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



Page last updated:  August 28, 2014



Click for HOME page



MOUNT  GAMBIER  MARSHALLING  YARDS

IN  THE  1970 
and  80's

Another trip down memory lane.

... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...



Click HERE for larger picture Click HERE for larger picture
Mount Gambier Railway station 1953.
Tiled roof later replaced with Iron roof right >
Mount Gambier Railway Station 1983. 
With iron roof.

 


All these pictures below are of the 3 separate yards that went to make up the Mount Gambier Railways in the 1980's. 
They are all still there, but getting very overgrown now and lot worse for wear. 

The 3 yards were

Old Station marshalling yard
New marshalling yard and Loco area
Mt Gambier Junction, Sheep, Cattle, Storage yard.

   

Mount Gambier had two main shunt yards and also sheep and cattle yards past the White Avenue Junction.
One yard was called the Station Old yard, which had an interlocked main Signal Cabin that controlled the whole of the station yard.
The other marshalling yard called the "New yard" where the crew  barracks and loco sheds and turntable were, was situated between Bertha Streets and White Avenue. Another Signal cabin was situated at White Avenue called the Junction cabin. This Junction Signal cabin controlled all train movements into the New yard and main line to Mt Gambier station from Millicent and from Adelaide, also into the sheep, cattle and storage yards.

The Main line to the Mount Gambier Station from the Mount Gambier Junction Cabin ran alongside the New marshalling yard to the Mount Gambier station in the old yard. The station yard, was for the passenger trains and the loading and unloading of merchandise, also for the making up of the  daily roadside trains to Mile End (in Adelaide) and Portland (Victoria). Also the arrival and departure of Victorian trains to and from Heywood, plus our overnight mixed express trains. The New marshalling yard was built in the 1960's for the marshalling and breaking up the bigger, longer freight trains only.

Shunting the loading between the New yard and Old yard was at MOST times an acrobatic feat in itself, as this led to blocking of two main rail crossings at the same time, Bertha Street and Wehl Streets. This was much to the dismay of the local residents, who had to wait at times 5 -10 minutes during these shunting movements. A lot of times people were late for work, unless they used their head and traveled via Bay Road and the shunters and engine crews would cop plenty of abuse over the years, but it could never be helped, as it was just a fact of life.


... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


Click HERE for larger picture 
 Drawing of New marshalling yard
Loco area and Junction

  Click HERE for larger picture
Drawings of old station yard as at present 2003
Dotted lines show tracks removed in late 1980's.


... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


(Pic: Morris Broad)
Click HERE for larger picture

Mount Gambier Station Yard in 1981 looking towards Bay Road, from atop signal Wehl street end.

Shunt engine 838 breaking up overnight jet ex Adelaide is on B road.  
The 930 class jet loco can be seen on other end of C road. 
Some empty wagons can be seen on what was called Pole road. Pole road mainly held spare trucks and Vic loading. 
The 152 roadside train is seen on A Road, to the right all marshalled ready to depart 9am.
Names of tracks from left to right of station platform:- Main line, C road, B road, Pole road, A road, Shed road.

Never knew why or how Pole road got its name.


... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


(Pic: Morris Broad)
Click HERE for larger picture
Gambier Station Yard from atop Bay Road signal looking toward Wehl Street in 1981 

Twin Victorian "T" class locos ready for departure to Portland in Victoria. To the left is the loading yard for timber and K&S slide-on, slide-off wagons. This train is seen made up on C road out onto the main line, just short of the Bay road signal and road crossing. 
To right (not in picture) other side of roadway was the Administrative building known as "The White House" now Kmart car park.


... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


Some of the AN Employees.


Click HERE for larger picture
Admin employees in 1984 in front of the railway
administration building, now demolished and become Kmart car park.


Click HERE for larger picture
Shunt crew on 831 shunt loco
Felix Micalski, Ziggy Lucas, David Phillips.
Click HERE for larger picture
Train Controller.
Jim Dempsey.


Click HERE for larger picture
Loco Fitters
Left: P Noonan,
Right: ?? Lamming.

Click HERE for larger picture
The Per Way gang L to R: Johnny Jalonka,
Bill Harrison,  xxxxxxxxxxxxx, Bill Ryan,
Joe Baker, Ron Bettie, Jack Holsinga,
Johnny Jozkow.  Front:  Jerry Flier.

