Tuesday was on at 2300 for 8 hours of Fuel Point duty. I didn’t note any loco numbers this night, too tired to do so?
The next shift was on at 0140 for the 0210 Brooklyn Pilot with Y169 being taken off the pit for the job. This Pilot shunted the many sidings around Brooklyn; Smorgon’s, Dalgety’s, SEC, the wash dock and rubbish sidings that existed then kept this Pilot quite busy. Further down the line, south of the Princes Highway, were more sidings in an area known as Little Brooklyn. James Hardie, Australian Barley Board and Rheem were some of the companies with sidings here. Victorianrailways.net has a signal diagram from July 1979 which shows all of the sidings there then. These sidings fell into disuse or disappeared rapidly over the next few years, with a corresponding decrease in work for this Pilot. We had the loco back over the pit at 0935 and finished at 0950.
I was supposed to start at 0045 for a Bendigo goods but the AFULE interfered with those plans by calling another 2 day strike so Saturday was the last shift for the week and the Trainee Rosters.
On at 0115 we dropped C503 onto its SG Albury train to do the necessary preparation before the Wodonga crew arrived to relieve us and return to their depot. Back at our own depot at 0230 we got called from standby at 0445 to run LE to Caulfield with Y171 and Y169 to pick up a train load of briquettes bound for Maribyrnong yard. We arrived at Caulfield at 0545 and took 15 minutes to get coupled up and to do a brake test. Heading onto the main line we retraced our route and on to Maribyrnong with Y169 leading arriving there at 0645. Uncoupling and reversing took 15 minutes before we returned back up the Maribyrnong line LE, with the guard riding with us, to return the locos to Dynon. I finished at 0740 for another early sign off to make as much as I could of the rest of the day and Sunday OR.
My first Goods roster was 68N (for Night), began on Monday October 21, although I didn’t get a regular driver for another few months. The Goods roster tended to mean fewer long stints such as I had recently completed but didn’t eliminate them completely. It also meant fewer standby shifts with more passenger trains, which I didn’t complain about.
So, signing on at 1619, I was rostered for the 1720 Geelong pass. Collecting B73 and taking it off the pit we dropped onto the carriages, I coupled up and the driver tested the brakes with the train examiner. Ready to go, we got the all clear from the guard and set off. We arrived at Geelong, left the carriages to the local station Pilot and took the loco to Geelong depot, getting there at 1900. Swapping the B for T348 we headed to North Geelong Yards for the 1955 up goods. We drew the train into the Arrival Yard and took the T back to Dynon getting there at 2240 for a short stint on standby, made shorter by my signing off at 2345.
Tuesday, I signed on at 1600 for the 1659 Werribee pass. We had the incredibly speedy Y137 for this duty. I checked when Werribee finally got sparks; late November 1983. I had actually forgotten that the VR continued to provide loco hauled trains for that long to Werribee.
Stopping at Newport, Paisley, Galvin, Laverton, Aircraft and Hoppers Crossing we drew into Werribee where everyone got off. Memory tells me we used the, now defunct, Racecourse platform to run around at; that way we didn’t block the main platforms. The run-around had to be fast as we returned with the 1805 up pass and I noted that we made it to Werribee by 1755. Flogging the poor old Y back to Melbourne, we arrived back at Spencer St, uncoupled from the carriages, ran past them and returned to Dynon at 1925. That was the end of anything worth reporting for that day, other than somehow we signed off after 8 hours 45 minutes on duty.
My first goods train on the Goods roster was the 1820 Ararat via North Geelong. Signing on at 1715 we had T375 for our loco. This was the last time that we had to deal with the single line section between Werribee and Little River on the down, as the second line was opened the following day. We were stopped at North Geelong at 2230 where we waited for our change over to pull up. We can’t have entered the triangle as there was nowhere to pass another train if we did that so we must have waited on the main line on the down side of North Shore. We took over S308 at 2300 for the up run as far as the back road at Newport, leading to the Brooklyn line where another Dynon crew were waiting to relieve us. Handing over the train to them at 0100 we then traveled per, in the taxi they’d used to meet us, back to the depot to sign off at 0145. The taxi industry made good money out of the railways back then; on night shift there was a steady stream of them coming and going from Dynon.
Thursday had me back on passenger trains again, this time the 1630 commuter run to Kyneton. Signing on at 1545, T381 had the honours. Stopping at Sydenham, Diggers Rest and Sunbury plus all of the remaining stations, still not electrified, we pulled into the down platform, unloaded those passengers who remained and then shunted the carriages into one of the sidings for the morning up commuter train. We finished this at 1835 and then made our way over to the up platform to relieve a Bendigo crew at 1845 with B84 and T349 on the front end. We returned back to Melbourne, via Tottenham Yard as usual, to leave our train in the Arrivals Yard and took the locos back over the pit getting there at 2235 and signing off 15 minutes later.
The roster called for me to sign on at 1635 for the 1725 Bacchus Marsh pass however Manpower had other ideas for me as I ended up on another Kyneton commuter run, this time the 1714 pass. This was a, delayed, repeat of Thursday with the change to T359 as loco as far as the down run to Kyneton was concerned. However, at Kyneton, after shunting the carriages I coupled T353 and a van to our loco and continued towards Castlemaine departing at 2000, running ‘Bona’. This phrase derives from the VR telegraph code used to denote a loco and guards van but no wagons. Why we took a van with us, I don’t recall but we did, as I noted the Bona specifically. Pulling into Castlemaine at 2040 we handed the locos and van off to a Bendigo crew who continued northward with them. Meanwhile, we sat and waited until our changeover arrived from the north, at 2150, with T340. Heading south again we deposited the train in the Arrivals Yard and took the T back to Dynon getting there at 0120 for an 0145 signoff.
Working on the Saturday I signed on at 1611 for a job that was either cancelled or Manpower decided someone else should do. I can’t read what the job originally was as the job I did crossing it out was too effective. Instead, I got to run the 1815 Sale pass out of Flinders St. Part of the large time difference was to allow us to get the loco, L1151 in this case, off the pit to Flinders St, collect the carriages from the Country sidings at Princes Bridge and shunt them back into platform 1, plus do the brake tests necessary, but some was also due to the change on rostered jobs. We didn’t make it pass Caulfield, where we stopped at 1840, as our changeover was nearby and so we took control of L1168 on an up goods. Leaving Caulfield at 1845 we retraced our steps through Melbourne and into the Arrivals Yard. Returning the L to Dynon at 2030 we had a break before being called to drop Y103 onto a train. This was a very short job and we took a seat again until 2300 when Manpower decided we’d been sitting too long and sent us to the Fuel Point which we left as 0000 and off 11 minutes later.
So ended my first week off the Trainee rosters and I think it was a very satisfying change.