Old Delec Enfield personalities 1976-78

  cuthbert Train Controller

4437 looks be next to South Box, due to the angle of the sun and the Up Through road was "wired".

Sponsored advertisement

  cuthbert Train Controller

One of the Craven cranes;

The fish in the new Admin building;

Where locos went to scrap over "the table";

Some Electric Side images, 7 & 8 road;

The Pits in the shed;

The shed from the last Chargeman's office door (old pay collection room in new Admin building);

A storm is coming;

  BFCYU Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney "Sutherland Shire"
Thanks Cuthbert, good photo pics!

And "oldguy" LOL laugh, laugh again about that milk pot story
about the guard.

I also heard that story/yarn many years ago too. Laughing

Even though its off the subject I read a Henry Lawson story ( i think)
a similar yarn about the old stagecoaches "Cobb & Co"

This is my way of remembering the story between the "lines"

It was out west between Hay, hell & Booligal (Far west NSW)
and it had been raining cats & dogs for a few hours.
The Gravel road was a mud quagmire.

A young lady at the Post /Telegraph Office told the Post Master,
"that the stagecoach is coming, but hang on he has stopped for a minute
about 1/4 mile down the track. What's he doing?"

"It's OK now he is coming into town."

When the stagecoach arrived, the young post office lady
made a comment to the Cobb & Co rider how he was still bone dry.

"Easy my lady,
I drive naked when it's raining and keep my clothes dry
when coming into town" Shocked  8)
  BFCYU Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney "Sutherland Shire"
Talkin' also about the rain (true story this time)

I was with my first regular driver Tony.

We had a south coast coal train to run from the Blue Mountains.

On the Enfield up though road, the Lithgow crew took the 3 x 46 class's
to Delec and we put 3 x diesels on her. 2 x 44's each end and 1 x 45 in the guts. (they come from another local job at Enfield)

It was pi--ing down rain.!
After we did the continuity test etc and gave the new guard our timesheets
and he gave us the load of coalies, away we went.

Around Canterbury then again around Tempe, the rear 44 class
had 2 ground relays, but not enough to fail her, but fingers crossed x.

We gave her a bit of stick going up the Como bank,
but because it was constant drizzle rain and the rail track was so greasy
our leading 44 class started to have constant wheel slip.

Guess what. We had run out of sand, ie sand box empty.

We nearly "stuck" up but luckily we made it to Sutherland but around 15 minutes in that section. ie Como to Sutherland hill, and now suburban trains slowed behind us.

We had two greens at Sutherland so we kept going to Waterfall,
who put us in the "hole". My driver mate went the Waterfall SM's office to talk to control about our engines. (no phones on board then)

We were told to wait there and 2 other relief engines would come up from the coast, but remarshall the 45 class to stay on our train. (the 2 x 44 class taken away with the other crew)

When the new crew did arrive with the 2 relief loco's
the rain had still not yet stopped.
I had recently bought a new "Kojak" Ray Morris leather work bag,
but had thrown out my old musty rain coat and forgot to order a new one,
and my driver mate did not have a raincoat either!!

Guess who got totally drenched in the pouring rain
to remarshall/shunt the locomotives around with the other fireman.

"Yours Truly"

Soaked uniform greens all the way to W'Gong and back.

NB: Maybe I should have done it like the Cobb & Co driver.
Do it in the "raw"  Laughing
and kept the uniforms in the cab Shocked
  oldguy Locomotive Driver


good little story of a typical not so good day at work

and gave the new guard our timesheets

you know thats a small detail of train working that had completely slipped my mind since I last did that work 33 odd years ago.

I remember sometimes if you got relieved, the relieving crew would move the train out slowly so your Driver could hand the relieving crews timesheet to the guard, and get his back.

had recently bought a new "Kojak" Ray Morris leather work bag

What is that ? Was it a brown leather Gladstone bag ? These bags were common amongst the old drivers. They were expensive but hard wearing. A few drivers had large wooden boxes, shaped like a large toolbox, but more square rather than rectangular shaped, with a wide sling attached, so they could hang it over their shoulder. These looked very awkward to walk any distance with, and Delec crews did a lot of walking, from the Sign On room to any part of Enfield Yard to relieve a crew, or vice versa. Not many Delec Drivers had these wooden boxes, mainly foreign crews had them. Might have been their 'Barracks Boxes'. They were said to be 'foreign order' made unofficially in railway workshops, on railway time, with railway tools and materials, and you had to know some one to get one made.

Most firemen and many young drivers just carried a zip up sports bag.

  oldguy Locomotive Driver

Hi Cuthbert

great pics, thanks for posting them.

There were certainly some changes to the place, from your pictures.

The '46 side' was unchanged from when I was last there in 1978.
The only change to that part is under 8 road. Under the walkway, thats closest to the shed wall, the Fitters and Labourers had built a long narrow humpy, the length of the walkway. It had a lockable door, windows, long benches, lighting and power points. They had portable TVs, radios, toasters, kettles, electric heaters, electric fans etc, & centrefold pictures up on the wall, magazines, books, and when up to date with the work they would hang in there and read the paper, play cards, sleep etc - all the sorts of things that would get Trainee Enginemen sent home without pay and a bung. On nighshift they'd turn the lights out and sleep for hours. Yes I wished it was me  Wink

The Trainee Enginemen had no such amenities - and the 46 side was a cold spot to have to just hang out on nightshift in winter, draughty and open, despite a diesel fueled space heater. There was a wooden bench (not long enough to lay down on  Smile ) at the entrance next to 7 road and that was it for comfort.

Similar humpys existed under number 2 road, for the Fitters and Labourers.

I was told that a new District Locomotive Engineer came along after I'd left and made them demolish the lot, no evidence remains as your picture shows.

