Memories of South Dynon in the early 19802

 
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
Okay, trying for that elusive diagram once more

South Dynon eastern end floor plan

Let's see if this one works

Neil

Edit: it works for me, so let me know if it doesn't for you
YYYYYYYYyyyyyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy it worked.

How did you do it, please?
YM-Mundrabilla
I followed @justapassengers advice after I asked the question in Help for Beginners. Using the same website as he recommended and modifying the url code worked, although it did take two attempts before the url appeared as a workable link.
Now that it is finally accessible to everyone my written descriptions have something everyone can refer to for clarification. If there are still questions about that post, just ask and I'l do my best to answer.

Neil

Sponsored advertisement

  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
Here's the next instalment. One weeks worth and the following week is ready to go if I can persuade RP to accept that much pasted text, not having a lot of luck getting it up  at the moment.


Trainee roster #17 was night shift, 0100 starts beginning on Tuesday enjoying a three-day weekend.
My Tuesday began with 3 hours sitting in the meal room before called out by the Manpower clerk to pair up with a driver. A taxi took us to Newport where T’s 334 & 354 were waiting for us to take over control. The crew we relieved returned to Dynon in our taxi while we set off for Geelong where we left the train in North Geelong yard and took the locos light engine to Geelong loco arriving there at 0615. We made a hurried dash to Geelong station so we could ride the 0630 up pass back to Spencer St arriving at 0810 from where we returned to Dynon and I signed off at 0900.
Wednesday was a long, dull sit, and the only thing I actually did worth relating was when, at 0700, I was called out to carry a kit bag to Spencer St, left at the depot by mistake, by one of the crew of W244 working one of the pass yard pilots. This was about the closest I got to a W class other than walking past 267 stabled on the SG turntable. I certainly never actually worked on one, not even on Fuel Point duties.
On Thursday I was actually rostered on to a specific job, instead of the 0100 standby specified by the roster. Signing on at 1245 for a 0130 Korumburra goods we found T336 in one of the depot roads and headed off to the East Yard for our train. Departing the yard, we made it to Dandenong where I did my first pickup of the staff solo. Heading on down the Korrumburra line we made it all the way to Nyora, with successful hand exchanges on my part, where we were stopped and told our change-over was on the up Railmotor. DRC42 rolled into the platform towing an MT and we climbed on leaving the Korrumburra crew to take the goods the rest of the way to Korrumburra. We returned to Flinders St as passengers on the DRC out of Nyora at 0700. Making our way back to Dynon by spark we signed off at 0925.
Reverting to 0100 standby on Friday I ended the shift washing locos again from 0730.
Working the Saturday as well, once again starting at 0100 hardly gave me any time to warm the meal room chair as I was called out 20 minutes later. Paired up with a driver we travelled by taxi to Newport again where we had a wait for S300 to arrive off the Brooklyn line, which was spent inside the Newport signal box. Taking over from the previous crew, we set off for Geelong departing at 0330. This trip took 2 hours to complete, including getting the S onto Geelong loco. For our return we climbed onto B71 to run the 0715 Melbourne goods. Being a goods, with the line between Corio and Werribee still being single line with passing loops at only Lara & Little River we had a slow journey getting low priority compared to the morning passenger traffic, even though it was a Saturday. Eventually, we made it to the Arrival Yard where we left the train and returned B71 to Dynon for fuelling. I signed off at 1150 after 10 hours & 50 minutes on duty.

Neil
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
Right now that one is finally up, here's the next week.

One day off and I was back again on Monday; Trainee roster #18 was afternoon shift starting at 1400, once again rostered on standby. This was short lived as at 1445 I was called out to work the Truck Shops Pilot with F210. For reasons I can’t recall this job ran until 2315. By the description I would say this involved shunting the storage roads and shops within the North Melbourne reversing loop.
Tuesday standby only lasted 2 hours before I was despatched to wash locos again.
Wednesday as a 1400 start again but I spent the whole shift in the Manpower office, rostered for that duty.
Thursday was a day off.
Friday’s start was at 1600, the job being taking the locos for the 1815 Serviceton ‘Jet’, the term used by the VR for fast, 80kph maximum speed, interstate freights to Adelaide. My driver and I found C509 and C506 already coupled together, by some fitters, in the yard and took them off the depot with 506 leading. We coupled up to the train, now with 509 leading and did all of the necessary preparation including the brake test before the crew that were actually running the train appeared and relieved us. We made our way back to the depot getting there at 1825 and spent a little time sitting around before getting called out again at 1930. We walked up to North Melbourne to make our way to Flinders St to relieve the Princes Bridge Pilot which was being worked by Y113. Having a Y class work this pilot was a little unusual, to my memory, as I would have said that this pilot was more ordinarily worked by an F or E class. With the end of the shift for this pilot we returned the Y, light engine, to Dynon and signed off at 2355. No point in worrying about a shortfall of 5 minutes on the shift after the long one on Monday.
Working another Saturday starting at 1500 my driver and I worked the Fuel Point. The Fitters Foreman cabin, adjacent to the broad gauge 3 road fuelling station, had a moderate sized room for loco crews to sit in while waiting for something to do but during busier times there wasn’t a lot of sitting. Locos would come back onto the depot and enter one of the fuelling stations, which were capable of holding two locos at once. Sand boxes were topped up, if necessary, as the loco was refuelled and, the theory was that, the fitter would also check the loco log book for anything that needed attention or replacement. Needless to say, this didn’t always happen. Once the loco was ready one of the Fuel Point crews was given instructions on where to stable it, assuming that it wasn’t going straight back out again. If it was then the crew working it would take it from the fuel point and head off the depot after a window wash. Stabling options included the BG turntable, one of the 7 through roads or, a less common option, one of the Diesel Maintenance roads for some more major work to be done. L class would have their sand boxes filled and then be stabled on the one wired road, #7 if I remember correctly, although road #4 of the Maintenance shop was also available, but not really suitable for longer term stabling.
The SG fuel point was a single road, single loco station and there were far fewer options to stable a loco; the SG turntable with its 8 roads and the Maintenance shops were pretty much the only ones, but with a W, 3 Y, 4 C & 4 new X in 1979 there wasn’t a huge need for space, especially as most would be out on the road anyway.
These were the crews who, generally, brought a loco through the Maintenance shops for those tasked with washing them to clean.
So, there was a lot of climbing up and down a loco’s steps for the fireman as he was responsible for changing all the points as well as lining up the turntable for getting locos on and off it. It was quite physically demanding if you did it for a full shift.
Over time as drivers came to recognise you as a more experienced fireman they would get you to do some of the driving, especially if you were given two or more locos to stable at once. He’d take one and get you to do the other if they were going to different stabling points. Racing back and forth to hit the fireman’s VC as well as the drivers one in addition to actually driving plus changing points kept you rather busy when doing it solo and the turntable was interesting to do solo, to say the least. I only lasted seven and a half hours on my first stint at Fuel Point. I needed the day off to recover on the Sunday!

Neil
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
Next instalment:

Training roster #1 began as another night shift with 0100 starts. I gained a job virtually straight away. At 0140 my driver and I climbed into a taxi for the drive out to Sunshine where we met a Portland bound goods led by B62 & Y151. Relieving the crew who had to be another Dynon crew, although I can’t explain why they only got as far as Sunshine before needing relief, we set off west and made it as far as Parwan, where we met our change-over at 0350. The lead loco was S301 with S317, Y147 and Y140 in multi behind it. Having handed up the Melton-Parwan staff on our arrival the signalman provided us with a new one for the up journey which occupied us until 0520. Leaving our train in the Arrival Yard, as usual, we returned the locos to Dynon and had some time in the meal room before being called out again at 0730. This time we made our way to Spencer St with the task of relieving the Ballarat crew bringing in the ‘Vinelander’ pass from Mildura with X42 having the honours. With the loco freed from the train so the pilot could deal with it we returned to Dynon ‘light’ arriving back at 0835 and I signed off 10 minutes later. This made for a slightly short shift, but that was my choice. Manpower officers couldn’t tell us we couldn’t sign off, they could ask but if we wanted to sign off we could and did.
Later, I worked out that night shift was a real strain, trying to sleep through the daylight hours, heat in summer and noisy neighbours, whilst trying to stay awake through the hours when the body just wants to rest. Sitting in a moving, swaying, loco, with the constant growl of the diesel somewhere close by and sleepers blurring as they rushed out of your line of sight under the leading end combined to be, probably, the best sleep inducer I think I’ve ever experienced, especially as a fireman had little to do other than watch the track, with the exception of the Ballarat line and its staff exchanges, and the VC going off every 90 seconds did nothing, at all, to change that. I know for a fact that there were numerous times I dozed when I was supposed to be watching the track. Driving was different as there was a lot more to focus on which kept sleep at bay a lot more easily. One Night shift that I’ll eventually get to will describe this situation far better than this does.
Tuesday was a complete contrast as I endured 8 hours in the meal room with nothing to do, except doze and with Wednesday being booked OR my body clock was really getting messed up.
For the next three days my starting time was changed to 0400 for some reason, encroaching upon being a Day shift roster. Thursday was 5 hours of standby finished off with 3 hours of loco washing and Friday was a repeat of Tuesday, 8 hours of nothing.
Friday began as most of the week had, quietly, but at 0520 I was called out and together with my newly acquired driver we travelled by taxi to Newport where we relieved a Bendigo bound goods at 0635. Instead of heading towards Brooklyn, as would have been usual, we instead headed up the suburban line to South Kensington then past the Arrivals Yard into the Centre Yard. There we ran the loco around the train and departed the yard again heading for Sunshine via Tottenham Yard. I would assume, but can’t confirm, that the Centre Yard pilot did the duty of moving the guards van from one end to the other. The reason for this unusual choice of route is that something had hit the dirt (derailed) at Brooklyn, blocking both lines. We made it to Sunshine where a Bendigo crew had been waiting for us, for some time, to take the train on. Meeting Bendigo crews this far south was a rarity; Dynon crews generally considered that they delayed departing Bendigo for as long as they possibly could legitimately get away with, so they didn’t have to come down the line far or work for too long. Whether this was a fair assessment, or not, only someone who worked out of that depot could say. We finished this job at 0940. Our last job for the day was to relieve the Ararat crew of the ‘Overland’ at Sunshine. Since we were allocated this job at 1100 the ‘Overland’ was really living up to its nickname of the ‘Overdue’ this day. I have no idea what the VR did for passengers who were booked to join the north bound ‘Inter Capital Daylight’ (ICD) as it was long gone by that time. No way it would have been held that long for a few passengers out of Adelaide or western Victoria. S311 and S315 led this sadly delayed train which we finally got to Spencer St and then returned the locos to Dynon with me signing off at 1215, 10 minutes after returning to the depot. The VR obviously had a bad time of it that day, derailment at Brooklyn, seriously delayed Overland and who knows what else? I don’t think I particularly cared as I had the next two days off and the big picture was not something loco crew generally worried about, it was someone else’s problem.