Click HERE for larger picture
Goods shed unloading.
Kevin Smith, Alan Pettingill
Roy Neale.



... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


Click HERE for larger picture
Mount Gambier station and car park. July 1983

Click HERE for larger picture
Afternoon Bluebirds just in from Adelaide
at Mount Gambier platform. December 1989


Click HERE for larger picture
Bluebirds. December 1989.

Click HERE for larger picture
Bluebirds. December 1989.


SE Tickets:  Wayne Morris


... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


Click HERE for larger picture
Last night mixed freight to leave Mt Gambier.
October 1985.
Click HERE for larger picture
Last night mixed freight to leave Mt Gambier.
October 1985.


Click HERE for larger picture
Mount Gambier Main line. 
Night jet brake van at station for parcel loading. 
Click HERE for larger picture
Sleeping and Passenger cars for the mixed freight
for the 8:30pm overnight train to Adelaide.


The Adelaide ( Tailem Bend crew ) over-night mixed passenger (Mon - Wed - Fri) and overnight fast freight train crews (Tues and Thurs) would rest all day in the Crew's rest house or barracks, then of an evening leave for Tailem Bend thence Adelaide.   
This over-night mixed goods and passenger train was known as "The Blue Lake", most times had two passenger cars and two overnight sleeping carriages attached on the rear of the fast freight. This train would leave the Mount Gambier station at 8:30pm for Adelaide and arrive in the Adelaide Railway Station at 8am next morning. 

It was a rather slow trip for passengers on account this train was what was called a MIXED freight train and had to travel at freight train speeds, 80kph because of the freight cars. This limited goods train would also pickup other through loading along the way and later all the front freight loading would be uncoupled at a place called Mitcham (an outer suburb of Adelaide) and then the front portion of the goods train would continue on to the Mile End freight yards. Another locomotive would then be attached to the passenger cars and then continue on into the Adelaide Railway Station. It was quite a good trip, as you did not loose a day in travelling in daylight.

Many people would travel on this train, as it provided a place to sleep overnight cheaply, as it saved a two night Hotel stay while visiting Adelaide. You could catch this train at 8-30pm, sleep all night on the train, arrive at 8am next morning and have a good breakfast at the Railway Station Cafeteria (they had the best excellent Aussie pies, these were my favourite) do some shopping in the very heart of Adelaide, go to your appointments, take in a movie, then head off later to the Adelaide Railway Station have another good meal again at the railway station cafeteria.

While at the Adelaide Railway Station one would quite often run into people you knew, then grab some reading matter and get onto the overnight Blue Lake train back to Mount Gambier leaving at 8pm another mixed goods and arrive back in Mount Gambier at 7am or there abouts next morning, go home and have a shower, have breakfast and off to work and all it cost you in actual time was 1 day off. It use to be quite popular because of this, but as usual, old father time ruins everything. ( I mean rather short sighted humans beans, er sorry I mean beings ).

The S.A.R. Adelaide Railway Station and rail yards were once a romantic type railway station, had a lot of great character as it did have real STYLE and it was special for anyone arriving by train into the Adelaide Railway Station from the country, or from interstate. Ask any elderly person who traveled by train. The station had long dead end platforms in the open air where all Country, Inter-capital city and suburban trains arrived and departed. And not forgetting the Man in Blue announcing train arrivals. It was a fantastic experience for anyone to arrive or depart from there. Now has been built over with a yucky hotel and the rest of the station turned into a Casino. They have absolutely ruined a once beautiful and enjoyable station, it was an icon. 

The Country and Inter-capital railway station is now at Keswick, close to the old Mile End freight yards, a good three miles or so from the old/new Adelaide Railway Station, (now no where near the city itself) it is like arriving in Adelaide and being dumped in a 40 acre windy cow paddock, the only thing missing is the cattle and sheep grazing, at least that be nice to see and is very draughty, cold and very un-inviting, definitely not a welcoming sight, or a good invitation to visitors to come again in my view. 


... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


Click HERE for larger picture
Mount Gambier Station yard Signal Cabin.
  June 1983.


Signalman Morris Broad putting electric staff in
cane hoop. July 1983

This Signal cabin serviced the whole of the Old Station Yard and was a very busy job. All shunting movements could not take place without this cabin, as it was interlocked with all switches to the yard, which controlled the entrance and exit to this what was called the Old Yard. This cabin was in total control of all train movements in and around the Old yard at all times.