The Driver that told me this some years later, said it with some amusement, I guess he remembered what it was like to be one of the 'Bottom Feeders' (T.E.) in the swampy pond that was Delec Enfield.

  oldguy Locomotive Driver

Hello again

talking about some of the good and bad days at Delec

one Sunday I got rostered for an odd job in July 1977.

It was a 7.53am start, STN (Special Train Notice) 369.

All the STN jobs for the week were printed on a long piece of paper, sometimes half a metre, even up to a metre long, called a Special Train Notice, and a new one came out every week. The latest batch would have a hole punched through them, with a piece of string threaded through, so you could tear off one to take. This was hanging on the wall in the Sign On room at Delec. These detailed all the planned maintenance work for the per way infrastructure, such as lines, overhead wiring, signals etc, and what requirements were need for wiring, ballast, & other special trains, timings, etc.

Mainly you didn't bother looking at the latest STN, unless you were rostered on an STN job. Drivers read these more, as it might affect your train if heading west or north, etc, due to the need for temporary single line working etc.

Todays job was an odd one. The overhead power was to be turned off on the Clyde to Carlingford line, for planned maintenance, for the whole day, from 10am till midnight.

On a Sunday this line was usually serviced by a two car doubledecker electric suburban train, which did a shuttle back and forwards between Clyde and Carlingford, all day and evening. This was a short line, of about 6 stations, and the Doubledeck electric took about 25 minutes to get there, same amount of time to get back.

Instead of buses to replace trains, a diesel locomotive was assigned to haul the train, to the normal Sunday timetable.

We prepped 4498 and whistled out from Delec Departure Road at 8.18am (10 minutes to sign on, and 15 minutes to walk to the loco and prep it).

We then went light engine to Clyde, and I attached us to the two car double deck electric (with pantograph down) at the platform, whose timetable number was 102b. We then commenced to haul this train to Carlingford. This was a very unusual job for Delec crews, the only time I ever hauled a passenger train. Norm (or Nev?) Stapleton was the Driver.

When we got to Carlingford I cut us off, we went forward, changed points then ran around to the front, changed points again, I hung on the side of the 44 and I attached us to the double decker again, ready to head back to Clyde. On arrival at Clyde same again, ready to head back to Carlingford

This went on all day, I think we did 7 round trips, which meant I cut off the loco 14 times and reattached it 14 times ! Luckily it was a sunny winter's day, had it been raining I would have had a lousy day. Lucky it wasn't too hot either.

I also had to keep a lookout at any platforms where the passengers were getting on/off on my side of the loco, and get the all clear from the Guard, before telling the driver we were right to go. With a 2 car train this was fairly easy, and I recall passenger numbers were light that day.

We were relieved at Clyde by another Delec crew in the late afternoon, early evening.

I don't recall whether the driver let me catch the train home from Clyde or whether he made me travel back to Delec to sign off with him. (I didn't get a car till 1978).

We were on for about 8 hours when relieved, so we would definitely be signing off, we would not be usable for any other work.

The rule was,  if on for less than 7 hours, we would be required to go on Local, which meant sitting around in the Sign On room at Delec until you had worked at least 7 hours. At 7 hours or more, if nothing was doing, drivers had the option to sign off and go home (and get paid for 7 hours, or actual hours at work).  Most drivers chose to sign off if having worked between 7 and 8 hours, a few 'hungry' drivers would not leave, no matter how quiet, until they had at least 8 hours. Of course the fireman's name was on the Driver's sheet, so the fireman had to do what the driver wanted to do, you worked as a crew, not individuals, and the driver was the boss. Sometimes a driver might actually ask me what I wanted to do, more often he'd just tell me, regarding this 7-8 hours rule

This job was memorable for two reasons other than having hauled a dead electric all day.

One was due to someone taking some photos of our 44 hauling the electric, at Carlingford. I wrote a letter in to a railway magazine asking if anyone who had taken a picture of this train could send me a copy. The letter was published. A few weeks after that I was mailed a copy of the picture and a letter from the guy who sent it. I was very grateful for it. Sadly I long ago lost the letter and photo.

Secondly, days later I was in the Sign On room. Driver Stapleton was there too. We were not regular mates, though he seemed to be an OK driver, though was pretty quiet. The clerks must have rostered us on together on purpose, as a Loco Inspector wanted to talk to us.

Seems there was a bridge on this line. And the bridge was not rated for big mainline diesels like 44 class, it was rated for small branch line locos (like 48 class) only !  The Inspector said in theory the bridge could have fallen down, luckily it was apparently 'over engineered' when it was built. This was the first time such a heavy locomotive (110 tonnes) had been taken over this bridge, we had made history. In a bad way.

Engineers had to do thorough checks to ensure this bridge had not been damaged, weakened or compromised due to having the 44 trundle over it dozens of times on that Sunday.

Bridges were a very sensitive matter for the railway in 1977.

The Granville train disaster (Bold Street Bridge collapse) had occurred only 6 months earlier, only a few hundred metres from Clyde station. Even though the circumstances were entirely different.

I didn't get a bung, I don't think the Driver did either. (If there had been a bung I'm sure we both would have worn it). I'm fairly certain that the STN had specified that a 44 (or mainline diesel) was required for the job. The Inspector expressed a little disappointment that the driver hadn't known the weight limitation of the bridge, but also acknowledged that the fact was little known. The fact that a 44 had been requested and rostered for the job was a good point in our favour. The blame would need to be shifted upwards (for a change).


seeing as I mentioned 44 class, here is a picture of 4418, newly painted, looks like its over the turntable, the back of the canteen/shower block can be seen in the background, paint peeling and looking very shabby. If you had a shower in there, even wearing rubber thongs, you were guaranteed to get a bad case of foot rot, that would take months to cure. In the background can be seen the overhead wiring for the Goods Line that ran down to Delec platform (Delec platform was maybe 50 metres further along) and from there the line ran down to South Box and Campsie on the Bankstown Line.

as the first pic was damaged, here is a slightly better pic of a 44 at Lithgow, at the head of a string of wagons. Curiously a string of S trucks is behind the loco, these were supposed to be marshalled at the rear, for freight trains. Maybe the 44 was just shunting a long rake of wagons.

