 2008. While some regular services (4172 for example) no longer run, there’s a fairly good chance that anyone could make these sightings this week.
Hawkesbury River (10/8/08):
- 10:23am (PN) NRxx/DL47/NR29 up 5BA6
- 10:46am (PPL) GL104/GL102 up 4172
- 11:03am (CLK) down NP23 (Northern Xplorer)
- 11:20am (IRA) 1427/4468 up 5166
- 11:31am (QRN) EL57/CLxx/CLF7 down 5MB7
- 11:58am (PN) NR65/NRxx down 5MB4
- 12:04pm (PN) 82xx/81xx/82xx/82xx down MG73
- 12:22pm (PN) NR72/NR70/NR41 up 5BM4
- 12:30pm (CLK) XP2002/XP2015 down NT35 (Grafton XPT)
- 12:59pm (PN) 8182/48xx/48xx down
The only movement on there that was a surprise was the PN grain train. Everything else, one could reasonably expect to see on any given Friday. The other exception to the rule was the EL/CLF combination. Normally when one goes to photograph a QRN train, one sees two/three/four CLF/CLP bulldogs lashed up, and occasionally one (would, rarely happens now) two to three EL class locomotives.
So lets look at some of the more interesting movements that occur on the Short North, regularly.
4152 – QRNational. 4152 runs between Broadmeadow Yard and Yennora Yard on most days, conveying loading from BM7/MB7. 4152 usually features far more interesting rolling stock than most trains, too. Recently, it has been sighted behind CFCLA bulldog units S300 and B76. It has also been photographed behind members of the X Class, 421 Class and 423 Class, to name a few.
1593 – PN Rural and Bulk. 1593 is the evening Tamworth Fuel Train, which, until recently was the sole domain of the X Class (with the occasional 81 class). Now, with members of the long looked down on 80 Class coming back into the fore, this rarely seen train is even more interesting.
4124 – PN Rural and Bulk. 4124 conveys sugar and cement loading from Grafton, among other loading. 4124 is often also used for loco transfers from yards such as Broadmeadow to Clyde Yard. 4124, while often simply one or two 81 class hauling cement hoppers, has been photographed with combinations such as 81/48 or 81/X and even 81/81/81/48.
The catch? These trains all run in the late afternoon/early evening, after the evening curfew is over. The best time to catch these trains is during daylight saving hours – when the sun is on your side until after 7pm…
Just thought I’d share something that not everyone would be aware about. I know I have spent many an interesting afternoon at places like Gosford or Cowan with friends, waiting for one of these interesting movements to show up – it only takes one of them to make the trip worthwhile. Often times, you’ll even get bonus trains running early – I photographed quad 81’s at Gosford one afternoon bringing a very early JU74 (coal) south, bound for Inner Harbour. There are only a few days of daylight saving left, so why not make an afternoon of it? As the sun goes down earlier, you’ll need to travel further north to catch such trains in daylight.