Old Delec Enfield personalities 1976-78

 
  oldguy Locomotive Driver

Hello

I worked as an engineman at Delec from early 1976 to late 1978, when I resigned. I later worked in Traffic Branch from 1980 to 1984, but thats another story.

I've lived out of the state since 1984, and have really never been back, except to pass through.

I sometimes wonder about some of the people I used to know and enjoy working with, and what became of some of them. Some would have retired many moons ago, some may still be working on the railway.

Seems there are a few ex Delec people around this forum, maybe anyone remember any of the below people ?

When I started the Head Cleaners were Reg and Tom, and a bit later Benny. These were all old guys near retirement. Reg and Tom were both fairly serious , Benny used to greet everyone with 'Hello shagger' or 'ya gettin any ?'

In those days Trainee Enginemen were recruited in large numbers, and often. Trainee Enginemen schools were sometimes run every month, or at worst every few months, to qualify a new batch of Trainee Enginemen (Unqualified), to Trainee Enginemen (Other) which allowed them to commence 'going on the road' with Drivers, and building up their all important first 500 hours on the road, to allow them to become Enginemen Class 1. Turnover of staff was huge, and a lot of drivers were nearing retirement. Qualifying as a driver (Class 5) took years in those days, it was all based on hours on the road and seniority. The merit principle was an unknown concept.

Some of the guys who started around when I did whose names I recall were Steve Lukehurst, Gary A'Beckett, Brad Longhurst, Greg Keenan, Wayne O'Mara, Dave Watkins & Keith Bourke. There were many others whose faces and personalities I recall, but not their names.  Only one I kept in touch with was Keith Bourke, he went on to the ETR, then back to Delec as a Driver Trainer, long after I'd gone, and he resigned in the early 90s. He is no longer alive unfortunately.

I can't remember the names of some of the other guys who started around that time, but I do remember some of their nicknames. They were Mountain Man, Speed, Pigsy, Kojak (also sometimes called Friar Tuck), John the Baptist, Rhodesia, & Simple Rodney.

Some of the drivers were characters. One was Barry 'Animal' Smith. Desi Charleston was another. I cant recall the names of others who were also real characters.

I was mostly on the 'Rouseabout' roster with a different driver every day for many months. I later had Vass (Vince) Vassiliou as a regular driver for some time, and also was rostered with Ray Sullivan for a time, and another guy named Peter Cross, all good blokes.

Up at the fuel point was Mongrel Mick the fuelman, who apparently only knew one word of "english", which he used often and it was his response to everything. It sounded like; "smeg". The shed drivers and firemen, when not moving locos around Delec, hung out in the mealroom at the fuel point, often playing cards with Mongrel Mick for small change. I think it may have been 2 cents a hand to be 'in' and with 6 or more playing there were frequent arguments over someone not putting in their 2 cents, and no one ever admitting to it. In the end a grid was drawn on the white plastic mealroom tabletop with a kind of grid to place your 2 cents in, to ensure everyone did put in.

Anyone know any of the above people ?

cheers
Neil

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  Xgentric Chief Commissioner

Hi, Neil - I've sent you a PM.
  FieldShunt74 Chief Commissioner

Also a PM from me.
  BFCYU Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney "Sutherland Shire"
G'DAY "old guy"

I was there the same time but in reverse roles.

ie Traffic Branch 1977-1980 Rail Stations and Signal Box (signalman)
then internal transfer to
the Locomotive Branch 1980-1984. (Delec Enfield)

Unqualified Trainee Engineman as a cleaner (few weeks)
Trainee Engineman 500 hours,                   (few months)
Class One 1,000 hours                               (about 1 year)
then fireman/observer Class Two(thereafter) (about two years)
upto the Class Three acting drivers school.     (another year)

Yes a lot of characters there at DELEC.

At first I did not like Benny "the head cleaner"
but he "stuck up" for me after a Broadmeadow engine crew
out of barracks, wanted me to clean the front outside windows of a couple of 44 class engines on the departure road.
I was young, raw and green then as trainee engineman/cleaner
and slipped of the nose on the outside of a 44 class right into the six foot.
(wet hands from cleaning the windows of the first 44 class)

Benny let 'em have it in his squeaky voice and told them off
that if they want windows cleaned on the outside of locomotives
to see him first and the shed crew to pilot the diesels back into the shed
for cleaning and with the shed ramps.
The Broadmeadow engine blokes ducked for cover Laughing

Benny made me the "kit" cleaner after that which was an easy job.
(bucket safety equipment-flags, chocks, det's etc)

Found out later that he was an ex steam driver, but had a major accident,
and RMO would not Benny back out on the road I was told.
Only Head Cleaner on Drivers wages.
But Top Bloke I found out.

"Freddy" was the other head cleaner on the alternate shifts.
Quiet nice fellow. I Never had "Reg or Tom"
but only the Lenny Wilde on my back as the Shed chargeman.
(more for me as the shed fireman)

I went out on the road in late 1980 (out of the sheds at DELEC)
I kept a log book the whole time i was there till i left of every
locomotive and driver i worked with, but  lost or threw the personal
log books out. Silly me!

I did fire for short stints for Barry Mosley, and Terry Crowe before he transferred to Yerongopilly. (No not Russel Crowe!!)

I then fired for Tony Ryan and Vince Jelley for nearly 3 years combined.
(both RIP Engineman Barracks in Heaven now)


I know of or have worked with some of the fella's names you have mentioned. Esp on the Pencil Rouseabout roster with no regular mate.
(perm. driver/fireman combination)
ie a different driver every day.
Some were good, some not so good.
Human nature i suppose.

I come back in the year 2000 as shunter/examiner at Botany.
There was some new faces on the engine crews from Delec, but still a lot
of the older blokes who were still there, (and did not go to City Rail or National Rail)

Ray "Kojak" was still there.
On the two way radio......"Oveeeeeer"
but good capable driver.

John the Baptist, (stopped driving the taxi though in his days off)
and have a long conversations with him in the meal rooms.

Johnny Richards was also there (red haired) and top bloke;
and some of the old DELEC faithful.

I suppose I can go on all night, but better not.
It's vigilance button time now.
(other wise an "all night sitter" and bore you to tears on a shunting engine Very Happy )
  BFCYU Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney "Sutherland Shire"
PM:
That's right Benny Cooper (head cleaner Delec, ex steam driver Enfield)

Hans Schmidt (most senior steam/diesel driver in NSW >50 years)
http://www.railpage.com.au/f-p1100389.htm#1100389

Few others I remember
: George Montgomery.
: Toby (one wooden leg driver on the Enfield Yard Shunter Engine)
: Jack Patterson AFULE state president
(fired for him for a while as a senior DELEC fireman on the cab committee AFULE)
: Lee Allsop (AFULE Delec Union man)
I did not much conversations out of him has his fireman,
but he did mention at the time, ie. early 1980's that he and AFULE
where proposing a max. 6 hour shift as the diesel engineman in cabs of locomotives in traffic, (service) over a 7 hour shift and a 35 hour week.
(similar at the time as the Sydney Ports crane drivers)

That never got off the ground with the NSW State Rail. (David Hill)

He also said that the AFULE where proposing getting rid of Barracks work.
ie. Going to another location to rest for a min of 8 hours.
and bring in more relay train crews in more locations.
ie. shorter distances travelled but was an uproar from the rank and file
engineman, because a lot liked barracks work and long distance work.
(& away from the missus and kids for 24-36/48 hours) Razz

Also Mongel Mick or "Mad Mick" the fuelman.
and a lot of stories there too about large diesel fuel spills near the humpy,
or the Delec train driver who pinched the diesel fuel for his old landrover
and probably wrecked his old landrover engine/motor at the same time QuestionIdea

Aaahh well the good old "mischievous" days hey mate Rolling Eyes

Yeh, better stop here. 8)
  oldguy Locomotive Driver

Hi BFCYU

Nice to hear your memories, funny how our loco/traffic service was almost the same, but reversed.

re Benny & the Head Cleaners. Reg & Tom were old, they must have retired in the late 1970s.

