Memories of South Dynon in the early 19802

 
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
I was rolled onto 113N working with Driver G Sweeney all week starting with an off roster on Sunday.
Monday was on at 2235 to run the 0015 Ballarat, train 9101. On the depot through roads were X41 coupled to T320, although the T class was going of no assistance on the uphill climbs as it was being hauled dead, so actually more of a hindrance. Working from no. 41, we departed the depot and were directed, by the West Tower signalman, to the Yard where the train was made up for us. Coupling on, the train was examined and on completion of all tests we were ready to depart. Getting underway we travelled through the Bunbury St tunnel and past Tottenham before joining the main line at Sunshine. Once through the junction, on the South line, we got up to near train speed before entering the single line section at Deer Park West. We would have been on the auto exchanger as much as possible from Rockbank to Bacchus Marsh, which would have kept me moving around the cab, getting the staff and its holder from one of the coat hooks, setting up the exchanger, lowering it, recovering the new staff, reading the station names, restoring the exchanger to its stowed position and hanging the new staff on a hook. We tackled the grades to Bank Box with no recorded problems and, just prior to Ballan, I set to work to collect the staff there, then exchange it at Bungaree and drop it off at Warrenheip. We descended the bank into Ballarat and were relieved at that station, although at what time went unrecorded. We had no train rostered to return with so we were booked to travel per the 0515 up, the ‘Vinelander’. It rolled into the platform and we boarded to find somewhere to sit and, more than likely, have a nap. On arrival at Spencer St we made our way back to Dynon, riding the loco off the ‘Vinelander’ would have been the easiest way to do that but I’m not sure that was what actually happened, to sign off at 0750.
Tuesday’s rostered job was on at 0015, which was actually Wednesday morning, to run the 0100 Traralgon, train 9405. Taking L1152 off the pit, we backed into the East Yard to couple to our loading and go through the usual tests, which detected no problems. We departed the Yard and headed across the viaduct towards Warragul. Nothing out of the ordinary happened as far as Dandenong, when, passing through that station, the air went from the brake pipe and we ground to a halt. I’m of the opinion that Driver Sweeney went to investigate and discovered that the train had broken in two, due to a high/low coupling. This means that one coupling was lower than it, probably, should have been and the other was higher, resulting in a serious mismatch that enabled the two couplings to separate, vertically, without the jaws opening. Driver Sweeney would have returned to the loco to send me back to attempt to re-couple, which must have worked, since we were able to continue our journey towards Warragul. Clearing Dandenong station after the delay, which would have included pumping the brake pipe up again, we worked our way eastward to eventually drop into Warragul, where a local crew relieved us to take the train on further. Our return train was the 0323 Warragul, train 9472, which was over 1,000 tons entitling us to the tonnage allowance. L1160 was in charge of this train, which was obviously a load of briquettes, based on the location we left it. Climbing the grade out of Warragul, we worked our way back to Dandenong, without suffering any unexpected division of the train, and then took it on to Caulfield, where we tied the train up, either in one of the middle roads or in the yard adjacent to the Frankston line, where I uncoupled the loco and we then ran ‘light’ back to the depot. We had the L class in the Fuel Point, having its sanding boxes topped off, by 0700 as we signed off at 0715.
Wednesday was technically off roster, although we had worked the whole, previous, shift earlier that day. This was unquestionably the worst type of night shift roster where a break in the middle of the week totally destroyed any success made to establish a consistent sleep pattern during daylight.
