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Old S.A.R. Shunter's Memories
      


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Last updated:  08 March 2014


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THESE  PHOTOS
Cliff Olds.


Author of the book,
"Wouldn't Have Missed It For Quids"

What's below on this page

Goto:  NARROW  GAUGE  PETERBOROUGH

Goto:  NAROW  GAUGE  AUTO  COUPLER

Goto:  NARROW  GAUGE  PORT  LINCOLN

Goto:  BROAD  GAUGE

Goto:  EARLY  STANDARD  GAUGE

Goto:  MERILDIN  once  MINTARO

Goto:  Port Wakefield  HOYLETON  Railways

Goto:  C.R.  TEA  and  SUGAR  TRAIN



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NARROW  GAUGE

Peterborough Division 


COCKBURN

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Diesel 862 coupled to its mate just outside the loco shed.   A small creek ran through the loco area which required the trestle bridge which the diesel is standing on.   I think that the remains might still be there today near the level crossing at the Burns end of town.



  
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 T182, the South Australian Railways shunting loco at Cockburn in that era.   The steel coal gantry is behind the loco and the three road engine shed is the tallest roof in the background. The lattice steel structure behind the shed on the right of the photo was a gantry crane for lifting defective trucks off their wheels for repairs and maintenance. All that sort of maintenance was carried out in the loco depot area which boasted a Loco Foreman, Fitter and mate, three Train Examiners, three train crews and three Chargemen in those days.


These pics next taken Saturday 25th September 1965 when I was stationed at Cockburn as a Station Clerk in the S.A.R.

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W22 on arrival at Burns in the cutting at the eastern end of the yard. 

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After the loco had turned on the triangle and provides a reasonable view of the Burns yard. 


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W22 train now departing Burns.
  The "fishing rod" hanging out of the empty truck
behind the loco has a microphone hanging on
the end of it to record the steam train noise
for later records and tapes.


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What appears to be a headboard is actually an empty "On" bogie ore wagon (9t tare, 31t capacity). As you can see that it accommodated tape recording equipment and operators used en route from Peterborough. The microphone was hanging on the end of a pivoting telescopic boom. I have often wondered what happened to the tapes produced, they should be worth hearing.


It is of interest that Lew Roberts' book "Rails to Wealth" pages 272 & 273 notes that W22 was last in service on 9/12/1960 whilst W25 was last in service on 18/7/1961 after having run 235,928 miles with the interesting addendum "+ 415 since on specials". No such addendum exists for W22. 

Re the W22 / W25 story above, that happened between 1961 and 1969 whereas W22 didn't arrive in Quorn from Menzies Creek until sometime after 2000. Pichi Richi has only one ex S.T.Co. loco and that is W22 which on examination was found to be beyond economic repair, so its cosmetic differences were transferred to ex W.A.G.R. W916 (streamlined skyline cowling etc.) and that is the loco that now runs under the guise of W22. W25 resides in the National Railway Museum, Port Dock.

The "original" W22 went from Broken Hill to Puffing Billy (Menzies Creek), then after some years sitting there it was eventually purchased by PRR & moved to Quorn. The Silverton W you see running at Quorn now is ex WAGR W916 dressed up as W22, as W22 is in very poor condition. The original W22 currently resides in a shed at the back of the loco complex.


 

Beyer Garratt 409 at Nantabibbie 
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Taken in the 1950's as the Garratt still has hook couplings. Certainly some memories here. I wonder how long those placards under station sign lasted out in the weather exposed like that.

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(these 4 Garratt 409 photos by late George Bishop)

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The watering spot at right is Nackara, at the Nantabibbie end of the yard. 
They had another hose type water point at the Paratoo end of the Nackara yard.

 


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Garratt 400 departing Gladstone towards Caltowie and Peterborough in mid 1969. In the foreground is the new and as then unopened standard gauge track.

 
Beyond the train on the far right of the photo can be seen the loco depot water tower, arched roof of the loco shed, the 200 ton (from memory) coal gantry (they were never known as "coal stages" no matter what current "experts" write) and the lower quadrant "down" home signal. 
In earlier years it was usual to turn the Garratts on the 85 ft turntable at Gladstone on the "down" because the narrow gauge turntable at Port Pirie couldn't accommodate a Garratt but that had not occurred here. I believe that a few Garratts were stationed in Port Pirie in that late hour of the narrow gauge and worked cross jobs which included loco changes with the 830 class diesels from Peterborough - hence it was pointless to turn them. I worked in Gladstone Loco from 1961 to 1964, so there are many pleasant memories for me here.



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400 on arrival at Cockburn on the "down" 
Broken Hill Express 787
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408 at Peterborough Loco on the arrival road


Next three pictures were taken on Easter Sunday in 1965

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This photo shows T 251, Garratt 407 and other stored T class locos. These were stored on the roads between the oil store and Yongala Road. Also evident are X type trucks which came in a variety of options. The one with the white diagonal stripe has no doors and was used for ore transport exclusively. Others had one door per side, others two. They were known colloquially to railwaymen as "large". 
The reason proffered to me was that they were larger than their predecessors, the C type, and a C can be seen between the X's. C's still existed in the 60's but were only for departmental use (ash transport etc.). Between T 251 and the X's seems to be a small steel sided 4 wheeler, can't remember their classification and they also were not in regular service.


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401 was stabled outside the roundhouse on what
 looks like the departure road run around.




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404 and its mate are on one of the storage sidings with the steam grab used for removal of ashes from the pond is stabled behind it. The pond may have been filled in by then. Behind is the boiler house with its tall chimney (locos had funnels according to my loco instructor Bill Girdler, buildings had chimneys)


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Garratt 409 arriving at Peterborough from Terowie
and passing over the Silver Street level crossing
with  an empty ballast train in about 1967

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409 arriving Gladstone with the old drive-in
theatre in the background. 22-7-1967.


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S.A.R. 400 class Garratt 406 ready to depart Gladstone for Peterborough in 1969. It would probably work to the cross of an 830 class diesel hauled train, swap locos then return to Port Pirie. I fired all ten of our Garratts and they were all good locos, free steamers and being oil burners didn't demand much physical activity on the fireman's part. They were painted a very dark green and much folklore surrounds that fact. The railfan fraternity called it "invisible green".

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402 at the "down" or Huddleston end of Gladstone
yard, about to depart for Port Pirie in 1969.








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400 taking water at Gladstone. 1969.

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400 taking water at Gladstone. c1962.