Benny was alright, with his bald head, Shunter's grey felt hat, bib and brace overalls, wrinkled old face and boxer's nose, but he was at times a lot harder on the Trainee Enginemen (Unqualified) than Reg or Tom. Both Reg and Tom used to growl at us a lot but were otherwise harmless. I'll explain.

In 1976 there were a lot of Trainee Enginemen both unqualified, and qualified. The qualified ones rarely did cleaning in the shed, as there was a shortage of enginemen qualified to 'go on the road' as was the term used back then.

Those qualified Trainee Enginemen rostered on cleaning in the shed rarely did a full shift cleaning, invariably after an hour or two they'd be summoned over the loudspeaker system to the sign on room, when a fireman (as anyone qualified to ride on a loco was still commonly called) had failed to turn up, or had rung in sick on very short notice for his rostered job.

Most of the Trainee Enginemen (unqualified) were rostered on day shift, with with either a 6.00am or 7.20am start. A handful were rostered on afternoon shift (2pm and 3pm start) and nightshift (10pm and 11pm start).

Some of the Trainee Enginemen might have to wait some months before they could become qualified, and were kept employed doing various cleaning jobs.

Benny (Tom and Reg) only worked the dayshift, for the other shifts the Shed Chargeman supervised the Trainee Enginemen on shed cleaning duties.

There were never really enough jobs for all the Trainee Enginemen (or T.E.s) on dayshift.

1 would be allocated to clean loco cabs on the departure road with a mop and bucket.

1 would be allocated to clean diesel loco cabs on number 1 road in the shed (with mop and bucket)

1 would be allocated to clean diesel loco windows on number 1 road in the shed

1 would be allocated to vaccuum diesel loco cabs on number 1 road in the shed (particularly the ashtrays which were always overflowing with bumpers)

1 would be allocated to clean 46 class cabs with mop and bucket

1 would be allocated to clean 46 class windows

1 would be allocated to kits on the diesels

1 would be allocated to kits on 46 class

1 would be allocated to buckets on the 46 class (the 46 class had no water storage or wash basin for the crew, so a metal bucket of water had to be placed in the engine room, this needed to be refilled)

2 would be allocated to the spray pits, to steam pressure spray the underside of diesel locos, specifically the traction motor covers and cables, so the fitters wouldn't get greasy. Locos only went to the spray pit when they were due for a service or inspection.


The rest of the T.E's would be allocated to wax and polish various locos in number 2 road and another road near the Chargeman's office where locos were in for a while for varying degrees of overhaul. This could be a dozen more T.E.s, sometimes more, on dayshift, other than those on the other cleaning jobs.

Anyone rostered on the cleaning cabs and windows jobs listed usually did them fairly conscientiously and well, but "wax and polish" duties was a different matter. There was a real feeling of "mission impossible" when allocated to wax and polish a grimy old 44 class, or just about any of the locos. The wax we were given was a thick soupy white stuff, and we were given recycled rags to apply the stuff with and buff it off. It was very difficult to remove the grime, mostly the wax was applied over the grime and buffed off, in effect putting a shine on the grime.

422 & 421 locos were mostly pretty clean, so if you had to wax and polish one of them it wasn't too bad. I was told by T.E.s that had worked at Eveleigh that this was because these loco types were frequently used on south bound passenger services (Spirit of Progress, Intercapital Daylight, Southern Aurora) and the Eveleigh T.E.s were made to do a good job on them, but they could rest in the meal room, talking, smoking, playing cards, reading the paper, once they had finished waxing, and the Head Cleaner would then know where to find them when he needed them. Seemed like a good system to me, hard work rewarded.

In Delec it was different. The T.E.s skulked in the shed the whole working day, only being permitted to go to the canteen for morning tea or lunch break. In theory we were not permitted to sit down in a loco or anywhere else, but in practice we frequently did, always being on the lookout for Reg, Tom or Benny, who would prowl around at unpredictable times, and growl at us if they caught us sitting down or not actually working.

I read recently that 34% of Australians smoked in 1980. I don't know what the figure was in the late 1970s, but 95% of Trainee Enginemen smoked, and I reckon about 90% of all Enginemen smoked back then. Frequent unofficial smoke breaks were had, either standing around in the shed, or sitting in loco cabs (with the loco mirrors set to see anyone approaching from behind).

One day I was assigned with 2 other T.E.s to wax and polish a 422 class in a quiet road near the Chargeman's office. Benny surprised us in the cab sitting down, chatting and smoking and sent us home (without pay for the rest of the shift). I got a bung a few days later written in official wording advising of the fact that I had been found sitting in the cab of 422xx (I cant recall the number and dont have the bung anymore) and had 3 charges, the first being "Idling my Time", I don't recall the second, and the third charge being "Misconduct within the meaning of the term". I was given a fine of maybe $10 or $25 as well. Fair cop I suppose, but this was a rare penalty, to be sent home without pay, and fined, in reality a dozen T.E.s should have been sent home every working day.

On another occassion I was in the canteen outside of the official lunch or morning tea break with a group of other T.E.s and Benny again signed us off duty and another similar bung & fine followed.

I bore no grudge, though I'd like to have seen the penalties be a bit more evenly applied, or not applied at all. Possibly he had warned me, or others on previous occasions, I don't recall now. On at least one occasion after Benny gave me a lift to Lidcombe station after work. He advised he lived somewhere near there.

The rumour that was common knowledge back then as to how Benny came to be Head Cleaner was very different to what you heard.  I won't repeat it here as it would seem a bit mean spirited, and fact is I dont know what the truth was. He would be quite old now and is very likely in an old folks home or no longer with us at all.

I think the whole culture in Delec probably changed into the 1980s. I kept contact with a driver long after I'd gone, who advised a new DLE (District Locomotive Engineer) came along who put a new broom through a lot of things there, including how the fitters and labourers worked, demolishing their humpys under number 2 road fitted out with benches and TVs, among other things.

Even by 1977 cleaners were starting to be employed to take over some of the cleaning jobs in the shed that were being done by T.E.s

Like you I also almost came a gutser on the Departure Road

I also had to clean windows on Departure Road once. My first day at work was directly after the Easter long weekend in 1976 and Departure Road was chock a block with locos of all kinds. Me and another T.E. were given the job of cleaning the windows. At that stage we had to mix white powder with water into a thin solution in a bucket, apply it on the window with a rag, then wait till it dried, then remove it with a dry rag.

The other T.E. applied the solution to all the loco windows, and armed with rags I had to follow behind and wipe it off. It was awkard clambering onto the noses of the 42, 43, 44 and 421 classes to get at the windows, without the benefit of any kind of raised walkway, like existed in the shed. I didn't come a gutser that day, but a few weeks later I was assigned to clean cabs on Departure Road.  This required you to stand around with mop and bucket near the south end of number 1 road outside the shed as this was close to where the shed crews parked and prepped departing locos.