Click HERE for larger picture
The 40 Signal levers that controlled the Mount Gambier Station Yard.

..Red.. levers were for pulling the signals OFF (45deg). 
Red levers in the frame as above, showed ALL signals were at the STOP or ON (90 degree) position. 

..Black.. levers were for turning the switches.

..Blue.. levers then locked these switches through rodding that ran from the cabin to all the interlocked switches each end of the yard.

..White..
levers were spares.

Pulling these levers during a eight hour shift was a back breaking job and very busy with two or three engines shunting at once. The buttons above the Black and Blue levers are the Push Buttons that had to be pressed and held in before operating any of the switch levers. If there was a train on the circuit anywhere, there was no way the cabin operator could operate those switches, everything was interlocked. The button was pushed or held in, if hear a click then the switches can to be set up and then locked before a signal could be pulled OFF to allow a train or engine to exit, or be admitted to that track, yard or station. All this is for safety reasons. So the signalman had to know exactly in what sequence the cabin levers had to be placed in, before any train movements could begin. The Signalman's job was also incurred other train working duties. Electric staffs, Train orders and Victorian staff & ticket working.


... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


Click HERE for larger picture

Looking out of Signal Cabin door towards Mount Gambier Station and the Bay Road railway crossing which is the entrance to this yard from Heywood Victoria. The Victorian Border is about 7 miles from here. January 1990

From cabin looking South East.
Click HERE for larger picture
Looking east towards Victorian border from station cabin. July 1983.



From Cabin looking North West.
Click HERE for larger picture
Looking West towards Wehl Street crossing from station cabin. November 1983. Note the Victorian Y class engine, Dynometer car and sleeping car are stabled on far right.


... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


Click HERE for larger picture
Victorian Jet departing for Heywood. 
1991.

Click HERE for larger picture
T342, T393, 966 New Yard. Oct-1983.
Yardmaster Michael Bukalca on his push bike.


Click HERE for larger picture

Click HERE for larger picture

830 reversing passengers cars for Blue Lake.
October 1983.

Shunter entering old yard from New yard.
January 1990. Note: "A" and "pole" roads been removed.


... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


Click HERE for larger picture

Bowmans passenger car and Finniss sleeping car.
Mt Gambier October 1985

Click HERE for larger picture

Finniss sleeper car in front of station cabin.
October 1983


... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


K & S slide-on-off trays loading in old yard, near Bay Road. July (left) and Nov (right) 1983


Click HERE for larger picture
From slide-on to crane-lift.  Dec 1989.

Click HERE for larger picture
830 shunting K&S flats. Jan 1990.



... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


 

Click HERE for larger picture
Adelaide Bottle Co loading empty return bottles into Dwfs.
Looking from Wehl Street Nth. March 1980.  (
Pic by Nipper)

Click HERE for larger picture
Less than Car Load vans been unloaded at Goods shed
Goods shed office starts where windows are at right.


Click HERE for larger picture

Click HERE for larger picture

Left: Inside Mount Gambier goods shed.... July 1983.
Right:
  Freight office. Michael Hattam front desk. At rear desk Mark Moffat on phone. July 1983.
(All now demolished, only bare goods platform left)


A.N. in mid to late 1980's started chasing clients away who used LCL (Less than Car Load) consignments, A.N. only wanted full truck loads. This was a godsend to road transport as after that all intermediate stations started to die and roadside wagons became less and less and stations were being closed down. This was the down turn of railways as we all knew it. A.N. was only interested in Mt Gambier to Adelaide and beyond as one consignment. (especially only inter-capital city traffic) So shunting became less and it was then A.N. started playing the employees against each other, to shed staff till the line was closed down in 1995.  Same thing happened to the Bluebird passenger service, A.N. just ran them down, no maintenance on them was done, the Bluebirds became unreliable, then that was a part good excuse to stop the passenger service for good.  The old railways that put the regional areas on the map, were now all dying. I guess it's called progress, but which way, in my own personal view regression is more like it.  For those who experience the older railway days, at least we all have pleasant memories of a great S.A.R. rail era.


... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


Click HERE for larger picture
Old Mount Gambier Yard in 1936.

Click HERE for larger picture
Old turntable and loco sheds in 1949.

These picture were taken from atop Wehl Street pole looking east towards Bay Road.