 This picture taken at the little signalbox (forget its name now) halfway between Lithgow Yard and Lithgow station.

Note the wooden building opposite has the staunchions that hold the catenary up, virtually built into the roof and wall. I dont know what that building was

  oldguy Locomotive Driver

Hello again

thinking about the old canteen/shower block in the background of the 44 photo.

From memory these were pretty rough even by 1970s standards.

The canteen had a concrete floor, stained dark brown from a thousand dirty greasy safety boots tramping in and out.

It had long wooden tables with a thin scratched white veneer on top. And long wooden benches each side of every table. No actual chairs.

For amenities there was a hot water urn, and what were termed 'pie warmers', metal heated cabinets that you could put a meal in and keep it warm, provided it was in a metal container. There was also a metal water cooler, which provided chilled tap water.

Microwave ovens existed, but in the mid - late 70s,  none were provided for staff.

There were also no fridges to keep your meals or drinks fresh or cool, if you had brought any in.

The canteen was non airconditioned, but I think it had electric metal bar heaters mounted high up the walls, and possibly there were some ceiling mounted electric fans.

First time I went in the canteen, I noticed a number of used teabags were stuck, upside down to the ceiling, the strings and tags hanging down. These had got there by being thrown hard underhand, after having been used to make tea with, so that they stuck. There were also several brown splatter marks on the ceiling from unsuccessful attempts. The whole ceiling area had that queasy brownish tinge that comes from nicotine filled smoke. The hanging bags were referred to as "Christmas Decorations". Other than the "Christmas Decorations" there was no form of adornment or decoration about the place. No pictures, posters, potted plants, of any kind. At Christmas no decorations were put up. There was no TV or radio. No vending machines. It was like a Depression era atmosphere, but Delec was only built in the 1950s or 60s, though the canteen looked decades older.

Later in my 20s I joined the army, and I never saw a mealroom or mess as uninviting as this anywhere I went, this was the benchmark for low.

On dayshift the canteen served food, being run by about 4 ladies from the railway refreshment branch, all in uniform, which included some kind of material thing in their hair, like an american maid would wear in an old 1950s movie. Even in the 1970s it looked odd and out dated.

The food provided was in the form of pies and sausage rolls, sandwiches, and in winter cooked sausages and sometimes rissoles on rolls. They also sold flavoured milk, soft drinks, chocolate bars, potato crisps, a small variety of cakes, cigarettes and matches, and a small range of men's interest magazines, kept in a rack behind the counter to prevent browsing I guess. Everything was reasonably priced, if not exactly cheap.

The ladies were all old (so they seemed to me then) probably being in their 40s or early 50s. A younger girl did start at some stage, being in her 20s, who caught all the young T.E's eyes, but as far as I know no one ever asked her out. Right from the start she made it known she had a boyfriend or was engaged or something. One of the ladies was also married to one of the old Shunters from Enfield Yard. Some of the Fitters and Labourers used to joke and maybe try to flirt a bit with the head lady. She had a good sense of humour, and she was treated with a lot of respect, as all the ladies were. You could tell she wouldn't put up with any nonsense from any of them.

The food serving part of the canteen was only open on dayshift, Monday to Friday. Of an evening roller doors were pulled down and padlocked to protect the counter and stock.  The dining table part of the mealroom was open 24/7/365 days a year.

Smoking was also permitted, no restriction applied at all, and cigarette butts and spent matches would be ground into the floor under tables, sometimes even extinguished on discarded newspapers left on the table. This used to annoy me when I was looking for a paper to read, especially if the page 3 girl's eyes were burnt out with the end of a lit cigarette, as some nutter used to regularly do.

The ladies locked up about 5pm, and this was teabreak time for the T.E.s on the 3pm cleaning shift.

Maybe 4 or 5 of us would be on this shift, and we'd be sitting at a table, probably playing cards, and if we were lucky, and not all the sandwiches had been sold, one of the ladies would give them to us, rather than throw them out. This was fantastic, I can remember getting free egg, baked bean, & ham and tomato  sandwiches. We'd launch into them like seagulls on dropped chips, sometimes one or two would get knocked to the floor in the scramble.

I almost never bought any food in, though often hungry I seemed to survive my shifts with no food, or on a bit of junk food.

Later in the evening, and on weekends the Fitters had a little "shop" in the room next to the shower block which sold softdrinks, packs of potato crisps and chocolate bars. They'd open this on their tea & meal break to make some cash for their annual picnic day.  This provided many a T.E.s meal, satisfying the dietary requirements of fats and sugars, but not much else.

It was in the canteen, on a day shift that about 6 T.E.s were caught by Benny playing cards, outside of a break time. I'd say someone had told him we were there, as he came prepared with his notebook.

When he walked in a T.E. named MacDonald (Macca) saw him first and dived under the table. There was no way in the world that Benny could not have seen him, ours was the only occupied table in the place. Benny told us all off for a few minutes, then sent us home without pay, and with the knowledge that a bung (fine) would also be coming our way. Macca never moved. The ladies behind the counter were in near hysterics watching as this silly pantomine was played out of Macca hiding, Benny knowing he was hiding, all the T.E.s knowing he was hiding, but no-one being prepared to 'dob' him in.

As a result, when Benny left we all got up to go to the Locker rooms to get our bags and go home. Macca crawled out from under the table and snuck back over to the shed to the diesel he was supposed to be waxing.