I looked down the departure road and saw a 42 class, number 2 end leading coming slowly in my direction on the road parallel to the departure road. Nothing odd about that. I must have become distracted, and saw a rag laying between the rails, in the 4 foot of that road just in front of me. The Head Cleaners were always growling at us about rags laying around, so I took a few steps forward leant over and picked it up. Just as I started to straighten up I was hit by the 42, hard in the shoulder. As I was already moving backwards, the hit pushed me back harder, away from the loco, spinning me around.

My shoulder really hurt, and I felt really embarrassed as it was such a stupid thing to have done. I had seen the 42 approaching but had momentarily forgotten all about it when I saw the rag. I wondered, if I had leant forward a couple of seconds later, whether the hit would have propelled me forward and fully into the path of the loco.

No one seemed to have witnessed the incident, and there was no way I was going to report it. My shoulder was stiff and sore for a few days, but that was it. In all my time on the railway that was the closest call I ever had.

The afternoon and nightshifts were better, as there was never any 'wax and polish' just a few guys, divided between the departure road, 1 road, and "the 46 side", as it was called.

Most of the Chargemen were alright, except one, who often refused to sign our daily work sheets till exactly the sign off time. Most Chargemen were a bit of a pain about this, as the sign off times were on the half hour (e.g. 10.30pm) but the bus to take you to Strathfield station always left at 25 past the hour (e.g. 10.25pm) so we would always try to get them signed at 10.20pm, to allow us time to get to the bus, otherwise another half hour wait ensued. Most of the T.E.s unqualified were teenagers and many of us did not have cars, except older guys like Kojak and John The Baptist who had cars.

On at least a couple of occassions a rostered shed driver, in the Chargemans office to get a listing of what loco needed to be moved where, would stick up for the humble T.E.s and tell the Chargeman to stop acting like a bastard (or words to that effect) and sign our sheets.

I can't recall a single Chargeman's name now, except possibly one was named Stan Smee, (unless I'm getting that named mixed up with a loco inspectors). He was alright, I don't think he ever made anyone miss the bus, though he'd usually sign the sheet growling.

Chargemen were all ex drivers, and in the later stages of their working lives. I was told they had given driving away due to the long and unpredictable hours that driving provided, preferring the stability of fixed shifts and rosters. I don't know if any had given away driving for medical or other reasons.

I remember being on kits too. Best job for a T.E. in the shed. You had to be qualified back then to be put on it. Checking the kits of all the locos on Departure Road and adding what ever was missing. There used to be a locked cupboard underneath 1-2 road at the south end of the shed with all the kit spares. And you'd have a key on a large brass ring for the cupboard, it had to be kept locked, too many thieves around !

anyway thats all for now, time to sign off

cheers
oldguy
  BFCYU Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney "Sutherland Shire"
Yes; If I do recall Stan Smee was a Chargeman
not loco inspector.

There was another Chargeman Jack (not Jack Patterson)

Cedric Fraser was the chief Loco Inspector at Enfield
but a couple more too; but names i cannot remember.
Bob........put me through Trainee Engineman on the road and Class One.
John "someone" for Class Two (perm fireman)

The TE cleaners hours were still the same.
6am, 7:20am, 2pm, 3pm and backshifts 10pm 11pm.
.ie 8hours and 20 mins shift with unpaid 20" meal break.
I'm not sure when you were there,
but we did not sign off anymore with chargeman.
We were given tokens from the Engineman sign on room
and handed them back in at the end of each shift.
Names recorded via the roster clerks or Zona chargeman)

But luckily for me only three weeks in the shed cleaning fulltime,
then TE training school
and most shifts after that "on the road" as a fireman
ie either on the engineman pencil roster or called out of the shed.

I met a young driver (Tony Ryan) who I was shed firing for the day.
I asked him if he was looking for a reg mate.
After he agreed, Eric Kidd the senior Roster Clerk
put as together as reg Driver/Fireman combination.

I was only a Class One Engineman on my 1,000 hours (first year)
but always on the engineman roster, not cleaners.

They also had a shortage of trainees and fireman at Delec in 1980
so i was there at the right time.

A couple of blokes I met at the TE school
were at Eveleigh. They said they were always in the shed cleaning.
(wanted to be a fireman on the diesel passenger trains-high wheelers)

I told them about Enfield Delec and it was one of the quickest depots in
NSW to get your hours up to become a perm fireman because of shortage.
So they both transferred to DELEC and never looked back.

Benny was OK to me (at first he put me on the 46 class wax and polish)
and hated him for it but changed my mind after my incident cleaning the windows.

I left Delec and State Rail in the mid 1980's.
Was going through a ID crisis as senior fireman/acting drivers school.
ie> Itinerant 24/7 shift work was starting to wear me down,
and yes, missed my mates/girls on weekends Fri nights etc.
I was also witnessed (as a fireman) two level crossing incidents.
Not our fault but still starting thinking about it a lot.

I asked the DLE (District Manager D.M) at Delec for time off-unpaid leave.
(after using all my holiday and sick pay up)
He told me "no"
but did tell me, "come back when i want and told me he would put me
back as a TE again within a year or two." ie no questions asked.

I did regret leaving about 1 year later and went back to see him.
He wasn't there anymore and asked the new DM about it,
and told me "no vacancies--either TE, cleaners or shed staff)

I was "kicking" myself and tried unsuccessful to get back on
with the new "criteria" exams. (previous rail experience no advantage)
It was like a HSC exam paper. (David Hill bought it in)
So only the best of the best got through.

A lot of would be/could be train driver Uni drop outs
were recruited off the street (after media ad's)
But was told later a lot started falling away like flies
after a year or two. The fun & glamour driving choo choo trains
soon wears off.

I did come back eventually many years later,
but become redundant after privatisation with FreightCorp P/N,
but before i left i found a list of drivers names at Enfield (2005)

I will show you later a list of the then 2005 Enfield drivers (roster)
or would you prefer it on PM?
  oldguy Locomotive Driver

Hello again

interesting to read your recollections, it stirs many memories

Regarding the sign off sheets for the T.E.s

We also had round brass tokens, with numbers stamped unevenly onto them. Mine was 155.

When you were a T.E, on arrival for the day you had to ask the Sign On Clerk in the Sign On room for your token, by number, through a little sliding window. The Sign On Clerk sat next to the Zona Clerk, and Zona Chargeman (Zona Chargeman was a totally different role & location to the Shed Chargeman)

I believe by 1980 or not long after a new Sign On Room had been built next to the Canteen/Mealroom, on what was a patch of grass. When I left at the end of 1978 this was starting to be dug up. The old sign on room was at the front of an old single level brick building that also held the DLE's office, other admin staff's office, and of course the Roster Clerks.

The Pay clerks who calculated all staff's fortnightly pay sat in old fibro or weatherboard buildings behind the car park, not far from Departure Road.

Sometimes the Sign On Clerks were in a bad mood, and would make you wait for your token, even though they were all hanging in a little wooden frame within arms reach of his seat. You also had to hand in your token to the Sign On Clerk when going on meal break and collect it back when meal break was finished, and finally hand it in again at the end of the day. Again a Sign On Clerk might be in a stroppy mood and refuse to take your token, slamming the window shut and making you wait. As a T.E. you were left in no doubt that you were bottom of the food chain in the large pond that was Delec.