The fireman is taking water and the driver is performing the time honoured task of "having a look around" to make sue that all is in order with the loco.  Water was always taken via the front tank although it was possible to take it via the back tank.  The predominant reason to my mind was that the back bunker had the fuel oil tank in it and fuel men could be quite messy when topping up the oil tank, so it was a cleaner exercise to top up from the front. 
The Garratts could not turn at Port Pirie so had to run bunker first either to or from that town.  The closest turning facility was the 85 ft electric turntable at Gladstone, 33 rail miles away.


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Garratt 406 on Goods 275 Peterborough to
Port Pirie
at Gladstone on 5th February 1969.

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402 and train approaching Huddleston. 
Note the adjacent standard gauge track.


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Garratt 400 working upgrade from Port Pirie to 
Warnertown in its final year of operation, 1969.

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Garratt 400 Port Pirie alongside
Bogie Exchange.


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3ft 6inch gauge South Australian Railways 400 class
Garratt 402 (149 tons, T.E. 43,520 lbs) on a loaded
 ore train for Port Pirie ascending the grade just
before entering Huddleston yard in 1969. 

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3 ft 6 inch gauge South Australian Railways 400 class
Garratt 402 (149 tons, T.E. 43,520 lbs) on a loaded
  ore train for Port Pirie ascending the grade just
before entering Huddleston yard in 1969. 


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   Garratt 402 and train of Broken Hill lead and zinc waiting at the home signal at Gladstone in 1969. The arched roof of the loco shed can be seen just in front of the loco, with the coal gantry beyond. The new standard gauge track is on the right.


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Same train arriving Gladstone from Peterborough.

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Garratt 409 Gladstone late 1963.


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Garratt 400 in the vicinity of Yangya in the
 (pronounced "Yanga") Gladstone - Caltowie section
heading for Peterborough in 1969.

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Garratt 400 in the vicinity of Yangya in the
 (pronounced "Yanga") Gladstone - Caltowie section
heading for Peterborough in 1969.


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Garratt 400 same train crossing a dirt road level
crossing at the same location near Yangya
heading for Peterborough in 1969.

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Garratt 400 same train crossing a dirt road level
crossing at the same location near Yangya
heading for Peterborough in 1969.

"Up" empty ore train heading from Port Pirie to Peterborough, in the vicinity of the old Yangya (pronounced Yanga) siding which was between Gladstone and Caltowie. Yangya was closed c.1962, but prior to that, was a crossing point equipped with miniature electric staff instruments for the Gladstone - Yangya and Yangya - Caltowie sections. 


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Photo above was taken with a very cheap 35 mm camera that I used when I had B & W film in the Pentax camera. I think that the camera was free if you bought 6 rolls of slide film, and that was well before "Made in China" was heard of!  It was 1969, the W was in exchange for T 181 and had come down from Broken Hill on the "Farewell to Narrow Gauge" ARHS trip and I think was cut up at Terowie. 
The T is 257 and its tender is fitted with an auto coupler which was not common. No T class loco front ends were fitted with auto couplers, only about 4 tenders were, which of course could be swapped from loco to loco. The reason was that all bogie ore trucks and many others had been fitted with auto couplers by 1969 and there was a 600 ton limit behind a hook/auto adaptor coupler which robbed the T's of their full potential if fitted with a hook coupler. 
Also evident in the photo is the coal gantry and the Port Pirie lower quadrant home signal and note that the ash pond that should have been in the foreground, has been filled in.

Another point of clarification, the S.A.R. did have coal stages and that is exactly what they were - elevated horizontal platforms on which coal was stored, then shoveled into loco tenders by some unfortunate soul. These were situated at stations with minor loco facilities or were anachronisms of the pre gantry days (Minnipa and Cummins still had them after the gantries were erected, but they were not used) and were for emergency use only. The regular coaling locations had gantries of one sort or another, the concrete version held 200 tons I think and were at the major depots whereas the smaller steel coal stages (e.g. Naracoorte, Bordertown, Mt. Gambier, Cockburn) or timber gantries (e.g. Cummins, Minnipa) sufficed for smaller depots.


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Brill railcar 102 and trailer 302 having just arrived at Gladstone on Psgr 448 which was the school train from Port Pirie. It ran because there is no high school at Crystal Brook, then went on to Gladstone to stow the trailer, refuel the railcar, turn, then return to Port Pirie. Girls in the railcar, boys in the trailer to try to control shennanigans! The regular driver was Max Lambert, whom I (cliff) still catch up with at railway reunions. Spring 1963.

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T 253 in the vicinity of Yangya (between Gladstone and Caltowie) on an "up" Peterborough in the Spring of 1963. The loco is a coal burner, so it was probably time to change the Port Pirie wharf shunt loco, that being usually the only coal burner in Port Pirie. Main line Tclass out of Port Pirie were either all oil, or oil and coal.
The crew are Engineman Doug Boucher and Fireman Brian Chapman of Port Pirie. I had raced them from Gladstone on my push bike! Brian was a top coal loco fireman and had no trouble here.


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T 257 in Peterborough Loco, sporting an automatic coupler on the tender, which is why I (Cliff) took the photo.


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Oulnina (between Mannahill and Yunta) 1950's,
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Mannahill 1950's


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T 183 Stone Hut. 1963
T 183 in Stone Hut (Wilmington line) one Saturday morning in late 1963. I (Cliff) was the fireman on this "up" working from Wilmington and this train usually arrived in Gladstone before daybreak. I had intended catching the Bluebird railcar from Gladstone to Adelaide for a day in the big smoke however things got later and later. Eventually our train was put away at Stone Hut to allow the railcar to pass, not the most efficient train controlling manoeuvre that I experienced and all hope of catching the Bluebird was gone. However, it was a fine sunny morning so my driver (Arno Ramp) and I decided that a couple of photos were in order. Why I didn't photograph the actual railcar pass is lost in the mists of time.


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T 44 is working the final leg of the "Farewell to Narrow Gauge Tour" and is ascending the Gumbowie bank from Peterborough on 13/10/1969 (a Sunday from memory). The driver (the big bloke looking out) is one of the Kennedy twins (either Bill or Bob), neither of whom were slouches with the regulator, I have no idea who the fireman was. 
I was the Station Master at Georgetown at the time, so was able to fit in some train photography in between work, cricket etc. in the Gladstone - Peterborough area.


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  T 198 on the "outward" road in Gladstone Loco, being prepared for Wilmington line service.  
Driver Reg Keatch appears to be cleaning out the ash pan whilst fireman Leo "Sheriff" Landers is in the cab, probably oiling the reversing screw.  Leo was training for his engineman's examination, which probably explains the role reversal seen here.  Taken in later 1963.   There was an Rx behind T 198 waiting to enter traffic for a shift on the broad gauge shunt.


