News: July 2010

New CityRail PPP “Waratah” Train Begins Testing

The new “Waratah” Public/Private Partnership (PPP) trains are being built by Downer EDI, for Reliance Rail who will lease the trains to RailCorp for CityRail suburban service. Named “Waratah” trains, the A-Sets will enter service from late 2010 to facilitate the removal of the aging fleet of S and R sets from the CityRail fleet.

The Waratah PPTV is seen here at Central at 0430 following a night of testing on the East Hills Line

The project celebrated another milestone on May 1st, with the special 4-car Pre-Production Test Vehicle (PPTV) delivered to Sydney behind 442s1. Unlike the revenue service trains, this train is only a 4-car set, designed specifically to test out the new trains reliability and compatibility with the network. Like the OSCar trains before them, the Waratah  will be subjected to an intense testing regime, to ensure that there will be no “surprises” after they enter service. The NSW Government does not need a repeat of the Millennium Train debacle, especially not around the time of an election!

Unlike the OSCar order before them, the Waratah order is the first to use a dedicated pre-production test vehicle (PPTV), with the purpose of identifying any oversights or faults in the train design or train components before too much work is done on the rest of the order. In the case of the OSCar trains, a number of 4-car sets were subjected to intense testing prior to entering service, and the sets involved were then sent back to United Group to be rebuilt, so as to be delivered in “as new” condition. The PPTV vehicle however, has entered service without any passenger seating, or any other passenger amenities. Aside from some dummy weight added, and testing equipment, the train is a shell – for the sole purpose of testing the trains design.

Since being delivered, the PPTV (also known as A0 within the enthusiast community), has run a number of trials around the RailCorp network in the dead of night (usually under a local possession authority, to ensure no adverse results to late night services). Typically, the PPTV is hauled to and from the possession by 442s1, which remains fitted with a special transition coupler. The cars used on the PPTV will be delivered as part of the final order, and are numbered as follows: D6479, N5442, N5342, D6379.

S52 is seen here at Erskineville with a service to the City Circle from the Bankstown Line. Scenes like this will soon be no more!

On June 28th, the first 8-car Waratah Set (A1) was delivered in the same manner as the PPTV, behind 442s1. The carriages delivered were numbered as follows: D6301, N5501, N5601, T6501, T6601, N5401, N5301 and D6401. This follows the existing numbering scheme as set out by previous CityRail trains, with “D” being unpowered driving cars, “N” being powered vehicles and “T” being unpowered non driving cars. The main distinction between the A-Sets and previous carriage numbering schemes, is that the cars on the train have a different number – e.g one driving car is D63xx and the other D64xx. Normally, all cars are delivered in sequence, in this case this would be from D6301 onwards in sequence – thus, D6401 would previously have been the 101st car to be delivered, not the second as it is in this case. Previous deliveries have followed this scheme – in the case of the OSCar trains for example, all driver trailer cars are numbered in the D69xx series, the Millennium trains before them numbered in the D10xx series, and so on.

Like the PPTV, A1 has been delivered without seats or exterior decals or logos, and will also be used to extensively test the new trains before they are approved for use on the system. It is expected that A1 and the PPTV will be used for further night testing before the PPTV is returned to Downer EDI, and deliveries of revenue sets can then begin. It is expected that the first A Set will enter revenue service before the end of the year.

PPL Ends NSW Operations

DL44, DL46 and VL351 await permission to leave the Sandown Line for the final time with 1877 freight to Dubbo.

Patrick PortLink (PPL), the rail operator for Patrick Corp (a division of Asciano Limited, owners of Pacific National) have ended their NSW rail operations. The first PPL service to be cut was T181/T182, Sandown to Botany container trip, with the final train running to Botany as T182 on Friday the 14th of May, 2010 behind hired motive power 48136 and 4887. This was followed by the final revenue service from the Patrick Terminal at Sandown (also known as Seaton’s Sidings) running as train 1877 to Dubbo on Saturday the 12th of June, behind DL44, DL46 and VL351. For the final week of operations, 1877 would stage directly out of Port Botany, until the final service ran on Saturday the 19th of June. The final PPL train in NSW would operate on June 26th, with DL44, 48136, 4503, DL46 and VL351 hauling 45 empty container flats to Enfield. The container flats were supposed to proceed onto Lithgow for long term storage with 4503, although for one reason or another, this never eventuated. DL44 and DL46 were to then return to service with PN Southern Coal, 48136 returning to PN Rural and Bulk and VL351 off-lease and returned to CFCLA.