The Head Cleaners only worked day shift, after collecting your token, locking your bag in your locker in the change/shower block, you would then walk to the Head Cleaner's 'Office' which was a small brick building near number 5 road I think, outside the north end of the shed.

Here you would be allocated your (cleaning) job for the day.

You also had to fill in a piece of printed paper with your name, token number, level, (Trainee Engineman Qualified, Unqualified, etc) date and time started and finished, time of meal break, and what cleaning job you did. Wax and Polish was usually written as 'Diesel Panels' with the loco or locos numbers that you had polished. This sheet had to be signed by someone in authority and handed in at the end of your shift, with your brass token, as this sheet went to the Pay Clerks to calculate your pay. No signed sheet meant no pay for that day.

For end of dayshift a Head Cleaner signed it. For the end of Nightshift a Head Cleaner was there to sign it. Only for afternoon shift was the Chargeman needed to sign it.

One particular Chargeman too often refused to sign the sheet for T.E.s who had a 10.30pm or 11.30pm finish, till the actual minute was reached. This meant the next bus was 10.55 or 11.55pm. Train services were pretty lousy at that time of night in the mid 1970s. Many of the young T.E.s lived way out west, Campbelltown area, Penrith area etc, one or two lived in the Blue Mountains. Waiting the extra half hour for the bus could add an hour or more to the actual time you arrived home (for what was already a long trip on an all stations train). On a Saturday or Sunday night, if catching the 11.55 bus it was not possible to get home at all till the first train the next morning many hours later.

I checked the T.E.s roster one week and saw I was on the 3pm to 11.30pm shift aon a weekend and saw I would not be able to get home if that Chargeman was on. Other T.E.s agreed it was bad and that I should see a union rep. The union was very powerful in those days, with 100% membership and popular, I doubt anyone would have elected to leave it even if membership wasn't compulsory (how times have changed).

Union Leaders from the AFULE were sometimes on the nightly news, and when one was suspended from driving for some reason, TV news film crews came to Delec to interview him and make a news story about it.

A number of Union heavyweights worked at Delec. One of the T.E.s pointed out one on the Union Leaders who was on 'Local' (which meant a crew on Standby to relieve any crew on long hours, or to do any other job that came up). He was sympathetic when I explained the issue, and put his arm around my shoulder like a father and took me straight in to the Head Roster Clerk, explained that it "was unsafe for a boy my age to be made to wait from Midnight to Dawn on a deserted railway station for a train home".   The Head Roster Clerk  immediatley changed the roster so that I finished at 10.30pm, so that even if I did miss the 10.25pm bus I would at least still get home that night. Next time the Head Roster Clerk saw me he said to just ask him if I had a problem with the roster, no need to get the union involved.  He was probably right, and I didnt like to go to the union, but I felt I had no authority, nom influence and no power on my own.

A few weeks later I decided to try settle the matter, so that it would no longer be an issue. There was no way even the union could get the bus timetable changed, so our finishing times would have to change. We had to do an 8 hour shift, with unpaid time for a break added on, so I wrote a letter asking that the meal break be reduced from 30 to 20 minutes, so that our finish time would be 20 past the hour, leaving 5 minutes to spare to catch the bus. The change was duly implemented, the Head Cleaners seemed impressed with my initiative. Not so some of the T.E.s who were pretty mad at only getting a 20 minute meal break. The angry ones all had cars.

Regarding wax and polishing 46 class. Actullay I recall these were the dirtiest of all locos. The greenish brown grime on the roof washed down the sides when they were operating in the wet. You could often barely read the painted on number on the front for grime. And they were painted a dull red over metal, and the paint and metal was often deeply pitted, making it hard to wax. Whereas 422 and 44 class had what seemed to be fibreglass coated panels on the sides which was easier to get clean. Maybe it wasn't fibreglass but the side panels seemed to flex when pressure was applied,  and they were was easier to get clean.

anyway I'll end this post here and start another

cheers
oldguy
  oldguy Locomotive Driver

Hello BFYCU


Like you I had little hard covered  log books that you picked up off the Sign On Clerk called Memo Books, and recorded a lot of detail in them. In 1992 I moved house and my wife urged me to be unscrupulous and throw lots of 'junk' out, and these books got thrown, all bar one. Now seems to have been silly to have thrown them out, they took up little space.

I did the 2 week Trainee Enginemen school (all theory mainly concentrated on safeworking) conducted by Loco Inspector Warren Bull, in a very old training room in an old building somewhere near Museum station, in the City. Warren Bull was a great guy. All the T.E.s in my group were teenagers, one or two were maybe 21 years old.

I had a Staff Exam the following Monday at 8.00am conducted by Cedric Fraser at Delec, and passed. Then Tuesday and Wednesday consisted of 2 days of Ground Instruction by Inspector H.Wright, which involved coupling and uncoupling locos, hooking up the air hoses, jumper leads etc, more of less 2 days of being a Shed Fireman under H.Wright's watchful eye, and he passed me.

For Thursday and Friday I had 2 days of 'A' Trials. This meant two days of being a 'fireman' with a Driver, again accompanied by an Inspector, this time Stan Shaw. He had a reputation of being hard on young T.E.s but I got through OK, I don't think I gave him cause to yell at me once. Day 1 saw me rostered on at 6.45am for 733 Diagram, 500 West Local, which was light engine with 4436 from Delec to Clyde, then took a train (dont recall what but may have been empty oil pots) to Botany, then back to Clyde, where relieved, then call truck back to Delec. A trip to Botany was always included on your A Trial, as it required the fireman to ring for and get an electric staff from the machine at Marrickville Loop Staff hut, for the single line section. You then had to affix it to a cane and leather loop and harness to hand it out to a Shunter at Cooks River as you went past. We must have done shunting or had a lot of idle time at Botany, as total hours worked that day were 9 hours even.

Friday I was rostered on at 6.40am for 734 Diagram, again with a driver and Inspector Stan Shaw. This day we went call truck to Pippita, relieved the crew of 37 Trip on 48147. 37 Trip that day went from Pippita to Clyde, Clyde to Chullora, Chullora to North Strathfield, North Strathfield to Darling Harbour. There must have been some shunting and drop off or pickup of loading at those locations but I dont recall now. There we were relieved and went back to Delec for 8 hours 25 minutes worked. Stan Shaw told me I had successfully passed. I was now a Trainee Engineman Qualified, sometimes referred to as Trainee Engineman Other.

Crew shortages saw me immediately rostered on the next day, Saturday and Sunday, and worked the next 7 days straight, which in effect was 12 days straight, given the 5 days of training and tests that preceded it. I then had 1 day off, 1 day on (which was an 11 hour plus shift), another day off, then another 12 straight shifts.

This was the pattern for the next couple of years. I was frequently rostered for 12 straight days, then 2 days off, then 12 straight days again. Often I would be rung to come in on one of my days off, and dutifully did, so was actually working 13 days straight each fortnight. Often days off were wryly referred to as "Pyjama Book Offs" as you might finish at 4am on your day off, and be rostered back on 1am the next day. In effect you had to spend your day off sleeping. A typical day in loco at Delec was between 8 and 12 hours long

Like you BFYCU, I was young and knew all my friends were going out on Friday and Saturday nights, meeting girls, and having fun, while I seemed to constantly be at work. The money was great, but there was more to life than money, particularly when you are that young.