Neil
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
Two weeks worth of notes:

Back on the depot on Roster #2 this was another night shift although an earlier start than the previous week. My diary says I signed on at 2300 for standby duty and 20 minutes later I was allocated the job of “Payslips”. I would say, as I can’t remember definitely, that I had the pile of pages with every crew members’ pay details, less those already given out, and had to separate the appropriate strip of paper from the rest when an engineman came to the window of the office I was in. My memory says that, at least someone made it easier by running a blade, of some kind, through the pages beneath each entry, so removing them was reasonably simple, you just had to sever those short lengths that held the strip in place. I recall that sometimes you ended up with two parts when the strip tore as it was removed. Obviously, it was pay day that Thursday and there’s no doubt I made sure I got my own pay slip, before the end of the shift at 0700.
The next day I signed on at 2232 for the 2300 Princes Bridge Pilot. The difference between sign on and job start indicated we had to get to Flinders St under our own steam. Once there we found F206 idling in the Collingwood sidings waiting for us. The job finished at 0550 and after travelling back to Dynon I signed off at 0632.
The next start was 2235 for the 2300 Centre Yard Pilot. Again, we had to make our own way to where Y110 was waiting for us. As was almost the unwritten rule in Melbourne Yard, the trend was we would work until about 0300 or so when the shunters would all disappear to their cabin and we would do our best to have a doze in the loco. The shunters would reappear around 0500, or later, and clean up whatever hadn’t been done earlier in the night. Clearing the roads of ‘B’ balloon of the Hump yard would have been one of these tasks as the Hump Yard Pilot tended to work all night to keep as many of the Arrivals Yard roads free as possible. In my first years at Dynon there were often two Hump Pilots at work on all three shifts, such was the number of trains terminating there. No spare roads to terminate trains in would have warranted a ‘please explain’ for someone. We finished at 0600 but didn’t sign off until 0705. I’m puzzled by this as the normal finish was 0700; it could be I wrote the wrong time down, however as it was now Thursday morning, pay day, it could be that we returned to the depot to wait for the pay office to open (and accumulate some extra time for the next pay).
Thursday was another 2235 start but for the West Yard Pilot this time, another Y class, number 113 this time. It would have been a repeat of Wednesday except the balloon cleared would have been ‘C’. This Pilot also dealt with a lot of loading sheds south west of where Marvel Stadium now sits. Sign off was 0735, even though my diary says the job finished at 0605. It is possible that the driver took pity on me and sent me off home at that time but signed us both off when he returned to the depot, a not known course of action by some of the more considerate drivers.
Friday was 2300 standby and proved to be a non-event.

Trainee #3 was Afternoon shift. Monday was a 1200 standby, which was little different to most, an 8-hour stint of sitting in the meal room.
Tuesday was the same except for starting at 1000 with Wednesday being the same start time for standby again. However, unlike Monday, this changed at 1322 when I was allocated to the 1400 Newmarket (Stock) Pilot which was run by Y132, taken off the depot. Seeing images of the Flemington line now days it could be hard to visualise how busy that line was all the time during the early 1980s.There was always one Stock Pilot working that area and often two. Goods trains off the up Seymour line with stock wagons would be routed via Essendon, outside suburban train operating hours, and stop past the junction. The Stock Pilot would then come off the Racecourse line and drop onto the back of the train and pull the stock wagons back up the Racecourse line and then return the guards van to the train so it could finish its journey to the Arrival Yard. At other times the stock wagons were left at Tottenham and a special trip made by the Stock Pilot to pick them up and get them to Newmarket. Otherwise, they would be removed by the Stock Pilot from the rear of a rake in the Arrivals Yard and pulled back to Newmarket. For this reason, it was the norm for stock wagons on up trains to be at the rear, unless they came through Dandenong, in which case they would be at the front of the train which gave the Stock Pilot the same easy access to them. So, working a Stock Pilot meant you didn’t just sit on the Racecourse line, you were back and forth to the Arrival Yard regularly and to Tottenham on occasions.
Multiple sidings existed on both sides of the running lines but this was only a problem when the Showgrounds or Racecourse had specials running. Then it became tricky to do all the shunting necessary between sparks. Signals boxes that for the bulk of the year sat empty and unused were switched in and signals that were usually crossed ‘out-of-service’ needed to have attention paid to them, which could be a challenge, if you were conditioned to ignoring them. We returned the loco to Dynon at the end of the shift and I signed off at 2045.
Starting, yet again at 1200 I lasted in the meal room until 1330. My driver and I caught a spark to Spotswood where we took over Y130 and T350. Departing Spotswood on the down we ran to Newport where we reversed and headed for Tottenham via Brooklyn where we pulled into the Top Yard at 1530. We left our load there and then detached the Y class, leaving it where the Yard Foreman wanted it. I then attached T343 and we coupled the pair of T class to another rake of wagons and formed a train for Seymour or beyond. Heading down to Sunshine and on towards Broadmeadows we arrived at 1915 and were relieved there. We returned to Dynon ‘travelling per’, in other words, as passengers on the next up, which got us back to North Melbourne at 1940 and signing off at Dynon 15 minutes later.
Friday was another 1200 standby start which became a stint on the West Yard Pilot from 1335 until 1505 on Y126. I have a feeling I replaced a fireman who went off on sick leave because of the short shift and Melbourne Yard Pilots had three starting times; 0700, 1500 and 2300, not 1330. I ended up back in the meal room, driverless again, until 1630, when I was called on to, once again, ‘take out’ the locos for the 1815 Serviceton ‘Jet’. This time it had T346 and S307 providing the motive power. We were relieved and made our way back to the depot arriving at 1820 where I signed off at 1839. A short shift but I’d obviously had enough for the week and chose to go home early.

Neil
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
Oh, while i was doing a little research to back up some of what I've been recalling, especially the hump operations, I accessed the excellent website of Mark Bau's, especially the signal diagrams section. Throughly recommended for those who want a better idea of the track layouts of the Melbourne Yard or Sth Dynon. There is at least one diagram from the era (1979-83) for each of these locations and whilst they are not an accurate scale map they do give you an idea of the layout of what I might be describing, how many sidings, etc.

Victorian Railways website  

Neil
  northbritish Chief Train Controller

"This section also included the Manpower clerks, three of them per shift, who signed crews on and off, allocated unoccupied crews to jobs and did first aid, if required."
ngarner

That brought back memories, I did all those jobs at one time.
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
"This section also included the Manpower clerks, three of them per shift, who signed crews on and off, allocated unoccupied crews to jobs and did first aid, if required."

That brought back memories, I did all those jobs at one time.
northbritish
It'd be interesting to hear some tales from "the other side". I know that I spent time in a Manpower cubicle but my interest wasn't in that job and a few days aren't going to produce too many memorable moments. Someone who has spent more time there would have a few, I imagine. Argumentative crew members, some who try to sign on "a bit under the weather" or imbibe whilst on the job and try to disguise it when they sign off, dealing with complaints from the public about some of things happening on the main line, etc.
I throw that last one in because I was signing off from a Seymour job early one morning and the Manpower clerk looked at me, not my driver, and said "We've had complaints about you blowing the whistle too much". How he knew that I'd been the one on the whistle cord I have no idea but I had been; and all I was doing was the regulation one long at the whistle board and another at the crossing. That woke some of the locals living near the crossings and annoyed them sufficiently that they actually rang 'the railways' to complain!

Neil
  david harvey Junior Train Controller

Location: Bairnsdale




Working the Saturday as well, once again starting at 0100 hardly gave me any time to warm the meal room chair as I was called out 20 minutes later. Paired up with a driver we travelled by taxi to Newport again where we had a wait for S300 to arrive off the Brooklyn line, which was spent inside the Newport signal box.

Neil
ngarner
These are pretty good strories Neil, tall tales but true. I can feel the cold air of those winter nights that you spent on the loco or waiting in Newport Box but I was in Sunshine box with its 78 levers . That means 78 holes in the floor in front of the levers for the  wind to whistle up.Doesnt matter where you worked had to wear an over coat inside.
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville




Working the Saturday as well, once again starting at 0100 hardly gave me any time to warm the meal room chair as I was called out 20 minutes later. Paired up with a driver we travelled by taxi to Newport again where we had a wait for S300 to arrive off the Brooklyn line, which was spent inside the Newport signal box.

NeilThese are pretty good strories Neil, tall tales but true. I can feel the cold air of those winter nights that you spent on the loco or waiting in Newport Box but I was in Sunshine box with its 78 levers . That means 78 holes in the floor in front of the levers for the  wind to whistle up.Doesnt matter where you worked had to wear an over coat inside.
david harvey
I was tempted to say 'that is terrible', but really, it doesn't surprise me, as the concern shown for 'the workers' was not all that evident from Head Office, was it? Some ranges of my hearing are shot, due to the db levels of some of those noise machines I worked on.

Neil
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
Long one, due to the explanation of how the Hump Yard was worked

For some reason my next roster wasn’t #4 but #1 again. Looking at the start times again, this was actually a Day shift roster, just an early one, as the standard start time was 0400. So, the first few days of early starts the week I did previously this roster were an aberration.
As it turned out my first shift was a rostered 0610 start. My driver and I found B76 in the yard and left the depot at 0630 heading for Tottenham, after collecting a guard near the hump. Coupling up to our train we departed, at 0700, heading for Dandenong and made it as far as Oakleigh. As the train we picked up was running to the Maribyrnong terminal on that branch, still using B76, I’m inclined to say that a Warragul or Traralgon crew, on their L class, took over our train and we did the same to their train load of briquettes. Departing on the up, at 1015, we made our way through Melbourne and the suburban lines through South Kensington to divert down the goods line to the terminal. Tying up the wagons for unloading, we returned back along the goods line ‘light’ with the guard travelling in the cab with us, leaving at 1300, where we had to wait to get back out onto the main line. We return the B to the depot, at 1410, after dropping the guard off where we picked him up, with sign off being 5 minutes later.
Tuesday was 0400 standby and the meal room was where I spent the whole shift. Wednesday was OR again with Thursday another 0400 standby. Manpower decided I wasn’t permitted to sit doing nothing this time as they sent me out to wash locos at 0900. Friday was a repeat of Thursday, except I departed the meal room an hour earlier. Maybe the Manpower clerk forgot I was in the meal room on Tuesday?
Saturday was supposed to be standby but 10 minutes after I signed on I was allocated to a Hump Yard Pilot with H3 & H1, coupled short end to short end, which was the default for a Hump Pilot. This had to be an extra Pilot probably due to the Pilot already working not coping with the number of trains arriving, since, as I have already mentioned, Melbourne Yard Pilots, including the Hump, all had set starting times and 0400 was not one of those times.
So, the Hump Pilot was worked in this manner; a train would arrive into one of the roads, generally selected so that the siding length did not exceed the train length hugely. This allowed for long trains to be able to have a road available if necessary. The train locos would be uncoupled by a shunter and they would pull up to the dwarf signal protecting departure from that road until it cleared and they would head for Dynon. As they pulled away from the train the brake pipe was broken and so the brakes would be fully applied. If there was TNT loading, it would be at the front and one of the other yard pilots, most commonly the Canal Pilot, would come and remove that loading and push it into TNTs container sidings adjacent to the standard gauge line. If there was stock loading one of the Newmarket Pilots would turn up and take that away.
Once all this extra activity had ceased, the Hump Pilot would get a yellow on the dwarf signal, protecting the Hump Engine Spur, a short siding that was used solely to reverse the H’s, and drop onto the rake of wagons. Once the Pilot was coupled up, one or more shunter would walk the length of the rake and, using the release wire on each wagon, drain the air from the wagon via the triple valve so that the brakes would release again. With this process complete, a shunter would advise the Hump Master in the West Tower that the rake was ready to hump and the road would be set for the hump and the dwarf at the up end of the road would be cleared.
As the loco crew were working from the rear H class their view was notably restricted. To overcome this the hump had a special signal mounted at the crest, visible above the roof of the shunters cabin, and this signal had a replica, in all 5 H class, mounted to the left of and above the driver’s door which he faced running short end leading. Three horizonal white lights meant stop, three vertical white lights meant proceed at a maximum of 10kph, or thereabouts, and three diagonal white lights meant hump shunting speed which was a steady 2kph, it may have been 3kph but no more than that. If the rake was stationary and the horizontal lights began to flash it meant to reverse; this usually meant the road had to be cleared for the Hump Trimmer Pilot to come out of its siding, half way up the hump, to sort out some problem. My memory tells me there was also a radio speaker, mounted near the signal, which the Hump Master could issue instructions to the driver through with a radio for the driver to acknowledge these.  
So, before the rake would move a siren would sound to warn anyone in the Arrival Yard that a rake was about to move and the locos would start pushing with the hump signal showing three vertical lights. The steady speed was controlled by a rotary dial, manipulated by the driver which directly varied the current the traction motors received, using a digital speedo to provide the accuracy required, with the normal throttle set in notch 3. The normal 8 notch throttle had no hope of being this precise. As the first wagon neared the crest the lights would change to diagonal and the speed was dropped to enable a shunter to safely get close to the moving rake to ‘pull the pin’; i.e. raise the locking pin out of a coupler so the jaw could open. A pin can only be lifted when there is no pressure on the coupler jaws which, in this case, was possible since the rake was being pushed up-hill. So, as an aside, those movies where someone uncouples a car from a moving train, one being hauled, is a physical impossibility in real life.
As the uncoupled wagon crested the peak gravity would take control and it would speed up off down the far side, which was a steeper grade than the approach, and separate from the rest of the rake. Computers (rudimentary compared to those available now) controlled hydraulic retarders of which there were primary and secondary sets to retard the speed of any wagon(s) based on how full the road they were being directed into was. The receiving roads were grouped into four ‘balloons’, from the east being labelled ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’, each comprising 8 roads. The far end of each road had more hydraulic retarders to prevent a wagon from leaving the balloon unintentionally. There were also catch points beyond these retarders on ‘C’ and ‘D’ balloons, as a backup safe guard, but not on ‘A’ and ‘B’ according to a signal diagram.
As the last wagon was uncoupled from the loco the signal lights would change to horizontal so the locos didn’t go over the crest and then they would start to flash. The locos would drop back down the hump and, as permitted by the various dwarf signals through the yard, run through an empty Arrival road back into the Spur siding for the process to begin again.
I signed off at 1210 to finish the week.

