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Last edited:  21 December, 2013


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THESE  PHOTOS
Greg O'Brien

S.A.R.  STEAM

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  Mount Gambier by steam and over the Border
May 1984



As a child growing up in the small town of Roseworthy, steam was king but fast coming to a close with the advent of the diesel locomotive. Times have changed and we move on in this ever changing world to that of modern motive power and lengthy freight trains; an opportunity to relive the "steam days" presented itself in May of 1984.

The Adelaide Cup weekend as it was then and the ARHS, together with SteamRanger provided the catalyst for a trip behind steam to the Mount Gambier and over the border on what was perhaps one of the longest steam tour trips to have operated for many a year. Steam locomotive 520 ‘Sir Malcolm Barclay-Harvey’ had the honours.


 

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BL26 1st passenger train to ARPT Friday 18th May 1984

Friday the 18th of May 1984 also saw the opening of the Adelaide Rail Passenger Terminal (ARPT) at Keswick. 
On the 22nd of July, 1984, engine 520 had the honours of a clearance test with a consist of centenary cars into Platform 3 at Keswick; the first occasion steam had been permitted to enter the ARPT facilities.


An evening departure from Adelaide at 6:40pm Friday the 18th of May, 1984 saw some spirited running to Tailem Bend, with the occasional cross of a grain train and a couple of freights. An overnight stop-over at the Tailem Bend the night was cool, but not uncomfortable and the sounds of overnight freights rumbling by made it a tad noisy for the sleep department, unlike the beat of engine 520, it was a different form of music to sleep by.

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520  Tailem Bend. Saturday 19th May 1984
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837 with kids Tailem Bend. 19th May 1984


Saturday morning the 19th saw an early morning departure at 08:15 with driver Ray Bolt,fireman Bob Hudson and Inspector Bill Hassam were in charge of our train with guard Owen Herbig in the brake. A good run to Bordertown was had with a few strategic stops along the way to check a troublesome bearing, but all was good. We crossed the ‘up’ south east Bluebird railcar service at Wirrega and then onto Bordertown to meet with engine K153 and a load of hardy souls from “over the border” who’d come to join in on the fun for our trip to the Mount.

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520  Bordertown. Saturday 19th May 1984
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520 meets K153  Bordertown. Sat 19th May 1984


We alighted for lunch and much shunting and loco servicing was to be seen. Amidst the too-ing and fro-ing, K153 managed to drop the front pony wheels and front tender bogie in the dirt. A little excitement for the trip, but some very diligent and expert action by the loco-men from SA and Victoria soon had things back in order; all checked and okay.

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K153 being serviced Bordertown. Sat 19th May 1984
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K153 “off the rails” at Bordertown. 19/5/1984


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K153 520 ‘ready to go’ at Bordertown. 19th May 1984
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K153 520  Bangham Scrub. Saturday 19th May 1984


After the cross of the “down’ south east Bluebird at Bordertown, it was “all aboard” and we were on our way once again. Leaving Wolseley, photostops were the order of the day with an evening listening stop in the pine forests of Wandillo – and what a magnificent spectacle that was, arriving at the Mount a tad late, (107 minutes) and those aboard, me included, weren’t overly worried. Meeting my accommodation host and greeted with “how was the trip?” and my response like “magnificent” which in turn led to another like “yeah we heard U coming out at Wandillo!” - speaks for itself really.


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952 Mount Gambier Loco. Sunday 20th May 1984
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K153 Mt Gambier Sunday 20th May 1984


A good night’s rest and up again Sunday morning the 20th for more steam, this time for a trip out to Dartmoor and back behind K153. Again a multitude of photostops along the way were the order of the day. Our trip concluded at a magnificent old wooden trestle crossing the Glenelg River, with work evident that a replacement bridge was being built.


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K153 enroute to Dartmoor Sunday 20th May 1984
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K153 enroute to Dartmoor Sunday 20th May 1984


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K153 Dartmoor Trestle Sunday 20th May 1984


That adventure over the border concluding, and it was time to head back to the Mount for our trip out on the Millicent line behind engine 520. The trip terminated at Snuggery and the loco was turned on the triangle there, then back to the Mount that afternoon. Again, photostops were provided, one amongst the pine trees. 
Two trips, two locos, steam hauled, one day, what more could one want ???


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520 ready to depart Mt Gambier Sunday 20th May 1984


The popularity of steam tours and photo stops as 520 pushes back for the run past Sunday 20th May 1984


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520 Mt Gambier to snuggery railfan swarm. May 1984
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On Triangle at Snuggery, "Where’s the track?”