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T257 Quorn. 
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T251 Booleroo Centre train
between Gladstone and Laura in 1969.


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T253 Gladstone.
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T253 dep Gladstone
Gaol Hill.


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T253 Booleroo Centre.
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T253 Booleroo Centre.


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T253 Gladstone.
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T253 Stone Hut.


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T253 Goods 309 arr Laura 07-07-1967 (A.Ramp)
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T253 Goods 309 dep Laura 07-07-1967 (A.Ramp)


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T 251 working goods 309 to either Wilmington (Mondays) or Booleroo Centre (Wednesdays) in the spring of 1969. With that light load, obviously no grain was running. A T class was allowed 405 tons for that section, but has nothing like that behind the drawbar.
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Same train, same day, having just topped Gaol Hill at Gladstone en route to the next station Laura. 
I was the Station Master at Georgetown at the time and snuck away for a couple of hours to get these photos. I had a co-operative Porter.


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T 251 on goods 309 passing over Pine Creek
at Laura in 1969.
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T23 shunting east end Peterborough 


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Steel Coal stage Cockburn Loco Depot 1965.
   Cockburn loco depot in 1965. 
The only steam was the T class yard shunter which can be seen beyond the manual 50 ft turntable. It was always a coal burner, so the coal gantry still saw occasional use. The main line was worked exclusively by the 830 class Goodwin Alcos and the T class shunters were changed over as required by light engine movements from and to Peterborough. In earlier days the Garratts required an 85 ft turntable to turn, so were turned on the S.T.Co. triangle at Burns just over the border. Three loco crews were based at Cockburn in 1965 to handle the morning and afternoon shift yard shunts, loco preparation and stabling duties.


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T251 - T240 hauling the "Farewell to Narrow Gauge" tour crossing the Rocky River bridge just north of Stone Hut whilst heading back to Gladstone. 
Driver Arno Ramp leaning out of the cab cutout on the lead loco. Saturday 11th October 1969.
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T 240 as the "Wharf Shunter" shunting in Ellen Street, Port Pirie in 1965. Most steam main line working was done with oil burning T class locos however the wharf shunter was usually a coal burner. That was not an arduous job with plenty of spare time.


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Engine Line-up Peterborough loco (A. Ramp)
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T 251 shunting goods 309 at Terka, bound
for Wilmington in the later 1960's.


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Oil fired T199 stabled at the Port Pirie narrow gauge loco depot with two other oil burning T's in the background.


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Oil burning T 244 appears to have been just lit up at Port Pirie narrow gauge loco. Must have been in the later 1960's as I took the photo from the new Mary Ellie Street station platform.


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T200 was the afternoon shift shunt loco
at Gladstone, probably about 1965.




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T 44 has just arrived at Terowie from Eurelia with
the "Farewell to Narrow Gauge" tour from Eurelia. 
The passengers are changing to the broad gauge train
to Adelaide hauled by 526 Duchess of Gloucester. 
13th October 1969.
 


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T 44 departing Peterborough for Terowie on the "Farewell" tour on Monday 13th October 1969. It had brought the train from Eurelia on the Quorn line and sports the unique Quorn line oil burning tender which was the only one fitted with two oil tanks. Withdrawn Brill railcar 100 and trailer 302 are about to be passed. as was my trusty Holden FB wagon.

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Y 97 in the Peterborough roundhouse. It was fitted
with a W class four wheel tender because it could then fit on the 85 ft turntable with a T class, not possible  if fitted with the Y class six wheel tender.  Known as the "roundhouse rat" because it was always ducking in and out of the roundhouse bays shifting dead locos. When I worked there in 1961 the "rat" was usually Y 77.


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Oil burning T 206 simmers in Port Pirie narrow gauge loco in 1965. Between its smoke box and the back of the tender left of photo can be seen the platform canopy of the Mary Ellie Street passenger station under construction.


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Coal burning T258 arriving at Gladstone from Port Pirie in late 1963. Oil burners usually reigned supreme on the Port Pirie main line so this was probably the Pirie wharf shunt loco being changed over, T 258 returning to Peterborough for a boiler washout etc. The driver I think was Alby Rushton.


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Oil burning T44 has run down the middle of Ellen Street, Port Pirie to shunt the smelters in 1965.

   On top of the oil tank, to the left of the filler is the thermometer housing which advised the loco crew of the fuel oil temperature. C grade bunker oil had to be heated to flow and this was achieved by a steam pipe coil in the oil tank. On the right, standard gauge rail panels sit in anticipation of the standard gauge conversion to the smelters which avoided Ellen Street. Standard gauge access to the smelters was via the wharf area and Ellen Street was never the same again. The "Foodland" shed seen behind the loco was the B.H.A.S. Co-operative store, known to all as "the company store" and was a retail grocers / haberdashery somewhat along the lines of the Eudunda Farmers Co-op shops that were all over South Australia at one time, but like the company store, are long gone. 


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T199 on an enthusiasts special at Hawker on Sunday 8th October 1967. Note the second oil tank in the tender, required to give the range from Peterborough to Hawker and return.
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T199 on an enthusiasts special at Quorn on Sunday 8th October 1967. Note the second oil tank in the tender, required to give the range from Peterborough to Hawker and return.


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Y 97 at Peterborough Monday 9th October 1967 about to work a special to Jamestown and return
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Y 97 at Yongala, same weekend October 1967. 


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T 44 hauling the Farewell to Narrow Gauge tour from Peterborough to Terowie on Monday 13th October 1969.
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T 44 hauling the Farewell to Narrow Gauge tour from Peterborough to Terowie on Monday 13th October 1969.


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Goodwin Alco diesels 856 - 864 (Alco 251 6 cylinder 900 h.p.) hauling a Cockburn bound train through the semi arid saltbush and bluebush country between Cutana and Mingary. Probably taken in 1969 however I can't see any sign of the standard gauge track.



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862 bound for Port Pirie crosses 857 heading uphill to Peterborough, both locos in pristine condition as they were only a few months old at the time. The On ore wagon behind 862 appear to be empty but is loaded to capacity with 31 tons of lead ore. If it was zinc ore, it would have been loaded to the top, such is the difference in the weight of the ores. The hill in the background is Mount Herbert. Gladstone.


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PETERBOROUGH  DIVISION
NARROW  GAUGE  HOOK  TO  AUTOMATIC  COUPLERS

March 1962
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Engine 850 with hook couplings Gladstone.