Neil
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
Three weeks worth although the last week has been discussed on another thread.

Roster #2 again, with 2300 starts rostered, began for me on Tuesday with 45 minutes of sitting before being called upon. My new driver and I made our way through Melbourne Yard to one of the sheds at the far end where the Bendigo ‘paper train was being loaded. S301 was at the head but we made our way to the far end where ZLP20 brought up the rear. We introduced ourselves to the guard and climbed in to end up perched on piles of newspapers. The train left the Centre Yard around 0100 and ran north, stopping at various stations to discharge bundles of papers, with us taking the opportunity to get some shut eye. We arrived at Bendigo at 0420 where we left the van. X42 and T349 were sitting in the yard, waiting for us, with our Geelong bound train. Climbing on we headed south. One thing the Bendigo line offers is a great view of the lights of Melbourne as you come down towards Sunbury. Passengers don’t get this view but loco crews do. We passed though Sunshine and ran onto the line heading for Newport. As I prepared to hand up the staff at Brooklyn it became obvious that another crew was waiting there to relieve us, with a taxi idling in the background ready to return us to Dynon. Climbing down from the loco at 0920 the taxi dropped us off at the depot where we signed off at 0945 for a 10-hour 45-minute shift. I’ve already commented about Bendigo crews’ apparent reluctance to meet Dynon ones’ part way; this would appear to be a case of this behaviour. I’m fairly sure that a shift that long was not intended by officialdom, but Bendigo depot had other ideas.
Another 2300 standby on Wednesday saw me heading out to wash locos after 2 hours in the meal room.
OR on Thursday again, with a 2200 standby rostered on Friday, also ended with washing locos but from 0240 as a variation. Saturday reverted to standby, on at 2300, but this time I was left alone in the meal room for the whole shift to end the week. Did Manpower take pity on me or forget about me again?


Trainee #3 again, had me signing on at 1356 for a 1410 SG Goods Pilot with Y122. Doing the same tasks as I had on my last day with Jim, ended at 2210, yet my diary records a sign off at 2330, totalling 9:34 worked, for no accountable reasons. Like the Melbourne Yard Pilots these SG goods Pilots were tied up opposite the SG Passenger shed where there was a break in the fence for the points off the gauge leading into Dynon and the goods yard. This was convenient for crews to get to and from the SG Pilots.
I haven’t commented on the Y class, specifically, so I will now. To get a diesel-electric (DE) moving you move the throttle into one of the eight notches. This increases the rpm of the diesel engine which turns a generator producing DC current, modern locos tend to use alternators for AC but the theory is the same. This current is fed to the traction motors turning the axles and away you go, eventually. The average DE is slow to respond to the throttle being moved because it takes some time for all this to happen. VR drivers, back then, commonly went straight to notch 8 to get things moving, at least until the turbo-charged C class came along. Going straight to notch 8 blew up a few turbo-chargers, so orders came out basically saying “don’t!”. The Y class were different; being designed for shunting this delay between throttle move and loco moving was eliminated. I’m not sure how it was done but it is a fact. So, you cracked the throttle on a Y and you started moving immediately. A trap for the unwary but a boon for shunting. To my knowledge this feature was unique, in Victoria, to the Y’s and they were quite popular for it, along the lack of VC. They also had a substantially older form of air-brake, a #4 for the train and a highly responsive independent brake. The independent was really useful for shunting in the same way as the instant acceleration was. The other locos had A7EL at the minimum, which meant when in multiple unit a Y class behaved like part of the train; its brakes could not be released separately with any other locos. The lack of air hoses except for the brake pipe was an indication of this older brake. Both brake types caused problems, even in my day, because parts were so hard to come by for them.
Tuesday, May 9th, was a day off due to my unions, the AFULE [Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen] calling a strike.
The one-day strike over, I signed on at 1200 on standby; I might as well have stayed at home again although I did get paid for this unlike the day before, as it was an 8 hour sit in the meal room.
Thursday was also a 1200 start but I wasn’t able to even go near the meal room as I was told to head to Newport the moment I signed on, so I retraced my steps back to North Melbourne, having just walked the other way to get to the depot. Catching the next spark to Newport I made my way into the Workshops to find K184 and 153 coupled back to back with 153 in steam. A, steam, experienced crew were occupying 153 and, when I arrived, they proceeded to give me instructions on what I had to do as 184 was towed towards Dynon. The technical phrase used was to jockey the loco, though don’t ask me how that came about. When we got to the reversing point, at the hump, 184 was pushed towards the depot by 153, with me having spun the reversing wheel as I was instructed. This was quite a thrill, riding the cab of a K class, getting the chance to acknowledge those who came to the lineside to wave at us going past, even though I was literally a passenger. Our arrival back at Dynon was 1530 and I adjourned to the meal room on standby again and remained there until the shift was over. Mind you, I think my first (and only) experience actually on a steam loco was enough to tide me over for the rest of the shift, no matter how bored I might have been.
My week finish with a rostered start at 1000 for Fuel Point duty again, which I actually last the whole 8 hours for this time, although not without some stiff muscles the next day.

The next week I was technically on Trainee #4, a Day shift, but was rostered to relieve a Tottenham sub-depot fireman for the whole week. There is a reasonable amount of information on the Sunshine / Albion ‘B’ siding thread, here B siding, so I’ll just mention the basics here. Starting on Monday, at 0600 at Dynon and getting myself to Tottenham for the 0635 P7 Pilot, using Y109, I finished at Tottenham at 1330 and signed off at Dynon at 1435. For the rest of the week I signed on at 0635 at Tottenham for the same job and with the same driver, finishing, officially, at 1435, although based on Monday I’m sure that, in reality, we finished a lot earlier. The only variation that occurred was the loco being Y108 on the Tuesday, reverted to 109 again for the rest of the week.


Neil
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
Time of another post I think. Slightly more than two weeks worth due to rostering.

Two days off had me signing on, back at Dynon on Trainee #5, an earlier Night shift and notably things were beginning to pick up as I was rostered to a job every day with this trend continuing into the future. A 2017 start had us ‘travelling per’ to Newport to meet our train, which was Geelong bound. Waiting for it inside Newport signal box, we relieved its crew and set off for Geelong at 2310, with T325 being the motive power. We finally made it to North Geelong Yard, uncoupled and made our way the Geelong Loco getting there at 0035. We returned to Melbourne ‘travelling per’ in the van of the 0110 up goods, hauled by Y168. Our return to the depot was at 0300 and Manpower sent us to the Fuel Point 17 minutes later to complete the remaining hour of our shift.
Tuesdays start time was 2045, once again travelling to Newport to meet our train but tonight heading towards Bendigo. T365 was the loco in charge and having made our way directly to Sunshine we continued on until Kyneton where we changed over with a Bendigo crew. Leaving Kyneton on the up with triple headed T class, being nos. 362, 337 and 350, we returned the way we’d come getting relief at Newport. For a change we stayed in T362 and, leaving Newport at 0730, took it back to Dynon light engine leaving our relief crew to suffer the cramped cab of a flat top T all the way to Geelong. We arrived back on the depot at 0755 and signing off at 0815 after 11 and a half hours on duty.
Back again at 1915 I had pushed the minimum time off regulations after finishing so late on Wednesday as I was originally rostered for the 1840 Warragul goods but with a minimum of 11 hours between shifts, that had to be changed. I still went east but with the 2010 goods instead, bound for Warragul and beyond. Our loco was L1153 and after departing from the East Yard we made it all the way to Warragul itself. We stopped at the platform and a local crew relieved us. The up goods for us had L1150 at the front with our departure at 2240 for the Melbourne Arrival Yard. We got the L back over ‘the pit’ at 0155 and had a seat before being called upon again by Manpower at 0230. We headed back to Newport again with Y116 ‘light’ which we handed over to another crew there, to return to the depot by taxi where we arrived back at 0345 and signed off at 0400.
A 2030 start on Thursday had us once again on our way to Newport, this time to meet the 2145 Seymour goods. T358 & B83 provided the horsepower for us to work through Brooklyn, Sunshine, Broadmeadows and on down the line as far as Tallarook. We changed over at 0315 onto T394, with T386 in support, bound for Melbourne, not Newport for a change. We got these two locos back to Dynon at 0515 for an 0530 sign off.
The Time Office seemed determined that I run the 1840 Warragul goods that week as they rostered me for it again, signing on at 1805, but the Manpower clerk had different ideas. I was swapped to the 1835 Seymour, departing from the Centre Yard instead, with T324, for my second run on that line that week. We made it past Tallarook this time actually getting all the way to Seymour, a first for me to that point. Our return train, departing at 2320, was hauled by two Y class, nos. 158 and 108, which meant no VC for either of us. These two locos did their job efficiently enough that we left the train in the Arrivals Yard and were back over the pit and signing off at 0250.
It ought to be evident that the grain season that year was a good one, based on the traffic working through Newport bound for Geelong. Dynon crews didn’t see any of that traffic from the western district but that coming off the Bendigo and Seymour lines was enough to keep us very busy. Only Mondays shift finished on 8 hours and the accumulated total for me was 46 hours for the week, equivalent to working six standard shifts; good for the pay packet but less so for sleep.