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Snuggery triangle. Sunday 20th May 1984
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520 Snuggery for return to Mount. Sunday 20th May 1984


Monday the 21st and it was an early start once again, back on board, Ray Bolt was in charge of our rail journey back to Adelaide. A stop at Naracoorte saw the ‘up’ south east Bluebird railcar service overtake our train. Whistles sounded and everyone back on board for a few photostops between here and Wolseley, including Bangham Scrub, with a lunch time arrival at Bordertown.


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520 and the crowd (left) and the cross with BB258 Bluebird ‘up’ Mt Gambier pass Monday 21st May 1984


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520 take the background scene with V9 in foreground at Naracoorte. Monday 21st May 1984

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Static Wx Steam Loco NARACOORTE.  Taken August 1983


Leaving Bordertown, it was water at Keith and then ready for the non-stop slog to Tailem Bend. All was good and to quote the author of ‘The Recorder’ article:
The run to Tailem Bend is scheduled as non-stop but a quick halt at Ki Ki (7 minutes) and an insurance check on the bearing sees the arrival at the Bend at 4:01pm, just 6 minutes late. The average speed for the 92 minute run was 84 km/h and discounting the stop at Ki Ki the average was 90 km/h. To obtain this average speed for a point-to-point run the train was at times running in excess of 100km/h, not bad for a 41 year old engine” 


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520 service stop Bordertown Monday 21st May 1984


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520 between Naracoorte and Wolseley.  21st May 1984
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520 photo run Bordertown Mon 21st May 1984



A stop for water at Tailem Bend, a quick stretch of the legs, and its back on board with engineman Zacarias, fireman Cain and Inspector Paddy Brooks on the footplate. A bit of moisture about the place for our trip home sees a stop at Callington for a cross with a down freight and then a show for the audience as 520 gains her feet for the slog thru the Lofty Ranges and into Adelaide “arriving at 8:47pm, 13 minutes early”. 500 class shunt engine 520 there to meet us and do the shunt whilst loco 520 waited in the wings for its consist and eventual return to the SteamRanger depot at Dry Creek.

What a great trip, fond memories, met some great people, shared stories and it was a pity that it all had to end, not to mention that ever daunting little thing called “work” that greeted many a weary traveler Tuesday morning !!! And, as John Ramsey so eloquently sums up, “For its part 520 performed up to expectation due in no small part to the dedicated efforts of the ARHS loco team and the capable manner in which the AN crews handled the engine” .

Additionally, and as with anything to do with the organisation behind any long distance tour trip(s), the efforts of the organising committee and the many people involved in such an event must not go un-rewarded for their efforts. 

It was said, “Lets do it all again?” but sadly that one will never fly there Orville !!!!! We are, however, left with the memories of that magnificent trip. What a memory !!!!!

Acknowledgements:
Acknowledgements must go to John Ramsey, Editor ‘The Recorder’ for his erstwhile reporting on
the trip almost 25 years ago this month and surely epitomised the expression that “The Recorder
records” - The Recorder, August and September 1984.


Wish to see and hear the 520 out to Snuggery and back to Tantanoola.
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520  into  Adelaide Rail Passenger Terminal KESWICK
22nd July, 1984



Friday the 18th of May 1984 saw the opening of the Adelaide Rail Passenger Terminal (ARPT) at Keswick and meant that most steam hauled excursion trains would no longer depart from the Adelaide Railway Station - now home of the Hyatt Hotel, SkyCity Casino and departure point for suburban railcar services.

In the years leading up to the building of the ARPT, Keswick, SteamRanger had established their new depot at Dry Creek. Sadly, April, 2009 and the SteamRanger Depot has since been demolished.

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BL26 ARPT 18th May 1984



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Rx224 in steam at the SteamRanger Depot in 1983
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Site of the former SteamRanger Depot 26 April 2009



On the 22nd of July, 1984, engine 520 had the honours of hauling a consist of centenary cars into Platform 3 at the ARPT, Keswick; the first occasion steam had been permitted to enter the facilities. The purpose of this trip was to test loco and coach platform clearances to enable future tour departures from the Passenger Terminal at Keswick.


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520 Mile End.  22 July1984


Following clearance testing, locomotive 520 was dispatched to Mile End loco for turning, a scene not witnessed for many years.


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X45 931 C501 retreat for loco 520 to be turned at Mile End.  22 July 1984


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Steam loco 520 is turned and departs Mile End as C501 takes backstage 22 July1984



Once turned at Mile End loco, 520 returned to ARPT to attach to it’s consist and departed for the SteamRanger depot at Dry Creek.


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The crowd looks on as steam loco 520 is ready to depart ARPT Keswick 22/7/1984

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22 July 1984.
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