I don't know why Benny decided to spare him, maybe he admired his quick reaction, and sheer nerve to stay under the table. I'll never know why for sure. I caught up with Macca a lot a year later at Narrabri West when we were both on loan there, and funnily enough even after I had resigned I saw him on two further occasions years later, in 1980, I was going out with a girl who was friends with his girlfriend, both girls lived  out Merrylands way,  and another time in 1983 at Mt Druitt , turned out he was a friend of a mutual friend.

Another night on nighshift I was in this canteen on break at about 3am. There were 4 of us, and one of the T.E.s was a bit of a petty bully. He had long straight black hair that reached down to his jeans. He was very proud of his hair, he was often brushing it. He came from Ashfield I think. He was being a pain in the @rse trying to stir me up. He'd try this from time to time. I was ignoring him. Suddenly a quiet T.E. who was reading a paper, lunged at him and knocked him to the floor, quick as lightning, then leapt onto him, grabbing him around the throat. The Ashfield guy was in sheer terror. His hair was in all the ash and butts on the floor I couldn't help but note. The quiet guy told him that if he ever gave me a hard time again, he'd kill him. The mouthy guy gasped out that he wouldn't and I never had any trouble from him again. I'd never asked for any help, and the help was unexpected, though not unwelcome.

The quiet guy was from out Mt Druitt way, and I'd never seen him say or do anything violent before then or after that event. He then picked up his paper and kept reading. The quiet guy never passed T.E. school, so spent his days mopping engine room floors on 1 Road. He had white/blonde hair, & possibly a faint pommy accent, I can't remember his name. This incident was in 1976, and he was still there on 1 road when I left at the end of 1978.

The mouthy guy made it as a Fireman he was always friendly after that incident. He resigned to work as a waiter in his parent's restaurant, within a year.

The locker and shower rooms were shabby too. Old beaten up lockers, rusty and dirty, some painted orange, some grey, some green. Same dirty concrete floor. No privacy in the showers, just rows of nozzles and taps like some kind of army barracks. As I mentioned, the showers were infected with a very nasty form of tinea, that just about rotted the skin off your toes. I've never had footrot as bad before or since using those showers.  Problem was that when I worked the spray pits I had to shower at the end of the day, it was impossible not to get filthy.

I once was reading the paper, and there was a series of articles for a few weeks about horseriding, for people interested in horses or who owned horses. That wasn't my interest, but reading the paper helped to pass the time.

One day the article was titled in large black block letters: END THIS HABIT OF PULLING. This was about the horse pulling back against the rider, and the article was about how to train a horse not to do it. This headline was too good to throw away. I cut it out and glued it to Greg Keenan's locker, and for good measure cut out letters to spell KEENAN and glued that under it. Yes it was a dumb immature thing to do, but I was fresh out of school, I don't think I was even old enough to shave back then.

All the T.E.s who saw it thought this was hilarious, Greg Keenan found it less so, ripping it off his locker as soon as he found it. We were mates so it was all good fun.

here is a pic of 4902, over the turntable. Down at the shed is a 421 & 422, to the right is a 48 and 44 mostly obscured


  oldguy Locomotive Driver


another memory of the locos in the mid to late 1970s

The most common locomotive you would find yourself in, for Delec crews was the 48 class.  This was mainly due to the fact that all the metro Trip Trains had a 48 class rostered for them, as did many of the Yard shunters we did. A couple of Trip Trains had a 73 class rostered, as did a few yards, such as Flemington and Sydney Yard which were Eveleigh crew rostering.

Most 48 class had very basic seats, always referred to as 'Back Breakers'.

Older drivers claimed these were the same seats that were in the old steam loco cabs, and were removed from the steam locos before they went to scrap and were re-used in locos such as 48 class.

Having never worked a steam loco I didn't know if this was just griping, or if it was true. If it were true I didn't know whether to be impressed at the railway's ability to recycle, or depressed that a new loco would be fitted out with old second hand seats.

These 'Back Breakers' had a flat padded seat, usually covered with dark green vinyl, and most had a low backrest, that fit into the middle of your back, sort of like a 1950s office chair. A better version had a higher back.

Many Drivers and the Union claimed these seats caused back injury. I was young with a good back, and still found the seats not very comfortable.

They were gradually being replaced with air-ride seating. These seats were much bigger and contoured and were a lot more comfortable.

The new seats were also a lot easier to fall asleep in, a good thing when you were on a yard shunter on a quiet night Wink

The floors of cabs were usually covered with a yellowish brown linoleum, about the same colour as baby poo. A few locos had linoleum tiles, in an off shade of white. Whether they had the yellow brown or off white tiles, the floors were pretty scuffed up, and didn't come up too good, even when mopped with hot water and eucalyptus. I'd usually add some degreaser as well to help remove greasy boot prints.

After having spent a long time in the shed cleaning, I was glad to get "out
on the road" and out of the shed as an Acting Fireman. The first regular mate I had was a good bloke, but he had one annoying habit. After he made a billy of tea in the cab, (which was at least once on every shift) he'd pour the remnants all over the floor (not the tea leaves) and use rags to clean the floor with the spilt tea !  After so long of mopping cab floors in the shed, the last thing I wanted to do was clean cab floors out on the road. He'd do his side of the cab, which would oblige me to then clean my side. I guess he couldn't have known I was heartily fed up with cleaning cabs, but at least he wasn't an Animal Smith !

I remember a couple of other Drivers I fired for, not on my 1977 list. This is because I must have fired for them in 1978, and my Memo Book from then is long gone.

One was Barry Boland. Other firemen warned me he was not a Driver you wanted to be rostered with, as he was a 'grumpy bastard' & similar descriptions. I did fire for him a couple of times, and I know where they were coming from, though the description was a bit harsh, I found he never said a word to me the entire shift, even though I did a Book Off job with him. He always looked serious & grim, and did seem to be in a permanent bad mood. Maybe he just didn't like being rostered with useless looking long haired young firemen Smile

Another Driver that Firemen didn't like was named Laurie I think. I won't mention his last name.  He was an old timer with short grey hair, and he used to say that long haired firemen looked like girls, and must be gay, and stuff along those lines.

