All Rail Lines Lead to Parkes – Part 1

Regular travelling companion Todd Milton and I decided to pay our first visit to the Parkes area in November, with the hope of seeing something a little different from our usual haunt, the Main South. A regular diet of NR and 81 Class will do that! The checklist of “things to see” included the two shunting units at Manildra, the various Manildra feeder grain services (typically the domain of 48 and X Class locomotives), as well as any branchline grain trains we could lay out hands on. Finally, a shot of The Parkes – Perth SCT service was a must-have.

According to plan, AR02 loaded coal from Airly was the first train to pass our vantage point at 0618 behind G513, C508 and C503. Next to arrive was 1865N freight, bound for Kelso (Bathurst) behind GL107 and GL101. We then hopped onto the highway to move to Sodwalls, for a spectacular dawn lit shot as the train passed around the well-known horseshoe. That is, we would have, if we’d not made the mistake of continuing on to Brewongle, with word that 1865N was stopped at Wallerawang. We assumed we could get a shot of the up Indian Pacific at Brewongle, before moving to Raglan to get the GL’s climbing the steep grade into the station. Imagine our surprise when GL107 snuck up on us (prior to this, I didn’t realise a GL could sneak up on anyone), crossing the up Indian Pacific at the former station site. Still, a fine shot of NR27 was gained on the s-curve at Brewongle, before we moved to Kelso to see the freight shunt into the siding.

With no other trains in the area until the afternoon, we decided to head west to Manildra. We’d been told that an 81/X combo was to depart Parkes Sub-Terminal at lunchtime, bound for Enfield, and we figured upon getting there early to find a decent spot for a shot! Passing through the township of Manildra, we reflected on the fact that the mill is not so much a feature of the town, it appears that the town is a feature of the mill! The huge silos and milling buildings dwarf the surrounding town, and entirely encircle the former station site, which is no longer served by passenger trains. MM01 (formerly 4907, see Part 2) was also seen to be shunting the mill, while MM03 (former BHP Newcastle No. 51) was shutdown on an adjacent siding.

We paused outside of town to record the passing of 8134N Westons Milling wheat service bound for Enfield behind the uninspiring looking 8130 in FreightCorp colours, and a gleaming X48 in pristine Pacific National paint, before continuing on to Parkes to first locate, and check into our motel. We soon found that Parkes is a very confusing town when you first drive in, with highways being renamed in town to street names, and plenty of “no right turn” signs, as well as plenty of occasions where the road we wanted to get to was on the other side of a footpath. Eventually we navigated the town, dumped our bags, and found ourselves baking in the heat at Goobang Junction, waiting for G515 to arrive from Goonumbla.

While waiting for G515, we amused ourselves by watching former WAGR/Great Northern/CFCLA locomotives J103 and J102 shunting the SCT terminal. Painted in full SSR livery, the two J Class at Goobang Junction have an interesting history.

Originally purchased by the Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR) in 1966 from Clyde Engineering for shunting duties (the J Class are almost identical to the first series Y Class purchased by the VR three years earlier). They spent their lives in WA until 1995, when four members of the class (the class leader had been scrapped two years earlier) were sold to Great Northern and transferred to Melbourne.

During their time with Great Northern, the J Class were used on a variety of tasks, including shunting the National Rail Corporation freight terminal, running shunting turns and trip trains, and infrastructure work. When Great Northern folded in 2002, ownership of the class passed to CFCL Australia, who leased the locomotives to Southern Shorthaul Railroad. CFCLA sold the four members of the class in 2009 and 2010 (to SCT and Freightlink respectivly) for use as shunters in NSW and SA.

J103 and J102 can often be seen shunting the SCT freight depot at Goobang Junction. Sadly, the units did not get close enough to the accessible end of the shunting neck for a roster shot, and I was not to keen on tramping through long grass in late spring. I had to be content with shooting them across the field.

G515 did arrive on cue at 1306 with 8242N loaded ore train from Goonumbla to Goulburn (the train runs to Port Kembla, but waits at Goulburn for its turn in the sidings, which are shared by the PN ore train from Blayney).

After a break for lunch, we wandered around the station area. PN have a large depot at Parkes, and it is not uncommon for many trains to exchange crews or even loco’s when passing through. Quite a few locomotives were stabled in the yard, including former ATN Access L251, and a number of 48 class in various liveries, from GrainCorp and PN, to the battle scarred Freightcorp units, showing every day of their impressive age.

