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Last edited:  21 December 2013


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THESE  PHOTOS
Peter Bruce
Also his own personal accounts
with the S.A.R. as a teenage railfan.

It's been a long, long time since I was a teenage railfan and took the photos that appear here. For too few years in my late teens and early twenties I travelled with a change of clothes, a blanket and a camera. I wish I'd been more places and kept it up for a few more years, but I'm grateful for what I was able to do. Family and work became the priorities for the next 40 odd years.

I count myself very lucky to have seen Australia as the steam age faded and progress and prosperity gathered pace.

What's below on this page

Goto:  S.A.R.  PETERBOROUGH  DIVISION

Goto:  S.A.R.  TRIP  ON  THE  PORT  LINCOLN  DIVISION

Goto:  BHP  WHYALLA

Goto:  COMMONWEALTH  and  S.A.R.

Got:  S.A.R.  BROAD  GAUGE




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 S.A.R.  NARROW  GAUGE

  PETERBOROUGH  DIVISION  


This was my first big trip interstate, winter 1962, Melbourne - Sydney - Broken Hill - Peterborough - Port Pirie - Adelaide - Melbourne. I was 18 and a bit and the 2nd class fare was about 15 for a student concession. Those days it was Pounds, Shillings and Pence.
Earlier on this morning, at 3.59am, I had arrived at Peterborough on the Express from Broken Hill and it was a bit too early and too dark and I was a bit too tired to do any exploring, so after I had seen the Brill railcar off to Port Pirie I retreated to the Waiting Room for a bit of a kip before the sun rose. In the manner of railway towns everywhere Peterborough never slept, so my sleep was pleasantly disturbed by the sounds of a busy rail yard, the clanking rods of a little T class engine, or the heavy rumble and shuffle of the 400 class Garratts.
Come daylight it was off to the Refreshment Room for a cuppa and a piece of fruitcake and then a walk down to the Roundhouse. As I got close, T244 and T209 on a stock train clattered into town from the west. The wind was blowing strongly from the south and the clouds were raggedy and it was chilly. The sounds come back to me almost as strongly as the sights.... boots crunching on ballast and gravel and the roar of that distant 400 down by the coal tower coming and going on the wind.

This was what I saw......... I thought I'd died and gone to Heaven.

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Peterborough Roundhouse and Coal Gantry.
The line to Port Pirie branches off to our left, and the Quorn line off to the right.


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Peterborough Railway Station
The station itself had something, it was no architectural masterpiece, the original building was a typical South Australian country station and it had colonised 1 road, the platform road from the railmotor shed at the far end to the Yardmaster's Office nearest the camera.

I've got to say, too, that I always preferred a railway station at ground level. That is, after I discovered that there were such things in Australia. Me being a Victorian used to high level platforms with enamelled signs at each end saying...NO ROAD.
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Garratt 404 Westbound approaching Peterborough. (auto)
404's train is rumbling into town from the mines of Broken Hill, this would have to be after the Christmas 1962-63 shutdown, auto couplers have been fitted. The Terowie line is slewing off to our right and to our left we have a magnificent example of the classic corrugated iron backyard dunny, blowfly heaven.


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Westbound Goods, leaving Peterborough. (hook)
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402 Peterborough Yard. (hook)


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402 Eastbound Peterborough. (hook)
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402 Gladstone facing East. (hook)


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404, Westbound, Peterborough. (auto)
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407, Westbound, Peterborough. (auto)
I remember vividly the presence of 404 just before departure for Broken Hill. 
The racket was incredible, but Peterborough slept through it. 
It was the town's bread and butter and every night was the same.

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Peterborough. T226 and Garratt. Westbound Pirie.


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Terowie bound, ex Peterborough. (auto)
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401 Peterborough from Cockburn. (hook)


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Peterborough. 404 departing for Terowie. (auto)
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404 Eastbound Peterborough. (hook)


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Garratt 406 Peterborough. (hook)
Hurlstone Street Level Crossing.

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The roundhouse shot. The S.A.R was the only
railway in Australia that followed U.S. practice
and always stabled their engines funnel first.