For a full wrap up of the final PPL operations, look out for a forthcoming article detailing the final trains, as well as a more detailed summary of their final months of operation.

Sandown Line to Close?

As previously covered on Trackside (News to Me: The End of Sandown?), it would seem that the Sandown Line may be the next goods line in Sydney to close. With Shell Australia ending fuel services from their Sandown terminal in March 2010, and Patrick closing down their Sandown container terminal in June 2010, there would be no logical reason to keep the line open (unless another operator expresses interest in the Seatons facility). The line was booked out shortly before the end of June, only to be booked back in to allow Patrick PortLink to store some wagons in their sidings. Currently, the line is certified for use up to the Rosehill Accept signal, which is where the OHW on the line ends (it once extended as far as Sandown, although it has been long since removed). This allows the main platform at Rosehill to be used for Race Trains, although the line is unlikely to see any regular traffic other than these trains.

8044 rolls through Campsie with a short frieght bound for Port Botany. Services like this one, run by South Spur Rail Services, will now fall under the control of P&O - possibly with different motive power, possibly not!

The line is not yet closed, although no more traffic will regularly travel past Rosehill. As well as the PPL owned wagons at Sandown, Shell Australia also has a number of NTAF wagons stored in their sidings next to the Patrick facility. It is likely that these wagons will need to be removed eventually, either to be stored off site to allow the land to be used for other purposes, or for the wagons to be cut up and sold for scrap.

P&O Buys South Spur Rail Services from Coote Industrial

Coote Industrial sold subsidiary company South Spur Rail Services to P&O Holdings Pty Ltd during June 2010. As well as the wagons owned and used by South Spur Rail Services (SSRS), a number of locomotives were believed to have been included in the sale. The remaining locomotive fleet owned by Coote Industrial (acquired during their purchase of ALLCO Rail only a few years prior) will remain operated by Coote Industrial subsidiary Greentrains. Greentrains will continue to lease motive power to P&O for their trains, although what locomotives have remained with Greentrains and what locomotives were included in the sale is yet to be released. At the time of writing, it is unknown if P&O will continue to operate under the P&O Trans Australia name or roll all of their services under the South Spur name. Of course, the reverse may occur, with those services operated by SSRS brought under the P&O Trans Australia company name.

Current motive power on SSRS trains include members of the RL, 80, 830, 600, 48s, 442s and C  Classes. P&O Trans Australia trains are currently operated by P&O  owned 4471 and/or 4477, as well as leased motive power from CFCLA, including members of the G, EL, GL, VL, 442 and S Classes. P&O have previously hired members of the KL Class from CFCLA, as well as members of the CLF and CLP class from QRNational.

A New Player in the Coal Market

G514 leads B61, B65 and G513 south through Cowan with NW08 export coal from Newstan Colliery to Inner Harbour.

Southern Shorthaul Railroad (SSR) has entered the coal haulage market, with their first coal train from Newstan Colliery to Inner Harbour commencing operation in April 2010. Previously, all export coal from Newstan was hauled by Pacific National to either Inner Harbour or Kooragang Island, although when Newstan Colliery increased production and requested an extra rake to serve the mine, Pacific National was unable to comply (either due to locomotive or rolling stock shortages). This resulted in SSR winning a contract to transport coal from the mine to Inner Harbour four days a week (typically Monday to Thursday), and to Kooragang Island on the weekends. A rake of CHAY mineral hoppers were leased from CFCLA to undertake the contract, running as train NW08 from Goulburn to Newstan on April 20th. The locomotives used for the first month of services were SSR owned G513, B65, B61 and G514. 44206 replaced B61, then B65 for a short period at the start of June, with S317 replacing B61 at the time of writing. Originally a contract for three months, it would seem that this has been extended, with SSR looking to purchase further motive power and rolling stock to provide a more cost effective service.

Photos of SSR-hauled coal trains

The author would like to extend his thanks to Fred Sawyer, Maikha Ly, Chris Walters and the members of Railpage Australia and the Ausloco Yahoo Group for their assistance in compiling this article.

Advertisements

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.

A Simple Plan… ?

The plan was a sound one. Set up at Rookwood (Weeroona Rd, Strathfield), and get a nice, evenly lit photo of 42202, which remains in the Northern Rivers Railroad scheme, despite being in QRNational service. All going to plan, 42202 would lead 2152 QRNational Glenlee to Yennora freight, as it had done the day prior. Following this shot, a relocation to Mascot would be made to allow for a shot of RailCorp Mechanised Track Inspection Vehicle ML-039 over the Alexandria Canal, near Cooks River Yard. As this unit will one day be retired, it is always worth getting a shot of it; especially in places it is not often seen.