Long hair only became widespread in the early 1970s and many older people didn't like it at all, even in the late 70s.

Firemen who had been rostered with him said he'd even keep that kind of talk up in the cab, and would say he was going to use them to warm up his bed in barracks, and many felt he must be gay to carry on that way. I fired with him on a Barracks job to Lithgow, and he tried to stir me up with the same banter (as I had long hair) but I just ignored him. I doubt very much he was gay, I think he was just a stirrer, and enjoyed annoying long haired firemen. Lithgow Barracks had shared rooms.  We were booked off in the hours of daylight and I recall the Barracks rooms were not very dark of a daytime, even with blinds closed. Still I was wary and slept with one eye open that day, just in case.

One of the most unusual jobs I was rostered on in 1977, was on 04 September on an Eastern Suburbs Wiring Train.  These trains were used by the electricians to put up the overhead wiring. The train's number was E.S. 29, and I was rostered on with R.Griffiths.

The wiring train (or trains) worked around the clock for a number of days (or weeks) to get the overhead wiring up for the then uncompleted and unopened Eastern Suburbs line to Bondi Junction.

We had to relieve the crew in place, signed on at 10.14am at Delec, caught the bus to Strathfield, then suburban electric train to St James. I remember we didn't know exactly where the train was on the line, and no one could tell us. I hadn't been on this line, I'm not sure about the Driver.

We then caught a bus to Bondi Junction, then walked to Woolahra Cutting, looking for the train. We thought we saw what looked like an entrance to a tunnel under a building, and walked in, tradies just ignored us, but it turned out to be a construction site totally unrelated to the railway.

We walked the streets for some time, finally finding a way into the railway, and walked via a tunnel to Wooloomoolloo viaduct, where we found the train and relieved the crew.  The train was headed by double 73 class, 7343 and 7341. We didn't move much. Someone was down on the street trying to take pictures of the train, I thought looking down that he couldn't see much.

After a time we became E.S 30 and hauled the train to Martin Plaza where I got a good look at the new, as yet unopened station. It was very modern looking. A film or TV camera was set up, with bright spotlights, filming the station and wire train.

We then hauled the train to Enfield, storing it there and taking the 73s light engine to Delec.  Was a different sort of a job, and not a long shift signing off at 7.10pm


here are some more pics

first is of the breakdown crane, near the breakdown shed. To the left must be where we sanded the locos, though my memory is not good of that part of the paddock

next is 4908, with the breakdown shed in the background, and 2 x 422s

lastly is a 44 & 45 heading west out of Lithgow Yard

  cuthbert Train Controller

The Back-Breaker seat were still in the 46 class locos when I started at Delec. I only ever fell asleep once on them and woke shortly after with two severely "dead legs". NEVER AGAIN!

One was Barry Boland.

I just saw an image of that man on Facebook in 3001 on the Picton Turntable in 1985!
  oldguy Locomotive Driver


yes I forgot about those awful seats in the 46 class, and they also had the most cramped cab. Only thing good was the visibilty as you were only sitting maybe half a metre from the front of the loco. You did have a small flat surface in front to put your mug or small stuff on, unlike most diesels that only had the control stand to rest stuff on, which was a lot less convenient as it was higher.

Another amusing thing I recall was changing sides in a 48 class, as you often did when on Trip trains or when shunting. Once or twice the Driver went to quickly fit the Reversing handle, and dropped it, with it falling inside the slot surrounding where it was meant to fit, inside the Control Stand. This required getting the "shifter" out of the tool kit to quickly undo the small bolts that held the cover over the Control Stand to retrieve the handle, then bolt the cover back on.

Bit too weary tonight to recount any more, so here are a few pics


Speaking of 48 class, first one is 4864 at Lithgow. Shunter on the front looks to be wearing jeans and thongs !! Driver in blue boiler suit (this was just before green uniforms were introduced).

next is 4715 at Lithgow. ASM signalman named Kurt (another traffic branch member out of uniform !) passing something to the Driver, who is also clad in blue boiler suit, just before greens were issued

and speaking of 46 class, a row of 6 stabled at Lithgow

  cuthbert Train Controller

ASM signalman named Kurt (another traffic branch member out of uniform !)

This might be the same Kurt I knew at Flemo Markets and Homebush Sale Yards. He did a very short stint Acting in Train Control Sydney (Goods) about 1995 and was last seen by me working at Penrith after that!
  oldguy Locomotive Driver

This might be the same Kurt I knew at Flemo Markets and Homebush Sale Yards. He did a very short stint Acting in Train Control Sydney (Goods) about 1995 and was last seen by me working at Penrith after that!

The photo with 4715 was taken in 1976, so I can't be 100% certain if that was Kurt in the picture, but he had hair something like that so I guess it is, and given the angle it looks like another picture taken at the little Signalbox not far from Lithgow station (not to be confused with the large Signalbox about 1km further east, which was much closer to Lithgow loco).

I last saw Kurt in 1984 by which time I was in Traffic Branch myself, he was a Relief ASM in the Lithgow district (as was I from 1983 to late 1984). Lithgow District stretched down as far as Lapstone station in those days (Emu Plains onwards belonged to Sydney for admin operations and staffing purposes). He lived in the Blue Mountains at the time, don't recall which part.


Here is a picture of 7326 at Lithgow, with 3 people on front, one sitting. Maybe they were shunters, maybe they were T.E. Cleaners going for a ride.

Here is a photo at Lithgow with the last of its breed, 44100, a fresh looking 45, and another 44, heading west . To the right is the small Signalbox where many of the pics I have posted here were taken from. Funny it looks even smaller than I remembered.