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402 on Turntable_Peterborough.  (hook)

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402 & 408 Peterborough Loco. Winter 1962. (hook)


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400 class Beyer Garratt, Peterborough Roundhouse
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400 & 247 Peterborough Roundhouse.
January 1963. (hook)


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Coal gantry and Oil tanks, Peterborough Loco

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The Rat was No. 97, the loco pilot/shunter. 
I always wondered why it's steam dome was nearly
as big as  it's boiler, it did look a bit deformed. 


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T class engines at Peterborough Loco
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We going to Port Pirie. Jan.1963
I'm pretty sure I was going to Port Pirie.....let's see, if I'm heading west from Peterborough and it's mid summer the sun would be high in the southern sky, which it is. So that makes it January 1963. This was a very pleasant way to while away a few hours, clattering along at 25 mph behind a little oil burning T class and pausing every now and again to knock a wagon or two around. Along the way a chopper (hook) coupled train had a kind of surging motion, I don't remember the trip in the van being anything like the vicious rides I'd had in a VR six wheel Z van at the end of a long string of auto coupled wagons on an undulating road.


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408 Belalie North. (hook)

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402 Port Pirie Yard. (hook)


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T225, T236 and Garratt 402 Port Pirie Loco

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Port Pirie Loco

 

Before I actually set eyes on the SAR narrow gauge, I had only seen photos of these T class locos and I thought them downright ugly, unredeemable. That changed one night in winter 1962 at Cockburn, the eastern extremity of the SAR Peterborough Division, when a little T backed down onto the westbound express from Broken Hill. I spent most of the freezing night sitting out on the steps of our end platform sitting car. I tried for a cab ride, but there had been a recent mishap of some kind and the driver wasn't too keen. Second best was pretty good though. The train crew were unconcerned, risk management hadn't been thought of then. The night was perfectly still and I vividly remember taking water at some desert halt, the clang as the tank lid hit the deck of the tender, the rush of water into the tank, the panting of the compressor and all the other sounds of a steam locomotive at rest. Then the tank lid clanged shut and the guard gave the right away, the whistle shrieked and we were off, accelerating hard up to the line speed of 35mph. It doesn't sound like much but it felt fast. 

 

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Gladstone Yard. RX210 and T50. 1963
Broad gauge Rx 210 and narrow gauge T50 shunt the dual gauge yard at Gladstone in the mid north of South Australia. The Rx had a big, booming chime whistle like most SAR broad gauge locos that would just about knock over a brick dunnyhouse and the little T had a shrill PHEEEEEEEP that was lovely to hear on a clear, still desert night.
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T242 at Gladstone. (Broad and narrow gauge)
Dunno what I like best about this shot........maybe the distant brakevan with it's Webb era marker lights and the smudge of engine smoke drifting away, maybe the dual gauge yard littered with wagons..........or the felt hatted enginemen strolling back to 242

 

For those who don't know South Australia, Gladstone was an important junction between Peterborough and Port Pirie. The broad gauge came in from the South and Adelaide and there was a narrow gauge branch running north to Wilmington. I wouldn't be surprised if the only thing still recognisable from back then is the hill in the distance (see picture T242 at Gladstone above). 

Click  HERE  to see Gladstone yard with the hill today 2005

I'm not one to regret the passing of the Good Old Days, but our railways were much more interesting then, before they were rationalised and de-populated.

T242 is another of those Australian locos, like the Victorian A2, whose useful life was extended through the lean times of the Great Depression and the Second War and then the massive postwar period of growth when everything was scarce. It is a much modified engine, essentially a 19th century engine with Stephenson's valve gear but then superheated, converted to oil fuel with a heavily rebuilt front end and dwarfed by it's tender. The T's lasted right to the end of steam on the South Australian narrow gauge divisions.


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T220 is running through the Peterborough platform road
 having come into town from the east. Note the S.A.R
issue verandah waterbag hanging off the cab.