ML-039 is seen at Rookwood crossing 4MB4 PN Intermodal service.

We arrived at Rookwood at 0845, and with plenty of time before 2152, we spent our time recording the other freight movements along the stretch of track that links Chullora Junction with Flemington Goods Junctions – the former being the busiest junction on the Metropolitan Goods Lines, with most freight trains, be they interstate superfreighters or short container trip trains, passing through Chullora Junction at some point on their journey.

The first train to pass Rookwood would be just after 9am. Solo 44208 headed up T285 P&O Botany to Yennora container trip – 44208 having been recently repainted by Bradken Rail at Braemar, a “touch up” of the CFCLA colour scheme. While it would not appear that a full repaint was done, the CFCLA livery has been reapplied over the previously grey patch along one side of the loco, where 44208 had previously sustained accident damage.

Roughly half an hour later, the familiar blue and white livery of LDP001 and LDP003 could be seen navigating the northern fork of Chullora Junction, hauling 4MB7 QRNational freight to Brisbane. Twenty minutes later, triple 81 class rolled through with 8938 Manildra Group flour service to Bomaderry, having come into Sydney from Manildra overnight. They would cross 4MB4 at Chullora Junction, the latter train headed up by NR13 and NR60. NR60 was only recently repainted into the Pacific National “Stars” livery, from the previous National Rail “SteelLink” blue/grey scheme.

Curiously, at this point, we had not seen T280, which is one of the regular trains to operate between Yennora and Botany (the opposite working to T285, above). Normally T280 and T285 cross anywhere between Auburn and Campsie.  T280 especially is on a very tight path, as it leaves Yennora just after the “freight curfew” ends, to run to Botany before returning to Yennora before the afternoon “freight curfew” comes into effect. If the train is late into Botany, it is often late out, which throws loading and crew rosters way out, as the train will often be left sitting at Enfield to wait for the afternoon peak hour to subside.

Following close behind 8938 was ML-039, the RailCorp mechanised track inspection vehicle. ML-039 ran down to Chullora Junction, before moving out along the north fork of the junction, and then returning back to the goods lines. This movement would cause 4BM7 to come to a stop at the signal near the Weeroona Rd overbridge to await the line ahead to clear.

X53 and 42202 combine to work a short 2152 Glenlee to Yennora freight, seen here crossing 4BM7 QRNational interstate freight

Once ML-039 had departed for Botany, X53 and 42202 then appeared around the northern fork of Chullora Junction with 2152 Glenlee to Yennora container freight. Sadly, by the time the locos were in view, 4BM7 had moved up to the signal protecting the junction, and the shadows from the containers on the train were blocking the “ideal shot”. Not to mention the fact that 42202 was hiding behind a bright yellow X Class! As we are not ones to be discouraged, we set about getting  a shot of X53 and the 422 with their (short) train. Sure enough, as soon as they cleared the junction, 4BM7 was given the road to proceed onto the goods line to Sefton and on to Glenlee where they would shunt loading for Sydney, and wait for loading for Melbourne to arrive from Yennora (42202 and X53 would return to Glenlee with 1253, the Sydney to Melbourne loading for 4BM7, and then return to Yennora as 2154).

With the shot of 42202 a write off for today (a shot of the yellow X was an acceptable compromise), it was time to relocate to Mascot, to a spot overlooking the Alexandria Canal, near Cooks River Yard. The plan was to get a nice shot of ML-039 returning from Botany, possibly reflected in the (un)clean waters of the canal. When we arrived, any hopes of a reflection shot were firmly dashed, as the breeze was up – ensuring that the water was as unhelpful as possible. Never mind!

Shortly after we arrived, GL107 wandered past light engine, towards Botany on the main, followed by 4497 and 4703 push-pull with T250 Minto MIST to Botany container trip train (also on the main). Soon thereafter, a rake of containers was propelled back over the canal by 1443, this train running on the refuge. GL107 was waiting at the Botany end of the refuge, to shunt  loading bound for MIST at Minto. While GL107 and 1443 were shunting their wagons (the loading not bound for Minto would later run to Botany behind GL107, while 1443 would head back to Cooks River), ML-039 snuck past on the main, with the shot more or less blocked by the containers on the near track! Again, forced to make do, we did get a shot. Of course, it was not the one we planned on!