Trainee #6 was an Afternoon shift with starts scheduled for 1400 but instead of being booked for standby I was rostered to jobs for the whole week, mostly Pilots for the first 5 days, and actually worked 8 days straight, so I’ll run right through to my next OR this time.
Monday was 1435 for the 1500 East Yard Pilot, using Y106. This yard prepared all eastern bound trains, cleared ‘A’ balloon and shunted No. 1 goods sheds and adjacent sidings. Part of number 1 shed is now preserved at Bylands with the TMSV due to its age and heritage status. Sign off was at 2305 although I get the impression I was on my way home at 2200.
Tuesday was 1457 on for the 1500 Hump Yard Pilot, using H4 and 5. We took these two off the pit instead of having to walk to the Arrival Yard and, as I noted specifically that it was the first unit, there was a second pair of H class rostered to the Hump that afternoon. Sign off was 2333.
Wednesdays start was earlier, 1357 for the 1400 #5 Dock Pilot. There were around eight Pilots for the Melbourne Docks, each one covering a very specific area of the port. We found our Y class, number 137, in the depot yard and went to work. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you which Dock # Pilot worked which area. At least one cleared some of ‘D’ balloons roads as well as working around the Canal Yard but the bulk of our time was spent actually in the port sidings moving wagons and rakes of them as required, before shifting them to and from the main yards in Melbourne. Trips might be made into the Centre Yard for loads heading to the north or west. For the work on offer, eight Pilots was excessive in hind sight; one or two could have done the same job with a lot more efficiency but at the expense of the crew and shunters working significantly more. However, it was an interesting experience getting out amongst the container reach stackers and overhead container cranes and the ships they were loading or unloading. We returned 137 to the depot at 2155 and signed off at 2210.
On Thursday we signed on at 1444 for one of the 1500 Spencer St Pass Yard Pilots. Sixteen minutes until we were supposed to start the job would imply we took F202 off the pit for this one. I doubt anyone could be expected to walk to North Melbourne station, catch a spark to Spencer St and then walk over to the Bank sidings to their loco in that time. In those days, before the ‘New Deal,’ passenger trains were made up to meet someone’s idea of the passenger numbers offering for each train, so there was a constant adding or removing carriages from trains, usually within the Bank sidings themselves but occasionally at the platforms. Three Pass Yard Pilots worked at the same time and didn’t get much rest except for a meal break. The sidings were full of wooden bodied carriages of varying ages and comfort however, the S and Z classes were in fairly constant use so didn’t sit in the sidings for long, except for the interior to be cleaned. I was signed off at 2310; I doubt very much that I made the journey back to Dynon, going directly home instead.
For Friday I signed on at 1435 for the 1500 Canal Yard Pilot. This was a group of sidings bounded by Footscray Rd to the south, the North Melbourne Truck Shops to the north, Moonee Ponds creek to the west and the West and Cowper St Yards to the East. There were a couple of loading sheds there then but for the lack of loading places this Pilot still seemed to be on the move most of the time. Some trains departed from here, generally in the afternoon heading towards South Australia but to basic appearances it was a ‘nothing’ area.
So, we shunted as needed using Y!08 until 2250 when our relief arrived and made our way back to the depot, with our sign off happening at 2325.
Saturday, I ought to have still been starting in the early afternoon but instead it was late morning; 1127 to be precise for the 1200 Princes Bridge Pilot, abbreviated to PB Pilot for obvious reasons, operated by F203. Day and Afternoon versions of this Pilot dealt with country passenger trains coming in from the Eastern Region; i.e. through Dandenong. Essentially, it was a lone, smaller, version of a Spencer St Pass Yard Pilot. The Night shift technically did the same but the lack of passenger trains running in those hours sort of defeated the purpose of it. About the only real things it did on Night shift was clear away the last trains from platform 1 and prepare a few really early ones before the Day shift took over. There were two banks of sidings where now a pile of townhouses are sited between the Jolimont and Richmond lines. These were subdivided into two groups, the Collingwood, wired for sparks, and the Country Sidings which weren’t wired. A small supply of spare carriages were available here to modify passenger trains in the same way as Spencer St did. At that time few, if any, Eastern Region trains ran through Flinders St to Spencer St, probably as Spencer St wasn’t really configured for dealing with trains heading east. At 1820 we left the F in the sidings with a relief crew and made our way to platform 1 to relieve the up Bairnsdale pass, better known as the ‘Gippslander’. We took charge of L116 at 1835, while the new PB Pilot crew came up to remove the carriages from the platform. We headed west over the viaduct to return the L to Dynon leaving it in the fuel point at 1920 and signing off 15 minutes later. It took a few minutes at most to walk from the ‘Point’ to the Manpower Office window, but there was some agreement between Union and Officialdom that we were entitled to 15 minutes from the time we got a loco into the fuel point before signing off. I don’t know if it was an official one or just some gentlemen’s agreement within the depot but it certainly existed, as I benefited from it continually.
For my seventh day straight, I was rostered for 0730 standby, now on Trainee #7. My rest was broken as I was given the task of getting to Flinders St to relieve the crew of an up special pass hauled by B68, which arrived at 0915. With a B up front it most likely came from Korrumburra or beyond, but that is a guess. We took the train to Spencer St where it terminated; one of the few to do so, as I’ve just mentioned, and left both loco and train where it terminated as we finished that job at 0930. The loco would have been put on a down pass from Spencer St and the carriages shunted or, likewise, re-used. Making our way back to Dynon we had a breather before getting assigned to the Fuel Point at 1300. I don’t remember if my driver had his 8 hours up at 1430 or whether I’d just plain had enough, especially with yet another day still to come, because that’s when my shift finished and I headed for home.
Back on the depot again at 0540, rostered for a Dandenong goods, I had my first experience of an ‘Electric Chair’ more officially known as an E class, number 1102 to be precise. We found it in 7 road and left the depot for the East Yard. Coupled up and with the brake test complete we set off at 0615. This could have been described as a Dandenong Pilot, apart from the fact there was an actual Dande Pilot, as it was known, generally a Y class worked by what I understood to be an out-stationed crew in the same way that Tottenham had its out-stationed crews. We shunted at a number of locations along the way on the down trip, such as Malvern. Loco crews, in common with most Aussies, abbreviated anything and everything; for example, grain trains, irrespective of what the actual type of grain was, were known as ‘Wheaty’s’, petroleum, likewise, were ‘Oily’s’, the Kilmore East quarry, the ’Apex’ and so on. We didn’t actually make it to Dandenong, only as far as Caulfield where we entered the goods sidings on the south west end to run around and prepare to return to Melbourne. Departing the yard at 0740, we made a direct run for the Arrivals Yard getting the loco back to Dynon at 0935, without any shocks which gave them their nickname. Supposedly, one engineman was actually blown out the, thankfully open, cab window by one of these rather uncomfortable and somewhat dangerous beasts. At 1200 we ended up on Fuel Point duty to finish the shift and a well-earned day off; yes, only one sadly.

Neil

Edit: my original text indicated that the 'new' viaduct between Flinders and Spencer Streets was not open at this date. That was incorrect as it actually opened in December 1978. I've adjusted the post to reflect this.
  themetptc Junior Train Controller

Location: Ballarat
Great stories and insight Neil, thankyou.  It would be great to have these in a book with pictures and diagrams, similar to Nick Anchens wonderful books with tales from the front line.

For those of us who were never there, it is the only way those that are interested are to know what happened and what it was like.

Sim
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
Great stories and insight Neil, thankyou.  It would be great to have these in a book with pictures and diagrams, similar to Nick Anchens wonderful books with tales from the front line.

For those of us who were never there, it is the only way those that are interested are to know what happened and what it was like.

Sim
themetptc
No worries Sim.
I think a self published book would be about the only way this would ever make it to print, especially allowing for the amount of time it's taking to transcribe from my notes would make writing a book quite a task. I'm getting close to November 1979 when I finally got onto the Goods roster, albeit without a regular driver, and that's quite a few posts worth of material for here.

Neil
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
A short one, as the weeks that followed this became rather messy due to events, including strike action.

Still on Day shift I was rostered on for an 0535 start for the 0600 #1 Dock Pilot run with Y121 and officially signed off at 1425, with one of those odd notes that suggest I actually finished at 1340. There were some shenanigans going on there that I don’t remember so can’t clarify.
Wednesday was an early 0335 start for the 0430 Long Island goods. We took B82 from the depot and coupled to our train, probably in the East Yard but I’m not convinced of that. Something is nagging me that it might have been from the Canal Yard, although that raises the question of how we got onto the main line heading east. I don’t think we use the Sim St triangle; that was, and still is, a very low speed, sharp corner and Pilots or light engines tended to be the only things to venture around that bit of track. We certainly didn’t go via Tottenham, I would have noted that, and the reversing loop was awkward, but not impossible, to access from the Canal. Whichever yard we departed from and however we got onto the main we left Melbourne and we made our way down the Frankston line and on to Long Island where the guard had to let us into the sidings. We didn’t get much shunting done as a taxi arrived with a relief crew for us at 1045. Swapping loco for the taxi, it delivered us to Frankston from where we caught a spark back to Flinders St then another one on to North Melbourne followed by the walk back to Dynon. This somehow took us until 1300, talk about bad connections or something.
Thursdays start was 0445 to run the 0600 SG Upfield Pilot. This train conveyed wagons bound for the Ford factory at Upfield but of course the only way to get there on ‘the gauge’ was to go via Sunshine and the Albion loop line with the reversal at Somerton, so took quite a bit longer than a BG train could do it, especially if it went straight up the Upfield line. Y155 had the honours, which we collected from the SG turntable and took out to the South Dynon SG yard. This was one of the consistently regular SG Y class, along with nos. 122 and 139. I can’t say I ever worked any of those three, except on the SG. With the withdrawal of W267 a fourth Y class was re-gauged but no one loco became as steadfastly a member of the SG fleet as the other three did. It got to the point that you would end up with one of the three so consistently that I even stopped noting which one I worked on when working an SG Pilot, something that I never omitted for a BG train, or Pilot. The fourth was often #102 or 115 but 103 also made the change, according to my notes.
Getting out onto the main SG line had the same TR point requirements as the BG did; you just spoke to the CTC (Centralised Train Control) operator in the basement, I think it was, at Head Office instead of the West Tower signalman. Once on the main you then reversed direction to enter the goods yard, at the signal protecting the entry to it and Dynon. So, once in the yard, we sorted out our train and set off, eventually making it to the Ford factory and doing some shunting in the sidings there, whilst I also watched brand new Ford models being driven onto the car carrier wagons for transfer north later. Our work there complete we then retraced our path back to South Dynon SG yards and returned Y155 to the fuel point. This was just before 1200 as I decide to call it a day and finished at that time for a short shift for once.
Fridays’ job was a repeat of the #5 Dock Pilot, the literally only difference was our finishing time of 1325, even the loco was the same.

Neil
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
As mentioned already, due to the events that took place, this post will cover three weeks.
Trainee #8 was night shift and I ended up rostered to various Melbourne Yard Pilots. Monday was 2235 for the 2300 Centre Yard Pilot with Y106 signing off at 0725.
Tuesday was 2257 for the 2300 West Yard Pilot, beginning with Y111 but at 2310 we exchanged 111 for no. 131. I can’t explain why the rapid swap except that maybe 111 should have been returned to Dynon for fuel and the roster hadn’t allowed for it. Sign off was 0703.
Wednesday was also 2257 for 2300 East Yard Pilot on Y104, off at 0703 again and Thursday was 2357 for 2300 Hump Yard Pilot with H2 & 1 off at 0713.
Surprisingly, I somehow had a four-day weekend.