I resigned at the end of 1978. I rejoined in 1980 in Traffic Branch. I figured that even though shiftwork was involved in Traffic Branch, that most shifts would be 8 hours with predictable start and finish times and predictable rostering which would allow some social life and free time. There was no way I was going back to the pencil roster at Delec.

cheers
oldguy
  oldguy Locomotive Driver

Hi BFYCU

thought it advisable to write a bit more, while I have some spare time and am in the frame of mind to write about it.

regarding your comments about the later T.E. recruits being uni undergrads, etc in the 1980s

In the mid to late 70s almost all T.E.s were in their teens or early twenties. There were always a sprinkling of older guys who were doing a "career change" later in life, but these were always the minority, 1 in 10 or less. Kojak and John The Baptist were the only two that I clearly recall as being already over 30 years old. Dave Watkins was a little older than most (I was told he later made Loco Inspector) but he said his parents insisted he learn a trade as his first priority after leaving school. He was maybe mid twenties.

I do recall another guy named Neil who was also mid twenties, who came from somewhere out St Marys way. He had long dark hair and beard. He was doing a Dentistry Degree, and for some reason had a year off, and joined the railway as a T.E. in Delec. In those days it took a about full year from the day you started to get to Engineman Class 1. He passed his 'B' Trials to become a Class 1 Enginemen and resigned the next week. He told me if he failed his last year of Dentistry he'd be back. He must have passed, he didn't come back.

Guys like this Neil were not the norm. Most of the Trainee Enginemen might just as easily have been apprentices. Probably many applied as Apprentices and lucked out and were offered T.E. jobs. Few had senior education (Year 12), quite a few hadn't completed junior (Year 10). As a result some of them were pretty rough around the edges. Long hair was all the rage back then, and it was long, mostly shoulder length or longer, and some had facial hair as well. Tatts and earrings were also sported by a few. Unlike today when it seems that everyone under 35 has tatts as some kind of personality or fashion statement, in those days tatts were for tough guys, army or navy servicemen, bikies, or people who'd done prison time.   Few if any had any love of locomotives, or railways in general. If any did they kept it to themselves. Some talked about drugs, but I never saw any at work, used at work, or anyone obviously affected by drugs at work.

A couple of T.E.s got the sack while I was in the shed. Back then a criminal record would exclude you from public service jobs, and some didn't declare it when they joined up. When the police checks eventually came back (no computers in those days) they were summoned to the DLE's office and sacked. No use going to the union if you had form. One guy from Mt Druitt called Wayne tried unsuccesfully to appeal his sacking. Another guy from Mt Druitt named Steve apparently had a more minor conviction as the DLE spared him, after a talking to. He was embarrassed by it and wouldn't tell me what he'd been done for when I asked him.

A bit of bullying occurred amongst the T.Es, from time to time. This usually was resolved by other tougher T.Es who would pull the bully or bullies into line. The toughest guys didn't like to see the weaker guys being picked on.

I recall also hearing of drivers 'knocking off' diesel for 4 wheel drives, and the dire predictions it would ruin their engines. I have no idea if there was any truth in the thefts or the damage it might do.

Mongrel Micks only words were not 'smeg' the software of this forum in the earlier post changed it to that, what I wrote was evidently too rude, but it was his only phrase of english. I found it amusing that it was his answer to everything, the louder he said it indicated whether it was his used in as a friendly greeting, a non commital comment or a curse. He was a real character, shaped like a non festive Santa Claus.

One thing that did occur often, was loco crew's cars were stolen from the car park. Several disappeared every year.

Lots of T.E.s quit in the first year or two. Similar reasons to myself I think, the 12-13 day fortnights, and long shifts of commencing and finishing any hour of night or day wore them down. Generally anyone who stayed long enough to make it to Class 3 Engineman was then in for the long haul.

Most Class 3 Enginemen (and above) were married, so possibly they were already more settled, though the hours must have put quite a strain on many of them. The pay was very good though, so this may have been a compensating factor. At that time (1970s) many wives made a professional life of being a homemaker and mother, though at least a few of the drivers wive's had their own careers.

At the north end of Delec, in Chullora there was a low rise complex of flats or units, 2 or 3 small blocks in total if I recall correctly, owned by the railway. These were for Delec drivers, their wives and children, in effect they were 'Married Quarters' like they have for militay personnel. There was a waiting list to get a unit. They had the twin attractions of being 5 minutes from work and were very cheap, the rent being subsidised. They looked very unattractive, like 1960s housing commission flats, but there was never a shortage of drivers wanting to live there. They were commonly referred to as "Peyton Place" by older drivers. Drivers who didn't live there claimed that with driver's irregular & long hours there was a lot of "extra marital" activities going on there. I have no idea if it was just groundless rumours, or there was any truth in it.

It was said that Railway Detectives would 'set up' oportunties to catch thieves amongst the staff at many locations, including Delec. A common trap was said to be a brand new car battery left unattended somewhere around the shed on a weekend or after the day shift had gone home. The 'D's would place it somewhere they could see it at a distance, 'stake it out' and wait for someone to be tempted to pick it up and put it in the boot of their car. They would then swoop, and nail the guy. Many drivers swore this had occurred. This would very likely get the culprit the sack.

Once on afternoon shift, a new looking car battery did appear near number 1 road. I thought it curious, having heard the rumour. One of the rostered Shed (loco) crew saw it, and sought to foil the sting. He picked it up and ran as fast as he could with it, direct to the Loco Chargeman's Office to report he had found an unsecured car battery and wanted to turn it in so it could be properly secured. The D's hadn't expected anyone to run into the shed with the battery, so got out of their car, hidden amongst the driver's cars in the carpark and gave chase, arriving at the Chargeman's office just as the Driver had plonked the battery on the Chargeman's desk and made his 'sincere' statement. Nothing the D's could do to such an honest conscientious Driver, they left with their battery. I hadn't run to the Chargeman's office, I was staying well clear, but heard the story of what happened there later.

Regarding your list of Drivers from 2005. I'd be happy to see it. I dont care if its posted here or not. Maybe others would like to see it too.

I dont actually recall any of the drivers you listed. I don't think I fired for any of them, but there were so many drivers at Delec its not surprising.

One Union heavyweight who I was rostered on with once or twice was Dale Casson. The President of the AFULE was also at Delec, but was not the same guy you wrote of. I can't recall his name now but it will come to me. I'm pretty sure there was another union heavy with the surname of Stanaway, but I may be wrong

Regarding Hans Schmidt. I dont recall him, but going through my only remaining log book, I was rostered with him at least once. Sunday 4th December 1977 I was rostered on at 8.16am for N93, STN 690, Spent Ballast Recovery train. We prepped 48154 at Delec, light engine to Pippita, shunted Pippita, then took N93 from Pippita to Thornleigh. I dont recall what N93 looked like, but spent ballast recovery trains usually consisted of flat wooden decked 4 wheel wagons, much like an 'S' truck without any sides or ends. We then were relieved on site later in the day, returning via public transport to Delec, signing off for a 7 hours 22 minutes long shift. Appears that at least one rail line or both were closed for this work as we had to catch a bus from Hornsby to Epping, then back on the train to Strathfield, then bus to Delec.

time for "crib", I'll write more later

cheers
oldguy
  BFCYU Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney "Sutherland Shire"
Thanks "oldguy" for reducing the 30 minute unpaid crib break to 20 mins!
I actually enjoyed it!!--Should have been a paid meal break, ie
Coming from the Traffic Branch (Stations/Signal Boxes)
we ell enjoyed paid 20 minute meal breaks on the straight 8 hour shift.