Thursday was on at 2350 for the 0030 Seymour, train 9303. The fitters had coupled B75 and T395 together and left them in one of the through roads ready for us. Departing the depot in the T class we made our way to where the train was assembled for us to drop on to. Shifting ourselves to the B class, we worked with the train examiner while he did his thing while the guard tallied up the load and advised us that we were earning the tonnage allowance with this load. With guar din his van and the all clear from the examiner, we were cleared to depart and set off for Sunshine via Tottenham. Joining the Albion Loop line, we ran to Broadmeadows to join the main line north. We weren’t rostered to change over with any up train so continued on our way to finally enter Seymour Yard at 0515. Here I separated no. 75 from no. 395, since we needed the T class for our return train which was the 0625 Melbourne pass, running as train 8304. Transferring our kit bags to no. 395, we dropped it onto the waiting rake of carriages, although whether they were in the platform or somewhere else I can’t recall. As passenger rakes were rarely separated, post the ‘New Deal’ a continuity test was all that was required to prepare the train for the up run. Given the ‘all clear’, we set off, to cross the Goulburn for our first stop at Tallarook. Getting underway once more we then ran to Broadford for the stop there and then did ran on to Kilmore East for that stop. Moving on we stopped at Wandong before the brief trip to Heathcote Junction and then dropped into Wallan. Getting underway, once more, we bridged the distance to Donnybrook before moving on to Craigieburn. After the ‘set down only’ at Broadmeadows, we ran down Oliver’s Bank, through North Melbourne and into one of the platforms at Spencer St at 0811. It wold seem that we shunted our carriages before making our way back to Dynon, probably in no .395, to sign off at 0920. A long shift on night shift with a broken sleep pattern due to Wednesday off; a wonderful combination!
Friday’s job was on at 2330 for Fuel Point duty and so we spent the early hours of Saturday shuttling locos around the depot until sometime around 0700 when we packed it in to sign off at 0730, being paid equal to 1145 for our efforts.
Saturday was off as well, although why only four shifts for the week, I can’t explain, not that I would have complained particularly, as these were not my favourite shift as I think I might have made obvious.

Neil

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  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
The Roster Clerk rolled me over onto 114A and, unlike the previous week, I worked with a different driver virtually every day.
Monday, the 3rd of October, was on at 1245 with Driver G Capretta for a 1320 Warragul goods, departing from Oakleigh, which tells me it was an empty train going back to Morwell for reloading with briquettes. This was not the job rostered, which was to relieve the ANZAC Pilot, with Driver D Grant, starting around 1145. Instead, I climbed into L1169 and we ran ‘light’ to Oakleigh, to drop onto the empty rake of open wagons. With a continuity test complete and the ‘stick’ cleared, we departed for Dandenong and ran on to Pakenham. On approach to Bunyip, we slowed for the single line merge and received the staff to permit us to run through to Longwarry. At Longwarry, the staff was handed up and we diverged onto the down line but only travelled a short distance since our changeover was sitting on the up line, waiting for us. With the cabs as close to level, as possible, we would have bridged the gap to change cabs from L1169 to the leading one of L1165, without descending to rail level, preceded by our kit bags and the all-important billy. We were advised by the eastern depot crew that we were on the tonnage allowance, but it was not a load of briquettes. The other crew got our, former, train moving again, to clear the single line through the station and once they had achieved that the signalman obtained a new staff for us, cleared the road and signal we could retrace our path through the single line section. We got underway, took possession of the staff and moved on back towards Bunyip. With the staff handed up there, we continued on back through Pakenham and Dandenong to head for the Arrivals Yard. Released from the train, we returned no. 1165 to Fuel Point and I signed off at 1945.
Tuesdays start was at 1245, with Driver G Tilley, to run to Paisley to form the 1600 Wodonga ‘Oily’ as far as Broadmeadows. On a through road, in the depot, S309 and T392 had been coupled up and then connected in multiple for us by the fitters, so boarding the S class for the short run past the TR point to the hump, where our guard joined us, we changed to the T and headed for Paisley, joining the suburban lines at South Kensington. Once past Newport, we were sent along the West line to stop short of the points for the oil sidings where the guard changed the points, once the Newport signalman had released the lock to permit this. Once the locos were clear of the points in the sidings, the guard restored the points so the West line could be used by other trains. We then proceeded to assemble our train with loaded tank wagons and the, essential, safety wagons for each end of the train within the sidings. Once everything was together, which resulted in a train of over 1,000 tons, and examined by Driver Tilley, we moved towards the points where the guard contacted the signalman to advise him we were ready to depart and to have the lock released on the points to enable us to depart the sidings. With the points reversed, we moved onto the West line, as train 9325, to pause while the guard restored the points once more and boarded his van. With his ‘all clear’, we got underway to head towards Newport and the Brooklyn line. Collecting the staff from the signalman at Newport we proceeded to Brooklyn where we stopped once more, this time to add Y145 to the train, and hand up the staff. I uncoupled the S and T so we could run them forward and then back onto the Y where I coupled it up, including the brake pipe and jumper cable, although with a number 4 brake, not an A6ET or 26L brake, it didn’t have the main reservoir and numbers 3 and 4 brake pipes to also connect, somewhat simplifying that process. With all three locos attached to the train, a continuity test was completed before we were given the staff for Sunshine and set off again. Once through Sunshine, and with the staff handed up, we headed towards Albion to diverge onto the Loop line. Making our way towards Broadmeadows we entered the loop short of the main line to wait for the signal to give us access to the station where the ‘Big Wheel’ crew taking the train on further was waiting to relieve us. When the ‘stick’ cleared we dragged the train up the grade, through the junction and halted at the down end of the platform and were relieved. The ‘Big Wheel’ crew got the train moving and cleared the platform. We spent time waiting for the next spark to terminate and form an up service so that we could ‘travel per’ back to North Melbourne and the walk back to Dynon, where we signed off at 2005.