This is the Station yard from the Wehl Street crossing, looking east towards the Bay Road crossing in the 1980's.  The gauge is 5' 3" broad gauge track. Standardisation 4' 8' and con job forced the closure of the Wolseley to Mt Gambier line. The passenger railway station and Station Signal Cabin on the left and the goods shed and loading yard on the right. The Middle part was for breaking up and marshalling of trains.  

Note:  In picture "taken 2006" the Goods shed and Goods offices have been completely removed, only the platform remains now. Also a couple of freight yard tracks have been removed. On right Plumber & Painters sheds also gone.


Now finally the end of an era.
Station yard to be totally stripped of all trackwork and ballast.

October 2013.
Click HERE for larger picture
Last pic of old yard before all trackwork removal.
Looking from Wehl Street towards Bay road.
29th October 2013.
Click HERE for larger picture

Week later the start of the track removal.
Looking from Wehl Street towards Bay road.



Click HERE to view pictures of the cleared
Mount Gambier Railway Station Yard
of all trackage and the Goods platform.
31st December 2013




NOTE:
ALL  THIS  RAIL  LAND  IN  OLD  STATION  YARD  ABOVE  HAD  BEEN  GIVEN  OVER
 TO  THE  MOUNT  GAMBIER  CITY  COUNCIL  FOR  CITY  RE-DEVELOPMENT.

 A 10 metre  RAIL  CORRIDOR  THROUGH  THIS  LAND  MUST  BE  AVAILABLE 
IF  IN  A  FUTURE  TIME  THE  RAIL TRACK  GETS  STANDARDISED  TO  4' 8".

 


... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


Click HERE for larger picture

835 shunt engine between New Yard (Bertha St)
and old yard (Wehl Street). July 1983.

Shunter Brian Murdock with 942 coming
 over Wehl Street entering old yard. Oct 1983


Two crossings Bertha Street and Wehl Streets separated the old station yard and new marshalling yards. Was a worry shunting over these crossings from one yard to the other, as it is all downhill and all loading was pushed from new yard into the old yard. One had to be very sure all loading was well coupled.



... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...



Click HERE for larger picture

Old yard in distance. Here looking from new yard just past Betha street and Wehl Street crossings.
December 1989

Click HERE for larger picture
Looking down into the New yard towards the Junction Cabin, with Main line on the right. Oct 1990. Bertha Street railway crossing in foreground. Shunt track was to old yard and crossover was being re-sleepered here.


THE  PER-WAY  GANG  REPLACING  THE  CROSSOVER  BETWEEN  THE  TWO  YARDS
October 1990

Click HERE for larger picture
Looking towards old Yard.
Click HERE for larger picture
Looking towards new Yard.
Click HERE for larger picture
Towards old Yard.


Click HERE for larger picture
Next rail set being bought over.

Click HERE for larger picture
Rail set being put into place.


Click HERE for larger picture
Rail set now put in place.

Click HERE for larger picture
The lads bolting up.


Click HERE for larger picture
Now all done. Note: the LQ signal arms
and all interlocking has been removed.

Click HERE for larger picture
Looking towards old yard. All signalling and
 interlocking and 2 roads been removed.



... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


Mount Gambier New Marshalling Yard

NO  LARGER  PICTURE
Bertha Street crossing gongs.
Click HERE for larger picture
Entrance to New Yard from Bertha Street railway crossing, showing New Marshalling Yard and Loco Depot.
Train crew barracks at left of picture.


Click HERE for larger picture

Click HERE for larger picture

Per Way Gang and Electrical fitter's sheds
alongside Bertha Street.  July 1983.
MRP Accident van and Y open wagon.
November 1983.


Click HERE for larger picture
New yard weighbridge and overhead wagon clearance bar.  
Loco sheds on left.  A.N. had already been altering and
reducing the yard where cement tank is.  February 1992. 

Click HERE for larger picture
Looking towards Bertha Street you can see the
weighbridge and height test bar at left. 
Electrical fitters and train control pill box. To right
 is the train crews rest barracks.  Early 1989.

Loco sheds early 1950's
Click HERE for larger picture

Here one can still see remnants of the old Narrow Gauge after Broad Gauge widening in early 1950's. The coal loader for steam engines is still standing here, as was the water tower. Both were removed later. 
Minor note:
There is a dog in the picture, can you see it?   
Photo courtesy:  Allan Lownsborough  now deceased 2010.


Click HERE for larger picture
931 on Mount Gambier turntable. 8th April 1992.
Engineman Brian Howell at rear.