Same when I got on the road as a TE. all paid 20 min Crib
only on the spare occasion back in the shed did I have to
do the 20 min crib my own time...ahhh thems the brakes hey>

I lived at Oatley at the time so always drove my car to Delec.
I could do it in a 20-30 min's so no big deal.

Only once (car in for repair) i went by rail all the way Oatley-Redfern-Stathfield-Bus-Delec.
(nearly 90min's) so that's why i always went by car.
PS: I conned a call truck driver to take me home at the end of my shift Laughing

I was a young feller at the time. (19-24 years of age at Delec)
I had a bit of a friendly but larrikin personality and gone on well
with most blokes there, inc drivers, fireman, chargeman, Loco Inspectors
and shed staff (fitters and mates)
So never had any problems or clashes with others at the time.

Wow matey!
You have a good memory.
Unfortunately mine is not is good as it should be
(and I should be doing more crosswords or brain training etc)

But a "lot of water" has passed under the bridge since then,
and various jobs.

I think Ray Morris AKA as "Kojak" was just appointed driver (3 or 5)
and John the Baptist as a Class three when i first started (1980)
ie newer drivers/mature or older age group than me.

I remember a Neil Bickerton but transferred to South Grafton (SOG)
with my old mate Tony Ryan--so probably not same Neil.

Name Dave Watkins rings a bell.

Yes most Class Three's were there for the good.
Married with kid's or with girl partners etc,
so they did not mind the OT.
I worked with a few drivers/guards who lived at "Peyton Place"

My first reg driver: Tony Ryan wasn't a OT bloke,
so we just did our shifts as required on the roster.
But my second reg driver: Vince Jelley loved the OT,
so i was making big bucks (as a perm fireman) but not much social.
Inc 13 day fortnights and sometimes 26 days straight.
(one day off beginning of 1st fortnight and other end of 2nd fortnight)

After while with Vince I dropped doing all the OT he was doing,
but sometimes I then had to wait a day or two to get back with him
on the roster. (but Vince knew I needed social life as young batchlor)

The Uni or well educated Train Crew (Trainee Drivers for second persons)
only started appearing after I left in the mid 1980's with David Hill OIC.
(new recruitment guidelines--best educated only, thank you!)

If I had of stayed on and been appointed as a Class 5 Engineman Driver;
I would have been in the last batch of Fireman/Observers to be appointed
from the Locomotive Branch. (3 man train crew)
Not long after that the brake vans disappeared and guards and observers become second persons. (2 man train crew)
The Traffic Branch/Locomotive Branch merged.

I am trying to find the 2005 Enfield Drivers Roster in my paper files,
and will show it as soon as I find it now!!

Will talk to you soon. Smile
  RexontheX Beginner

Hi all,

It is very interesting reading these nostalgic posts of some interesting characters and events.

Mongrel Mick was a chapter of his own if there was a book written for this period. "Special Class" , "Tender first" and "deal 'em up" were the sum total of his english vocabulary. I often saw him leaving Platform 9 (Whelan's ) prior to him catching the old V8 petrol Leyland bus to work. I know his son quite well and he is a top bloke and worked in the traffic branch and was the SM at Nth Sydney in the 90's.

"Handlebars" and "Castaknackers " are other fuelman I recall, both being infamous for different reasons. The latter arrived at work immaculately attired in a suit complete with briefcase and changed into his filthy overalls to work his shift.

As for personalities, the list would be endless in the driving ranks. Mainly all champion blokes though. Stan Szuszkiewicz springs to mind, Henry Kielkivicz, Stan Karnavicz, Wally Raudonikus (Tommy's dad) Edgar Strauss, Charlie Burns, Ron Ostara, Bill Valich, Ray Sullivan (The Cardinal) Harry and Jack Sungren, Jack Pittman, Kerry Jones, Bob Thiele, Ken Groves (pick a box) Joe Buttegig, George Sullivan, Pat Shanahan Charlie Morris are just a few I can immediately recall. Maybe I should dig out the old "memo books" as my memory isn't as sharp as it once was.

Looking forward to reading future posts here.
  BFCYU Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney "Sutherland Shire"
You wouldn't believe it;
I cannot find that Enfield Drivers Roster of 2005!
But will keep looking for it.

I will tell you blokes a "funny confessional story"

I was out on the road as TE qualified for a few months. (in 1980)
I was nearly ready for the Class One fireman trials
(Emu Plains to Wolli Creek gravel trip train with norm of 2 x 48 class)

But because I was was put back in the shed for a few days/nights
I was sort of in "easy street" ie only mop/sweep the departure road
loco's when requested by train crews as a senior TE. (>500 hours)

I was actually rostered on a particular Sunday night backshift cleaners shift with no Benny or head cleaners to hunt me down.
A mate invited me to a club before i signed on for a party drinks
for his 19th birthday.

Normally, I would not touch a drop before work;
esp before a fireman's shift out on the road,
but thought that only in the shed that night as a TE qual. senior cleaner,
it would do no harm just having a "few"

Well; then when i went to work on the 2200 hrs (10pm) backshift,
i got the biggest surprise of my life. I only had my cleaning T shirt and stubbie shorts on as it was mid summer and a hot night.
The roster clerk told me that I am going to Broadmeadow and camp!
(barracks job) with a Polish driver name (such and such)

Even though i desperately wanted to go North to Newcastle (Broadmeadow)
as i had never been there by freight trains or barracks there,
I said to the roster clerk i have no barracks "Tucker box"
(food/billy-tea/coffee to take)
or my engineman "prison" greens on.
(Drivers & Firemans Engineman green uniform).
and trying to cover up my indiscretion with a few drinks before hand Shocked)

He told me go home ASAP and get 'em!!
I told him by the time i get back it will nearly 1 hour.
He said no problem as there is no more relief fireman's available, and the driver does not sign on till 2300 (11pm)
(The other perm fireman who was rostered to go to Barracks with the Polish driver rung up sick earlier).

So after going home and back ASAP in the call boy truck in less
  lsrailfan Chief Commissioner

Location: Somewhere you're not
I have seen the Nickname "Kojak" mentioned here before- Does He drive for Lachlan Valley Rail nowadays?


Kind Regards
  ozibob Assistant Commissioner

Location: Parkes Australia
I will throw another name in for you.   NUTS & Bolts
  oldguy Locomotive Driver

Hi RexontheX

Mongrel Mick was a chapter of his own if there was a book written for this period. "Special Class" , "Tender first" and "deal 'em up" were the sum total of his english vocabulary. I often saw him leaving Platform 9 (Whelan's ) prior to him catching the old V8 petrol Leyland bus to work. I know his son quite well and he is a top bloke and worked in the traffic branch and was the SM at Nth Sydney in the 90's.

"Handlebars" and "Castaknackers " are other fuelman I recall, both being infamous for different reasons. The latter arrived at work immaculately attired in a suit complete with briefcase and changed into his filthy overalls to work his shift.