On to Trainee #9 being early Afternoon shifts this was another short week as follows.
1300 on for the 1410 Newmarket Stock Pilot operated by Y143. The difference in sign on and start time would be to allow for us to get to the Pilot somewhere on the Flemington Racecourse line. The Pilot was terminated and so we brought the loco back to Dynon finishing at 1815. Getting a call out from our standby status we were tasked with taking X52 off the pit to Spencer St from 2020. Once we were relieved at Spencer St we went onto Spencer St Standby, available to relieve inbound crew. There was no formal location for us to wait but there was usually, at least one Dynon crew, somewhere, fulfilling this role. It required the driver to phone the depot every so often to check if any job had come up. This we did for an up Bendigo pass with S302 doing the hauling and brought it back to Dynon. Operating an S class from the hostler end was a noisy job as there was absolutely nothing between you and all the mechanicals (and protective ear-wear was still a few years down the track from being issued to us), the seats were lucky to qualify to be called such, and to get in and out meant climbing through the doorway using the coupler as a step, which made it fun if the fireman had to change points or prepare to couple the loco to a train. Eventually, a metal stirrup step was added adjacent to the coupler for the purpose of assisting entry and exit from this end of an S class. Getting the S back to Dynon at 2100 we signed off 10 minutes later.  
Wednesday was a 1212 start for the 1315 Newport Pilot. This was not shunting in the workshops but working in the sidings that, at that time still existed around Newport along the Williamstown line. We had Y121 for this job and, from memory, those wagons we had attached ended up at Tottenham Yard before we ran light back to Dynon getting there at 1948 and finishing at 2000.
Thursday I was rostered for a 1355 start but instead had another unpaid day off courtesy of AFULE taking strike action again and had no more work rostered until the following week. There was obviously some major dispute going on but I don’t remember what it was; the Lonie Reoort had only just been commissioned so the release of that was not the cause.

Trainee #10 was Day shift starting on Tuesday with a 0420 start for an 0515 Bendigo goods out of the Centre Yard. We took B81 there and headed north, actually reaching Bendigo around 0815, as we had no train to change-over to. Once there, we headed for the station to travel per on the up pass, which was hauled by X46, getting to Spencer St at 1000. My driver checked in with Manpower on our arrival and we were told to relieve an up Seymour pass. When it arrived, led by T354, we took the loco back to Dynon getting there at 1150 and finished our shift at 1200.
Wednesdays start was 0400 for the 0435 Port Melbourne Pilot. We took Y138 off the pit to the East yard to collect our loading and then ran to Flinders St into one of the sidings at the ERD (Electric Running Depot), more commonly known as Jolimont. Running around, we then headed to Montague and pushed the train back into the sidings there to spend some time shunting. With that complete we returned to the main line and headed on to Graham where we entered the Port Melbourne yard to shunt for a while. We finished this work at 1100 and made our way back to Dynon – from vague recollection by spark but it may have been light engine; usually I noted LE (light engine) and I didn’t in this case. Sign off was 1213.
Thursdays sign on was 0340 for an 0400 light engine run to Tottenham with Y143. Once at Tottenham we collected some loaded stock wagons and headed back into Melbourne to reverse in the Centre Yard and then head for Newmarket to form one of the Stock Pilots after depositing our rake in one of the unloading platforms on the south side of the line. We left Newmarket at 1100 and returned to the depot for an 1140 finish.
Once again, the AFULE interfered with my ability to earn money as I lost the next two days to strike action then had an OR (July 1st) followed by a further strike day, so the first working day of Trainee #11 (late Afternoon shift) was technically supposed to start on the Monday but didn’t.
I don’t think it was intentional compensation for the loss of pay from the recent strikes but the Time Office then had me work 20 shifts in 24 days, which I’ll cover in the next post or two.
Another thing that is now obvious, looking back, is that being rostered for Standby was about to increase as the grain season obviously had diminished or ceased altogether with a consequent decline in jobs on offer.

Neil
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
Catching up a fraction on my notes:

Signing on at 1838 for the Tuesday shift, for a week of rostered mid Afternoon starts, we travelled to Newport to meet a Bendigo bound goods. The train arrived at 2045 with T340 doing the hauling. We were stopped at Elphinstone at 0035 to meet our change-over which had B60 and T332 up front. Departing there on the up 5 minutes later we were stopped again at Woodend, at 0145, this time to detach the B class and stable it there for some, unremembered, reason. Left with the flat-top T we continued on to Melbourne Arrivals Yard and then brought the T over the pit at 0438, which also became our sign off time for 10 hours exactly.
The 11 hours off rule struck again as my next sign on was at 1538, consigned to the Fuel Point until sign off at 2330.
Thursday’s start was 1530, originally rostered for a Brooklyn Stock Pilot which had been cancelled after the roster was prepared, so we ended up on standby until 1825 when we were called out to run an additional Hump Pilot from 1845 with H’s no. 5 and 1. We finished up in the Hump at 2315 finishing 10 minutes later.
Friday was 1800 standby and was another 8-hour non-event.
Saturday was the first of my few OR’s of this stretch with Sunday then being a 1530 Fuel Point start. On Monday, I rotated onto Trainee #12 but for some reason remained on Afternoon shift. A 1435 start for the 1500 Shed Pilot which, from memory, worked the area that was east of Footscray Rd, what was known as Cowper St in railway terms. This was adjacent to West Yard Pilot territory and probably could have been done by that Pilot in a more efficient world. Y110 was the loco of choice for the shift with sign off at 2330.
Tuesday was my second OR for this period.

On Thursday, I was rostered to the 1500 Truckshop Pilot, signing on at 1442. F206 was our loco finishing, at 2300 for a sign off 15 minutes later.
Friday was 1435 for the 1500 Hump Trimmer Pilot, or just Trimmer. I’ve already explained how the Hump Pilots worked and mentioned this Pilot but it needs some explanation of its own.
An F class sat on a short siding half way up the hump approach with a single set of points on the uphill side of the siding leading to the crest. If a wagon didn’t roll into its intended balloon track far enough then it needed a boost, if you will, or If something went wrong and it ended up in the wrong road completely it had to be rescued before any more wagons went over the hump. Basically, if something went wrong, the Trimmer Pilot was called out to fix it. The, very rare, ‘not to be loose shunted’ wagon was left at the crest by the Hump Pilot with its handbrake on and the trimmer would couple up and push it to the desired spot.  
So, in my day there was a small cabin for the crew to sit at a table with rudimentary facilities for making drinks and heating food, while the F sat idling nearby with the handbrake on. When the Hump first opened, crews spent the whole shift sitting on the F but some Union intervention caused this cabin to appear.
Should a problem occur on the hump, the Hump Pilot would get the ‘stop’ and ‘reverse’ signals. Once the rake was clear of the points, the Hump Master would call out the Trimmer via a post mounted speaker near the cabin. If you were paying attention it wasn’t a surprise as you’d see the rake backing down the hump. If you were asleep e.g. Night shift, you might take a second call to respond. Climbing onto the F, always with the engine leading and cab trailing, the fireman would release the hand brake and the F would ascend to the crest where the shunter would hop on and ride to the problem wagon. If it had stopped short, the shunter would ensure the coupler jaws didn’t engage and just get you to ‘kick’ it along, basically a quick accelerate then stop. The wagon would continue on its own momentum and the loco would then go back up to its siding with the shunter dropping off at the crest. If it was in the wrong road the shunter would couple up so the F could drag it back to the crest, where it would be uncoupled and given a nudge to send it to the correct road after the Hump Master had changed the points. I don’t recall any shift where the Trimmer wasn’t called upon at least once; some shifts you got the impression someone wasn’t paying attention and you’d be up and down fairly constantly. This was really annoying on Night shift as sleeping was the crew’s top priority on this Pilot. On Day, or Afternoon, the more call outs the better as it occupied your time better.
F203 was our loco for my first stint on this Pilot with sign off at 2325. I didn’t record how often we had to climb onto 203 to fix an issue but I would say there were at least a few such events.
On Saturday I was rostered for a 1525 Melbourne to Dandenong, but it was cancelled, so instead I spent 8 hours on standby, starting at 1350.
Sunday was my third OR for this stretch.

Trainee #13 was a late Day shift with Monday being an 0800 start for an 0920 Bendigo bound goods that we took over at Newport. T396 was the loco but we were met at Sunshine to hand over the train, at 1000, to continue its journey. We returned to Dynon in a spark and then waited until 1200 for our next job which was to take T401 to Spencer St to add to a passenger train as second unit behind S303. We were back on the depot by 1250 and had another wait. At 1500, we returned to Spencer St to work one of the Pass Yard Pilots worked by Y134. At 1615 we were relieved off 134 and swapped to no. 103 which we then returned to Dynon with to sign off at 1650.
On Tuesday we signed on for the same job as yesterday and made it to Woodend before we met our change-over. We had T389 until Woodend swapping to B77 and T380 for the up journey which began at 1235. This was a really slow trip as we didn’t get these locos into the Arrivals Yard until 1805, probably most of the time disappeared once we got off the main line at Sunshine. Sign off was 1850.
Wednesday and I was rostered on at 0620 for an 0637 Newmarket Stock Pilot which was cancelled before I signed on so standby took its place. At 0855 we were called to travel to Newport where we were to bring B81 back LE (Light Engine). We got the B over the pit at 1110 for a 50-minute rest before getting tasked with taking L1158 off the depot to Flinders St to drop it on to a passenger train in platform 1E. This meant passing under the hump, along the goods lines to the west of the suburban lines and over the viaduct, through road 1A and past 1E to reverse back onto the train. We were relieved at 1435 and made it back to the depot to sign off at 1505.
Thursday was my last OR in this stretch with seven more days after this before I had a decent break.

This last stretch, still on Trainee #13, before a three-day break, started on Friday rostered on at 0725 for an 0745 Spencer St Pass Yard Pilot. Y121 was our loco for the shift which I recorded finishing at 1550 although sign off wasn’t, officially, until 1630.
An 0715 rostered start for the 0830 Warragul became standby when I actually signed on but at 0850 I was tasked to take out the loco for the 0935 Geelong pass. Collecting B66 from depot yard we dropped onto the train and did the necessary work to prepare it to depart. We then went onto Spencer St standby until at 1015 when we got the job of relieving the up ‘Southern Aurora’. This had to be running very late for us to be tasked with the job at that time. X50 finally drew into the platform and we relieved the Wodonga crew who went off for their rest period before returning to Albury later that day. We got the X over the pit by 1115 and then resumed standby status until sign off at 1515.
On Sunday the roster changed to #14, a Night shift with 2300 standby rostered. Eight hours later I signed off again having not done anything, except doze, at the very least.
Monday, however, was a 2235 on for the 2300 Hump Yard with H’s #3 and 1 and officially off again at 0725.
On Tuesday I signed on at 2157 for the 2200 #8 Dock Pilot. We took Y120 off the pit and crossed Footscray Rd after collecting our shunters and load. One thing that sticks in my memory from these night shift Dock Pilots are the seagulls. At night they gather in vast numbers, around the towers lighting up the dock areas so operations can continue, and spend ages circling them. You can see this behaviour at large football stadiums around the country during matches that use light towers. At 0603 we signed off.
Wednesday had me back in the Spencer St Pass Yard, this time of F206 after signing on at 2214 with the job starting at 2230 and finishing at 0716.
My last shift in this stretch was the 2300 Canal Pilot with Y117, signing on at 2257 and taking the loco off the pit. Off again at 0725 I would have really enjoyed the next three days not having to concern myself about signing on, although at the time I wouldn’t have known the next stretch was to be a 10-day straight one, thankfully with 4 days off at the end.