Click HERE for larger picture
Mount Gambier Loco 931.  8th April 1992.
Looking towards Bertha Street.


Click HERE for larger picture
Drawing of New yard and Junction in 1980, not to scale.


... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


Mount Gambier Loco

July 1983
Click HERE for larger picture

Loco turntable. 
Behind: Loco foreman's office and booking on room.
Building to right: Crib room and showers.

July 1983
Click HERE for larger picture

Mt Gambier Loco sheds and turntable.



31st July 2012
Click HERE for larger picture
Turntable mechanism.


LOCO  SHEDS  and  NEW  YARD  LATER
5th JUNE  2013
Two Redhens 405, 424, wooden trailer car 820
and an old suburban steel (---) are still in Roundhouse.

5th June 2013
Click HERE for larger picture

Roundhouse and Turntable with Redhens. 

5th June 2013
Click HERE for larger picture
Mt Gambier roundhouse and new yard.
Looking in Naracoorte direction.


5th June 2013
Click HERE for larger picture
Loco Roundhouse, Turntable and Amenity blocks.

5th June 2013
Click HERE for larger picture
New Yard looking east towards Betha Street.



... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


Mount Gambier Junction

Click HERE for larger picture
Looking from New yard toward the Junction Cabin and White Avenue crossing. Sept 1988.

September 1989
Click HERE for larger picture
Top signal: for Main Line. 
Bottom signal: for Marshalling Yard.
September 1989
Click HERE for larger picture
Junction Cabin from atop the signal mast.
Note: The switch/signal rodding/wires at bottom of cabin.

Junction Cabin looking east towards the New Yard September 1989. White Avenue railway crossing in the foreground. This signal Cabin is also interlocked with all switches and signals into and out of the New Yard, Sheep and Cattle and Storage yard, also for the Junction of the Adelaide and Millicent lines.

Note.  I also worked both the Junction and station signal cabins and I was to be the last employee to work in and shut down both the Station Cabin and the Junction Cabins in 1990, two years before I took voluntary redundancy. These lower quadrant signals were lit up by night with kerosene lamps that had to be filled and cleaned twice a week. The signal with no arm was an old Train Order signal, which had not been in use for years.

Once the Junction and Station cabins were closed down in 1990, all lower quadrant signalling and rodding were all pulled out and all interlocking was removed from the switches and was replaced with manually operated switchstands. All movements over the White Avenue Junction crossing needed a qualified employee who had to operate the crossing gongs and then to pilot the train into and out of both yards. Electric Staff was removed and Train Order working was instituted. Trains ex New yard the Train Orders for Adelaide and Millicent were from this cabin, by shunter or his assistant. Train Order for Bluebirds was given from Station which always used the main line.


Click HERE for larger picture CLICK to view signal page
Yours truly working Junction cabin May 1990.
Not long after this pic all the rodding and signals were removed, only lever frame left in cabin.
The salvaged LQ Junction signals.
CLICK  to view LQ signals
and Kerosene signal lamp


Click HERE for larger picture
Junction Cabin frame


Click HERE for larger picture
Millicent 4625 leaving marshalling yard.
May 1990.

May 1990.
Click HERE for larger picture

Morning Bluebird to Adelaide passing
Mt Gambier Junction cabin. White Ave.
Click HERE for larger picture


September 1988.
Click to see the Lower Quadrant signal meanings

Above Left:-  Here goods 547 ex Mile End is being admitted on main line to the New Marshalling Yard just past Junction cabin.
Above Right-  Showing the BlueBird rail passenger cars on main line has passed the Junction Cabin and heading to Adelaide.

Note in right picture:-  
The right hand side side signal is off, showing the track is setup for the Adelaide line and it is okay to proceed.
Also sheep vans can be seen at old cattle and sheep yards.


Click HERE for larger picture
Inside Mount Gambier Junction cabin. Sept 1989
On wall at right is the Train Control phone.

Junction Cabin April 1995. 
At time of the closure of Broad gauge track.


Click HERE for larger picture
Junction Storage yard, also sheep and cattle yards. Sept 1989
Looking towards Millicent line straight ahead and the Adelaide line turns to right.
At far right is the new Per Way Gang compound just been built where old sheep yards once were.