As for personalities, the list would be endless in the driving ranks. Mainly all champion blokes though. Stan Szuszkiewicz springs to mind, Henry Kielkivicz, Stan Karnavicz, Wally Raudonikus (Tommy's dad) Edgar Strauss, Charlie Burns, Ron Ostara, Bill Valich, Ray Sullivan (The Cardinal) Harry and Jack Sungren, Jack Pittman, Kerry Jones, Bob Thiele, Ken Groves (pick a box) Joe Buttegig, George Sullivan, Pat Shanahan Charlie Morris are just a few I can immediately recall. Maybe I should dig out the old "memo books" as my memory isn't as sharp as it once was.

Looking forward to reading future posts here


OK I do remember Mongrel Mick had a few more phrases now. When loco crews on shed duty would give him some cheek, he would call them 'special class' as some sort of mockery, at least thats how I saw it.

I do remember him impatiently saying 'deal em up' re the card games too. I don't remember 'tenderfirst'.  He had another phrase he would say all the time that was swear three words pronounced as a single word. You'd hear this every time he'd look at the hand he had been dealt. You'd hear him say it as a reply for any occasion at all.

I remember Casternackers but I didn't know that was his name. I remember him well in his suit with his briefcase, as all the others just dressed casually to leave work. Some of the young T.Es would mock him a bit when going down to the bus stop after day shift, but not too obviously.

I remember most of those names on your list and worked with about half of them, for at least one or two shifts. I'd agree they were all top blokes. Bill Valich was very unpopular with the young firemen. Usual reason a driver was unpopular was because he either told them off for some reason, made them push the vigilance button, or wouldnt let them sleep, or all 3 reasons.

Most of those guys were near retirement even in those days, if still alive they'd be very senior citizens by now.

I was told Kenny Groves was a steam enthusiast and had published some books on the topic. I fired for him once. I think he told me had visited England, and loved the place and the lifestyle. He also liked the BBC TV channels, he reckoned they had much better programming than we had here.

A few others were George Herzic, Roy Hilton, Bill Tanner, Royce Mack, A Griskauskis, Athol Wight, Brian Kelly, Bill Mullholland, Pat Zentsky, Johnny Abberfield, Stan Shakoff, W Ogrodniewicz.


Hi Israilfan

I have seen the Nickname "Kojak" mentioned here before- Does He drive for Lachlan Valley Rail nowadays?


Even in those days he was involved with the LVR in his spare time. I don't know about now.

Hi Ozibob

I will throw another name in for you. NUTS & Bolts


doesn't ring a bell. I'm sure I've forgotten far more than I can remember

What about Turbo Torrens ? He was a well known character

cheers
Oldguy
  oldguy Locomotive Driver

Hi BFYCU

Thanks "oldguy" for reducing the 30 minute unpaid crib break to 20 mins


LOL. I was told that some of the T.Es were "going to get me" (that meant beat me up) for getting the meal break reduced. I didn't worry about it and nothing eventuated.

Yes I think the T.E. job was the only one I ever had on the railway that had an unpaid meal break.

I will tell you blokes a "funny confessional story"


LOL again. That was a great anecdote. Expecting a sleepy night in the shed, and wind up in Broadmeadow instead. I remember how hard those 46 jumper couplers were to put in, the diesel jumpers just slid in and were easy by comparison.

I remember once going to Broadmeadow for a Barracks job with a well known grumpy driver. He wasn't an old guy, maybe 40.  He was very serious and unsmiling when ever you saw him, lean with long limbs, with fair hair, I think his wife was a school teacher. He had a reputation amongst the firemen for being very unpleasant to work with.

Can't recall his name and that job is in one of the memo books I threw away, so can't look it up. He made me push the Vigilance Button the whole trip, which was no big deal, most drivers expected this, but if I lapsed and let the light flash even once, he would yell at me from the other side of the cab. I think it was one of the longest trips I ever had, the whole trip done in the hours of night, and with the type of rostering we were on (the 12 days straight) I was exhausted. It was one of those nights where I had no idea how I was going to manage to stop from falling asleep. He was the only driver I ever worked with who drank coffee in the cab. Every other driver brewed up a billy of tea on the hotplate, not this guy. He drank his coffee black and made cups frequently, and so did I that night, he was thoughtful enough to offer me a cup each time, though in those days coffee make me feel sick, but feeling sick was preferable to getting abuse and threats from this guy.

On a couple of occasions I had to fire for out of depot drivers, at short notice, when their fireman went sick in barracks. One was a Goulburn Driver. At that stage we had a T.E. in the shed who was a First Grade Rugby League footballer. He had just been signed to Wests Rugby League Club (when Wests played at Lidcombe and the Club was at Ashfield), and he had come up to Sydney from Goulburn. In those days footballers were not 'professional' and had to have a regular job, the money paid to play football was closer to beer and cigarette money, particularly as this guy was 'new talent' and yet to prove himself in First Grade. So this guy joined the railway as a T.E at Delec Enfield. This guy was mentioned a lot as a new star in the Sports sections of the newspapers, he was big news. I used to wax and polish with this guy in the shed. On breaks he'd sometimes jog down Departure Road to South Box and back.

I asked the Goulburn Driver if he knew of this guy, He said of course he knew of him, everyone did. I told the Goulburn Driver that he was working as a T.E. at Delec Enfield and he flatly refused to believe it. I couldn't convince him otherwise, he reckoned if I wasn't lying, then I was mistaken.

He went on to be a player of some repute, including one State of Origin appearance. Gavin Miller. He has an entry in Wikipedia, but it doesn't mention his Delec days, not surprisingly http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavin_Miller.

I don't think he lasted long at Delec, probably 6 months, the shift work in the shed must have affected his training days, being on the road would have been impossible. I spoke to someone who hailed from Goulburn a few years ago, and they said he owned a pub in Goulburn these days.

cheers
oldguy
  BFCYU Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney "Sutherland Shire"
Good thread you started mate!

All these names have started the memory bell back.

I'm a bit shy now to tell you and the audience my name;
but our/my trademark was "Jippor" or "Jack Jippor" in full.

Tony Ryan gave me that.
Not sure what it really meant,
but we left our/my trademark in ink pen,
on most diesels we worked on.

Naughty Boys again. Razz

I also had another called the "Oatley Boy or Oatley Rissole King"
from the drivers/father and son of M & D Ritchie.

I'm still nicknamed Jack, right even upto now.
So some blokes do not realise it's my nickname.
  oldguy Locomotive Driver

Hello BFCYU

I don't recall your mate Tony Ryan, someone PM'd me to advise he also started back in 1976, a couple of months before me. I guess I probably knew him, but my memory has a lot of leaks. Unique sounding nickname he gave you Smile Did you keep in touch with Tony ?

I remember inside the nose area of  locos was written in chalk the word JET, in a highly stylised old fashioned capital letters. I was told this was a fitter's nickname. He must have been a Delec fitter because I dont think I ever saw a loco in Delec without JET written in it.

I remembered the name of the President of the AFULE when I was at Delec, he was a Delec driver named Joe Booth. I worked with him at least once, he was an OK guy.

I remember working with another driver named Athol. He was a nice old guy. I recall shunting at Darling Harbour one Saturday afternoon and being in a quiet mood, because I was working another weekend, when I'd much rather have been somewhere else. I remember Athol was trying to cheer me up, or so it seemed, by trying to make a bit of conversation while we were sitting idle, but I wasn't much interested in talking. I asked about Athol some years later, from a Delec driver I kept in touch with and was told he was no longer alive. Seems he had been terminally ill for some time, but kept working and didn't tell anyone, & kept working till he was no longer able. Finding that out put my imagined problems into a bit of perspective. I rightly felt like a heel, here was a terminally ill driver trying to cheer me up ! He was all class, no doubt about it.