March 1962
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Engine 850 at Gladstone on 275 goods.
(Port Lincoln engine on delivery)

Here first 830 engine 850 pulling a load of hook ore wagons to Pirie in 1962 on its way to Port Lincoln.
These be rare shots taken in March 1962 at Gladstone before the 1962/63 mines shutdown and all the
 ore wagons were then converted over to automatic couplings. None of the 12 Peterborough 830's that
arrived on the Peterborough division from Feb 1963 had hooks, all had auto couplings fitted to them.

By Cliff Olds
25 October 2000

During the later months of 1962 we common people noticed that certain steel fittings had appeared on the ends of the ON ore trucks and it dawned on us that the fitting of automatic couplers was probably near. Questioning revealed that it was planned to change all bogie ore trucks from “chopper” hook couplers to automatic knuckle couplers during the Broken Hill mines Christmas/New Year shut down of 1962-63 when all ore trucks were idle. The tight timing of the project was revealed in an article from the March-April 1963 issue of the S.A. Railway Institute Magazine:- 

Quite a big job was carried out at Peterborough recently when 396 ON ore wagons were converted from hook type couplers to automatic couplers. In addition, 130 wagons were handled by the Silverton Tramway Company making a total of 526 vehicles converted. This project was carried out while the Broken Hill mines were in recess and had to be handled quickly in order to permit the vehicles to return to traffic. Much careful planning was necessary and the utmost co-operation was received from all grades employed on the work. The advantages to be gained from this type of coupler were amply illustrated when the first test train equal to 110 vehicles (Note 1) and hauled by locomotive 403 worked from Peterborough to Paratoo. As part of the project it was also necessary to replace the existing train pipe cocks with Westinghouse A-2-R type (note 2). The train pipe has been extended to bring the operating cocks out beyond the vehicle head stop (sic.). These improvements on the existing ON wagons and the supply of a further 100 new 35 ton roller bearing ore wagons (note 3) will greatly improve facilities on the Peterborough Division. The new diesel bays at the roundhouse are nearly completed and add quite a new look to the steam shed (note 4). All concerned on these projects are to be congratulated on the speed with which they were handled. (note 5). It is desired to mention that the conversion of 396 vehicles was carried out between December the 15th, 1962 and January 2nd, 1963. A very remarkable accomplishment. 

NOTE 1
In those days, train lengths and siding lengths were quoted in four wheel vehicle capacities, (arbitrarily 23 ft. units, although bogie vehicles were counted as equal to two four-wheeled trucks, regardless of length) so the train referred to would have consisted of 54 ON bogie ore trucks and a guards van, hauled by Garratt 403. The General Appendix train length limit for the narrow gauge in hook coupler days was “the equivalent of 70/four-wheeled cars” but later became “except as authorized in the Working Time Tables book”. 

NOTE 2.
Two types of train pipe cut out cocks existed on the S.A.R., i.e. the bent pattern and straight pattern, which referred to the shape of the operating handle. Prior to the conversion, narrow gauge train pipe cut out cocks were usually of the straight pattern type. In the “closed” position, the handle was along the pipe and when “open”, it was at right angles to the train pipe. It was invariably situated behind the headstock of the vehicle, resulting in limited contortions by the shunt staff and the danger of soiled clothing, particularly on dirty livestock vans, when cutting the air in or out. The bent pattern cocks such as the A-2-R had the handle manufactured bent or curved and were more common to the broad gauge. In the “closed” position, the handle was across the pipe and when “open” it was along the pipe, the opposite of the straight pattern type. The bent type contained a side port which exhausted coupling hose air pressure when the cock was closed, thus facilitating hose uncoupling. No such port existed on the straight handle type, which dictated uncoupling whilst the hoses were under pressure. 

NOTE 3.
These were to be the OMN ore wagons. 

NOTE 4.
The first of the Peterborough Division diesels was issued to traffic on 12th February 1963 and all twelve (856-867) were delivered by 8th August 1963, with automatic couplers. 840 was transferred from the broad gauge and started service on the narrow gauge on 23rd March 1967, remaining there until the standard gauge opened in early 1970. The auto couplings on narrow gauge 830’s were mounted lower than on their broader gauge counterparts, to accommodate the lower coupling height of the narrow gauge. 

Spring 1963
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858 (delivered to traffic on 9th May 1963)
working up past Gladstone Loco Depot towards
Caltowie. I (Cliff) was the loco cleaner that day.
1963
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859 (delivered to traffic on 25th May 1963)
on a goods from Port Pirie to Peterborough.
As can be seen here, I (Cliff) was the fireman
on the Gladstone T class shunter and this
 photo was taken from the cab. 

NOTE 5.
The auto couplers fitted to the ON’s were the “Alliance” top lift type, supplied by Bradford Kendall (uncoupling was effected by lifting the knuckle locking block vertically with a lever/chain mechanism mounted above the coupler), however converted locomotives were fitted with bottom lift couplers (the block was pushed up by rods from below the coupler). 

Each system’s trucks were converted by their respective owners, as they were accounted for individually. That necessitated segregating the red S.T.C. ON’s from the grey S.A.R. ON’s and then forwarding them to their respective headquarters. The ten S.A.R. 400 class Beyer-Garratt locomotives were included in the conversion as were the Silverton Tramway Company’s Goodwin-Alco diesels 27, 28 and 29. The S.T.C. converted their ON’s and locos at the Railwaytown depot in Broken Hill. S.T.C. Barclay 0-6-0 diesel mechanical shunter No.26 (“Sam”) was not converted, nor were the Broken Hill Associated Smelters diesel and remaining steam locos at Port Pirie, even though all continued in use after the conversion. 

To enable hook fitted vehicles to couple to auto fitted vehicles, portable adaptor couplers were manufactured and issued to traffic to coincide with the conversion date. They were based on a Commonwealth Railway design, but were “beefed up” for S.A.R. use. Inflexible instructions regarding their usage were laid down in a Standing Train Notice and subsequent amendments to the General Appendix and Working Timetable of the day. Trains were to be marshalled with auto fitted vehicles leading and hook vehicles trailing the adaptor. Only one adaptor was permitted per train and the load trailing the adaptor was limited to 600 tons. 

Every loco was required to carried an adaptor and certain yards and depots were issued with them, as was the S.T.C. at Broken Hill and the B.H.A.S. at Port Pirie. A steel pin for the purpose of securing the adaptor coupler when not in use was welded to the running plates of the steam locos. It was situated behind the second adhesion block on the fireman’s side of the T class and adjacent to the buffer beam, fireman’s side on the Garratts. More often than not though, the adaptor ended up in the more convenient “duck pond”, i.e. the running plate between the frames in front of the smoke box of the T’s, or the water tanks of the Garratts. 