Lastly is a 422 and a 44 at METS siding in Enfield Yard, with a Mayne Nickless express freight readying for the trip to Melbourne, coming on dusk by the look.

  cuthbert Train Controller

Kurt Englehart?
  oldguy Locomotive Driver

yep that was him
  cuthbert Train Controller

yep that was him

I thought so. He was a Legend on the job!
  RexontheX Beginner

"One was Barry Boland. Other firemen warned me he was not a Driver you wanted to be rostered with, as he was a 'grumpy bastard' & similar descriptions. I did fire for him a couple of times, and I know where they were coming from, though the description was a bit harsh, I found he never said a word to me the entire shift, even though I did a Book Off job with him. He always looked serious & grim, and did seem to be in a permanent bad mood. Maybe he just didn't like being rostered with useless looking long haired young firemen"

A very appropriate description of Barry.. he took over the family business from his father Eric...  "Boland and Sons Funeral Directors" A business in Newtown I think.

He was alright once you got to know him   lol
  oldguy Locomotive Driver


he took over the family business from his father Eric... "Boland and Sons Funeral Directors

its funny now that you say that, I do recall being told that his family was in the undertaking business, and not being sure if it was just a joke

Kurt Englehart?

yep that was him

I thought so. He was a Legend on the job!

Hi Cuthbert

yes Kurt was a great bloke

he was actually maybe a SWSA or Signalman when the photo was taken with 4715, not sure if he was an ASM in 1976

I knew him from when he must have been a SWSA at Kingswood station, when Kingswood had a frame in an old wooden building that worked Gates and Signals, and which also served as the Ticket Office. Even in the 1970s it looked ancient inside, more like something from the 1800s.

He was always a good guy.

How I came to take some Lithgow photos that I've been posting here.

When I was a T.E. cleaning in Delec shed, (and after I gave up the dayshift only Spray Pits) we used to do roughly 1 week of day shift, 1 week of afternoon and 1 week of nightshift. After the last nightshift for the week I was frequently rostered for 4 days off. There was nothing worse than getting home after a nightshift, on days off and falling asleep, I preferred to try to stay awake all day to try to get back into a normal night time sleep pattern. I also hated the thought of wasting a precious day off by sleeping through it.

Sometimes I'd catch an interurban home from Strathfield after the nightshift, and not get off at my stop, and continue on for the trip to Lithgow, which was a 2 or more hour ride. I'd maybe doze off a bit on the way. I'd get off at Lithgow station then get something to eat on the main street of Lithgow, and take some pictures around the place.

Once I was walking down, via the nearby road and Kurt called out from the small signal box. He must have remembered me from when I used to talk to him when he was at Kingswood. So a couple of the times I went to Lithgow I'd drop in and say G'day to him in the signal box and take a few pictures from there.  As well as that I'd walk down to the loco depot and around town, and then catch an afternoon train back down the mountains, to home.

Later when I was a relief ASM in Lithgow District I worked signal boxes, stations, and was often part of the safeworking staff and ticket working while one line was closed for maintenance, but dont think I ever worked with him, but saw him about a couple of times.

heres some more Lithgow pics


7326 minus hitchhikers

around the turntable at Lithgow loco, 44, 45, 47, 48 & 49 class can be seen
I imagine the hose in the foreground was used to top up the water tank on locos.

4912 shunting, this time looking to the west from the little Signal Box, the S truck in the background loaded with beer kegs

  cuthbert Train Controller

It's a good thing you were able to capture these images. Not many others thought it it was worthy at he time. Well done!
  oldguy Locomotive Driver

It's a good thing you were able to capture these images. Not many others thought it it was worthy at he time. Well done!

Yeah its hard to picture how much things will change, and when. When I was a teenager I couldn't conceive the changes that would come in over a couple of decades, I guess not many other people could either, or else there would have been a lot more pictures taken by others too.

I sold a few hundred images I'd taken in 1974/75, in 1976 to Kurt,  cheaply, as I thought I could always take more or less the same photos again !  How wrong was I. I wonder if Kurt still has them, or if they were long ago lost, thrown out, given away or destroyed.

Anyway back to Delec

Some more stuff from my shed days.

I recall one of the T.E. Cleaners came in on a Monday day shift, with a bit of a limp. I was assigned to work with him waxing a diesel and he told me he had had a bad fall rollerskating over the weekend, and was in a lot of pain, but came in to work, so that he could report he had fallen over at work ! That way work would pay all the medical expenses !  

I've mentioned before that Tom was a Head Cleaner and he was extremely unpopular. Unlike Benny, or even Reg, he never even pretended to like any of the Trainee Enginemen. He was morose and angry looking, all the time, and seemed to be always on the verge of any angry outburst at any or all of us, and often did let fly.

Despite that he had one or two favourites. Lance was one. Lance was just an ordinary young T.E. from out St Marys way, as far as I could tell. He had a greyhound he was training. Because Tom favoured Lance, some of the other T.E's dreamt  up all all sorts of unsavoury, and I'm certain totally unfounded rumours as to why Tom liked Lance. They used to write graffiti about this on the toilet walls, which Tom would see and remove with steel wool (no wonder Tom got cranky !)

On Saturday day shift, Tom would sometimes be rostered on as our boss. There used to be a little outdoor area outside the shed, behind 8 road. It had a couple of crude benches, a couple of unkempt shrubs and was mowed semi regularly. It was kind of an alternate place to have your tea break or lunch, but I never knew anyone to use it.  It could be accessed by car, though it wasn't actually a car parking area. It was quite a hidden and out of the way spot. Tom would park his car there, under shade of a large unkempt shrub, and often take a nap in it, or so I was told.  T.E's  would sneak around to see what he was up to, hoping to find Lance in the car with him. I think they were eternally disappointed, but some reckoned they saw him drinking booze in his car. I never went around there, so I don't know, I had sense enough to keep well away.