Cabin later in 2012.
Click HERE for larger picture
Mount Gambier White Ave Junction Cabin.  
Cabin later in 2012.
Click HERE for larger picture
Mount Gambier Junction Cabin. Looking West.



... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


Official line Opening of Mount Gambier - Naracoorte line. 17th June 1887.

Click HERE for larger picture
Official opening of Mount - Naracoorte railway 17th June 1887.

Official Closing of Mt Gambier - Wolseley line 12th April 1995.
Last Broad Gauge train leaves Mount Gambier's old yard for Tailem Bend.
Only spectator to see this train off, was yours truly, Johnny ex shunter.

Sad ending as progress catches up again. 
Picture left: GM43 and 852 hauling last train out of Mount Gambier's old yard 12th April 1995.
Picture right:  Train examiner, John Cruze talking to driver after examining the train brakes. 
Further down the train the number nicker is taking the wagon numbers and loading.


Click HERE for larger picture

Click HERE for larger picture

GM43 and 852 hauling last freight train out of Mount heading past Junction cabin White Avenue, 12th April 1995.
When this train went through Wolseley the dog spikes were pulled and the Broad Gauge track was closed to traffic.

 


... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


Click HERE for larger picture


Picture above is yours truly, John (Johnny) at age 51 in my Shunters gear the week before I took voluntary redundancy in April 1992 with 30 years of S.A.R,  A.N.R,  A.N. Railway service. I could well see the writing was on the wall that this South East line would cease soon. Just 3 years later on 12th April 1995 the South East broad gauge line rail services finally closed down for good after 108 years rail service which was opened for traffic on 17th June 1887.  The first rail was laid in 1886.

Rail as I knew it was fast disappearing forever and times were changing fast. Behind me in the above picture is a Victorian X class Loco that came in early in that morning and would leave Mt Gambier for Heywood - Hamilton - Arrarat in Victoria that evening at 6pm on its way to Melbourne. The Hamilton crew would rest all day in the Crew's rest house or barracks near Bertha Street.  A day time Victorian crew use to be stationed here in the Mount and lived here in the town and would work to the cross of the Portland crew. Was a nice good day job for the older Victorian engineman in their twilight years.

Note the radio I am carrying on my hip, as they were only introduced for shunters to use some 4 years previously. Before that all shunting was done through and by hand signals, quite often relayed by extra 1 or 2 persons besides the shunters with long strings or around corners. Shunters always operated in pairs in S.A.R, a Supervising shunter and an Assistant shunter who most times chased the wagons and applying hand brakes and coupling up air hoses. Goods trains would be bled of their air on arrival. Then the strings of wagons would be pulled to top of yard, as slope of the yard ran back towards the Junction and then each wagon(s) kicked off (this is where it was nice using 930 class engines, plenty of grunt and stopping power) onto the various roads for marshalling other trains and separating out the local loading to place in old yard for unloading, or in super siding and sheep and cattle vans for placement at the Junction stockyards. Was a very busy and time consuming job, kept you fit and on the ball. 

There was 3 sets of shunters which worked the 2 marshalling yards and stockyards, a morning shift 4:30am till 12:30pm, day shift 6am till 2pm and afternoon shift 2pm till 10:30pm or finish. At busy times which was most times on afternoon shift, one of the assistant shunters would become an acting Supervising shunter and have a qualified porter as his assistant and make up an extra shunt set, one for each yard.  Till the mid 1980's we shunted only with mainline engines including Mon, Wed, Fri a 900 class engine after the overnight passenger arrived. To fly shunt with a 900 class engine tested the skills of driver and shunter, but I loved doing it.  One good thing was no night shift, so no round the clock shift work like it was at Jamestown on the narrow gauge.

On heavy rainy or foggy days we often had 2 extra employees to relay the hand signals to the engine driver for us when shunting long strings of trucks (wagons) during shunting and marshalling operations. This use to get quite dangerous at times, especially when some of the fellows (mostly junior porters new to the job) who were relaying your hand signals for you to the engine driver, were a little slack, OR, slow in relaying the hand signals in time. That use to really upset me, as it was sometimes very hard to get into the heads of the youngsters to truly understand just how dangerous their inattentive actions could be and they MUST keep their eyes on the shunter ALL the time. 

I always took my shunting very seriously, as I've always loved shunting arena. 30 years of train working and only one minor derailment on a miserable rainy cold dark winter's morning at 5am at State Saw Mill siding when local children had jammed stones in the spring lever points leaving them half cocked. The 930 hit the skids but found it near impossible to stop as the wheels sliding on the State Mill's greasy rails and dropped the 930's leading bogie off the track into the dirt. Fortunately no serious damage to 930 engine when the Victorian engine pulled it back up onto the rails and also very little damage was done to the points, just my pride hurt.
I can smile at this now, but certainly was not at the time. One mistake could be your last in the shunting business. 
As a shunter speaking for myself, I still say to this day it was the best job in the world, now all gone forever.


Click HERE for larger picture
Yours truly on 830 class during shunting operations in new Yard April 1992
Click HERE for larger picture
Kicking off some empties
April 1992.
Click HERE for larger picture
Again yours truly on rear of wagons during
shunt movements in New Yard April 1992.


Click HERE for larger picture
Heading down transfer, on the run ready to clamber
aboard the 830 during a shunt movement. April 1992.
Click HERE for larger picture
Heading back to pickup another rake of empty
wagons for Snuggery.  April 1992.


Click HERE for larger picture
Yours truly on 830 class during shunting
operations  in new Yard April 1992.
Click HERE for larger picture
Yours truly (JM) piloting a VLINE "X" class through
transfer new marshalling Yard. March 1991.


Click HERE for larger picture Click HERE for larger picture Click HERE for larger picture

Piloting a just arrived a Victorian Dyno train over Bay Road into Old yard. March 1992.




GOODBYE  GLENBURNIE  SALEYARDS  SIDING

March 1992.

Click HERE for larger picture
Engine 831 with first load of salvaged rail sets. 


Click HERE for larger picture
Yours Truly at left as shunter, with ganger with
 engine 838 loading last rail sets onto flat wagons.
Click HERE for larger picture
838 with final rail sets from the Glenburnie saleyards
 siding 1992. Glenburnie then was no more as a siding.




SOME  OTHER  IDLE  RAIL MOMENTS

A  SHUNTING  FILM  TAKEN  AT  DARLING  ISLAND  N.S.W.  1977

Shunters at Darling Harbour 1977
Wmv movie 320 x 240. 520kbps.
File size: 50.8megs.  Duration:  14 minutes.

This video footage does give some idea of those hectic shunting days back in the 1970's.
A shunter myself once, one can well relate to all this, it was go, go, go.
Often working with a mixed bunch, it sure did have its ups, downs, rows and good laughs too.

My two bob's worth at an Aussie Forum between Gorgon and myself on comments of the above shunting movie.






Johnny's interview by Mount Gambier's local radio ABC. 26mins


24 megs MP3 file





Well, Mount Gambier as a railway station may be long gone now
Being closed down in April 1995.

BUT

Thanks to Allan Lowsborough from Adelaide who has built the excellent "SAR Adelaide - South East" route for MSTS (Micro$oft Train Simulator). Mount Gambier with both its Old and New marshalling yards and Junction cabin are back again on computer. The South East track has come alive again and I have for some time now my old shunting days back again. I not only shunt the trains, I also get to drive them now.  Best of both worlds now, thanks to the computer age.


... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...



Click HERE for larger picture
500 class shunt engine about to shunt and 
guess who's hanging on the side of VBBX wagon
Click HERE for larger picture
Yes,, it's yours truly back shunting and
I haven't aged either, still about 50.

Jet ready to head off to Mile End with twin 930's

Click HERE for larger picture
Mt Gambier Station and cabin with twin 930's
941 and 942
Click HERE for larger picture
Mount Gambier station. 
Rear of train with old GB.


Both cabviews of 930 class engine looking towards Wehl Street and at the Station Signal Cabin.

Click HERE for larger picture
Driver's view. Old station yard.

Click HERE for larger picture
Right:  Fireman's view.  Old station yard.





Below is the New Marshalling Yard with Snuggery train made up on Transfer
with twin 930 class diesels 941 and 942.

... click on the small picture to view a larger picture ...


Click HERE for larger picture
New Marshalling Yard looking West
Click HERE for larger picture
New Marshalling Yard looking East


Click HERE for larger picture
547 ex Mile End just passed Mount Junction Cabin
has got the low speed signal off about to enter
the New Marshalling Yard.

Click HERE for larger picture
MSTS has derailments too, when switches left set
 into goods siding with loading still on at Wandillo.
Track at left is old Glencoe NG, not yet pulled up.



Return to top of page

Click for HOME page