The 830 class diesels carried theirs secured on top of the coupling pocket casting. 
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Brake vans (GB’s) did not carry them as standard equipment, but if no adaptors were in use in the consist of the train, instructions were that one was to be placed in the van for that movement only. (I don’t know what that instruction envisaged, because the loco carried one. There could be no such thing as a totally auto coupler train because all GB’s had hook couplings. Conversely, to attach an auto fitted vehicle to a total hook coupler train, which would have to be Y class or unconverted T class hauled, would require the use of two adaptors, in contravention of the “one per train” rule.) 

In practice they were always in short supply and the spares were always being called on, which exacerbated the problem. The exception was the Silverton Tramway Company, who seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of them judging by the number which we removed from some of their “trams” at Cockburn. The S.T.C. was not a stickler to S.A.R. train marshalling rules and regulations and regularly used more than one adaptor coupler in their trains. The record in my days at Cockburn was nine in an 11am “tram” on one occasion! That habit often resulted in much remarshalling of trains from Broken Hill at Cockburn and consequential delays to the S.A.R. service. 
The loco/guard change over on the “down” Broken Hill Express at Cockburn provided another example of S.T.C. autonomy. They regularly attached ore empties with their loco, then just over the N.S.W. border at Burns, the train was backed onto even more empty ore wagons. That resulted in a lengthy train with the coaching in the middle (hook couplers with adaptors each end) sandwiched between two long strings of ore wagons (autos), no brake van at the rear and an interesting ride for the passengers from Burns to Broken Hill. The ore wagons were detached at Railwaytown station before the Express proceeded the few blocks to Sulphide Street station. 

The 600 ton limit of the adaptor negated the benefits of T class locos double heading with Garratts to Belalie North (or anywhere else) and robbed the T’s of 500 tons capacity from there to Port Pirie, so it was found expedient to fit certain T class tenders with automatic couplers for Port Pirie line use. Second hand auto couplers which bolted directly onto the buffer beam were fitted to the tenders of T’s 206, 228 and 252 (January 1963 after the ON’s had been completed) and T 183 (November 1963). Those couplers contained no draught springing whatsoever, so when the loco attached to a full load of ore, a resultant hard jarring shock was experienced in the loco cab on impact. It is misleading to state that specific T class locos were converted to auto couplers, as only certain tenders were and they were swapped from loco to loco as required. The front coupling on all T class locos remained the hook type until the end, as did most of the tender couplings. To eyes used to the much smaller and lighter “chopper” couplings, the autos looked disproportionate on T class tenders, however that was only an aesthetic shortcoming which diminished with time. 

The character of narrow gauge ore trains changed after the auto coupler conversion. The audible run in and run out which occurred with the hook couplers, especially when a movement started or stopped, all but disappeared. That coupling slack occasionally gave the guard a rough time and contributed to pulled drawbars if train management got out of hand, but enginemen could put it to good use to get a heavy train started. That was particularly so at Huddleston on the “down” when a lone T attempted to overcome the inertia of a 1,100 ton ore train. The tight coupling of the autos meant that the loco had to lift the whole load almost all at once, rather than truck by truck as the slackness of the hook couplings allowed. Drivers still tried to bunch the leading trucks by backing the loco into them, then spinning the reversing wheel into fore gear without shutting the regulator, but it was quite a struggle until the down grade in the cutting beyond the switches at the Crystal Brook end was reached. 

The auto couplers also made life more difficult for pedestrians who preferred to cut through the middle of consists rather than walk around them. In the hook days it was a simple matter to use the hand brake corner step or the coupled side chains on the non handbrake end (no step) to step over the coupler and there was plenty of room to avoid the ore encrusted ends of the trucks. However, with auto fitted vehicles, no such chains existed so one had to look for the hand brake end step and as the trucks were now closer together, a dusting of ore somewhere on one’s clothes was almost a certainty. If one encountered two trucks with the hand brake handles adjacent, the opening was so narrow that it was ignored. 

Those initial conversions are not the end of the story though. Over the next several years some narrow gauge bogie goods vehicles which were earmarked for later use on the standard gauge, were modified in anticipation and then returned to narrow gauge duties The fitting of auto couplers was part of the conversion and included were 35 VW, 22 VCW louvre vans; 4 RPN, 1 RPN, 1 RCN, 1 RCB cool cars; 47 GN, 5 OBN open bogies (usually used in grain traffic); 5 FNC, 10 FNL flats (usually used for small intersystem containers) 15 CN cattle vans; 15 TS, 3 TV, 2 TC, 2 TB, 2 TP fuel tankers; and 1 TDS, 1 TDW (fuel), 3 TW, 1 TDW (water) departmental tanks. The 100 OMN ore wagons, which were delivered from Oct 62 to July 63 with auto’s, were rebuilt into the larger capacity SOC’s in 1968 and returned to the N.G. Broad gauge cool cars RRP 9024 and RX 9030, which had been running on the narrow gauge as RBN 7728 and 7729 as a result of the Broken Hill Express derailment at Paratoo on 27th December 1960, were converted to autos in 1966 and returned to the narrow gauge. Other narrow gauge vehicles were converted to standard gauge in the mid to late 60’s, but were then stored, some because they were then no longer suitable to run on the n.g. For example, the 18 SN sheep vans converted to SSC from July ‘68 were stored because the new end sliding doors and concertinas were not compatible with the old SN hinged end doors. Not all bogie goods vehicles and no brake vans, passenger rolling stock or four wheeled ore/goods vehicles were converted to auto couplers on the Peterborough Division. Conversely, at the closing of the N.G., the ON ore wagons (all auto converted) were stored, then scrapped.

Bogie vehicles which were manufactured with the standard gauge in mind, but had been issued to traffic prior to the new track opening, ran on the narrow gauge with auto couplers in the interim. The 17 HCA two compartment air discharge cement hoppers (not to be confused with the broad gauge three compartment HCA’s which exceeded the N.G. axle load) and the 3 SE explosive vans, all of which were bogie exchanged between the broad gauge and narrow gauge at Terowie and the two FAN acid container flats were examples.

Other ex N.G. rollingstock gained auto couplers when put on the standard gauge in 1970, any coupling height deficiency being rectified by fitting a packing plate under the centre plates. The 12 wheeled TB tanks (which could not be readily returned to the narrow gauge when modified), other TP tanks, and 9 ESV employees’ sleeping vans were examples. To assist with standard gauge track laying, 6 HN ballast hoppers had earlier been fitted with S.G. bogies, but retained their chopper couplings and used adaptors at each end of the consist. Track construction came under the jurisdiction of the Chief Engineer, therefore G.T.M. regulations did not apply! After standardization, these hoppers were earmarked for the Wilmington and Quorn lines, but they remained on the S.G. at Peterborough. They were converted to auto couplers in 1974 and ran on the S.G. until 1984 when they were transferred to Port Lincoln. 