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T 199 at level crossing at Hurlstone Street



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2 x T class, Peterborough

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T227, Stock train Peterborough


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Peterborough, East End
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Coal Grab, Peterborough Loco




These next 2 pictures were taken atop of the Peterborough Coal Gantry. Be assured that we had paid a visit to the loco foreman's office before scaling the coal tower and that no objections were raised. It was just the usual " Go for your life boys, just be a bit careful". Can you imagine that happening in 2009??

I wish I'd had a better camera and a bit more photographic nous when I took these photos, I had neither but I cherish these shots and these memories. And I am forever grateful for those easier days and those hospitable and tolerant South Australian railwaymen.
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Looking East from Peterborough Coal Gantry

Some info on
Peterborough's Coal Gantry



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Looking West from Peterborough Coal Gantry



I look at these pictures and I marvel at the freedom us teenage railfans were allowed on railway property all over Australia. 
A courtesy visit to the Shed Foreman, " Mind if I have a bit of a look around the shed" and the answer almost always was along the lines of " Go for your life son, just be a bit careful".

It wasn't just around Loco Depots, most railwaymen had at the least an amused tolerance of our interest and plenty of them would go out of their way to make you welcome so long as you didn't make a nuisance/dickhead of yourself. Anyway you pretty soon learned to look out for yourself, the railway almost became your natural habitat, especially at a place like Peterborough. 
I made three visits there in 1962-63 and at that time the Division was still a very busy all steam operation........ except for a couple of Brill railcars that is. And they were honorary steam locos anyway.

Hardly anyone I knew owned a car so all travel was by rail. I hitch hiked too if need be. At Peterborough there was a Refreshment Room and Bar and a very comfortable Waiting Room which was headquarters and campsite for the duration. I do use the word comfortable fairly loosely, but it was warm and dry and you could safely leave your meager kit there while you explored and photographed. Train Control for the Division was at the station and they very obligingly called the trains for us as they reported at the last halt " Train 102, Engine 408, through Ucolta 11:17 " giving you plenty of time to walk out along the line and get a photo.

The 400s were really something, they were allegedly painted black but in fact were just on the green side of black, " Improved Engine Black" may have been the official name, on the other hand it may have come from the fertile mind of one Dave MacCartney, I can't remember. As you can see from the above pictures they were an impressive looking engine......and they were LOUD.

I was on my way back to Victoria from a visit to the S.A.R.'s Port Lincoln Division, that would have been late January 1963, the 400s and the ore wagons got auto couplers during the Christmas-New Year shutdown of the Broken Hill mines. Later in the year the diesels started to take over. I've never been back.

Late in 1969, in the last days of the narrow gauge main line, some of the Garratts enjoyed a brief swansong while the 830 class Alcos were converted for the new standard gauge line, but unfortunately this didn't coincide with my annual leave from the Tramways Board, so I missed out. 

I've tried to pass on a bit of the feel and atmosphere of Peterborough in the early '60s. I look back and I realise how lucky I was, when Dinosaurs still walked the Earth and I saw them.


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 S.A.R.  NARROW  GAUGE

   Trip on the PORT  LINCOLN  DIVISION  

December 1962 - January 1963

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Page 1
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Page 2


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Port Lincoln Division Map

Here I've attached the map of the Port Lincoln Division taken from the August 1961 Public Timetable. 

We covered all the lines except Kowulka to Kevin and Rudall to Buckleboo and given the sparseness of the services and our limited time there it was pretty good going.

 


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Port Lincoln Station

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The station, which is still standing, is a pretty impressive public building. Much more impressive than that at Peterborough which was the headquarters of a much busier Division. 


At right:  Brill 487 is lurching out of the platform road and setting out for Minnipa, the passenger load would be pretty negligible but the two vans hint at a fair bit of roadside van goods. The passenger service on this Division lasted 'til 1968. The cars in the yard are Relay Vans used on the Buckleboo working, two separate crews worked these trains out and back in relaying shifts, one on and one off.