One T.E. who really hated Tom, told me he was going to write a note with the type of stuff they'd write on the toilet walls and put it in Tom's car. I talked him out of it, as I knew Tom would make us all pay if he got angry. I talked this guy out of it a few times, as he kept bringing the topic back up, he really hated Tom. Despite my best efforts he wrote the note and snuck up to the car, and went to drop it in through the window, which was partly down, when Tom woke up.  That guy ran for his life, but the note was already dropped, and Tom read it and got very mad.  Old Tom made all our lives even more of a misery from that day on.

Locos that had been in the shed for major work or an overhaul were often kept in 2 road. After the work was completed the loco might be taken for a test run, with a loco crew and a couple of fitters to check the loco's performance, and I guess to make adjustments or repairs if needed. These would often run Light Engine out to Penrith and back. These were mostly main line locos, with two cabs.

Occasionally cheeky cleaners would go along for the ride in the number two cab, depending who the driver was, as some wouldn't mind, T.Es were not their concern or problem. This was risky for two reasons. Firstly your absence might be noticed by the Head Cleaners, and secondly if anything went wrong on the test run, it could take a long time to get back. I longed to try this, but assayed the risks as being not worth it.  

A couple of times T.E. cleaners bought their mates in to work, but usually only on a weekend nightshift. These mates were evidently 'gunzels'. On nighsthift on weekends there were few staff about. I remember a Chargeman quizzing who one guy was once, and not worrying about it, and on another occassion a Chargeman on finding the person was not staff, angrily ordered them out of the place.

I bought a mate in once when I was on Departure Road. He was still in YR 11 or 12 at High School, and thinking of leaving and joining the railway, as I had done.  The chargeman didn't bother about him. One night on Departure Road was enough to convince this guy to stay in school, probably the best thing he is now a Bank Manager. It was an easy night too.

One week there was a Sleeping Car from the Southern Aurora on the Wheel Lathe. One of the T.E.s suggest we check it out. It still had all the bedding, sheets etc, evidently from its last trip it hadn't been made up. He announced he was going to have a kip. This was very tempting, it was a cold winters night as well, but pretty risky, the Chargeman would be mighty unimpressed if he couldn't find him. The Chargeman spent most of the night in his office, but might check on the T.E.s now and then. I went back to Departure Road, the other T.E was on One Road cabs, I told him that if the Chargeman came looking for him, I'd say he had gone to the locker room or something, and then run over and wake him up.  

The next night I slept in the Southern Aurora Car and he covered for me. I had the best and only long sleep I'd ever had at work. My greasy old workboots played havoc with the sheets, they were a mess, but I figured it was better than dirtying up the actual fittings, the sheets could be cleaned or thrown away.

Next time a passenger car was on the wheel lathe, all doors were locked !


here is a rare visitor to Delec - 70 class. this was the only time I saw one of these in Delec, or anywhere else, in this shot, sanding and fuel area to the left, and a Bathurst 44 to the right

7007 again, to the left is the Fuelman's humpy, and in the background in Enfield yard can be seen a wiring train, these were often stored in that part of the yard

7007 again with a 422 to the right

  Xgentric Chief Commissioner

Sometimes, after bringing down a train from Broadmeadow, we might have been on for long hours, and we looked forward to being relieved at Enfield. But if we didn't go into the yard, and were routed to the Delec platform, we anticipated being relieved by a local crew. But if there wasn't a crew in sight, things didn't look good.

Control might then tell us that we were to take the train on to Rozelle instead. I soon learned never to admit that you were qualified for Rozelle, so they had to find a relief crew instead.

Otherwise we could be on duty for a fair bit longer, and by the time we stabled our loco's, we could maybe miss our return working (if rostered for one), and be stuck there for a while, waiting for another job home.
  oldguy Locomotive Driver

Hello Xgentric

Sometimes, after bringing down a train from Broadmeadow, we might have been on for long hours, and we looked forward to being relieved at Enfield. But if we didn't go into the yard, and were routed to the Delec platform, we anticipated being relieved by a local crew. But if there wasn't a crew in sight, things didn't look good.

Control might then tell us that we were to take the train on to Rozelle instead. I soon learned never to admit that you were qualified for Rozelle, so they had to find a relief crew instead.

Otherwise we could be on duty for a fair bit longer, and by the time we stabled our loco's, we could maybe miss our return working (if rostered for one), and be stuck there for a while, waiting for another job home.

Interesting you say that. I'd been thinking how there were quite a few crews rostered on at various hours during the 24 hour day as 'Local' at Delec. This meant you had no rostered job, you were simply on Standby in the Sign On Room. One of the main reasons for this was to have a crew on hand to relieve other crews who were on long hours, be they Delec crews or foreign crews.

I think the rule was no more than 11 (or maybe 12) hours in the cab, and this was strictly adhered to. I recall being told that if no relief could be had then the train was to be 'put away' into a yard or siding until relief came, though the organisation didn't see that occur often, at least I was unaware if it ever did

If a Driver assessed that maybe they would 'break' (the term for exceeding the maximum hours in the cab) they would stop and ring the Zona Chargeman or Clerk in the Sign On Room at Delec and let them know, or pass it on via Traffic staff. I still have the Zona Chargeman's number in my book - 37325, and most Drivers had enough nous to work out early on if they were going to 'break' and give plenty of notice to the Zona Chargeman.

If you worked more than 10 (or was it 11) hours you got 'the dollar' which was a meal allowance of about $1.20 (I cant recall the exact amount). Doesn't sound much but in 1977 it was worth a lot more, and probably would buy you a pie, softdrink, and chocolate bar.