One driver that put the wind up firemen was Desi Charleton.  
Desi had an ex-boxers face. He was quite short, but not unfit looking. He wasn't young, but he wasn't old enough to be harmless either.

It was well known he hated long haired young firemen. As I posted earlier, most firemen had long hair in the 70s. Many of my fireman mates had stories about him. Seems Desi would wait until the loco was in a total darkness, particularly in a tunnel, then would turn out all the cab lights if they were on, & the headlight, and in total darkness would sneak over to the fireman's side of the cab, and without warning would punch the fireman. Not a king hit, or an incapacitating heavy blow, but a sharp jab, that would still hurt, and hurt a lot.

He would then go back to his seat, leaving the fireman bewildered, if not terrified, and when the loco emerged back into the light, Desi would be siting in his seat as if nothing had happened. He was infamous for this.

Jobs down the south coast with Desi were the worst as there was one long dark single track tunnel in those days, at Stanwell Park I think. I've been told its since been replaced.

Some firemen said that when all the lights went out in a tunnel, Desi would throw something at them, like some rags, but not punch them.

I was rostered on a coast job with Desi, in multiple 48s. I was aware of what might happen, and was braced to try to anticipate and avoid any attack. Desi snuck over, and I felt a soft tap on my upper arm with a finger, nothing more. When back in daylight, Desi was back in his seat as if he had never left it. He was definitley an odd one.

cheers
oldguy
  42220 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Penrith
G'day All

just a quick note on some of those fella's u have mention,

old Hans retired round 5 years ago, John Abberfield is up in the NW workin for El Zorro last i heard,
John the Baptist is still at Enfield after leavin DELEC a while back to work with ARG,
'JR' John Richards is still at Enfield,
Kojak retired maybe 3 years ago as did Paul Butler, Pat Zensky is at Chullora for PN Intermodal.
a few other senior men that are still at Enfield are Jim Bruce, Ian Frost, Bob Swhager, Steve Foldhazy, Brian Sullivan and PC Hall just to name a few who are still around.
And NUTS n BOLTS is on City Rail somewhere!
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
I don't know what Enfield was like in the seventies but I can imagine it was pretty good, it would of been busy with the smaller trips too.
I spent some time there in the late eighties and early nineties working Chullora, Sth and Nth boxes until the yard shut for the rationalisation, even then it was a fun place to work with most people upbeat even when in the cart.
  cuthbert Train Controller

I remember quite a few personalities from DELEC.

Tragically, I was there from 1984 until 200X, when we moved to "the Yard". Most of the names mentioned already in this thread are familiar to me. I have a thousand stories and most of them are quite bazaar!

I suppose many that were there during my time there reading this now might also remember me!
  cuthbert Train Controller

In those days Trainee Enginemen were recruited in large numbers
"oldguy"


There was about 45 of us when I started, I was the last to depart DELEC/ENFIELD out of that group!


Qualifying as a driver (Class 5) took years in those days, it was all based on hours on the road and seniority. The merit principle was an unknown concept.
"oldguy"


About 10 years!


Some of the guys who started around when I did whose names I recall were Greg Keenan
"oldguy"


Was a Loco Inspector!


I can't remember the names of some of the other guys who started around that time, but I do remember some of their nicknames. They were, Kojak, John the Baptist
"oldguy"


Worked with them!


Some of the drivers were characters. One was Barry 'Animal' Smith. Desi Charleston was another.
"oldguy"


Worked with them!

Barry Smith moved to Yerongpilly before suffering a Stroke (and one last spit)


I was mostly on the 'Rouseabout' roster with a different driver every day for many months. I later had Vass (Vince) Vassiliou as a regular driver for some time, and also was rostered with Ray Sullivan for a time, and another guy named Peter Cross, all good blokes.
"oldguy"


Worked with them!


Up at the fuel point was Mongrel Mick the fuelman,
"oldguy"


Remember him!


Vince Jelley
"BFCYU"


Remember him!


I come back in the year 2000 as shunter/examiner at Botany.
"BFCYU"


I remember you and how Rambo was your mate!


Ray "Kojak" was still there.
"BFCYU"


John the Baptist,
"BFCYU"


Johnny Richards
"BFCYU"


Lee Allsop
"BFCYU"


Worked with them all!


"wax and polish" duties was a different matter. There was a real feeling of "mission impossible" when allocated to wax and polish a grimy old 44 class, or just about any of the locos.

My first day at work was directly after the Easter long weekend in 1976 and Departure Road was chock a block with locos of all kinds. Me and another T.E. were given the job of cleaning the windows.
"oldguy"


On my very first day, several of us TE's had to wax and polish a 44 class.


luckily for me only three weeks in the shed cleaning fulltime, then TE training school
"BFCYU"


I did 6 months, because I was the second youngest TE.


Eric Kidd the senior Roster Clerk
"BFCYU"


Top bloke, golfer and I even worked with his dad "Cappy" Kidd


We also had round brass tokens, with numbers stamped unevenly onto them. Mine was 155.
you had to ask the Sign On Clerk in the Sign On room for your token, by number, through a little sliding window.
"oldguy"


I remember that!


Loco Inspector Warren Bull, Stan Shaw.
"oldguy"


Hard men of the railway!


Generally anyone who stayed long enough to make it to Class 3 Engineman was then in for the long haul.
"oldguy"


That's me!


Regarding Hans Schmidt.
"oldguy"


The new boss of Pac Nat congratulated Hans for his 50+ years of service and Hans replied that the job was "Up to smeg!" I was there and it was hilarious!


Name Dave Watkins rings a bell.
"BFCYU"


How about Mal Watkins?


"Castaknackers " are other fuelman I recall arrived at work immaculately attired in a suit complete with briefcase and changed into his filthy overalls to work his shift.
"RexontheX"


Elifterious was his first name!


As for personalities, the list would be endless in the driving ranks. Mainly all champion blokes though. Stan Szuszkiewicz springs to mind, Henry Kielkivicz, Stan Karnavicz, Edgar Strauss, Charlie Burns, Ray Sullivan, Bob Thiele, Ken Groves (pick a box) Joe Buttegig, George Sullivan, Pat Shanahan Charlie Morris are just a few I can immediately recall.
"RexontheX"


I worked with them all and Edgar Strauss actually gave me his old Valiant sedan to use in Demo Darbys at P'matta Speedway

I was told Kenny Groves was a steam enthusiast

A few others were George Herzic,
Bill Tanner,
A Griskauskis(Funny guy),
Athol Wight,
Brian Kelly, (Funny guy)
Bill Mullholland,
Pat Zentsky,
Johnny Abberfield (medical retire),
W Ogrodniewicz.
"oldguy"


Knew em all!


I will throw another name in for you. NUTS & Bolts


Ken Dailey!


I dont think I ever saw a loco in Delec without JET written in it.
"oldguy"


Me neither, as well as AK!


One driver that put the wind up firemen was Desi Charleton.
"oldguy"


I saw him go off at WK Smith in the cab of a 73 class! Luckily no punches got thrown!
  classof84 Beginner

the driver in question at Forrestfield turns 75 this year.but was beaten to 60 years service by a Esperance driver who has since retired.
  classof84 Beginner

the cardinal is still driving in Parkes

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