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487 Port Lincoln



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Fageol 109 Port Lincoln Loco Depot
Left:  Fageol 109 railcar, this car operated until August 1961 and we found it lurking in the weeds at the Port Lincoln depot along with other surplus to requirements engines and rolling-stock. These cars were converted from motor omnibuses during the '30s to replace a passenger service which consisted mostly of goods trains with passenger cars attached and despite appearances they would have made a massive improvement to the quality of service. Even in 1963 they looked archaic and the Brill cars that we rode were very basic by our 2008 standards. Basic or not I'd happily drag my old carcase around on this trip again if I could..... 
Not as hardy now 45 years later, but I reckon I could put up with the aches and stiffness for weeks after.


This is Wharminda, on the Port Lincoln Division of The South Australian Railways late in the afternoon of the 4th of January 1963. We are 87 miles from Port Lincoln and it will be after midnight when we get there.

I became interested in, I should probably say aware of, this narrow gauge Division when my Grandma dug out a pre-war S.A.R. passenger timetable which listed the fortnightly Mount Hope goods, possibly the most infrequent regularly timetabled train in Australia at the time. It was still listed in the 1962 edition so just after Christmas 1962 I set off for Mount Hope via Sydney, Broken Hill, Port Augusta and Port Lincoln arriving there in time to catch the weekly train to Buckleboo which was Brill motor 105 towing a tiny Fageol trailer. There were four of us travelling and when we reached Rudall we transferred to 262 up goods with 209 on the front and ambled along to Wharminda for a crew change, believe it or not there was a barracks at this forsaken spot. You'd hope the crews carried plenty of tucker because it was a long way to the shop!

There was still a lot of bagged wheat on the Eyre Peninsula at this time, I think this silo would have been pretty recent.
When we got back to Port Lincoln we had two days to wait for the next train but the Stationmaster had left the Waiting Room open for us so we made ourselves comfortable.


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851 Penong
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Thevenard by Moonlight

 

Above:  851 is ready to depart the end of the line, Penong, with another trainload of bagged wheat, this train was an advertised connection through to Port Lincoln although an overnight stay was necessary at Ceduna or Thevenard. 
The next morning departure was at 4.25 am out of Thevenard so naturally we made ourselves comfortable in the Brill motor which was docked with it's trailer pointing at Port Lincoln 269 miles away. In those days I could sleep anywhere, wouldn't see a bed for weeks. I've gotten soft in my dotage, these days a swag is the minimum.

Above right: The previous night we had arrived from the east on the same Brill motor, No.101 with trailer 303 at about 9.00 pm, by the looks of it a full moon. The tripod and cable release had to come out of the bag. We had hoped to make it out to Kevin before we went to Penong, but 851 failed so we had to be content with the trip out to Penong. Compared to Mount Hope this was a metropolis, inhabited mostly by flies.

We paid for every mile we travelled on the Port Lincoln Division, the old SAR didn't care if your conveyance resembled a travelling chook shed, they still chased the revenue. Unlike some other government railways. Although we all slept rough we made sure that every day we had a decent meal. Every town of any size had at least one cafe, usually run by a Greek family, where you could get a decent feed at a reasonable price. Steak, chips and salad, bread and butter and a pot of tea would be pretty typical. That kept your energy up, I was still a teenager, I had hollow legs, always hungry. You could usually get a breakfast of fresh rolls before the rest of the town woke up too, you just followed your nose to the bakery.

 

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The End of the Line. Mt Hope

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Mount Hope

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In actual distance Mount Hope wasn't all that far from Port Lincoln and civilisation, but the only place I've been to that seemed more remote was when travelling up the old Central Australian Railway on the Dirty Ghan, a very slow goods train with a couple of cars attached. More about that another time.

We arrived at Mount Hope very late in the afternoon, maybe more like early evening and all that had to be done was for the open wagons to be set out and for the engine, the gin and the pig to reverse on the triangle and set back onto the van. 

As I remember the crew took their crib then and as dusk drew in we departed on a nonstop run to Yeelanna arriving about 10.00pm. According to my skimpy notes we did a fair bit of roadside work on the way back to Port Lincoln but I remember little, must have been asleep. 

Westy reckons that Pearlah Bank was a bit of a battle for 180. We eventually got into Port Lincoln about 6.00am, about eight hours late according to the Working Timetable issued on 9/1/61. That's 23 hours for the return trip of 147 miles.