Neil
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
Trainee #15 was Day shift and Mondays rostered job was 0900 on for standby but very rapidly changed to an 0945 Footscray Ballast. Taking T342 off the pit we would have collected the train from the Wagon Storage Sidings, north of North Melbourne Workshops, inside the reversing loop, which was where most ballast trains were stabled. We would have had to pull the train to another yard, probably the Centre Yard, to run around before we could head past the Arrivals Yard and out onto the suburban lines at South Kensington to where our load was required at Footscray. We returned the rake to the yard and the loco to the depot by 1825 for an 1840 finish.
On Tuesday I signed on at 0845 to take B64 off the pit with a light engine run to Oakleigh where we coupled up to a rake of wagons full of briquettes to form the 1000 Maribyrnong goods. We took the train to the Maribynong Yard and exchanged our loaded wagons for a rake of empties to leave the yard at 1210 for a run back to Oakleigh where a Warragul crew and their L class took over from us. We then ran the B back to the depot light again getting over the pit at 1740 and signing off 15 minutes later.
Wednesday I was supposed to sign on at 0920 for an 0950 light engine to Caulfield for a similar sort of job as Tuesday; i.e. an up Maribyrnong goods and a down empties back to Caulfield, however that was changed to 0935 on for a 1000 Spencer St Pass Yard Pilot with Y137 finishing at 1800.
On Thursday August 2nd I had an 0800 start to sit my ‘500 hours’ exam with a foreman named Norm Spolding. Although he was a little scathing about ‘parroted’ answers I got them right so he couldn’t fail me. A pass graduated me to a Locomotive Assistant Class 1. With the exam over I spent time on standby until I was called to work the 1210 Geelong pass with S307. This was a really odd job as we changed over with a Geelong crew at Lara. I don’t recall any other time that I had a passenger train change-over mid journey on the Geelong line; goods yes, pass no. Leaving Lara with B60 at 1338 we were either replaced by another crew at Newport or the train was cancelled at 1420. How we returned to Dynon I’m not able to say as I made no note about that for some reason. Eventually I signed off at 1600.
Next day I signed on at 0802 for another light engine run from the depot, with Y138, this time to Westall. At Westall we picked up a rake of wagons, that originally would have come from the east with timber in them, to haul them to Dandenong. In Dandenong yard we handed the rake over to a Warragul crew, with their L class, to take back east. We coupled to another rake and at 1145 we headed west, back to Melbourne, leaving the rake in the Arrivals Yard and getting back to Dynon at 1610 with a sign off 10 minutes later.
Saturday’s job was a 0930 start, however the finer details changed overnight. Originally, we were supposed to take our loco light to Caulfield for an up Maribyrnong but this was changed to LE to Maribyrnong instead. So, at 0950, with B66 and a guard collected, we headed to Maribyrnong to pick up the down empties. With the train tested and ready to go we left the yard at 1030 and headed for Caulfield where we were met by yet another Warragul crew and their L class. They must have done the up run ‘light’ as we had no train to bring on so at 1300 we set off to return to Dynon. We left B66 to be fuelled at 1427 only to end up doing Fuel Point duties from 1600 for an hour and a half and sign off at 1740.
Sunday, I rotated onto Trainee #16, which was also Day shift, and started at 0700 for ‘Diesel Maintenance Shops’, which was a change from the 0730 standby originally booked. This job was like Fuel Point duty except that the locos moved were those either going in for a service or overhaul or coming out of the Maintenance Shops having had work done on them. The driver(s) working this were guys who were ‘grounded’, due to their health being so bad that they couldn’t be permitted to get out onto a main line, or for having committed a serious offence. I know that one shift I worked this job, my driver, nick-named “Globes”, was the one who ‘ran out of air’ coming down the grade into Frankston, with B69 on the loaded up Long Island goods in June 1975, ran through the signals at stop, crashed into 10-month-old Hitachi motor 27M in the platform and wrote it off. ‘Running out of air’ basically means he applied the air brakes repeatedly, without slowing the train sufficiently, before releasing them again which prevented the brake pipe and air reservoirs along the train from recharging properly and so lost control of the train. A B class, officially, has dynamic brakes but compared to any other dynamic braked diesel they might as well not have them, and, in any case, they cannot actually stop a train, only retard its speed, so they are a very poor substitute for air brakes. The newer locos had far better dynamic brakes but even they can’t stop a train. Four years later he was still serving his ‘sentence’ for his poor driving causing the accident.
We finished moving locos at 1630 but didn’t sign off until 1700, a 10-hour shift on a Sunday, worth a bit to the pay packet.
Signing on at 0730 I was rostered to Fuel Point but at 1355 I ended up washing locos again; what a let-down! I worked my 8 hours and signed off, only to start at 0700 the next day once again doing Fuel Point. At least I was able to do this for the whole shift of 8 hours, unlike the day before.
Wednesday, I was rostered to the SG Pass Pilot with Y103, signing on at 0815 for an 0835 start. This had the role of dropping on to the rear of the ‘Southern Aurora’, moving the car wagon off the rear of the ‘Aurora’ into the car dock to enable the cars to be driven off and then, occasionally, hauling the empty cars back to the Car Shops at Dynon, although the ‘Aurora’ loco, with a Dynon relief crew, did this more to enable the SG line to be kept relatively clear. If the pilot did it then there was an empty cars move plus a light engine one, which could delay the entry of the ‘Spirit of Progress’ into Spencer St. If the pilot did haul the empty cars then it tailed the ‘Spirit’ into Spencer St, in the same way It did the ‘Aurora’. Otherwise it sat in the car dock or another out-of-the-way spot for the ‘Spirit’ to arrive.
The Spirit cars were then hauled back to the Car Shed after the train loco had made its way back ‘light’, once again with a Dynon relief crew on board. Hauling the train into the car-shed required a low speed as cleaners wiped external windows from the platforms and train examiners checked the running gear as the cars moved past them. Some shunting of cars, to increase, re-arrange or decrease the train length would happen as needed. On this day, by early afternoon, we had done most of the work, so at 1430 we left 103 and moved to Y136 to work the BG Sand Trucks Pilot. The only job of this pilot was to remove empty, dedicated, sand wagons from their siding, south of #4 road to the north-east of the Maintenance Building and replace them with loaded ones. Photos of the depot from the correct angle show the gantry spanning the ready roads, with the enclosed sand pipe(s) running from this facility to the Fuel Point. This was an ‘as required’ job and wouldn’t have appeared on any roster. With the work done we returned to Y103 at 1505 for another 15 minutes to sign off at 1530.
To finish this stint, I signed on at 0730 for yet another 8-hour shift at the Fuel Point.

Neil
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
After 4-days off I resumed on Trainee #17, Night shift at 0035 on a Tuesday, originally rostered for an 0220 Warragul goods but ended up instead on standby and remained on standby until my 8 hours were up.
Next morning was an 0125 start for an 0200 Bendigo goods run with T360 as far as Kyneton. Our changeover, from Bendigo depot, had to come to us once we reached Kyneton as we were rostered to bring the 0712 up, commuter, pass back to Melbourne with T365, so our going past Kyneton would have messed that up. We got the train into Spencer St at 0845 and then returned 365 to Dynon at 0930 and signed off at 0940.
I signed on at 0045 on Thursday and with my driver made our way to the 0130 Bendigo goods was preparing to depart from the Centre Yard hauled by B63. Travelling in the van we left this train at Kyneton at 0250 and then spent a few hours waiting for the departure time of the 0640 up pass with X40. An X class on an up commuter run, especially on the Bendigo line (downhill almost all the way!) was a luxury that was rare. We made it to Spencer St and, once released from the train, took our loco back to Dynon getting there at 0830 and signing off at 0845.
Signing on at 0040, this is an interesting one as the job I was booked on was a Clifton Hill ballast signing on at 0035. However, the moment I arrived Manpower moved me to run the 2340 Korrumburra goods. Something had happened to cause this, either the rostered fireman hadn’t arrived or the train had been noticeably delayed and so I got the guernsey. I get the impression that this probably originated at North Geelong with T334 being the loco in charge. We made it all the way to Korrumburra getting there at 0640 having shunted at Lyndhurst, Koala Siding and probably other stations. Return was on the 0700 up Rail Motor which was DRC41 arriving at Flinders St at 0850. We made our way back to Dynon for a 0930 sign off.
A 2325 standby sign on still on the same day as I finished the Korrumburra goods was the next shift and had me sitting until 0300 when I was called out to run a Dandenong bound goods. Y102 was our loco there and back again with a return to Melbourne at 0850 and sign off at 0925.
Changing to Trainee #9 again I started at 1400 on the Sunday going straight to Fuel Point duty for an 8-hour shift, instead of the standby that I was rostered.
Monday was a 1205 start for the 1230 Kensington Pilot with Y119. We finished the shift at 2030.
Tuesday’s shift started at 1500 for something I recorded as “Card”, which I now have no idea what that was. Whatever it was, it was short lived as at 1550 I went out to the Fuel Point until 2330.
Wednesday was 1402 on for the 1419 Spencer St Pass Yard Pilot worked with F207. Taking the F off the pit we shunted the platforms and Bank Sidings until 2145 when we were relieved and made our way back to the depot signing off at 2215.
The AFULE called another strike which took account of the next two days which were then followed by three days OR.

Neil
  davesvline Chief Commissioner

Location: 1983-1998
What a wonderful recollection. Presumably good diary notes have assisted?

Hindsight being a good thing, it’s probably a shame if there’s no photos of said accounts.

In many cases people didn’t think to capture things on film. If you do, all the merrier and I’m sure many would be interested to see.

Regards
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
What a wonderful recollection. Presumably good diary notes have assisted?

Hindsight being a good thing, it’s probably a shame if there’s no photos of said accounts.

In many cases people didn’t think to capture things on film. If you do, all the merrier and I’m sure many would be interested to see.

Regards
davesvline
Unfortunately, no photos; 'rabid' gunzels (not that I would have categorised myself at that level) weren't generally accepted, but a camera drew way too much attention to yourself as a fireman. It is ironic, that lack of acceptance especially considering most engine men had, at least, a basic interest in railways. I know some drivers carried one from evidence I've seen but the seniority probably helped.
The day I worked the Paisley to Wodonga Oil with Jim McBride, both he and the driver interrogated me while we were working the sidings at Paisley. They discovered I had been a member of the Diamond Valley Railway in Eltham for a few years, and still was at that point, and then, incorrectly, accused me of being a member of Puffing Billy, as well. They had quite a time of it before we got out onto the main line and had to concentrate on running the train and not ribbing the trainee.
There were a few other occasions like this, none that every got aggressive or completely out-of-hand, but a little uncomfortable at the time.
My notes come from my diaries, which were AFULE issued and only pocket book sized, a week to two leaves which didn't leave a lot of space to make extensive notes. Generally, I noted the roster number above Sunday, then for each day the sign on time, train time and destination, time that job was finished and the loco(s). Additional jobs or return trips got the same treatment plus a sign off time. Tonnage or other unusual things were noted as were occasions when, at a later date, I was given the chance to drive; not that I wrote that specifically as that wasn't officially permitted; an asterisk sufficed to remind me. There wasn't room to put much more down than that information, especially if there were more than four jobs in one shift.
Even forty years on, re-reading about certain shifts triggers a memory about that specific job, usually ones that were out of the ordinary so I can draw on that memory to expand on the post. An example, of one of those occasions, that already exists on RP, is on the Albion B siding thread, when an empty GY derailed near Hoppers Crossing on the up. My diary doesn't go into too much detail but it doesn't need to as just the thought of that event brings back quite detailed memories, down to the fact that I was coming down with a cold at the time!
Once I'd been on the Goods roster for a while, I was more deliberate in noting who my driver was. On the Trainee rosters you could work with a number of different drivers on the one shift and I wasn't great with names (to be honest, still ain't!), which is why names are rare so far. There is a Diesel Maintenance Shops job coming up where I remember the drivers nickname and why he was restricted to only working that job. I'll mention his nickname, but not his real name, because even though he'll be long retired, it's not necessary to drag his name through the mud even now.