Determined to catch the rest of the traffic out of Botany, we moved to Gelco, located at the throat of the main Botany Yard complex. It was here that we recorded 4703 and 4497 running light to Mascot siding to pick up their train (T251 to Minto). Behind the light engines was T281 P&O Botany to Yennora container trip, behind 44209 and 4477. As the train was stopped at a signal, one of the crew members came over for a word, mentioning that the train had never made it out of Botany that morning (normally, the train that forms T280 in the morning runs out from Botany before the morning peak hour starts). As the train was late departing, they never made it to Yennora, hence why we did not see them at Rookwood that morning!

ML-039 is seen darting behind containers near Cooks River Yard

After the characteristically ALCo departure of 44209 and 4477, DL44 and 4892 headed up Patricks PortLink T171 from Botany to Sandown. They were followed in turn by 8049 and RL306 with 1443 South Spur Rail Services Botany to Walsh Point container freight. With P&O set to purchase SSRS from Coote Industrial in the immediate future, it remains to be seen if the existing Greentrains (a division of Coote Industrial) locomotives will continue to lead these trains, or if alternate (CFCLA) motive power will take over.

So, even with all of the setbacks, it was still a great day trackside, and some interesting movements were seen. With the aforementioned sale of SSRS, and the pending closure of Seatons at Sandown (and the resulting cessation of Patricks PortLink services from Botany), these sightings may be little more than a memory before the end of the year.

Finally, thanks to Chris Walters for his company on the day, and his assistance in compiling the train numbers for this article.

(News to Me) P&O Trans Australia

One of the final runs of T120 - Interail shuttle from Yennora Distribution Yard to Port Botany. 19/2/09
One of the final runs of T120 - Interail shuttle from Yennora Distribution Yard to Port Botany. 19/2/09

Starting from Sunday February 22nd, control of the container shuttle from Yennora to Port Botany will again change hands from Interail to P&O Trans Australia. This is the third operator in twelve months to run the service, which typically departs Yennora Distribution Park just after the morning freight curfew ends, and runs to Port Botany via Enfield. In the first few months of 2008, the service was run by Patricks Portlink, until the completion of their contract, at which point it passed under the banner of Interail – QRNationals interstate intermodal carrier brand. It now passes from Interail to P&O Trans Australia – a new operator in NSW. QRNational and P&O (owned by Dubai Ports World) have a close history of contracts for rail transport in Australia.

CFCLA recently sold their 44 Class fleet (4468,4471,4477 and 4483 – although only 4471 and 4477 were in service at the time of the sale) to P&O Trans Australia, which saw 4471 and 4477 sent to Junee Roundhouse Workshops (JRW) for repainting. At the time of writing, the units have now returned to Sydney, the only change being that 71 and 77 have had their CFCLA logos painted out – they still remain in the CFCLA scheme for now.

With the change of operator, the train numbers change again, with T280 expected to be the first train to be run by P&O Trans Australia to depart Yennora on Monday the 23rd of February. Standard motive class is expected to be a pair of 44 Class (ie 4471 and 77) but it is unclear at this stage where the locomotives will be maintained, and what motive power will be used when one or both units are out of service for maintenence.

Watch this space for further information.

(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.

(News to Me) The Final Run of T176/7

GM22 leading 4471 out of Yennora with T176The previous Friday (27th June) saw a handful of railfans out and about trackside along the Metropolitan Goods Line to get their “final shots” of Patricks Portlink train T176/T177. For years now this shuttle has run between Yennora Distribution Centre (owned by CRT Group) and Port Botany using a variety of leased motive power. On the date in question, GM22 and 4471 did the honours, rolling out of Yennora at 0848.

The train made excellent time between Yennora and Port Botany, although it lost it’s path out of Port Botany in the afternoon. At 1338, 4471 lead the charge out of Botany with GM22 trailing behind, much to the delight of the few enthusiasts on the road bridge.

4471 Heading up a PPL Service at BotanyDisappointingly, the pair were not to return to Yennora until later that evening, having lost their path onto the busy west/old south lines, and were held somewhere around Enfield until after the peak hour was over.

At 1600 hours the same day, Patricks Portlink Accreditation ceased – they are now running under a temporary Pacific National accreditation. It is unknown at this stage if they will renew their accreditation, having reportedly lost the Yennora contract (as the Distribution Centre is owned by CRT Group, which is in turn owned by QRNational, who have recently begun providing their own shuttle between Yennora and Botany, as can be seen here).

More information will be provided when it comes to hand! Anyone with good information on this can feel free to contact me through this website.