Johnny's Pages
Old S.A.R. Shunter's Memories
      




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MOUNT  GAMBIER  BROAD  GAUGE  ENGINES

IN  THE  1970's  and  80's

Another trip down memory lane.

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S.A.R.   Piping Shrike.


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The reproduction of these B and W photos were taken with an old Kodak Instamatic 126 camera in 1974.
The results were not the best for copying


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621 "Duke of Edinburgh" at Mt Gambier. 1974 Coaling 621 at Mt Gambier loco. 1974

"621" class engine getting up steam in Mt Gambier loco, take note the railfan camera enthusiast running for his life, when the steam  went off, as the sound was quite horrendous and enough to scare the pants off anyone.  Nice sight hey. Yours truly (Johnny) with engineman Bert Smith (oil can in hand) taken in 1974 standing next to "621's" driving wheels to show you how big these driving wheels were. I was supervising shunter then and just 33 years old in that picture.  How fast time flys.

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Mt Gambier Loco. 1974 "621" ready to leave Mt Gambier. 1974

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Pretty sight. 1974

621 loco in full steam just out of Mount Gambier heading towards Wandillo. 
Those were the days, the soot, the smoke, the whistle, and the clackety, clack of the wheels on rail joints. 
Ah..., Yes, the romance of steam..... I absolutely LOVED it all.


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S.A.R.

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This is the "520" streamlined engine in its day, this particular engine has been preserved and was used on the Mount Barker - Victor Harbour Broad Gauge line, which was run by a Railway Historical Society on Special occasions. Nice looking engine..... Is rumoured doubtful ever to seen in operation again. Sad.

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Note the old badge (piping shrike) S . A . R  ( South Australian Railways )


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The "520" class loco, engine 520 at the Mount Gambier Station May 1984. 

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"520" class loco at Mount Gambier station.....
This engine is Coal fired.
Historical excursion with VicRail that day, waiting for a Victorian Steamer to arrive to take Victorian excursion train out to Snuggery (towards Millicent) and return.

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520 sits in Millicent Dead-end waiting for a Victorian steamer from Heywood on historical run to Millicent.

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These two pictures are of the drivers side of the inside of the cab of the "520" class loco. Not much of a view looking out of the forward window.



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520 during a visit to the Mount during the 1970's.

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Johnny Supervising Shunter with 520 at loco.
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520 next to super siding using Pivot grab to coal engine


Sorry, because el'cheapo camera and type of print paper of those earlier days, these 4 larger pictures are a bit fuzzy

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520 at Bertha Street fire brigade watering 520.
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520 arriving at Mount Gambier Station



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Engine 520 with full head of steam, taken near Saddleworth in the Mid North of South Australia about 1984 on a historical run, before the engine was handed over to "Steam Ranger".
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"520" class Loco 526 was retired after this picture, I think this was her last run.



NOTE!.. I was told by several engineman that between Red Hill and Port Pirie in the Mid North of South Australia, they occasionally pushed these "520" class engines up to the 100 mph on the speedo clock.
Of course this was not S. A. Railway policy to do this speed, but these engines did NOT have speed recorders in those good old days. The track where this use to take place was one of the best pieces of Broad gauge 5' 3" track in the S.A.R. and the track was capable of sustaining these sorts of speeds, unofficially of course. Normally I "think" the maximum track speed was 80 mph.


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Bluebird 252 "Blue Wren" in Millicent dead end July 1983, ready for piloting to loco out in New marshalling yard.


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Bluebird 261 railcar just left Mount Gambier Station and coming over White Avenue approaching the Mount Gambier Junction cabin bound for Adelaide around 1990 on a quite often foggy spring morning.
 Built at Islington workshops between 1954 and 1959 by the South Australian Railways as Bluebird railcars. A lot of times there would be 3 cars coupled together, two powered cars, and a non-powered car which was for first and second class seating.
Bluebirds were named; Blue Wren, Brolga, Corella, Curlew, Goshawk, Kestrel, Kookaburra, Lowan, Pelican, Penguin, and Quail. 


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These "900" class locos were mainly used on the Adelaide - Melbourne expresses. Were also used on the Blue Lake express to Mount Gambier, also filled in as a shunt engine for about 3 hours at Mount Gambier.  The cab was huge in these engines. 
These were my favourite diesel engines, One of these engines has survived as a static display at the NRM the 900 "Lady Norrie". These were the best sounding diesels under power I have ever heard, a loud cackle sound. 


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From left, two types of Victorian "T" class diesel locos. The first one in the colours of the old Victorian Railways, the second engine in a new Vline livery, as the Victorian Railways changed their railway name to Vline. The other maroon "930" class engine was still in the old livery.  

This picture was taken in the "new marshalling yard" at Mount Gambier. The 930 was 547 roadside goods just in from Mile End, usually arriving anytime from 7am to 9am and those twin Victorian engines would be stabled on short transfer with the ZLP (guards brake) attached ready to attach to their train later that evening.  

Note: On all night Victorian jets there were guard's brake (ZIP's) vans at each end of the train, reason for that was once the train got to Heywood there was no loop towards Hamilton, only towards Portland, so they would push the train towards Hamilton at Heywood, then run the engines around, do a continuity and away, this saved time by not having to reverse the Guards brake van around to rear of train.  

We (shunters) would make up the evening Vicy jet on transfer and when Vicy crew booked on and prepared their engine(s) all they had to do was push back onto their train, couple the air hoses, and do a complete air brake test, then they were off on their way back into Victoria. It was like clockwork, well organised so as very little delay to any trains. 

I miss that continually trying to make everything come together with no delays, was like a chess game trying to checkmate in the least amount of moves. Shunting not only kept you fit, running and jumping on and off rollingstock all the time, (not good on the joints these retirement days) it was also a mental brain thing to always be continually figuring out how to do the shunting as quick and as short as possible. 
When trains arrived late to then get them out on time, plus kept the train controller's happy. I always loved that challenged, could not wait to get back to work each day for that day's challenge, well it was for me, one reason I like shunting all those years, and 14 years later away from it, I still miss it.   THE  CHALLENGE  EVERY  DAY.  Of course life has many challenges every day, till the day one pushes up daisies, but shunting in those busy railway days, just added THAT extra spice to the daily challenge. 


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These two Victorian "T" classes in the old Victorian Railways colours.
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Twin Victorian T's July 1983 in the old Victorian Railways colours


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Two Victorian "T" class engines, 
in 2 different shapes and colours


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Vic T362 just arrived on C road
old station yard from Heywood June 1983


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Here "T" just arrived June 1983 with string of South Australian cattle vans in old station yard.
830 shunt engine sits on B road waiting for Victorian engine to be release off train for stabling out at loco.


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930 and S class with AN Brake van on loco repair road. August 1988



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A.N. 930 class at rear and S class S307 stabled August 1988
They were never worked like this at least in Mt Gambier. These were just stabled that way.


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From left to right:-  A.N. "930" class loco,  a VLINE "X" class and at rear "G" class.  


The Vline "G" class was a very powerful and was one nice sounding engine in these days. I've searched everywhere, and for some reason I have not taken any pictures of the "G" class loco on its own, (that is unusual) so this is the only one I have got. Well better than nothing I guess. Must have had too much work on, as it was always go, go, go, in those days, totally flat chat to get spare time for shots of the "G's". Plus they came in early of a morning and went out of an evening.  This shot would have been taken in summer as winter it would be near dark at 6pm.


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Vic Y class with Dynometer car. November 1983. (Shunter Brian Murdock)

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Vic Y class with Dynometer car siting on C road waiting for staff. (Signalman on platform Brian Hann)
932 pulling rake of wagons from new yard during a long shunt movement in the new yard.
This happened a lot and would block Wehl St and Bertha Streets. November 1983
Not a popular movement with the peasants caught on the crossings.

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Vic "Y" 165 on C road and ANR 932 pulling a string from Marshalling and stopped at Station cabin platform. 
November 1983 One thing shunting with the 930's we had heaps of grunt and stopping power.
Although main line engines, these 930's were a good shunt engine in the right hands.


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Vic "X" and "T" just arrived from Heywood in old station yard. The boxcars would be for Apcel at Snuggery for loading paper products. Tanker behind engines for Tantanoola load Dolomite.

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830 class reverse shunting Passenger cars. (Engineman Andy Martin) October 1983
In background is the carpenters, plumbers and painters workshops.


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ANR 500 class shunt engine. (Right: shunter Brian Murdock)


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500 class with shunter Ziggy Lucas. 
Engineman George Askew


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500 class in AN colours.
DWFs in the loco roundhouse for repairs.


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830 class 833 shunting Old yard July 1983

These 830 class engines was used for smaller roadside trains, and also as shunt engine at Mount Gambier.


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A.N.R. "830" class loco



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"830" class loco in her newly A.N. painted green.


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830 class on goods shed platform.



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830 class shunting the bank old marshalling goods yard.


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Daytime Victorian roadside "T" leaving Mount Gambier for Portland October 1983, going over Ferrers Street crossing.
New repaint job from VR blue to VLine colours.


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LAST  TRAIN  OUT  OF  MOUNT  GAMBIER  12th  APRIL 1995.

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GM43 and 852 ready to haul last train out of Mount Gambier's old yard to Keswick 12th April 1995.  Mount Gambier station in background.
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GM43 and 852 going past Mount Gambier Junction cabin (White Ave) hauling last train out of Mount Gambier to Keswick 12th April 1995.


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GM43 and 852 heading off with last string of empty container wagons... Going.... Going....


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Last wagon wagon with wheel sets.
Now that train done...  Gone...


This Broad Gauge line was then cut off at Wolseley after the passage of this train. 
This has since left the Wolseley - Mount Gambier - Heywood line isolated from the standard gauge system.


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