The Port Lincoln Division is not the subject of this essay, but it is interesting to note that auto couplers were introduced there in S.A.R. days in a 1973 program which utilized second hand auto couplers from the ON ore wagons. Some vehicles needed only the couplers e.g. HAN hoppers, whereas others also needed the draft gear as well, e.g. OGN grain opens. Eventually, all the ON couplings were utilized, but once again not all vehicles were converted, resulting in the necessity for adaptor couplers. In 1975, the adaptor trailing load limit was raised to 1100 tons (imperial was cited!) on the Port Lincoln Division, which then coincided with the S.A.R.’s long standing maximum tonnage limit for heavy drawgear hook couplers. An oddity which occurred there was the conversion of eight SFN four-wheeled sheep vans to VFN louvre vans in 1965 and their subsequent fitting with auto couplers. That was done to facilitate their use as “take-out” vans, marshalled in the usual place next to the auto coupled loco. They were probably the only four-wheeled N.G. vehicles ever fitted with auto couplers by the S.A.R., although CGF 7083, a shunters’ float derived from a CFN four-wheel cattle van, appeared at Port Lincoln in the mid 80’s fitted with auto couplers under A.N.R. ownership. 

An unusual postscript to this article is that after the Broken Hill - Port Pirie line was standardized, the Wilmington and Quorn lines became isolated narrow gauge tracks and the captive diesel locos which worked them (the former by 865 and 866 and the latter by 858 and 867) were then converted from auto to hook couplers, once again to overcome the adaptor couple restrictions and complications. In A.N.R. days, the NSU and NT class locos which replaced them also had their autos swapped for hook couplers for those duties, along with stainless steel brake van NBHR 96 which was transferred to Gladstone from the N.A.R. In 1987, S.G. SGBC 1 to 5 which had been converted by the S.A.R. from N.G. OBN 31 to 35, were re-converted by A.N.R. to their original classification and form for Wilmington line use. 

In 1963, spare adaptor couplers were nominated to be held at the following locations:- 

Cockburn...........................
Cockburn Loco.................... 
Olary................................
Mannahill...........................
Yunta................................
Peterborough Yard East End.....
Peterborough West End..........
Peterborough Train Examiners..
Peterborough Loco................
Terowie Yard.......................
Terowie Loco......................
Jamestown.........................
Gladstone yard.....................
Gladstone loco.....................
Crystal Brook.......................
Port Pirie Yard.....................
Port Pirie Loco.....................
Port Pirie Smelters................
Docket No. S.A.R., 3910/63. 
3
1
1
1
1
2
2
2
6
6
1
2
3
1
1
6
2
2

NOTE:  A spare was later held at Laura and at Orroroo as diesels could now work the branches. 
The Silverton Tramway Company held a supply of adaptors at Broken Hill and Burns. 
After standardization in 1970, adaptors were held at:- 
Peterborough Yard - Transfer N.G. Platform - 4
Peterborough Train Examiners..................2
Peterborough Loco................................6
Orroroo.............................................1
Booleroo Centre...................................3
Laura...............................................1 
Gladstone..........................................3
Gladstone Loco....................................6 Probably necessary because the captive locos had not yet been fitted with hook couplers.


Special acknowledgement to David Parsons (Retired S.A.R. Mechanical Engineer) for his correction of the original typescript and
provision of subject detail. 
Other acknowledgements: 
Narrow Gauge Memories - The Locomotives. Railmac 1993. 
S.A.R. Peterborough and Port Lincoln Division timetable books. 
Port Dock Station Railway Museum archives. 
Ron Carter (retired S.T.C. Engineman and historian). 

Cliff Olds.  25 October 2000


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NARROW  GAUGE

Port Lincoln  Division 

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Port Lincoln yard in Easter 1972 when I was relieving in Train Control there.  The corrugated iron goods shed is centre picture with the two story stone station building to the right.   The Superintendent's office and train control occupied the top floor, along with the Chief Engineer's offices I think.   On the left can be seen an old red furniture box, usually used for departmental transfers.   At that stage, four wheeled cattle trucks (Cfn)
had their rooves removed and were used for transporting sleepers, of which there are plenty stockpiled.
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Port Lincoln again, from the road bridge
at the south end of the yard


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Lock station and yard looking north towards Minnipa. 
<<<  From the left, the  mouse proof bagged grain stacking shed, new silos under construction with  the goods shed just visible at the base, older silos behind, T 234 on Gds 166 (Fridays Minnipa - Port Lincoln, we had just relieved the Minnipa crew), water column, train order signal showing "station closed" as it permanently did although the station was actually attended at the time, overhead water tank in foreground with the station building behind.   An assortment of trucks are on the goods siding.   The track running off to the right is the triangle.


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Lock station.   Somehow I managed to cut off the air vent in the centre of the roof.  The end of a Yx wagon on the triangle can be seen at the right of the station building which was situated within the triangle.  Warren Solly was the Station Master at that time, Roger Evans was his Junior Porter.
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Lock station, complete with chimney and air vent






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Brill railcar 103 and trailer 303 working Psgr Motor. 76
from Thevenard to Port Lincoln at Lock
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T 234 on Gds 166 at Lock


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The 75 model railcar 103 and trailer 303 having worked the 10.10 am service from Port Lincoln and having just arrived at Minnipa on Friday 30th August 1968.   That was the last day of passenger & railcar operations on the Port Lincoln Division and this photo is of the last railcar to arrive at Minnipa. 
No, I wasn't there, I was the Station Master at Georgetown at the time however I have a thoughtful sister who is married to the Relieving Station Master at Minnipa then and she gave me the slide.
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T214  has just departed Cummins and is heading for Pillana (pronounced Pill-na) and Port Lincoln as a light engine on a Wednesday (always my day off unless extras were working) in mid 1964. 
I can't remember the reason for the movement but it was authorized by Train Notice and hence I was in position for it's passing.   It originated from Minnipa or Thevenard, once again memory is non existent after 45 years.



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T 203 at Warramboo in 1964.   

<<< We had travelled in the 75 model Minnipa railcar unofficially from Cummins to Lock, then (supposedly
 ex barracks
) officially from Lock to Warramboo where we relieved the Minnipa crew of a late running 166 gds.  The loco is running tender first because of a cracked buffer beam on the tender, which gave us a cold windy and coal dusty trip for the 105 km to Cummins (you can't throw water over the coal on  a backward moving loco unless you want a shower yourself).   The driver is Tom Street (one of the several Street brothers, all of whom were drivers), about to commence the shunt is the Guard Davey Priest and the fireman was yours truely behind the camera.  Fortunately all West Coast T class tenders  were fitted with a headlight because it was well after dark when we arrived in Cummins.