Wednesday was on at 1215 with Driver D Grant rostered to relieve the P2 Pilot, also known as the Williamstown Pilot. Once more the walk to North Melbourne station was made, after signing on, to ‘travel per’ to Newport to relieve the crew the day shift crew of the Pilot. We took control of Y165 to continue whatever work the earlier crew had not completed. What work that was I did not record, so I’m not sure if we made it to Williamstown or not. Nor am I sure how long we actually worked this Pilot, since there is no more information recorded; I was really getting slack about noting times during this period. Whatever, and whenever, things happened we would have departed Newport to travel to Tottenham Yard via Brooklyn at some point in the afternoon and, once our loading had been deposited in the Yard for distribution to other locations, we would have set off ‘light’ to return the Y to Fuel Point at Dynon. We obviously didn’t have a full shift worth of work since I signed off at 1915. Whether there was some standby before that, I would suggest there probably was, as knocking off after exactly 7 hours would be somewhat unlikely without some time in the meal room.
Thursday’s sign on was at 1404 for a 1500 Pass Yard Pilot, this day working with Driver Warren Soderman. With the loco tied up waiting for us at Spencer St, we made the usual trek to North Melbourne to catch a spark to Spencer St and then locate Y126, somewhere, within the Bank Sidings. Once on the loco, with the hand brake released, we were joined by the shunting team we were working with and set to, moving carriage rakes to and from the sidings and platforms. We continued this until sometime after 2200, when, once more, within the Bank sidings, I cranked the hand brake on again so we could head for the suburban platforms to make our way back to the depot where we signed off at 2315.
On Friday it was a 1205 start with Driver Grant, rostered to work the 1230 Kensington Pilot, however this had been cancelled on us, so we ended up in the meal room until 1530 when Manpower called me out of the meal room to team me up with Driver K Brown. Together we were given the job of ‘travelling per’ to Caulfield where we were to relieve the up Long Island goods. Something that can be said about the location of South Dynon depot was that its crew gained a decent amount of exercise getting themselves to and from North Melbourne station! Having complete the hike once more we caught the next spark to Flinders St and then changed to one heading towards Caulfield. Once at Caulfield, we relived the crew of T386, so they could head for the depot to knock off. We got the train moving again towards Melbourne. We more than likely took the train into a yard such as the Canal before taking the loco back to the depot, as I noted that we were off the loco at 1802. I put in some time on standby before presenting myself to the Manpower Clerk to sign off at 1905.
Saturday was a 1424 start, with Driver Grant once again, for a 1445 Pass Yard Pilot. We followed the same path as I had on the previous few days to North Melbourne, and on to Spencer St, this time to locate Y141 and get to work. In pretty much a repeat of that shift we worked the platforms and sidings, although this time we were able to leave to loco earlier to sign off at 2224 as Saturdays were somewhat quieter than weekdays, which still paid us equal to 12 hours’ work.

Neil
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Thanks Neil. Another dose of reality.

I am/was always intrigued, not specifically by the need for a safety wagon between the locos/brakevans and the tank wagons, but by the fact that a flat wagon was often 'good enough'. There appears no such rule these days where tanktainers of fuel on a container flat are regularly marshalled next to the relay van on east-west and other trains.

