Thanks guys, interesting to know. I'm sure it was a single 48. But it was a long time ago.
I'm just about out of anything much else recountable about Delec, so might wind this one up.
I resigned at the end of 1978 & rejoined less than 2 years later, I might start a new thread about my second 'career' on the railway.
At the end of 1978, I resigned from the railway, leaving Delec as an Engineman Class 2. I had no desire to do any shiftwork related job again. I did a bit of travel, driving down through southern NSW, Victoria and South Australia. On returning back to western Sydney I started work at a Petroleum Depot mainly working the cash register. The hours were day time Monday to Friday which was great, but the pay was woeful. I was earning about 20% of what I was earning as an engineman. But I was working half the hours & no shiftwork or weekends. The other people that worked at the Petroleum Depot kept to themselves, were mainly truck drivers and were older, and were not easy to get on with, & there seemed to be no future here, so one day I resigned on the spot. I drove again down to South Australia to visit some relatives, then up to the Gold Coast, just enjoying the freedom for a few weeks.
On returning I got a job as an "office johnny" for a large quarry group, who had their headquarters in the western suburbs at Greystanes. At first this was a bit better than the last job, I was now earning about 25% of my former wage, and still no weekend or shift work. After about 6 months it was getting quite boring. Petty office politics were also a drag. There were only a couple of people my age but they worked in other sections, so it was pretty well impossible to talk to them. Most people were twice, even three times my age, and we had nothing in common. It was a bit like being back as a Trainee Engineman Unqualified, I was again the bottom of the food chain, but unlike Delec I had no mates at the same level to talk to, and unlike Delec, there was no clear career path to advance yourself. I was still only 19. A job was internally advertised in Accounts, which was a step up, which I put in for, but it went to a boss' son.
One of my mates got it into his head to go to Western Australia for a look. It didn't take much to convince me to come along, so I resigned with minimum notice. The old women I worked with said I'd regret leaving such a good job, good jobs are hard to find, etc, but fact is I've never missed that job or them since I left it in 1979.
The trip to Perth was uneventful. On the way we called into the railways at Port Augusta in SA and found to our surprise that they were recruiting staff and would give us a start. I ascertained the positions were as Safe Working Station Assistants (though that may not have been the exact title) They told us we were certain starters if we wanted the positions, though they had yet to clarify a start date for training, but it would probably be in a month's time. They would put us through training and qualify us, then we would be 'Relief' and go where needed. I gave them my relatives address in Port Pirie and told them to send the letters to that address when they had the start date, so we'd know when to come back.
Neither me nor my mate wanted to hang out in Port Augusta or Port Pirie for a month waiting, we still wanted to see Perth. Before we left I asked the railway guy what would happen if we didn't pass the training. I figured having passed NSW training this would not be hard, but my mate had no railway knowledge. The railway guy, who wore a business shirt, not a uniform, said that was not a problem, he was one of the trainers, and he'd keep training, till everyone passed !
When we were in Perth I also enquired at WA railways, but they were not recruiting. They told me they had taken in some Trainee Enginemen a few months back, but had no future plans to take on more, or any other staff. Perth was nice enough, but our money was starting to run low, so we headed back to Port Pirie in South Australia. The letters had not arrived, we now only had enough money for petrol home & a few steak sandwiches on the way, so decided to head back home to NSW. Not long after we got back, my relatives in Port Pirie rang to say the letters with our start date for the railway training in Port Augusta had arrived. I'd lost interest in going back, as had my mate, so we told them to chuck the letters away. Port Augusta was not a very appealing looking place back then, and we knew no one there. My uncle told me I was weak, and should come back & take the job. I didn't even have the petrol money to get there !
I was needing a job & money, living back with my father was not much good. I'd tried the couple of day work jobs and they had turned out to be pretty awful, so I decided to give NSW railways a shot again. Despite my hatred of shiftwork. I decided I'd aim for traffic branch. Even though shiftwork could not be avoided in Traffic Branch, at least it was rostered 8 hour shifts, not like the Rouseabout Pencil roster at Delec.
By now it was April 1980. The railway recruitment office had moved down near Circular Quay. I lined up, spoke to someone who organised a medical, and started the paperwork. After the medical I had an interview. This was new, last time I signed up there was no interview. The guy who interviewed me wanted to ascertain why I'd left before. I told him due to shiftwork. He asked if I played football or some other sport that required weekends & evenings off for games & training. I told him no, I had just got fed up with working 12 & 13 days straight & up to 12 hours each day. He asked other questions and finally said he could give me a Monday to Friday day work job as a Station Assistant (SA). I hadn't expected this.
He told me I could start at Clyde Central Goods Yard, where SAs helped load and unload freight wagons, on a day shift Monday to Friday basis. This sounded great. He told me he had actually worked there at one stage & it was a good spot. He was a rugby league player, & working there had allowed him evenings & weekends to play sport.
My employment application was finalised successfully on the spot, and I was told to front up on the next Monday at Central to a training room, for a half day induction training, then to catch the train to Clyde to start work after that.
I went home looking forward to the coming Monday.
My railway life was kicking off again, but this time as one of those lousy traffic *****.