There was never a silo here of course so maybe the local cockies brought their mechanisation with them but I reckon just as likely every bag of wheat had to be lumped from the farmer's truck and stacked in this rake of wagons, lucky they had a fortnight to do it in. Indeed another world.

Minnipa, South Australia, January the 8th, 1963. 
This is the weekly passenger train to Thevenard, a Brill Motor and trailer. Minnipa has a train order signal, why?, there has never been a train through here that hasn't stopped. I must say it looks good though, it really adds something to the railway scene whilst being totally useless.  

Anyway.......at 4.19pm, not precisely, train 171 clattered out of Minnipa bound for Thevenard and the shores of the Great Australian Bight and your four would-be intrepid travellers were aboard.
112 miles and four and a bit hours later we got there.

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Minnipa

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Cummins


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Ningana, on the Mount Hope line
Ningana, Thursday, 10th of January 1963. T180 is at the head of the fortnightly goods bound for Mount Hope, there is a gin behind the tender and the cattle wagon contained a bloody great pig. 
T180
is facing directly into the late afternoon sun, and has set out that tarped wagon in two road. The rake of open wagons will go to Mount Hope to be loaded with bagged wheat. There were silos on the Port Lincoln Division but at this time, January 1963, quite a bit of the crop came out in hessian bags.


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1961 Eyre Peninsula WTT

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Yeelanna, junction for Mount Hope

Thursday 11th of January 1963 and the fortnightly Mount Hope goods clatters into Yeelanna, the junction station, it's train no. 115 and the engine is T class No. T180. It was pure luck that we were on the Peninsula on the right Thursday. This train was listed in the S.A.R. Country Timetable but who knows how long it had been since a member of the public had ridden it, it was going nowhere and not too often at that.

There were no silos on this line, most of the traffic was wheat and it came in hessian bags, this whole rake of wooden bogie wagons was left out at Mount Hope to come back a fortnight later loaded with bagged wheat.
The branch made a trailing junction with the main line so the engine and the gin ran the van around and took a trip around the triangle before heading off through the scrub and the saltpans. Some parts of the line had a 5mph limit so it wasn't a quick trip and the line was closed beyond Kapinnie in 1965.

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Coming back from Mount Hope

I had to be pretty sparing with film back then, I would have taken maybe 60 photos in all the time I was on the Port Lincoln Division, five rolls of 12 frames each. At the time I was a bit disappointed with the photos I took, technically they were none too flash, but today I am just grateful that I was there with a halfway decent camera and very forgiving film.

The Eyre Peninsula is a very interesting part of Australia and Peter Knife's book "Peninsula Pioneer" is a treasure house of information about the railway and the white settlement which mostly followed it.


The Eyre Peninsula Touring Party broke up at Port Lincoln on Friday 11/1/63, Westy and John Brady headed back to Port Adelaide on The M.V. Troubridge and Ray Graf and I stuck out our thumbs and hitched back north to Whyalla to visit the B.H.P line which ran out to the iron ore deposits at Iron Knob and Iron Baron. I think it was called a tramway, but it was really a pretty heavy duty narrow gauge railway.


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  BHP  WHYALLA  


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Beyer-Peacock 2-6-2T No.3

<<  Whyalla - Iron Knob - Iron Baron Map.

If you take another look at the map travelling north along the shore of Spencer Gulf you will see another isolated railway, from Whyalla to Iron Knob and Iron Baron, this is also 3"6' and serves iron ore deposits. I travelled out to the Knob after leaving Port Lincoln. 

 Ray and I rode out to Iron Knob and back in an ex S.A.R brakevan. I must have been running out of film because I haven't got many shots of their main line operation which was run with General Motors G12 diesels.

However.....Ray and I were allowed a free run of B.H.P's railway operation, " just be a bit careful fellas". Well, we were, and just as well, it was a pretty hazardous location for the unaware and you wouldn't get within a bulls roar of any site like it today.

<<  There were a few remnants of the steam days hanging around their loco depot and a picture of one of the remnants is opposite Whyalla No 3. It's a much modified Beyer Peacock 2-6-2 tank, 1908 vintage I think. It was in steam as a stationary boiler, dunno what it was providing steam for though.


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Whyalla No.4......... I dunno how long it had been since this engine had ventured out on BHP's main line but it was still useful in early 1963, it had a tender full of coal. Built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in the U.S.A in 1914 to bring iron ore down from the Middleback Range to Whyalla it was superseded pretty quickly by bigger Baldwin 2-8-2s. By the time I got there in 1963 the big engines had been replaced by GM diesels and cut up and made into Toyotas, but this little jigger was still steamable.


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Baldwin No.4


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I'm often fascinated by the unremarked detail in a picture.
e.g. in the coupler shot, the stuff in the background against the corrugated iron wall, there is a jack there and various drums and kero tins adapted for useful purposes, recycling ain't a new thing. And that's a neat looking little three wheel trolley, they didn't get that at Bunnings. It must have been some kind of maintenance point with that light sticking out of the wall quite low down.  Mark noticed that the corrugated iron shed had no guttering, no way of collecting run-off in a very dry place


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Turns Night into Day

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Looking down the boiler


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Air Pump

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Breakdown Crane, Whyalla

Broken Hill Proprietory's 3' 6" line out from Whyalla to the iron ore was called a tramway..... I don't think so. Did you ever see a tramway with a breakdown crane like this one? It was actually a very impressive, heavy duty railway.

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Steam Crane, Whyalla


We slept on the beach and communed with the local mozzies, lucky for me I don't rate as a delicacy, but they buzzed around me all night trying to figure out why not. We were over Whyalla by Sunday morning so there was nothing for it but to hitch up to Port Augusta and over the Pichi Richi Pass to Quorn.


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  COMMONWEALTH  AND  S.A.R.  


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Hawker

So.... this is Hawker, South Australia. January 1963. I've pretty much come to the end of my photos of the friendly South Australian narrow gauge railways and this Commonwealth Railways line to Hawker from Quorn was the last regularly operating remnant of the old Central Australian Railway south of Maree. And I reckon that this photo was probably the last frame of the last film that I exposed on this long narrow gauge ramble.

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Adelaide - Alice Timetable

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Quorn. 
The train has just arrived from Peterborough

T211 has just arrived at Quorn on the weekly Hawker goods and from this point it will cease to be an S.A.R train and become a Commonwealth Railways train. 211 will continue to Hawker but the S.A.R brakevan will come off and be replaced by the ComRails van lurking behind the engine, see the taildisc. That van had been the Hotel Quorn for Ray Graf and I while we waited overnight for the goods to arrive and we camped in it when we got back from Hawker too.

I read somewhere, can't think where, that in it's heyday the railway employed 400 people at Quorn, that figure seems a lot but it was definitely a railway town before it was bypassed by the standard gauge line between Port Augusta and Maree.

Quorn railway station was unusual, still is, the building is set well back from the tracks. In this photo you can see the paved strip alongside the tracks and the lights on the poles but there is a paddock between here and the station building and an imposing railway station it is too.

According to a 1930s South Australian Railways time table I have a train set out from Quorn for Alice Springs on every second Thursday, the Alice was 746 miles away and when you passed Hawker you only had 705 miles to go. Well over 1000 kilometres in the new money.

Don't know about you, but in my minds eye I can see passengers stepping down from the cars onto that narrow strip of asphalt to stretch the legs and not one of them without a hat.

The train was here for two hours, plenty of time for a meal in the Railway Refreshment Rooms or a few beers over the way at The Transcontinental Hotel .

Take a look at the attached timetable and see how long it took to get to the Alice.



 

Quorn, January 1963. Along with Ray Graf I'd hitched up from Whyalla to Port Augusta and then up through the Pichi Richi Pass to ride the weekly goods to Hawker over all that was left of the southern section of the Central Australian Railway. 

A word or two of explanation may be necessary here.
  The narrow gauge Central Australian Railway ran east from Port Augusta to Quorn where it connected with the South Australian line from Peterborough, it then ran north through Hawker all the way to Alice Springs. The section between Hawker and Maree was abandoned when the new standard gauge line was built between Port Augusta and Maree.
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NM34 at Quorn


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NM34


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NM, Port Augusta Loco
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Silverton Tramway No. 28. Railway Town. Broken Hill. 1962.


A three car set of the classic Bluebird railcars nears Pirie and the end of its journey from Adelaide. The passengers will eventually alight in the middle of Ellen Street and hopefully be treated with respect by the local motoring population as they make their way to the kerb. I don't seem to have a photo of the old SAR station there, it was unique.

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Bluebirds, Port Pirie


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900 class arriving Ellen Street Port Pirie. (JM)
Station is to the left of the 905 engine.



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Last train to leave Ellen Street station. 1967 (JM)
Station tower can be seen behind the 900.


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Old Ellen Street Station now as Museum. 2005 (JM)
The centre plantation was once the railway line.

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  S.A.R.  BROAD  GAUGE  


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F Class Tank Engine, Mile End Loco

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F170


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Old and Older

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629, Mile End Loco


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504, Mile End

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Mile End, 504 semi-derelict


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629, Mile End Loco

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Twin 930's


Trip to Victor Harbour

I thought I'd lost any chance of seeing one of the big eight coupled engines in steam, let alone get to ride behind one, Heavy Harry was long gone and I'd missed the last runs of 5711 in N.S.W.

There had already been a trip run with 504 in 1961 to Tailem Bend and that was before I'd ventured out of Victoria, I would have been at school still. But I'd reckoned without Dean Harvey and the ever enterprising SA Division of the Australian Railway Historical Society........ Not to mention the South Australian Railways.  Anyway....there was no way I was going to miss this trip.

I can't remember who I travelled with, but we left Melbourne on the 1.40pm Horsham which was always steam hauled beyond Ararat, R717 on this occasion.  At Horsham we spent the time with late and very lamented VR driver Brian Brooke and his family. 
I remember that Mrs. Brooke presented us with a delicious fruit cake as we left to catch "The Overland" departing Horsham at 1.00am. We needed it because there was nothing to eat 'til breakfast at Murray Bridge and when you are a teenager your hunger never abates.

The Saturday was profitably spent riding down to the Bay and exploring Mile End Loco and somehow or other several of us managed to infiltrate the Grosvenor Hotel on North Terrace to sleep on the floor of someone's room. 

These pictures tell the story of the train trip next day.


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Inside Mile End Loco shed, the 500 was steaming up.


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First Glimpse of the 500

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The Mountain King


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500 backing down to Adelaide Station

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500 at Adelaide Station

Australian cities were always very quiet on a Sunday morning, but I reckon Adelaide was especially so. The only thing to disturb the peace was the 9.00am arrival of the "Overland" from Melbourne. This particular Sunday was an exception though, a long rake of green and cream cars was docked at the southernmost platform of the Adelaide Railway Station and a growing and chattering crowd thronged the surrounds. They were waiting for engine No 500 to couple to the train. Many perhaps re-living earlier days when a 500 backed down from Mile End every night to take the "Overland" out. Presently wisps of smoke and steam showed off in the distance and 500's big, black backside approached, rolling at a very dignified pace. As usual the crowd gathered to watch the loco nudge gently onto the train, then stood on tiptoe to peer into the cab with its mysterious gauges and shining levers. Train travel, all travel really, used to be exciting, an adventure. Today, it's a bit like catching a lift.


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Departure Time

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The Overland


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Up into the Adelaide Hills

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In the Adelaide Hills


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Mount Lofty

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Taking Water


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Interested Parties

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Mount Barker


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Watertank, Mount Barker

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Dining Car and Chef


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Here she comes

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Almost Overpowering


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At the Seaside

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All aboard, look a bodgie with a Rollieflex


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Victor Harbor

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Our Guard


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Victor Harbor Arrival

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Victor Harbor Departure


Us Victorians left the train at Mount Barker Junction on way back and farewelled it with detonators. Pretty soon most of us were snoozing off in our luxurious reclining seats, could it get any better???  Two 900s up front and air-conditioned comfort.  
8.20am arrival at Spencer Street and then straight off to work!  Great memorable trip.



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