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BROAD  GAUGE

 

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Here are a couple from the past. 13th September 1969 was a wet Saturday and I had knocked off as S.M. Georgetown at lunch time then driven down to Andrews to wait for yet another Dean Harvey special. I used a slow shutter speed for these two pacing shots but nontheless, the Rx wasn't wasting any time en route to Spalding.


621 in the broad gauge loco depot at Port Pirie in 1965. 

620's were rather rare on Port Pirie passenger working in that era, 620 and 627 being the only two that I encountered. If steam was used it was usually a 520 class. The crews said that the 620's had to be worked hard to maintain the schedule whereas the 520's did it at a canter, which makes sense.

The 621 (2 pics above) and 521 (2 pics below) were taken when I was an engine cleaner/fireman there in 1965.
No, I didn't fire the big steam locos there, only cleaned them.


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521 at Port Pirie Broad Gauge Loco.
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521 at Port Pirie Broad Gauge Loco.


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523 in Ellen Street Port Pirie in 1964 at the head of Passenger. 434, (9.05 am Mon. to Fri.) to Adelaide, after having connected with the Brill railcar from Peterborough which had also connected with the Bluebird from Gladstone to Adelaide.

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521 being prepared in Port Pirie broad gauge loco in 1965.   The chargeman is checking the injector overflow pipe



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526 in Ellen Street, Port Pirie in 1963. The lights on the bollards were removed not long afterward, just leaving the base of the bollard as shown in the  photo below of 902

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621 in the broad gauge loco depot at Port Pirie in 1965,



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520 and NG Brill railcar Ellen Street

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Bluebird 281 Ellen Street


The narrow gauge morning railcar from Peterborough connected with the broad gauge passenger train to Adelaide in Ellen Street and the train change was performed in the middle of the street. 

I received a tongue in cheek query "Re that 521 pic with the passenger train, did it stop at every second street? 
As in Hail train here? It amazes me to see shots of full size trains in the main street of sizeable towns." 
"Hail train here" is a good concept but no, its ONLY stop was outside the Ellen Street station which fronted the street just like the shops, although the Narrow Gauge railcar also stopped adjacent to Mary Elie Street morning and afternoon to allow the high school kids from Crystal Brook to alight or join. The Roman Catholic kids got on and off at Ellen Street station as it was closer to the convent there. 

It was dual gauge miniature electric staff working for the 1 mile 22 chain section between Ellen Street and Port Pirie Junction although the 3 ft 6 in rollingstock could also access Ellen Street as a shunt movement from the Pirie South yard. Wharf access was via a different track from the yard and was a shunt movement for both broad and narrow gauge.
902 in Ellen Street Port Pirie at the head of the "up" morning passenger to Adelaide in 1964.   
Six carriages (three Centenary and three steel) and "long Tom" passenger GB make up the train, which was unusually long for that era. 


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747 Ellen Street 1963


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526 and T253 Terowie.
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526 and 3813 Port Pirie.  1970


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J555 departing Mount Gambier on No.90 goods to Heywood in 1968. I was a parcels clerk at Naracoorte at the time and by the time that I returned to Mount Gambier in 1973, the T class diesels were well and truly entrenched.

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GM 27 and mate stabled in the Commonwealth Railways loco depot at Port Pirie in 1963. In the background one of the two broad gauge shunters, an 830 class with a four wheeled cool car waits for the signal to shunt over the Three Chain Road level crossing and head out to the "sub" ( Port Pirie Subsidiary Sidings in official parlance).. The C.R. policy in those days was that two GM's was all the power needed on any train, hence no m.u. fittings on the nose end.  Pre English Electric 500 class diesel days and pre the Three Chain Road overpass.


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This one is of a 900 class on the morning passenger from the Mount to Adelaide during school holidays in 1969.   Memory tells me that the train no. is 588 which has just departed Naracoorte en route to Hynam. 

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588 again on a different day with a 930 at the lead 
approaching Naracoorte from Struan.  It was quite
usual to use head end power during school holidays
 because the Bluebird were used elsewhere to build
 up consists (Moonta, Gladstone etc.)


702 on an Adelaide - Melbourne boys scout special at Wolseley on Monday 7th January 1974.   
Train no. 555.  I think.

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909 at Goodwood on an "up" Victor Harbor morning train in 1972. Loco weight;- 126 tons, train weight:- about 70 tons. Can't have been a railcar available the day before.


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Goods 458 climbing the grade from Gladstone to Georgetown in 1969. Lead loco is one of the Goodwin-Alco 930 class (Co-Co 1760/1600 h.p. 12 cylinder 251B engine) with 830 class (Co-Co 1000/900 h.p. 6 cylinder 251C engine) trailing.

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901 stabled outside the broad gauge loco shed at Port Pirie in 1964




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Brill rail car No. 44 having just arrived at Brinkworth as train no. 273. It departed Moonta at 7.05 am as Psgr Motor 344 to Snowtown (Saturdays only, week days it was Psge Mtr 414 working to a slightly different timetable). It arrived at Snowtown as an "up" movement, but then became "down" movement 273 to Brinkworth. Somewhat confusuing as it was the same train. 
Note
the Ford Consul parked behind the signal.

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524 at Port Pirie broad gauge loco depot being prepared to work Psgr 890 5.45 pm to Adelaide. The carriage seen in the background in front of 524 is one of the narrow gauge Gloucester railcars, having been converted to standard gauge. The Commonwealth Railways loco and carriage sheds were adjacent to the broad gauge depot.



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Loco 520 hauling Psgr 370, the 8 am Saturday train to Adelaide heading for Nurom, having just crossed over the narrow gauge main line at the eastern end of the Port Pirie Subsidiary Sidings. The consist includes two 700 class and two 500 class steel non-airconditioned cars, the dining car "Adelaide" and a 12 wheeled "long Tom" passenger brake van. The dining car was built by the Pullman Car Co. in the U.S.A. and reputedly had a concrete floor which gave it a tare weight of near 80 tons and had six wheel bogies. 

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Psgr Mtr 434 comprising of 280 class Bluebird "power baggage car" (official S.A.R. nomenclature) leading, 100 class "non-power rail car" and 250 class "rail car" (passenger/baggage) trailing, between Ellen Street and Port Pirie Junction.