In another lifetime/world I travelled to Marree in OW 5 (a converted CR ABP/BRPF wooden passenger car) second vehicle behind two GMs. In front was a rail decked flat with a NG open loaded with hot bitumen road making material. I hardly slept all night waiting for it to come loose and end up on top of us. Thankfully it didn't. Smile
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
Yes, intriguing, as you say YM, that flat wagons were regarded as sufficient. From memory, every oil train used flats, although some were the ones with low height bulkheads, whatever code they were (VFSX maybe?). Not that it would have made much difference if something went pear-shaped. The trains that moved loaded explosive vans generally used something more substantial between loco and the explosives, commonly louvre or box vans. There were always more of them as well, from memory, a minimum of three. A case of 'this stuff is more dangerous' than fuel?

Neil
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
I was rolled onto 115D with Sunday off.
Monday was an 0325 start with Driver A De Kort rostered for the 0356 Newport to Upfield ‘Ford’ train, no. 9214. After signing on we made our way out to the depot car park to where a taxi was waiting, with our guard already occupying a seat. The taxi dropped us at Newport and then waited around to take the previous crew and guard to their respective sign on locations so they could finish their shift. T351 was at the head of the rake of VBFW wagons, idling behind the signal box. The signalman handed us the staff and we set off for Sunshine via Brooklyn. With a full hand exchange at Brooklyn followed by a hand up of the staff at Sunshine, we continued on towards Broadmeadows. Climbing the grade into that station we ran through and headed for Somerton. At that location, we left the broad gauge main, crossed the Standard Gauge and entered the sidings. I cut off the T and we ran around so I could couple up again for the relatively short run down the dual gauge line to the Ford factory sidings. With the derail removed from the rail head by the guard, we entered the sidings and placed the wagons where they were wanted. With everything shunted into place, I cut off once more and with an extra in the cab, in the form of the guard, we ran back up the grade to Somerton ‘light’, once the scotch block was back in place. At Somerton, we reversed our seats and I put the tail disk up at the down end. Once both BG and SG mains were clear, we made our way out of the sidings onto the up main and headed for Broadmeadows. I get the impression someone thought it better for us to return the loco to Dynon via the Essendon line, rather than the Coburg one, probably due to the number of manually operated gates still, then, existing on the latter line. We rolled down the grade until Kensington where we were routed onto the good slines towards Spion Kop. Reversing beneath the hump, the guard left us and we ran the T into the Fuel Point. Returning to Manpower at 0710 we headed into the meal room but our stay there was very short for a change, as at 0740 we were called out again and given the job of taking out the loco for the 0852 Traralgon pass, train 8411. L1157 was allocated to this train, so we ran it off the depot to pass Spencer St and onto the viaduct before reversing into platform 8. I was asked about how L class accessed Dynon from Spencer St some time ago and offered two options, of which this was one. In replying to that question I had no recollection of having done it in reverse but this would have been the most direct and easiest way for an electric loco to go between Dynon and Spencer St, if you could call it that, especially compared to just running a diesel-electric over the flyover straight onto the approach roads at Spencer St. We were relieved by another crew and the train departed bound for the east. We then waited near platform 8 to relieve the incoming up that arrived soon after. Relieving the crew who brought L1163 into the platform we appear to have taken this L back to the depot, reversing our outbound path. Back at the depot by 0930, we resumed our seats in the meal room and remained there until we reported back to Manpower to sign off at 1125.
Tuesdays start was 0330 to work an 8-hour shift at Fuel Point. There’s nothing much to record about this shift as it was ‘just another day at the office’ where we moved locos around but I didn’t note which ones. Being early day shift we would have been reasonably busy moving locos in preparation for the morning peak and once that was over dealing with locos coming back onto the depot after that event. We shifted locos until 1100 when we returned to the depot to sign off at 1130.
Wednesday was on at 0525 for the 0640 Werribee pass, train 8211. T385 was allocated this job and once we had possession of it and were coupled to the train, at Spencer St, Driver De Kort kicked me out of the fireman’s seat, having caught on to how experienced I was, so I took the driver’s seat for the, virtually empty cars, run out to Werribee, although I did stop as required by the timetable. We stopped in a Werribee platform at 0726, which was 3 late on the Working Timetable. I don’t remember who uncoupled and re-coupled, for the run-around, at Werribee but I would suggest that I didn’t do it as I wasn’t relieved of the driver’s controls for the up run, which was the 0758, train 8222. Getting underway from Werribee, I brought the train, and it’s rapidly increasing complement of passengers, back into Melbourne after the all stations stopping pattern, to draw to a halt in a platform at Spencer St at 0842. Exactly what happened next is unclear. We may have taken the T back to Dynon or, else we were relieved, as we were given the task of relieving a, empty cars, Wash Dock special, although there are no times noted for this. B66 as the loco being used to work this special and it appears that we took over on its return to Spencer St from Jolimont. I except that we were relieved in our turn with the carriage rake heading off on a down train and the B class, probably, doing the same, although not necessarily the same train. We returned to Dynon and most likely ended up in the meal room, on standby until sign off at 1325.
Thursday was 0510 on for the 0625 Sunbury pass, running as train 8007. Our loco this day was T399 and, in a repeat of the previous day, I ended up in the driver’s seat again for the down journey. Taking the fairly empty, if not totally so, train out of Spencer St to Sunshine I then made the all stations stops to Sunbury where I halted the train at 0706, which was 9 minutes early. The lack of passengers would have been one reason for this, another reason would have been the timetable being prepared to allow for a slower, or lower horsepower, loco to be rostered. We were to form the 0735 up, running as train 8020, so the carriages were shunted to the middle road and then run around. As happened on Wednesday I remained in the driving seat for the up run so probably had nothing to do with the uncoupling and recoupling at rail level. With the train shunted into the platform we waited for departure time. With the ‘right away’ I got us moving and repeated the outbound stopping pattern to Sunshine. Running into Spencer St from there I stopped the train in a platform at Spencer St at 0823. Whether the T was then used on another train, or returned to Dynon, we didn’t have another job so ended up back in the meal room, on standby and remained in that state until 1310 when we knocked off.
Friday’s start was at 0500, with Driver Ian Anthony, the only change of driver all week, for the 0615 Werribee pass, train 8209; another Werribee pass! Our loco for the run was T356 and, in a recurring theme, I once more drove the down, train 8209, to Werribee where our arrival was at 0652, 8 minutes early. We formed the 0733 up, train 8218, after running around, where I remained in the driver’s seat, so I except Ian did the dirty work at rail level. Getting the up train moving, I succeeded in stopping at all of the stations to Newport successfully and then brought the train into Spencer St at 0817, 1 minute down on the timetable. On return to Dynon the meal room beckoned as Manpower had nothing to offer us and, so once more, we finished off the shift on standby signing up at 1300.
Saturday was OR.

Neil
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
I was shifted to roster 38N, breaking the brief run of successive rosters and thankfully, for me, it was an early night shift. Sunday was the reasonably normal off roster.
Monday was a 1430 start to work the 1500 Truck Shops Pilot, with Driver F Pellazari. This was, probably, a case of relieving the crew who had taken the loco off the pit that morning to North Melbourne Workshops. In that case we would have trekked half way to North Melbourne and then cut across the Dynon access tracks to find Y148 idling with the handbrake on. Releasing the handbrake, we set to work to finish off moving those wagons in need of repair or recently fixed to where they were wanted. This lasted until just short of 1700 when we headed back to Dynon with the Y to present ourselves to the Manpower Clerk at that time. Standby beckoned so we found some seats although I pulled the pin at 1930 as nothing had been offered and wasn’t likely to be.
Tuesday’s start was 1716, with Driver S Milne, for the 1810 South Geelong pass, train 8271. On arrival at Spencer St, we relieved the crew sitting in the cab of B64 and prepared to run the train. Getting underway we set off for Footscray for the ‘pick up only’ and then moved on heading for Geelong. Being a South Geelong I have a feeling that we didn’t do a lot of stopping en route but I can’t confirm that. After the stop at Geelong station, we got under way again to receive the staff for South Geelong and climbed the grade through the tunnel. Dropping into South Geelong, the staff was handed up and the train stopped in the platform. After all of the passengers were off we performed the run around and collected the staff for the empty cars movement back to Geelong. After travelling through the tunnel again, the staff was handed up to the signalman at Geelong ‘B’ box and we entered the Yard, where we left the carriages, and possibly the B class as well although we may have taken it over the pit. Once at Geelong depot we spent a reasonable amount of time there, including a ‘tucker’ break, as we were rostered to bring the 2115 goods back to Melbourne, running as train 9144. We took S313 and T390 off the pit and made our way past North Geelong station, up to North Geelong ‘A’, where we then backed onto the loading waiting for us. We were advised by the guard that our load was over 1,000 tons, so we were on the tonnage allowance for the return trip and once the train was cleared by the train examiner we set off towards Melbourne once more. The journey from North Shore to Newport would have been relatively fast, even with that weight, but the diversion via Brooklyn and Tottenham Yard added extra time to our journey’s length so that we didn’t get to the Arrivals Yard until close to midnight. We got the locos over the pit at Dynon at 0005 and must have run to the Manpower window since we were signed off at 0016.