The Zona Chargeman would then organise for a crew on Local to relieve the crew on long hours. This might be as easy as walking up to Enfield yard or onto Delec platform, or might involve being driven in a Call Truck (a Holden Kingswood Station wagon) to a designated place to relieve the crew on long hours. I recall going by Call Truck as far as Maldon, Waterfall, & Hurstville to relieve crews. Sometimes we took a relieving Guard with us.

I recall being sent west by interurban passenger train to relieve a crew on long hours coming off the west, with Control updating signal/station staff who updated the Guard, who updated us as we progressed west, where to get off to relieve the crew.

Or more often the Call Truck would take us to a yard in the metro area such as Clyde, Flemington Markets, Abbatoirs, Cooks River, etc to relieve the long hours crew, who would then usually be taken back in the same Call Truck.

Being rostered on Local was always a mystery. You might wind up going to Goulburn, or you might sit on your bum the whole shift, alternating between hanging out in the Sign On room and the meal room, for a cup of tea and a break. The Sign On Room was almost always full of crew, signing on or off, or on Local, and lots of banter and jokes and mostly good natured stirring went on. Sometimes things flared up a bit, but not often. It was a chance to catch up and talk to your fireman mates and exchange stories, sometimes for a few minutes or other times for hours, hanging outside in the dark, having a smoke and passing the time.

Some guys used to sit and study the rosters hanging up which was referred to by the old drivers as 'picking the eyes out of the roster'. Some guys would look at the roster and state that so-and-so was getting all the good jobs.

The Holiday Roster was hanging up which was randomly allocated, you had no say when you took your leave each year. If you didn't like when your leave was allocated and you could find someone willing to swap leave with you for their leave period, that was allowed, otherwise it was tough luck, you took your annual leave when it was rostered.

Seniority Lists hung up too, with every Driver from Number 1 down, this was updated every year or so.

I think there were Fishing Club Notices too, though I didn't know of anyone in the Fishing Club.

Also in the Sign On Room would be hand written notices advertising Toranas, Monaros, motorbikes etc for sale, I remember one driver stating that as soon as overtime dried up a bit these notices multiplied where young firemen had borrowed more than they could pay back.

Local crews were also useful if a crew member rang in at short notice to say they were sick. The rule was you had to give 4 hours notice, but this didn't always happen. Also in case a crew member didn't turn up at all. On occasion a crew member might turn up in not a fit condition to work, especially with early AM starts on a weekend. The crew member would be told to go home, they would be listed as 'Sick' and no more was said about it. I remember on occasion enginemen who were very obviously not in a fit condition to work arguing the point and wanting to sign on, and being told firmly but not rudely that they were sick and had to go home.


Here is somewhere every Delec engineman visited from time to time, to pick up or drop off locos, Eveleigh, here is the shed, with a 422 just visible inside

In my last post I said I only saw a 70 class once, but I was wrong, I just havent looked at these old slides closely, here is 7003 in Eveleigh

X203 in Eveleigh

4534 next to Eveleigh shed

  KT19 Beginner

Great stories Oldguy

Got any more pictures of Eveleigh running shed ?
  Xgentric Chief Commissioner

Hi, Oldguy - your comments about long hours and "breaking" reminded me of one incident I had.

We were to take a train from Broadmeadow to Taree, and we were told we had to shunt Gloucester dairy. As the NC line was CTC, this required two hand-held radios on a separate frequency to Control, so we wouldn't block the channel. But there weren't any available when we signed on.

By the time we prepped our engines, made up the train, and waited for some more wagons, we had been on for some hours already.

Before we left, I went in to the roster clerk to warn him that we might be on long hours, and to see if he had the special radios for us. He said he didn't have any, but that we would be relieved at Gloucester by a Taree crew, and they would have the radios with them.

When we reached Gloucester, there was no sign of a relief crew, and I got on to Control to notify him of the situation. Turned out that no relief had been arranged, and he asked me to shunt the dairy while he got onto Taree to arrange for relief.

As you can imagine, we were pretty unimpressed by this, being on duty for 12½ hours by now, and no radios. I told him this, and that we were entitled to shut the train down on the main line till we were relieved.

We were quite within our rights to do this, but we wouldn't have anyway, as we would have blocked the section. Control assured us that relief was on the way, and asked us if we would do the shunt. My mate and I agreed, and said that we would take it further on our return. (It wasn't his fault, and he was caught as much as we were.)

After we did the shunt, the relief crew hadn't arrived, as it was a windy lot of rural roads to get to us. Control asked us if we would continue on to the next loop, as it would be quicker to be relieved there than to remain where we were. We agreed to do this, and at the next loop the relief crew and the call truck were waiting.

The Taree crew said that they hadn't been notified that we would require relief, and I think that they were called out to fill the gap (it was around midnight by this time). At that time you had to be signed off for 7 hours on a barracks job, and we would have missed our return job by this time anyway.

We had quite a while there before they had a job home for us, and at least we had time for a decent sleep, and a good feed. Taree barracks rooms were like motel suites, and it was one of the better places to camp.

When we arrived back at Broad, there were apologies, and not long after, we received a letter of apology from the train crewing manager, saying that it would not happen again. And I never had anything like that again, fortunately!
  lukejoe23 Station Master

Wow, As part of the younger generation I am captivated by all of the old stories, people and places of our significant railway history. So facinating to hear and along with the photos. Please keep them coming if possible.
This information is so valuable for the history of our railways. More of these old tales should be documented for people such as myself whom enjoy the insights of the time. Thank you!

My father often talked about a guy he used to know very well who I think worked at Enfield/Clyde back in the day, but not sure what he did as I never knew him. I will attempt to find out more, but I will throw a name out there and see who knows this man and what he did.

"Cleve Raymond Burgess"

Anyone have an idea who he was?

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: Michael M, Zodiac

Display from: