click on the small picture to view a much larger picture ...
Here is ore concentrates loading on sheep ramp with Garratt & GB on Down main.
Here is ore concentrates loading on sheep ramp with Garratt
& GB on Down main.
day in October 1967 there was a derailment other side of
Gladstone (I think) anyway there was a derailment
blocking the main line down the track. They sent 275 from
Peterborough to Jamestown with a full ore load. We shunted
the ore loading into the sheep and cattle siding which came
off the Down main, ran the Garratt around through the UP
main onto the back of GB, took water, the guard put the
marker lamps on other end and off back to Peterborough just
engine and GB (Guards Brake)
Reason for the movement was to clear Peterborough yard and
to get an extra full load over Belalie North. The loading
was picked up with 467 later when two trains were made into
one. It was basially all down hill from Jamestown to Port
Pirie and one engine could do the job, whereas 2 engines
were needed to get that loading over Belalie North.
Looking over top of "T" class looking up the Belalie North
end of the Jamestown yard.
Note: the fireman keeping eye on things.
Water column & ashpit seen on up main which "T" is on.
The "T" was
waiting at station to cross down 275 freight due about 11:00 -
11:30am. Here you can just see the tall Home signal governing the entrance
to the down main.
The window under the Jamestown station sign was start of our
residence and that room was our bedroom, (one cannot
sleep much closer to 1,750 ton down trains than that).
The next window was my model railway room, later sold it
when I later on shifted to Mt Gambier in late May 1970. My
wife and I were the last railway people to live in Station
Master's residence, as SM had his own home in the town.
The station later became a museum when Narrow Gauge was
closed down Jan 1970.
Here the "T" is sitting on the UP main, the
track nearest station was known as the DOWN main. Both
these roads had interlocked switches and signals governing
the entrance to these roads (tracks). Switches to yard was
a cheeseknob, with 2 interlocked signal levers to pull the
Distant permissive off, then the Home absolute.
No signal cabin to pull these levers off, or put them
back, only a pushbike to tear from one end of yard to
other end. Get 2 long trains lob at Jamestown and most
times both were often too long for yard with the railcar
crossing and passing both split trains and you had one
very hectic night .
Oh just remembered, also the Road bus from Adelaide
arrived same time as Railcar 10:05pm. Yes you had to sell
tickets and do parcels as well. Also the odd cranky Train
Controller at Peterborough bellowing in your ear (getting
one upset) wanting trains out before they get to
Jamestown, certainly did not help the situation at times.
But all this was a great teacher, as one had to be on the
ball, think things out carefully beforehand and be very
well organised and hopefully watch it all come
together. Plenty of challenges.
Oh yes, you did all this on your own, as you were only one
on duty after boss went home at 5pm till 8am next morning.
"You were chief cook and bottle washer" an old
saying for you did everything on your own.
Most trains ran during the night, only 2 to 4 train
traffic during the day. Oh yes, also the whole yard at
night there was bugger all lighting, a small floodlight at
each end of yard, my kerosene wick hand lamp was better
than them. At least I suppose one could just make out
where things were, better than nothing at all.
Next to DOWN main was the long sheep road (huge sheep
sales held at Jamestown) then a cattle loading road
and the turntable which was just long enough to turn a
"T" or "Y" class engine. Also seen is
the overhead water tank to service the steamers with water
that came from two big dams other side of main Adelaide
road Caltowie end of yard.
Next track (road) to right was the 3rd road which was for
all reducing loading because of the limited tonnage over
Belalie North. Till the 830's stuck their noses in.
Only joking, but this road was at times near full with
reduced loading, mostly only empty bogie ore wagons or
"Y" (2 door) 4 wheel pyrites wagons.
Every 2 or 3 days an engine "T" or
"Garratt" and GB would come from Peterborough.
We would marshall up the ore wagons with auto couplings to
the front with the "Y" pyrite's wagon on the
rear next to GB, account they were hook couplings. A heavy
auto-adapter was used to couple auto wagons to the hook
wagons. When reducing trains, the loading was dumped off
quickly. Was always, "get that train in and out as
quick as possible", was the immediate order of the
day. So the 3rd road often ended up with a lot of mixed
wagons, reason for the remarshalling of autos and hooks.
Next road was the 4th road also used to load grain from
silo, can see couple of grain trucks at silo. Further up
is the Milk cool car for Broken Hill that was loaded at
Jamestown Mon, Wed and Fri by Golden North dairies from
Clare. That cool car was just shunted there by the
"T" in picture ready for 274 (day train about
1:30pm) to quickly pick it up a little later.
Over further was the Shed Road with weighbridge and crane,
a Superphosphate unloading road, a bagged wheat shed Road
and a Vacuum oil company siding further up past the bagged
You can see this kept one pretty fit, those days railways
were labour intensive, no wonder most of us were all
Here three 830's heading out of the Jamestown yard off the UP main
towards Belalie North.
Triple 830's heading off to Belalie. October 1968.
triple diesels never worked from Pirie. What would happen,
is twin diesels would work Peterborough to Jamestown to
get loading over the Belalie bank. That train when it got
to the cross which could be Jamestown, Caltowie or
Gladstone (most times at Caltowie) The twins off
the down train would be removed and the single diesel off
the up train put onto the down train, then the twins put
onto the up train so it could take all the loading back
over Belalie North to Peterborough and not reduce loading
at Jamestown. When the narrow gauge was near its end (
late 1968) it then became virtually full steam traffic
again and some reducing loading came about again. Diesels
made the job too easy and a way of railway life slowly
At times twins would work through to Port Pirie and then
on the return from Pirie when reaching the cross, a single
diesel would be removed off the down train onto the up
train thus having the triple 830 diesels. With 3 engines
on, man those up trains really took off out of Jamestown
yard like a rocket. Did looked rather strange as normally
to get the train going straight off the ash pit at
Jamestown it was a slow slog out the yard and all the way
up over Belalie North, but 3 diesels, the train would do
By the way a Garratt and an 830 would pull about same
tonnage, but a Garratt on its own, could do it better
a Garratt was no match for twin 830's.
Twin diesels pushing rake of large (X and Y) wagons with timber sleepers
for the new standard Gauge track
Note: how close the engine moves through the gum trees. Missed by
about 6 inches. A slow careful shunt.
Twins just out of Jamestown heading up Slattery's
Twins now over Slattery's hill heading to Caltowie. Note: the hook loading behind the ore auto
Leaving Caltowie to Jamestown
Twin 830's atop Jamestown Station roof looking towards Slattery's Hill thence Caltowie.
The two white lines is NOT a rail track, but two electric overhead
going past station on Down main and would stop just short of
the Adelaide - Orroroo - Peterborough highway to re-adjust
grade valves. When train stopping just clear of the Highway
this did look intimidating to road users approaching
crossing. Saw some funny antics by road users at times
approaching the track as train was coming to a stop.
At Belalie North the grade valves are set to the HP position
which retains 7 pounds of air which keeps the brakes
slightly on once the engineman makes his first brake
application coming down the Belalie North bank and they
remain partly on all the time till train stops at Jamestown.
Once stopped at Jamestown the grade valves are then re-set
from HP to IP (10 minute job) which then the grade
valves will only slowly releases the brakes. All this is to
give the engineman more time to recharge brakes and not end
up with a run-a-way train.
If we had to shunt these trains (which was quite often)
then grade valves set to EX (normal exhaust) position
and after shunt then grade valves reset to EX position.
Note those trees on the horizon, that is Slattery's Hill
where the narrow gauge line went over to left of those
trees. As soon as the train left yard and went over the
Adelaide- Orroroo highway, it was downhill quite some way, (When
shunting one had to watch tonnage down the hill) then a
slight climb up over Slattery's Hill, then all downhill to
Also note the three "X" (or large as often
called) four wheel wagons on the shed road. Where the
front of the engine is in picture there was a subway under
all the tracks, as the rail yard went through near the
centre of Jamestown. Only other way to main street was road
crossings at each end of the yard, reason for subway for
830 on down main in front of Jamestown Station.
Can just see the Broken Hill milk cool van ready to pickup 274 later that day.
830 and GB with 1956 Ford Customline at Jamestown station.
One guess who the car belonged to. Good ol days.
background one can see the Home entrance yard signal and the
Adelaide - Orroroo road crossing and also note the track
drops away quickly as the track swings left heading towards
One had to keep tally of loading taken from the up and down
main lines to the other side of yard. If not able to push
back into yard meant taking the loading into the Caltowie
section past yard limits and then pushing back getting
enough momentum to run up into yard onto their train. Most
annoying and a spanner in works especially for train
controllers nicely worked out crosses, but only happened
with a certain driver. Yes, some mothers did have them
way back then too.
A good driver (not scheming for time) on an 830 could
just push back 800 tons picking up loaded wheat on back of
ore trains, but a Beyer Garratt did it easy.
Jamestown shunting with triple 830's
distant signal coming from Belalie North. It is said this
was tallest stick (signal) on S.A.R. Note: the signal lamp
only third way up signal. Was too hairy to climb to top to
trim wicks and fill with kerosene.
Is said was tallest stick on S.A.R.
Note: the signal lamp only third way up signal. Was very hairy to
climb to top to trim wicks and fill with kero
Look carefully one can see the guide wires supporting the signal
Where silo is, the station is near opposite it.
Here is the distant (permissive) signal further out. This signal was
very tall as the track coming down from Belalie North was very steep
and engineman needed to see the signals when engine came around
curve further up. If stick was at stop position, the driver had to
be quick to stop his train at that signal for 1 minute and then
proceed at low speed up to the home absolute signal.
If train was going to be admitted to another road beside the normal
Down main which the signals were interlocked for to do shunting, or
maybe a double cross and passing movement, (3 trains in yard)
the signals were left at the stop position and as train slowly
approached the Home signal, then the station assistant to admit that
train would used a green flag by day, or green light at night (Oh,
the green light was a kerosene wick lamp with a green and red shades).
Great view from top of the Jamestown Distant signal looking towards
the Jamestown yard coming from Belalie North
can just see the Home Absolute signal with the white background
behind it so easier for engineman to see signal position.
Remember it's a steep
incline all the way down to the Jamestown entrance to yard. Muff it and
be huge mess.
view what the Lower Quadrant signals and lamps look like close up:- CLICK
April 1969. Trip back in time, a 600 class ballasting standard gauge at Jamestown
Look careful in
one can see the distant signal and Crossing
narrow gauge Caltowie end
Standard Gauge track was built right through the middle
of the two dams. One can see Jamestown home signal
on the Narrow gauge track.
standard train from Port Pirie to Peterborough Oct 1969
view of old GLADSTONE March 1966 Before
standardisation hit the area.
Approaching Gladstone yard for engine change.
Gladstone yard looking east towards Jamestown direction.
That is 275 goods in distance. We have just changed twin engines off 275 over onto 274 from Pt Pirie
stopped short of that road crossing. The single 830 from Pt
Pirie had already been removed from off 274 as that train
had already arrived earlier. We then detached our twin 830's
on 275 and ran them in onto 274. The picture above shows we
are now on 274 from Pt Pirie pumping up the air ready for a
continuity air test. The single 830 is just about to couple
to 275 and would return to Port Pirie after their air test.
Looking towards direction of Pt Pirie.
Now a view of Gladstone yard looking west in direction of Port Pirie
275 has now gone through yard and we are now leaving Gladstone for Peterborough. I got off at Jamestown.
(my usual cab rides) - Looks like we had ballast
hoppers behind the ore empties that day. Note the
"T" class shunt engine and the Broad and Narrow
gauge track. Broad gauge ran from Gladstone to Adelaide. All
the groceries etc for Jamestown came via Gladstone (transferred)
in VCW (if memory serves me correct), usually on 274,
but the booze for town came via Terowie - Peterborough in an
"X" or "Y" wagon on 107 at 3am.
Gladstone as Jamestown have both had their guts ripped out
and is bearly a whistle stop these days. So sad.
5th May 2005
Gladstone yard in 2005
As it is seen May 2005
This same crossing as can
be seen in previous shot above "Gladstone yard looking west
towards Port Pirie direction".
I forgot to take picture with me as I did not quite line the
floodlight tower up properly.
The old Narrow gauge main line
was further to the right. Line the floodlight tower up with
tree on the hilltop as in old picture.
You can still see still the old weighbridge to the right. These
days virtually nothing else to see as to railways, only the old
weighbridge, a louver narrow gauge VCW van that was used for
groceries etc the came from Mile End on broad gauge, then
transferred over to narrow gauge for
Jamestown and a buggered cheese-knob connected to a bit of
rail showing the two gauges, (better than nothing I
but what a darn shame to see it all come to this. I for one will not go back there
again. I'll just keep my pleasant memories of a time that
once was. Took this Gladstone shot for my
HTML file I have of those "now once bygone NG days" and
now "the latter bare bones SG rail days." What a contrast. One thing,
there was plenty of weeds
Dowd's hill tunnel May 2005
looking North through narrow gauge tunnel towards Broken Hill.
The standard gauge cutting is to the left of picture.
carefully you may just here the ghostly roar and whistle of
a fully loaded ore train being pulled by a mighty Bayer
Garratt coming towards other end of tunnel from Ucolta
through this tunnel to Peterborough.
Old Narrow gauge tunnel looking south and track looking north out towards Ucolta
with Standard Gauge
track to the left and main Broken Hill highway to the right.
is your rare chance to hear the Bayer Garratt going through the
Dowd's Hill tunnel
TURN YOUR SOUND UP HIGH, higher the
THESE WONDERFUL STEAMERS WERE VERY
OUT SPOKEN ENGINES
opening sound is a Beyer Garratt coming from Ucolta
approaching the Northern end of the Dowd's Hill tunnel
working at full throttle. Then the Garratt roars through
the tunnel and you then hear it roar out the Southern end
of the tunnel and after a short time as the train's
loading is over the hill, the engineman shuts the throttle
off and engine starts to drift, you then hear the clanking
of the rods. I think the Garratt was saying, phew that was
a good slog, now drift down into the Peterborough yard for
a well earned rest.
56k modem users the sound file is 2.1 meg.
Alongside the old Dowd's Hill tunnel is new standard gauge cutting
looking south Nov 2000. Note: Person in left picture (red
standing at top of the standard Gauge cutting.
Looking north towards Ucolta, May 2005.
Looking north at entrance to Standard Gauge tin tunnel in direction of
Broken Hill. Nov 2000
S.G tunnel with Peterborough in the
distance. Nov 2000.
Main Broken Hill highway to right. This highway crosses over the top
of Standard Gauge track here.
again in 2008.
New changes near Dowd's Hill tunnel for highway over the top for
double stack container trains.
sands train with G540 and G537 came through the new TIN
TUNNEL without the dirt fill over it / the road has been
removed and a temporary rail crossing over the tracks is
in use.. 3rd September 2008 by Wayne Morris.