Neil
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
Returning to Dynon on Tuesday, on Trainee #10, sign on was 0445. We were rostered for the up run of the Apex from North Melbourne to Westall so we made our way up to North Melbourne station. The Apex, scheduled to arrive at 0455, drew into the platform with X52 leading T356 and we relieved the crew. Getting the train moving again we ran through the city and out to Westall, arriving in the loop road at 0700, where we pushed the whole train back into the unloading siding until the leading wagon was at the unloading point. As each wagon was emptied we drew forward so the next one could be dealt with until the whole train was done. We returned to the loop road and I uncoupled the locos so we could run around. At the other end I coupled the locos to the van at the up end and once everything was ready we returned to the main line at 1000 with the T leading, for the run back to North Melbourne. At 1125 we saw the relief crew standing on the platform waiting for us and pulled up adjacent to them and handed the train over to them. Walking back to the depot I signed off at 1140 to make it a short shift but crews were paid a tonnage allowance when a train exceeded a certain weight, somewhere about 1000t. The ‘Apex’ was a train that met that weight on the up trip so that probably accounted for us both finishing then and not working out the balance of the shift.
Wednesday, I started at 0503 for the 0548 Geelong pass. Taking T320 and 333 off the depot to Spencer St I coupled the locos to the train and we did the essentials. We ran to Geelong arriving at 0715 where I uncoupled T320 which left us with T333 for the up trip. Departing at 0755 we arrived at Spencer St at 0912. We had a break until close to 1100 when we made our way to Flinders St to relieve an up Warragul pass at 1105, led by L1171, and got the loco over the pit at 1145. We ended up at the Fuel Point from 1205 to complete our 8 hours.
I signed on Thursday for the same job as Wednesday but with only a single T, no. 363, this time. Departing Spencer St at the same time the difference in power available made itself obvious as we arrived at Geelong at 0717. Departing Geelong at 0755, again, we obviously had a better run as we made it to Spencer St at 0901 this time. Once again, we had a break before being tasked with relieving an up Shepparton pass from 1015, hauled by T346. We took the loco back to Dynon but for some reason didn’t record anything further, including sign off time.
Friday’s job was an 0330 start for the 0400 Arden St Pilot. Y120 was our loco and we took it off the depot to collect the loading, most of which was cement wagons from Geelong. Crossing the six suburban lines at the down end of North Melbourne to enter the yard we spent a while pushing cement wagons into the appropriate sidings near North Melbourne station. With that done we then took some loading to the sidings to the north of the yard, adjacent to Macauley station, and shunted there for a while, which included crossing Macauley Rd a number of times. We finished in the yard at 1135 and, eventually, the signalman found a big enough gap between the sparks to allow us to cross the suburban lines, back to Melbourne Yard and left the Y at the Fuel Point to sign off at 1225.
September 1st was an 0305 sign on for the 0350 Korumburra Ballast. As with the Footscray Ballast I’d worked previously, we picked up the train from adjacent to North Melbourne Workshops and set off heading east. Our locos were T354 and T337 and we made it as far as Lang Lang before the Korumburra crew met us to relieve us at 0650. We returned to Flinders St travelling per on the DRC, once again no. 41, leaving at 0720. Back on the depot at 0900 we spent the rest of the shift on standby, without getting anything to do.
Sunday being OR my roster changed to Trainee #11.

Monday, Afternoon shifts, starting at 1536 for the 1621 Werribee pass, we located B71 in the depot and made our way to Spencer St so I could couple up to our train. Having a B class on a Werribee “stopper” was very unusual; far more common were Y or T class for these trains, so when the sparks finally made it out there, instead of having to put up with slow or low powered diesels hauling whatever carriages were available, the locals must have been rapt. Writing this makes me think of Wyndham Vale and Melton passengers; how they are suffering the same sort of service now, albeit with trains that can run faster than 65kph or with a decent amount of power available.
I didn’t experience it but I was told on good authority that when the W class were new they had a second speed gearing which enabled them to do 65kph and were tried out on the Werribee pass’. They weren’t reliable enough for this, or anything more than shunting really, and I imagine riding a short wheelbase W at speed would have been rather disconcerting for the crew. At least a Y had a decent wheelbase even if they were no faster than a high geared W.
Departing on time we made it to Werribee at 1701 where I had to uncouple and, after running around, re-couple before our return empty cars at 1718. Back at Spencer St we left our train and returned the B to Dynon, at 1830. At 2025 we were called out to relieve the PB Pilot being worked with F206. As I’ve commented before the night shift of the Pilot was almost completely unnecessary and even though I officially signed off at 0014 my notes indicate a far earlier finish at 2100.
On again at 1820 for a 1915 Geelong goods Y151 was our loco however, the Geelong crew we were to change over with only gave us 15 minutes on the Y before they took it off us. Being relieved so quickly we were able to return to Dynon easily for standby until 2300 when Manpower gave us another go at getting to Geelong. We got to Newport and relieved a crew to take control of B71 for the second day in a row, this time successfully making it to Geelong and getting the loco over the pit at Geelong at 0050. There was a shortage of ways to get back to Melbourne, our first option being the 0158 up goods which we travelled back on although it was obviously running a little late as we didn’t get to it until 0200. It arrived back in Melbourne at 0420 and we made our way back to Dynon to sign off at 0505.
Returning for a 1745 start for a 1900 Seymour goods we took charge of T378 and departed Melbourne going via Tottenham and the Albion loop line, the most usual way out of Melbourne for the North-East. We made it all the way to Broadford before we met the Seymour crew with our change over. The loco at the head of the up goods was, once again, B71, for the third time in a row; quite an unusual event. I can only, immediately, recall one other week where I worked the same loco three times, also a B class, and they weren’t consecutively, however the third time was one trip I’ll never forget, for all the wrong reasons. We made it back to the Arrivals Yard and returned 71 to the Fuel Point at 0130 to sign off at 0145.
Thursdays start was 1835 for another Seymour bound goods, this time the 1930 down. Retracing our steps of the previous night, this time with T’s no. 376 and 330, we reached the same station before meeting our changeover at 0025. No sign of B71 tonight, instead T’s no. 339 and 387 were at the head. These two got us back to Melbourne at 0300 and for some reason we left them and took control of T351 to return it to Dynon which took us 20 minutes in total, signing off 15 minutes later.
Friday was a 1530 start for Fuel Point duty, another 8 hours of scrambling on and off locos.
If I thought Friday was a let-down, after all the trains worked early in the week, then Saturday was worse, being rostered to start at 1402 for a Spencer St Pass Yard Pilot which I was taken off and put onto standby instead to my initial dislike. However, things looked up when at 1630 I was called out for the 1815 Serviceton ‘Jet’. X’s no. 53 and 52 were our locos and once everything was ready we departed Melbourne and made it as far as Bacchus March by 2005 where we were met by our change-over, travelling ‘per’ on an up Ballarat pass. Relieved of our train we took over the seats vacated by the Ballarat crew to travel back to Spencer St. Returning to the depot at 2115 I signed off 2123, a little early but obviously not worried about it as I was also working Sunday and Monday.
Sunday started Trainee #12, still Afternoon shifts, and once again I signed on for “card” at 1430, which only lasted for 30 minutes as happened the previous time I was rostered to this. After two hours of standby I was called to relieve the crew of a Sunshine Ballast which had X33 in charge. We returned to train to the yard and the loco to the depot at 1750 and had 10 minutes breather before getting our next job which was to drop the loco on for the 2040 SG Albury goods. We took C507 off the SG turntable and out to the SG yard where the train brakes were tested and we waited for the crew running the train to arrive. They replaced us so we returned to the depot at 2000 and sat for 2 hours before being sent out to the Fuel Point to finish off the drivers shift, which meant an extra 30 minutes for me. In the hour spent out there we moved L1160 and 1165.
Signing on, at 1330, for standby yet again, I sat for 45 minutes before being called to travel to Newport for the 1505 goods to North Geelong, with T359. We made it there at 1835 which, considering we were supposed to use the same loco to run an up goods out of North Geelong at 1810, was a slight problem. Coupling the T to the goods we made it back to Melbourne and got the loco over the pit by 2105 and signed off at 2130 for a well-earned day off.

Neil
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
Signing on again on Wednesday at 1525 I was rostered for the 1610 Geelong pass. Taking B61 over the flyover to Spencer St I coupled up and we prepared the train. We made it to Geelong by 1724 and had a bit of a break at Geelong loco before taking S307 off the pit for a 1930 Melbourne bound goods. For some reason I failed to note when we got back to Melbourne and Dynon. Since we signed off at 2325, I have a strong feeling that we spent between Geelong and Melbourne, even with a single line from Corio to Werribee.
Thursday was a 1442 start rostered to relieve the ANZAC Pilot at 1459. This Pilot, from memory, worked between Spotswood and Tottenham but my memory fails with exactly what was dealt with or why it was called that. We took over Y119 until 2122 and spent the remainder of the shift on standby again.
Friday was a 1415 sign on to take T371 light engine, with a guard, to Paisley to run the 1600 Wodonga Oil. Once in the siding I attached Y106 and we prepared our train. Once permitted to access the West line we made our way through Brooklyn and headed for the Seymour line, via the Albion loop line. We only made it to Wallan, probably due to the amount of time it took us to get there and changed over into T329 at 2025. There must have been delays at most junctions to hold us back that much. Our return trip to Paisley, even with a single loco was far quicker as we had accessed the sidings, uncoupled from the train and were ready to return to the West line by 2310 for a LE return to Dynon, which took us 30 minutes with sign off being at exactly 0000.
One more shift before another Sunday off, had me signing on at 1205. We made our way to North Melbourne and travelled by spark to Caulfield where L1163 was tied up with its train waiting for us. We departed there at 1320 heading for Warragul and beyond but only actually made it to Drouin, by 1450, before being held so we could make a change-over with the crew off an up pass. We departed Drouin at 1518 at brought the train into Flinders St with L1168 doing the work. We made it back to Dynon at 1650 to finish off the shift on standby again.

Trainee #13, Day shift, began for me on the Monday and this was the first day of an 11 day-straight stretch. It would have been 12 except for the fact that I took sick leave on the 12th day. I was rostered to start at 0530 to work the 0535 Upfield SG but this was cancelled before I signed on so I went straight onto standby instead. Finally, at 0715 I got tasked with relieving the Kensington Pilot which we did at 0800. We finished off the work this Pilot had offering and returned Y121 to the depot at 1130. I took the opportunity to sign off at 1145 for a shortened shift.