As the day began to slowly cool, we staked out the level crossing at Goonumbla to wait for one of the two trains that feed the mill at Manildra with grain from various silos in Western NSW. The first such train was 8832N coming towards Parkes from Narromine behind 4894, 4854 and X50, with X50 being a particularly long way from home! Since the cessation of bulk fuel transport by rail in NSW, most of the X Class have seen themselves redeployed on other bulk working, including grain, flour, cement and sugar traffic, among other loadings.

After following 8832 halfway to Manildra, we decided that any further shots would endanger the possibility of the final shot of the day – a sunset shot of 7GP1 SCT superfreighter to Perth. We set up at Nelungaloo (to the west of Parkes) as the sun slowly slid behind the horizon, entertained by the harvesters busy harvesting a nearby wheat field. 7GP1 shattered the atmosphere when it screamed past at 1935 behind SCT Class locomotives 009 and 005. Up to 1800m in length, the train is a mixture of vans and double-stack container wagons, and the sight and speed of the train needs to be seen to be believed. What a fantastic way to finish! It was worth the massive dust cloud it kicked up that reduced both Todd and I to a sneezing, coughing, sniffling mess for the next few hours until medication (and a nightcap) brought sleep – a very welcome relief!

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News to Me: The End of Sandown?

4903 and GM22 are waiting for their train to be loaded at Seatons Transport sidings, Rosehill. May 2009.

John Bennett’s Railway from Clyde reached the terminus at Sandown in 1891. Located 24.23km from Sydney and on the southern bank of the Parramatta River, the line was built to serve the river, with a wharf constructed for that purpose. A passenger service was also provided from 1892. Safeworking for the line was Ordinary Staff and Ticket, and a number of sidings for local industry were also provided along the length of the line. The Sandown Line was eventually purchased by the colonial government in 1900 after Bennett’s Railway encountered financial problems, with government operated services operating on the line from 1901.

The line would be electrified in 1959, with a passenger service operating between Clyde and Sandown, stopping at a number of local industrial platforms for the local workforce. The line was also used to store trains when required for race days at the nearby Rosehill Racecourse. By 1990, passenger numbers to Sandown were dwindling, and the final regular passenger service on the line would run in 1991. The wires remained until 2002, for the purposes of storing trains away from the main Carlingford Line when required on race day.

Safeworking on the line was Ordinary Train Staff and Ticket until 1943, when it was replaced by Large Electric Staff. Miniature Electric Staff would then be implemented in 1985, until May 1992 when Ordinary Train Staff was once again re-introduced to the line for a month. The Ordinary Train Staff and Ticket was replaced by Yard Working in June 1992, with trains having to notify Goods Control (located at the Rail Management Centre, Sydney Terminal) to get permission to depart the line. Typically freight trains can only run between Clyde and Rosehill (where the line becomes separate from the Carlingford Line) when they will not interfere with the running of the CityRail service to Carlingford.

Although there were many different sidings along the line, the two that are in place at present are the Shell Australia sidings, and Seatons Transport sidings. The former sidings are all that remain of a large network of tracks and sidings within the Shell Oil Refinery, while the latter is a container depot operated by Patrick.

Shell owned NTAF wagons loaded with fuel at Camelia on 1225 Canberra Fuel. November 2009.

During 2009, Shell Australia announced that it would be no longer transporting fuel by rail. Until 2009, Shell had transported fuel by rail using their own rolling stock to Canberra, Dubbo and (West) Tamworth. Additionally, Caltex had used the loading gantry to load their own rolling stock, bound for Bomen (Wagga Wagga). Pacific National had provided the motive power and crews, having taken over the contract as part of the purchase of Freight Australia in 2004. Normally X or 80 class locomotives would be used on the fuel trains, although it was not unheard of for members of the 81, 48 and even EL classes to be used. PN would run their locos onto the branch at midday to commence shunting the terminal on any given day of departure, departing for Clyde Yard when shunting was complete (which could be anywhere from 2pm to 5pm), ready to depart for their final destination after the evening peak hour (most fuel trains departed Clyde after 7pm, allowing for an early morning arrival into the terminal for unloading, with the empty service returning overnight). Despite the fact that a number of Shell NTAF wagons are stored in the rail loading facility, these have not been used since the gantry closed in March 2010.

In addition to the fuel traffic, Patrick maintains a container facility at Sandown, known as Seatons Transport Sidings. Here, container traffic is brought in and out by road and rail. In April 2010, Patrick announced that the facility would close, with all operations transferred to Port Botany. Rail access into the site would be finished by the end of June 2010, with Patricks PortLink to also finish up all operations by the end of June. The demise of PPL as a rail operator has not come as much of a surprise to some, as PPL have lost a number of contracts in recent years, scaling back operations to a single train to/from Dubbo, and a shuttle train between Seatons and Botany. The final container trip between Seatons and Botany ran on Friday May 14, behind 48136 and 4887 (both units owned by Pacific National). The “regular” motive power for this train, PPL-owned 4903 and 4906 were nowhere to be seen, having failed for the last time the week prior. They are now stored in Botany Yard, pending the decision on their future.

As well as Patricks PortLink, Independent Railways of Australia ran a train from Seatons during the first half of 2010. The train would run from Port Botany or Cooks River as T269, departing after the afternoon peak hour was finished, to run to Sandown. After shunting at Seatons, the train would then depart for Blayney as 1861. Normal motive power for the train were members of the GL and 14 classes (the former on hire from CFCLA, the latter purchased by IRA, then LVRF from Denmark in 2005). The final IRA train to Sandown ran on June 8, behind locos GL101 and 1431.

DL49 standing in Seatons Transport at Rosehill, waiting for T172 to load. January 2010.

With the cessation of the container shuttle service to and from Port Botany, this left only one train operating out of the Seatons terminal – 1877 Sydney to Dubbo container freight, run by Patricks PortLink from Botany to Sandown on a Tuesday/Thursday and Saturday afternoon, ready for a departure that evening for Dubbo, returning as 8178 to Port Botany later in the week. In the last few weeks of this service, Pacific National DL Class dominated the running of the service, with the occasional PN-owned 48 class, PPL-owned 4503 or CFCLA-owned VL351 on the train. Normal practice was for PPL to run two “feeder” trains to Seatons from Port Botany to form the evening service to Dubbo. T185 would depart Botany anywhere from 9:30am to 11:30am, to arrive into Sandown an hour later. The loco(s) on T185 would then shunt the wagons into Sandown to allow containers to be loaded, before the train would be set aside on the loop road to allow for T171 to shunt into the facility. T171 would typically depart Botany at midday, although it would spend a bit of time at Enfield before proceeding on to Sandown. Once both trains had been shunted and assembled, it would form T172 to Enfield where the locos would run around and the evening crew put on the train to take it through to Dubbo as 1877.

The final PPL service to depart Sandown is expected to run before June 31. Road operation will continue from Sandown for a short period of time, before it too is removed, and the facility closed. Interestingly, the reasoning behind the closure of both facilities is thought to be related to high, ongoing operating costs.

Resources:
Sydney’s Forgotten Industrial Railways – John Oakes
http://www.nswrail.net
Special thanks to members of the Yahoo Group “Ausloco” for their assistance in compiling this article.

June/July 2009 News

First A-Set Arrives into Newcastle

The new PPP cars are a step closer to being in service this month, as the 4-car trial set was unloaded from a ship at Port Waratah on July 29. The revenue service A-Set trains will be fixed 8-car sets, instead of the usual pair of 4-car sets that have been the norm with rolling stock orders in recent years. The 4-car test train will be used to run extensive testing, both on a special test track at EDI Cardiff, and also around the Cityrail network, testing anything from the ride quality to their performance under peak hour loads. The extensive testing is to prevent another Millennium Train debacle, as seen after their introduction in 2000, which saw them withdrawn from service until 2004.

When the test train was unloaded onto the wharf, NSW Transport Minister David Campbell announced that the 626 next generation carriages would carry the name “Waratah”. The Waratah trains are to be introduced onto the CityRail network from 2010 to 2013, replacing the R/S/L Set fleet, which was introduced to the network from 1972.

2009 CityRail Timetable Released

From October 11, a new CityRail timetable will come into effect on all lines. The most notable change has been on the Northern Line, which previously ran from Hornsby to the City via Strathfield. With the opening of the Epping to Chatswood Rail Link (ECRL) earlier this year, the Northern Line will now run from Hornsby to Epping, then to Chatswood and on to the City, before continuing back to Epping via Strathfield.

Western, South and East Hills line commuters will benefit from additional peak hour services to relieve congestion on these lines. Additionally, new services will be introduced in the period following the morning peak hour, to assist passengers on Western, Northern, South and North Shore lines.

With the continued introduction of more Outer Suburban Cars, more Tangara trains are freed up for suburban running, most notably on the peak hour Central Coast and Wollongong/Port Kembla services, which then allows more 6-car trains to be built up into 8-car trains, to ease loading on popular peak and off peak train services.

G30 stands at Macquarie University during ECRL Crush Load testing for the Tangara trains. 14/6/09
G30 stands at Macquarie University during ECRL Crush Load testing for the Tangara trains. 14/6/09

The Bankstown Line is also set to benefit, with the return to a 15-minute frequency on the weekend (previously passengers on this line had a half hourly service to/from the city on weekends).

ECRL Crush Load Testing

On the 14th of June, Tangara set G30 was involved in crush load testing on the Epping to Chatswood Rail Link. A week later, T77 was also involved in similar testing, with an 8-car K-Set undergoing a different trial a week after T77 went through the link.

G30 first ran from Hornsby to Epping, then to Chatswood through the ECRL, and then ran back to Epping via North Sydney, Central and Strathfield. After the crew changed ends at Epping, the set then ran back to Chatswood via Strathfield and Central, to run through the link again to Epping and back up to Hornsby. The train was running with a full load of “passengers”, simulated by loaded water drums to the same level that can be expected when the train is operating at peak-hour crush load.

This testing was the latest in a series of tests involving the Tangara trains running on the ECRL line. Judging from the new timetable, Tangara trains will not be used on Northern Line services (all of which will run through the new link), although they are (along with the V-Set Interurban trains) permitted to work non-stop through the link under emergency conditions.

The main issue with Tangara trains is their weight – the traction motors were prone to overheating on their first runs through the link during the initial testing undertaken after the link was completed.

K63 stands at North Ryde Station undergoing noise testing for K-Set trains on the ECRL. 27/6/09
K63 stands at North Ryde Station undergoing noise testing for K-Set trains on the ECRL. 27/6/09

On the 27th of June, K-Set K85 and K63 were sent on a number of tests through the ECRL, although not for crush load testing (the “silver set” trains can operate normally through the link in this regard). Instead, the K-Sets were present to test the noise levels for passengers and crew travelling through the tunnels.

These tests proved to be successful, and when the link is fully integrated in the 2009 timetable (see above); the Northern Line will be run by K-Set and OSCAR trains only. Incidentally, this will make it the first CityRail line to be run exclusively by air conditioned trains.

3265 In Steam Again

In news that has dominated the rail preservation scene in NSW, P Class 3265 is the second P Class to return to steam, undergoing a number of steaming trials in July. Separate trials were undertaken to Penrith and Springwood/Valley Heights, with a pair of trials to and from Gosford undertaken in mid July.

Once trials of the locomotives restoration are complete, the locomotive will be painted at Chullora Workshops (incidentally, the same location that 3801 will be receiving her overhaul). The Powerhouse Museum, who owns and operates the locomotive have opted for the locomotive to receive her “Victoria Maroon” colour scheme, which was worn by 3265 when involved in operating the Newcastle Flyer (then known as the “Newcastle Express”), around 1933. As well as the colour scheme, 3265 has had her “Hunter” nameplates returned to her (these nameplates had been removed and given to 3608 when the 36 class took over from the 32 class on Newcastle Express services).

3265 undergoing the first of her steam trails on the mainline, seen here at Sydney Terminal.
3265 undergoing the first of her steam trails on the mainline, seen here at Sydney Terminal.

3265 is a testament to the skill and dedication of all those involved in her restoration.

92 Class/LDP Class Load Trials

On June 27, Pacific National undertook a number of trials with their new 92 Class locomotives (built by United Goninans), as well as with a trio of LDP Class units (built by Downer EDI), to determine the locomotives suitability for use on coal trains with Southern Coal (currently the 92 Class are limited to operations in The Hunter Valley).

The initial testing for the 92 Class was not successful, with the locomotives reduced to walking pace when lifting a full load of coal up Cowan Bank. The LDP Class performed marginally better, lifting the same load at a little under 20km/h.

The day following the test saw the trio of 92 Class (9211, 9213 and 9208) joined by 8125 at Enfield for the run down into Wollongong. The 81 class had been added to the train to avoid any slow running on the steep grades through Como and Jannali.

XR/X/G Class to NSW

Shortly after arriving from Victoria, XR559 is sandwiched between a pair of 81 Class at Cootamundra. 8/6/09
Shortly after arriving from Victoria, XR559 is sandwiched between a pair of 81 Class at Cootamundra. 8/6/09

In a continuation of the trend to move working, surplus rolling stock from Victoria to New South Wales to assist with the movement of coal and grain (among other commodities), Pacific National transferred a number of standard gauge G, X and XR class to NSW for grain working.

A number of X Class units are already employed by PN Rural and Bulk to move fuel to various depots around the state, although a couple of X Class have been sighted working domestic and export grain trains. XR555 and XR559 have been transferred to NSW to assist with the movement of domestic and export grain.

A number of G Class are already in service with the Northern Coal fleet, with word that other G Class will follow from Victoria to assist with the grain haulage task in the North West of the state.

P&O Trans Australia Expansion

Following the transfer of the contract to move export containers from Yennora to Port Botany from Interail (owned by QRNational) to P&O Trans Australia, and the purchase of 4477 and 4471 from CFCLA, POTA underwent further expansion in July, successfully winning the contract for the movement of containers from Carrington to Port Botany, resulting in the contract passing from Southern & Silverton (owned by Coote Industrial) to POTA.

CLF1 and 4477 on T281 Botany to Yennora freight head into Enfield before continuing on to Yennora
CLF1 and 4477 on T281 Botany to Yennora freight head into Enfield before continuing on to Yennora. 3/7/09.

To assist with their motive power requirements, POTA hired CLF1, CLP11 and CLP13 (the latter two units in the corporate QRNational scheme) from Interail. By the end of July, both CLP Class units had been returned ex hire, although GM12 class locomotives GM22 and GM27 are now on lease from CFCLA, following the end of their lease to Patricks Portlink (who originally used both units on the Yennora container shuttle in 2008). POTA have also hired 44204, which has been sighted on a number of POTA trains in late July.

Triple Headed Steam to Moss Vale

July 4th proved to be a very exciting day to be in Moss Vale (located in the NSW Southern Highlands region), with the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum running a triple headed steam special from Sydney to Moss Vale and return, running via Wollongong.

The train departed Sydney Terminal behind NN/35 Class locomotive 3526, 36 Class “Pig” 3642 and 38 Class 3830 (the latter locomotive being in the custody of The Powerhouse Museum), with 4520 and 4490 assisting from the rear. Having stormed the Illawarra Escarpment from Wollongong to Moss Vale, the train arrived at Moss Vale to be serviced. Upon arrival in Moss Vale, 3526 and the two diesels returned to Thirlmere light engine, leaving the two Pacifics to return to Central alone.

In a surprise move, the mighty 38 was put into the lead for the run home, and the two locomotives provided some truly dramatic scenes in the chill afternoon air – scenes taken straight from a historical photo or video, perhaps.

3830 and 3642 storm out of the loop at Calwalla, headed for Robertson. 4/7/09
3830 and 3642 storm out of the loop at Calwalla, headed for Robertson. 4/7/09

(News to Me) Farewell ARG

The final Bomaderry container train to Botany was hauled by KL80/KL81/KL82 and 3104. Seen here crossing the Como Bridge on Thurs 20/11/08
The final Bomaderry container train to Botany was hauled by KL80/KL81/KL82 and 3104. Seen here crossing the Como Bridge on Thurs 20/11/08

As of November 22nd, after five years of NSW Operations, Australian Railroad Group (better known as ARG) ceased its NSW operations. After holding the contract to move flour between the various Manildra Group mills for five years, as well as containers from Manildra and Bomaderry to Port Botany, the recent loss of the contract to competitor Asciano Limited saw the complete shut down of ARG’s NSW operations.

All 31/L Class operating in NSW, as well as 2201, and 2203 will be returned to Western Australia. Thankfully, 2202 (ex SRA 42213), 2204 (ex SRA 42216) and 2208 (ex SRA 42208) will remain in NSW for now, being transferred to QRNational/Interail for their intermodal operations. It is unknown what role these locomotives will play in the future, if they will continue to work through NSW, or if they will be used elsewhere. It is also unknown at this stage if they will retain their ARG numbering, or revert back to their original numbers (QRNational/Interail have not yet renumbered any of their standard gauge locomotive fleet from their original numbers, with the exception of the 423 Class).

On the same day the above image was captured, L265 lead a pair of 22 Class south to Bomaderry with a loaded flour, seen here climbing through Jannali
L265 leading a pair of 22 Class south through Jannali. 20/11/08

The final Bomaderry container train ran on Thursday, November 20th, behind KL80/KL81/KL82/3104. The last flour train to Bomaderry arrived from Manildra behind L265/2204/2201 on Saturday, November 22nd. The final ARG train to depart Bomaderry did so on the same day (being made up of the empties from that nights 8982). Normally running as 9881 (Bomaderry to Manildra), the train instead ran as 9182 (Bomaderry to Sydney) behind 2201/2204/L265, terminating at Clyde where the locomotives were exchanged for 8180 and 8145 for the continuation of the journey to Manildra.

The KL Class were used due to a surge of failures in the last days of operation, a problem that had plauged ARG operations for the better part of 2008. Most of the locomotives have not had any significant work done (aside from an external paintjob and logo applications) in quite some time, and are showing their age.

The replacement motive power on the Manildra trains is currently based around pairs of 81 Class, although with the coming grain season, this could see motive power changes, with at least one GL Class being reported in use on Pacific National export grain rakes (previously GL Class in service with Pacific National were being used on coal trains, a job they are not designed for)

At any rate, the crews and motive power of ARG will be missed. Those familar with ARG operations would know that the crews always offer a friendly wave or flash of the headlights upon seeing photographers, and always seemed to enjoy a good chase.

Thankyou to Roy “MBAX” Marshall and the Ausloco Yahoo Group for the information in this post.

(News to Me) Asciano Wins Manildra Contract From ARG

ARG Hauled Manildra Trains - Soon to be limited to memories and photographs?

Australian Railroad Group (ARG), a division of QRNational (QRN) has been operating trains on behalf of The Manildra Group since 2003. Manildra supplied their own rolling stock in the form of MBAX (ex WAGR WBAX vans) louvre vans, MQRF container flats (although ARG/Manildra hired more container flats from CFCLA) as well as MHGH and MHGX hoppers, although ARG were contracted to haul the trains. The contract itself involves the haulage of bulk flour to/from Manildra’s mills at Gunnedah (North-West NSW), Manildra (Central-Western NSW), Narrandera (South-West NSW) and Bomaderry (South Coast NSW), as well as export containers between the various mills and Port Botany.

Recent news has emerged that ARG have lost the contract to Pacific National/Patricks Portlink owner Asciano Limited. Interestingly, it seems that the contract will be handled by the Patricks Portlink business division, rather than (as originally thought), Pacific National Rural and Bulk. It is unknown at this stage if Rural and Bulk will provide motive power (currently, Patricks Portlink use a lot of hired motive power from CFCLA) and/or container wagons.

An ARG Crewman moves to set the road for 9182 while KL81 lurks in the background (click on the image for a larger view)
An ARG Crewman moves to set the road for 9182 while KL81 lurks in the background (click on the image for a larger view)

While the changeover doesn’t occur until November 23rd, enthusiasts should be getting out line side to capture images that will soon fade, possibly forever, of (ex-NSWGR 422 Class) 22 Class and (ex WAGR L Class) 31 Class hauling bulk flour to and from the various mills around the state. The good news is, if Patricks Portlink does indeed use motive power hired from CFCLA (as it currently does on its Narrabri and Dubbo/Blayney services, as well as some of its metropolitan workings), we could see vintage motive power in the form of 44, 422 (FL/HL Class), 442, 49 (KL Class) and even 45 Class at the head of bulk flour and/or container trains.

Manildra MHGX Hopper at Bombaderry
Manildra MHGX Hopper at Bombaderry

Recently, there have been quite a few examples of ARG using leased motive power to assist its own fleet. CFCLA T Class, SCT G Class, CFCLA KL (49) Class and even SSR/CFCLA GM10 have been seen on flour and container workings. Certainly this is an excellent excuse for any able railway photographer to get out in these last few months of ARG hauled Manildra trains!

Does this mean the withdrawal of ARG from NSW? Certainly not! The word is that ARG are looking for new contracts to haul so hopefully we shall continue to see the 422 class soldering on into the twenty first century (albeit under a new number and colour scheme…)

The photo above, of KL81 at the Nowra branch is an example of the dynamic motive power changes on ARG trains recently. KL81 lead two T Class and GM10 into Sydney on 9182 export containers. However, due to problems with Manildras container crane, this train was unable to finish loading and lost it’s path into Sydney, leaving Bomaderry at 2000, instead of at 1046.