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A scene at Port Pirie Junction in 1964. A T class 3'6" steam loco and guard's brake is headed for the Mobil oil siding, the G.B. was for the shunters' convenience as it was about a 2 mile hike from the Port Pirie South shunt yard. Adjacent to the platform is a rather new maroon carriage of either the AD (first class) or BD (second class) series and also the cafeteria car (green) . There was also an ABD classification for a composite first/second carriage, but it had a slightly different window configuration.








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504 in the loco shed at Gladstone in 1969. This loco was built in the S.A.R. Islington workshops and released to traffic on 17/2/1965. 
It was the first diesel to replace a steam shunt loco at Tailem Bend. Power wise they proved O.K. for that job but were deficient in braking when shunting long strings without air. Two of the Mikado tenders (713 - 747) were therefore cut down, fitted with a concrete slab and became "brake tenders" for the two Tailem Bend 500 class shunters. 
These locos were powered by an English Electric 500 h.p. 4SRKT 4 cylinder diesel engine and is on broad gauge (5'3"). Worth mentioning because some 500's were on the standard gauge. A nocturnal photo that I have always liked, probably because I worked too many night shifts in that shed as a loco cleaner in1961-62 cleaning T and Rx class steam locos.


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A 900 class (A1A-A1A English Electric 1700/1570 h.p. 16 cylinder 16SVT engine) working Psgr 511 ("down" East West Express) past the Redhill oval which was doubling as a picnic ground on that day. The first vehicle is a V.R. / S.A.R. joint stock D class mail van which conveyed the mail from Melbourne to connect with the Perth train at Port Pirie.

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523 having just arrived at Port Pirie Junction with Psgr 255 from Adelaide in 1964. It is seen detaching express goods loading from the carriages which will then go on to Ellen Street. Note the brand new Ford Falcon ute, also the wig-wag protecting the Three Chain Road level crossing.



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Psgr 434 with loco 523 in charge working from Ellen Street to Port Pirie Junction, a distance of 1 mile 12 chains but nonetheless, a miniature electric staff section and dual gauge track (5'3" and 3'6"). 


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Gds 113 is a bit of a ring-in however it did originate at Snowtown. Taken at Georgetown in 1969 when I was the station master there. Note the train order signal being correctly set in the "station open, no Orders" position.The grain must have been running to require the 830 class as well as the 930.


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Goodwin-Alco loco 941 arriving at Gladstone on goods 113 from Snowtown in 1963.


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EARLY  STANDARD  GAUGE

 

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600 (Alco 251C V-12 1800 hp) at Olary is on an eastbound standard gauge work train before the line was commissioned. Taken in 1967 when it, with English Electric loco 500 were engaged in standard gauge construction. 601 stayed in the loco shed at Cockburn from 1965 until later 1966, resting on narrow gauge idler bogies because it was not needed. 
It was hauled on the narrow gauge to Paratoo and transferred to the standard gauge there.
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A 700 class (Alco 251C V-12 2000 hp) hauling a westbound Indian- Pacific in the vicinity of the new Paratoo siding (the old narrow gauge Paratoo was a couple of miles further east at the foot of the Coolawatinnie bank towards Yunta)






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605-601 hauling an eastbound goods train between Cutana and Mingary in the early 70's. 
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Another shot of 601 on the Indian-Pacific departing Broken Hill.


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702 hauling a westbound freight at MacDonald's Hill.
In older narrow gauge days MacDonald's Hill was equipped with automatic electric staff machines for Cutana (east) and Olary (west) and the necessary passing siding.
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Indian - Pacific Broken Hill 601 hauling a westbound Indian - Pacific passenger train had just departed Broken Hill late in 1971. The track was certainly downhill at that locality, but I doubt as much as is shown in the photo.


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702 at Mac'Donald's Hill, a closer shot of the loco.

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CL12 - GM24 on Express Goods 4300
 nearing Cutana on Friday 5-9-1986.


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604 leading unidentified 930 and 700 class units departing Broken Hill for Port Pirie with 2255 ore train to Port Pirie.

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602 - GM 32 on 3213 westbound Indian - Pacific at Hillgrange on Tuesday 29-8-1989


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605 - 704 on 5100 goods (Port Pirie - Broken Hill) approaching Yunta on Thursday 13- 8-1987. 
That train appears to be mostly empty steel wagons from Whyalla, but most likely had empty ore wagons from Port Pirie to Broken Hill back in the consist.

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700-956 approaching Mingary hauling 6255 ore train to Port Pirie. Friday 5-9-1986




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944 on a "down" Broken Hill bound train at Cutana 23-8-1983. We stopped that train via the guard because of a dragging chain (which could do wonderful damage to track leads). The guard was Graham Summers

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964-944 on Express Goods 3100 at Cockburn on Tuesday 9-9-1986.  The consist has empty ore containers, maybe fuel and water tankers (the grey tanks) as well as the usual empty ore wagons for Broken Hill in the consist


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CL4 approaching Dowds Hill (Ucolta - Peterborough) on a westbound goods on Sunday 7-8-1983

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Snowtown in the '60's


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S.A.R.  STATION

 

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Merildin. (old Mintaro)  June 2008

Merildin station building still stands, but is derelict. Only one room has a floor in it. The goods shed stonework is decaying badly but the flooring is still intact although no longer level. The 5 ton capacity goods crane and goods platform are still intact. The main line rail is still in situ but both goods sidings have been removed. For those not ex S.A.R., Merildin was a staff drawer lock station in the Manoora - Farrell Flat electric staff section i.e. you could shunt there, but could not cross or pass trains there (see page 438 of the 1973 S.A.R. General Appendix if you have one). I could find no evidence of any town ever existing there, the nearest town is probably Mintaro. In "Wouldn't Have Missed it for Quids", there is a reproduction of a train order that I issued for a disabled Bluebird railcar at Merildin on 29/1/1979.

As Merildin is accessible only by dirt roads and Farrell Flat is not on an arterial road. Being off the beaten track it is the sort of location that people don't get to see much these days. There was of course a time when Merildin was an unattended crossing station. Farrell Flat and Manoora would issue orders for crosses there. The Produce (No. 515) would often cross something heading south at Merildin. The station itself had had its SM withdrawn in the late 1920's early 30's and was originally called Mintaro. People staying as house guests at near-by Martindale Hall would often come up by train - with their horses - and unload at Merildin. It's one of those delightful little secrets of SA. 

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PORT  WAKEFIELD - HOYLETON  TRAMWAYS

CLICK  HERE

by Cliff Olds


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The  TEA  and  SUGAR  TRAIN
of  the
COMMONWEALTH   RAILWAYS

CLICK  HERE

by Cliff Olds


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Cover of Cliff's Book


The cover to Cliff's book.
Is well worth the read.

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