Tuesday I was rostered 0645 for the Diesel Maintenance Shops but when I started I was switched to the 0650 Spencer St Pass Yard Pilot. I get the impression one of my fellow firemen was running late so I was moved to the more important job. We took F204 off the pit to Spencer St and were relieved at 1405 getting back to the depot for a 1445 sign off.
F class were allocated to a depot and there was little movement once allocated. Dynon had a decent number of which the first eight 201 to 208, (208 later nick-named “Dynon Donk”), 211, “Little Trimmer” and 212, featured but there were a number that I saw but never worked on, being based elsewhere. Geelong was probably the depot with the next most, the majority of which were ex SECV ones like 213 to 216, but also had 210.
Wednesday, I started at 0600 for the 0700 Tottenham Top Yard Pilot using Y116. I can’t recall if this was a case of an absent local fireman or if the whole crew was replaced. Either way I had to make my own way there, solo or with a driver. This job consisted of making up trains for departure, as most that departed from Tottenham, at that point in time, did so from the top yard, not the rarely used, except for storing wagons, Departure Yard at the bottom of the hill, at the up end. It also meant dropping onto the rear of up goods, halted on the Up Independent Through line and removing wagons, from the rear of the train, destined for sidings Tottenham Pilots dealt with, like Albion ‘B’ siding, Deer Park or Brooklyn. I have a memory of shunting now defunct sidings on the down side of West Footscray Station, which included crossing Sunshine Rd to work one or more of the private sidings there. These sidings were accessed from No. 1 departure road by running into the up suburban line at West Footscray then reversing across the down line into the sidings. To get back to Tottenham meant reversing across the down suburban line onto the up line and then pulling our load along the Down Independent Through line to reverse into the top yard again. It may have been that occasion that this occurred. I finished at 1430 with a sign off time of 1520.
The next two days I ended up working SG Goods Pilots, both with Y139 one of the ‘standard’ SG Y’s, as commented about previously, although Thursdays I was rostered to work another Pilot but Manpower changed that on me. Otherwise, the only real differences were the start and finish times. Thursday was 0640 for the 0700 pilot, finishing at 1430 and off at 1520 with Friday being 0556 for the 0610 pilot, finishing at 1340 and off at 1429. Otherwise there is little to distinguish these two jobs.
Saturday was an 0715 sign-on to travel per the 0800 Railmotor bound for Bendigo. This was a Walker RM but I took little note of which type or number for some reason. We made it to Clarkefield before our rest was broken at 0930 as our change-over, the 0330 up, out of Bendigo, was waiting for us there. The Bendigo crew got to rest all the way back to their home depot whilst we departed Clarkefield at 0945 with B62 and T398 providing the power to leave the train in the Arrivals Yard, returning the locos to Dynon at 1300. Manpower took it easy on us and let us sit out our remaining time in the meal room although I may have circumvented their plans by knocking off at 1415, an hour earlier that they probably expected.
Sunday, I rotated onto Trainee #14, Night Shift, and signed on at 2200 for standby. Nothing happened until 0300 when I gave it up as a bad joke and signed off and went home to a proper bed.
Monday was better, signing on at 1838 I was rostered to run the 1953 from Tottenham to Bendigo. Collecting T380 from somewhere on the depot we ran light to Tottenham where we dropped onto our train. We had a decent run as we made it to Castlemaine where we met the Bendigo crew with our change-over. X37 was the motive power on the up train, and we left Castlemaine at 0150 to head homeward. We made it to St Albans by 0455 where another Dynon crew met us at the old country platform on the down side of the level crossing to relieve us. Using the taxi, that our relief had gotten to St Albans in, we returned to Dynon and signed off at 0525.
Back at Dynon at 2055, for the 2130 Warragul, we took L1157 off the pit to the East Yard and set off heading east. Two and a half hours later we pulled into the down platform at Warragul and handed the train over to the Warragul crew waiting there to relieve us. We couldn’t have gone any further as no Dynon driver, that I know of, was trained in the road past Warragul. Goods Roster drivers were trained in the road to South Geelong, Ballarat including via North Geelong, Bendigo, Seymour on the BG, Albury on the SG, Warragul and the suburban area, including Long Island. Big Wheel drivers had additional knowledge of the road to Benalla and Shepparton. To go beyond any of these stations would have required a Pilot driver to join the Dynon driver and I never experienced that.
For a change our return up goods was not already at Warragul waiting for us. The Warragul crew finally arrived back to their own depot and handed over their train to us so we could depart at 0050. We had L1158 on the up run and pulled into the Arrivals Yard at 0240, getting the L back to Dynon at 0250. Two hours and 5 minutes in standby finished off this shift, Manpower being very nice to us in not sending us out to the Fuel Point.
Wednesday’s rostered job was 2025 on for the 2100 Bendigo goods. Taking T339 and Y156 to the Centre Yard we set off via Tottenham as was normal. Compared to Monday we made a slow trip of it as we only made it to Gisborne where we exchanged trains with the Bendigo crew. We got the better deal as we took charge of X46 instead of the flat top T. Departing at 0350 we left the train in the Arrivals Yard and got the new X over the pit at 0600 to sign off 10 minutes later.
Thursday had me signing on again at 1810 to run the 1955 Serviceton Jet which had C507 for power. In what was a slightly unusual situation we took our own loco off the depot to where the train was being made up. The much more common scenario was one crew taking the loco to the train, doing the brake test and paperwork with the guard before the crew actually running the train arrived to take over. This meant the crew running the train could sign on later and spent less time preparing it so they could travel further without exceeding 8 hours of work, which didn’t happen for us.
Leaving Melbourne, we made it all the way to Warrenheip, getting there at 2345, where we were stopped at the down arrival home, by the signalman; as the up goods was already on its way up the bank from Ballarat. When B65, drew to a halt at the up Junction home signal we were permitted to run into the station to stop level with the cab door of the B, to hand up the staff and also block the junction at the same time, at least until the Ballarat crew got the Jet moving again. Once the junction was clear the signalman handed us the staff for Bungaree then cleared the road for us. Getting our train moving again at 0000 we made our way back to Melbourne.
Using the Auto exchanger on the B was a poor comparison to that on the C. The C, being near new and with a modern exchanger worked like a charm; broad gauge C’s and New X’s worked the Western line constantly on the ‘Overland’ and ‘Jets’ so their exchangers were in constant use, unlike the B class, who worked most other lines consistently but not so much the Western line. There was no hesitation in a New X or C class exchanger swinging up into the cab for fitting or retrieving of the staff or swinging out and down for the actual exchange, compared to every B class that was the exact opposite. There is a thread about Auto Staff Exchangers, here: Auto Staff Exchanger, that describes a number of other experiences with one of mine that relates a run in 1982 that details this more thoroughly. I won’t repeat the “pleasures” of working a B class staff exchanger when it is already available; it’ll give you a chance to ‘read ahead’.
We finally returned B65 to the depot at 0225 after leaving the train in the Arrivals Yard and signed off 15 minutes later.
I was supposed to sign on at 2157, on the Friday, for the 2230 Spencer St Pass Yard Pilot but didn’t start as I wasn’t well enough. One of my fellow firemen on standby would have covered my absence and I didn’t need the money after the previous 11 days’ worth of work. This gave me a three-day break which was enough for me to recover my health so I could start on the Monday again.

Neil
  ngarner Chief Train Controller

Location: Seville
Trainee #15 started on, the first day of October, Monday at 0815, rostered to ‘drop on’ to an SG goods. Y139 was taken from the turntable and off the pit at 0835 to do the full brake test until replaced by the eventual train loco. This took until 1130, for some reason, but back at the depot we spent an hour waiting for our next job which turned out to be the Bogie Exchange Pilot. With Y147 as our loco we took charge of the broad-gauge operations at this multi-track, multi-gauge, shed between the Maintenance Shops and Sims St junction. The standard gauge had three tracks approaching from the west with an outbound siding to the north of the exchange shed and the broad, three from the east with multiple roads to the south for storage. Within the shed itself all three roads were dual gauge. For both gauges, there was an inbound road which, for obvious reasons, was the outbound for the other gauge with a third, central, road which tended to be used as the storage road for spare bogies, but could be used for exchanging bogies as well. So, a rake of wagons, that had suitable bogies for exchange, that ended in either X (normal) or W (low height) under the later, national, four letter coding system, were pushed into the inbound road, the northern most one on the BG, and left there so SG bogies could be swapped for the existing BG ones. The loco would then move to the outbound road, the southern most one, and collect those that now had BG bogies under them and put them into one of the southern storage roads until there were sufficient to warrant transfer to the appropriate location; the hump yard in the case of BG and either North or South Dynon yards for the SG. We would have done this around 1500 as I signed off at 1525, a little early.
Tuesday, I started at 0940 rostered to run a light engine to Upfield from 1000. This was the BG equivalent to the SG Upfield I had run some weeks prior however, in this case we didn’t run via Sunshine. Clearing the TR point with T323, and collecting a guard, we ran into the Centre Yard to reverse to travel along the suburban line via Royal Park to Upfield. Back then there were still numerous hand operated level crossing gates so it was an interesting, albeit, relatively slow trip. Past Upfield station, we paused on the down side of the siding points so the guard could change the points to enable us to reverse into the Ford BG sidings at 1105 and we shunted our train together, in the reasonably large yard there. At this time, with both Geelong and Upfield assembling cars there was a regular shuttle of trains on the BG, using large boxcars of the (V)BFW type, with a van at each end, carrying components between the two plants. Eventually, at 1325, we were let back out onto the single track, dual gauge, line and ran up to Somerton where I uncoupled the T so we could run around. With the loco coupled at the, now, leading end we departed the sidings, crossing the SG main, and headed for Broadmeadows and the Albion Loop line. Travelling through Sunshine and Brooklyn we drew up behind the signal box at Newport and were relieved by the crew taking the train on to North Geelong at 1500. Travelling by spark back to North Melbourne and walking to the depot took us 45 minutes, at which point I signed off, early again.
Wednesday’s start was 1040 with the rostered job being to relieve the Brooklyn Pilot but I was taken off that job, possibly because it was cancelled, and allocated to an 1145 light engine run to Newport Workshops to collect some repaired carriages. Y172 was the loco allocated and once at Newport we had a bit of a wait as the carriages were collected for us. Eventually, getting out onto the main line we took these to Spencer St for them to be shunted into the Bank Sidings. Returning the Y to Dynon, at 1445, we sat for a while until we were allocated a new job at 1610. Riding a taxi to Brooklyn, we relieved another crew, who returned to Dynon in our taxi, and took possession of T363. We ran this train as far as Tottenham Yard and left it there then returned to Dynon, LE, arriving at 1740. Sign off was at 1815, early again.
Thursday’s start was at 1010 for a 1030 LE run to Tottenham with T382 to form the P10 Pilot. Unfortunately, I no longer remember what the specific Tottenham Pilots did, not that I think I ever knew as some would have been manned by Tottenham crew, those I can record are P2, the Sunshine Pilot & P7, the Albion B siding Pilot. Whatever we did, we had finished and returned the T to Dynon by 1620. Manpower left us alone on standby until we signed off at 1810.
An 0845 standby start eventually became Fuel Point duty from 1235 until 1400, which must have been the time the driver I was working with finished as I stuck it out until 1540 before finishing.
Saturday was the 1010 SG Goods Pilot with sign on at 0950. Y122 was our loco until we were relieved and signed off at 1750.
I rotated onto Roster #16, Day shift, and started at 0700 rostered for standby but was quickly allocated to the Diesel Maintenance Shops again. After 9 hours of moving locos around we finished. An extra hour on a Sunday made up for the shorter shifts worked earlier in the week.
Back on the depot again at 0655 on Monday, I was rostered to relieve an up goods that left Ararat at 0430, however Manpower had a problem that my arrival solved. I was quickly re-allocated to the 0600 Hump Pilot with H’s no. 1 and 5. I can’t say whether the fireman didn’t sign on at all or if he signed off really early for some reason. Either way I worked the Pilot until 1310 with a sign off at 1400.
An 0600 start for the 0700 Top Yard Pilot at Tottenham Yard again took care of Tuesday. We travelled per to find Y104 in the top yard waiting for us and operated this Plot until we returned it to Dynon at 1415 to sign off at 1430.
On again at 0557 we took T405 over the flyover to Spencer St to run the 0642 Werribee pass. Once at Werribee we ran around and ran an up pass back to Spencer St; for some reason I failed to note the actual train time, although we had competed this by 0900 and went onto Spencer St standby until 1020 when we were tasked to relieve an up Seymour pass run by T404. We had this loco over the pit by 1130 to go onto Dynon standby until 1307 when Manpower sent us to the Fuel Point. In the 50 minutes we were working out there, we moved T363 and T413; I started to record locos moved at Fuel Point from this date.
The last shift for the week was on at 0600 to run light to Tottenham from 0620 to form the ANZAC Pilot with Y106. There was obviously not a lot of work offering for this Pilot as we had the Y back on the depot by 0915 to go onto standby. This didn’t last too long as we ended up at Spencer St to relieve the Melbourne Big Wheel crew off the up ‘Spirit of Progress’ from 1010. We returned the New X (number not recorded for some reason) to the SG Fuel Point by 1030 and resumed our time on standby until finishing by 1400.
The Time Office must have taken pity on me as they then gave me three days off.

Neil

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