Wednesday I signed on at 1755 but the rostered job I came in for had been scrubbed and I have no idea what it was meant to be anymore, due to some over-zealous use of liquid paper at some point in time. So, Manpower pointed me to the meal room and said ‘take a seat’. At some time in the next hour he called my name out over the PA and when I fronted his window again, he told me I was now working the 1935 Shepparton goods with a Seymour Driver. I, now, have no idea how this Driver made it to Melbourne without a fireman, unless he travelled ‘per’ solo with plans to pair him up with a Dynon fireman to him to get back to Seymour or whether his fireman fell sick somewhere between Seymour and Melbourne. T327 was rostered to work the train and having met this gent we organised the T to be attached to the train, probably in the Centre Yard. Once the train was examined and the dwarf signal was cleared we were given the ok to depart. As usual, we departed Melbourne running via Tottenham Yard and the Albion Loop line before joining the main line. Working our way northwards we drew into Seymour Yard at 2240. On arrival at Seymour, we were relieved and the driver headed for his home depot to knock off. I found somewhere to sit out the time while I waited for my ride back to Melbourne which was the 0015 up goods. I’m fairly sure I made use of this gap to begin a nap, which would have been resumed once I was safely travelling ‘per’ back to Melbourne. S302 and T352 arrived into Seymour, to provide me with my ride home and, although I can’t say this definitely, I reckon I made myself comfortable, if you can say that about a T class cab, in no. 352 for the journey. I also doubt that I actually saw much of the passing scenery at that time of night and not because it was dark. It still surprises me how light it is at night outside of the light haze of larger cities, something that I got relatively used to on night shift. The train was tied up in the Arrival Yard at 0225 but for some reason my sign off wasn’t until 0300; the locos must have taken some time to get back over the pit.
Thursday was a 1737 sign on with Driver N Carroll rostered for the 1845 Seymour, train 9325. Our part in running this train was from Broadmeadows so we after we had signed on we then walked to North Melbourne station to catch the next spark to that location. Hopping off the spark we then had to wait for it to depart on the next up service before the goods was permitted to depart the loop at the near end of the Albion Loop line. S309 appeared, coming up the grade through the junction to draw to a halt near us. We climbed into the cab, relieved the crew and got the train moving again so the guards could change over as well. We were rostered to change over with the 2110, probably this timing was from Seymour, so we didn’t expect to meet the up for some distance. We were able to get over the divide and pass through Kilmore East. Approaching Broadford, we had the distant against us and so stopped. Train 9324 climbed the grade with H3 in the lead to stop adjacent to the S class. We changed over at 2100, which says that the Seymour crew departed early. With a change of locos, power was applied again and the H got the train under way once more. We climbed the grades to the divide once more and from there the H had an easier time of it. Running through Broadmeadows we headed along the Loop line, then at Sunshine diverted onto the Up Independent Goods line past Tottenham Yard. Working our way into the Arrivals Yard the loco was uncoupled so we could take it over the pit with sign off being at 0035.
Friday was on at 1855 with Driver S Milne for the 2010 Wodonga, train 9331. We were allocated T328 for this train and took it to the yard where the train was made up waiting for us. Completing the examination and getting the load and length details from the guard we set off via Tottenham Yard to head for the north-east line. Joining that line at Broadmeadows, we worked our way over the climbing grades, then the momentum grades from Kilmore East onwards and finally the Goulburn River to enter Seymour Yard, at 0000, to be relieved by a north eastern depot crew. We cut it rather fine with this timing as we then ‘travelled per’ on the 0015 up goods out of Seymour, train 9338, which was hauled by T342, with sisters 367 and 334, providing support. Of the options available to us, no. 367 would have been our choice to ride back to Melbourne in, due to the more spacious cab, while the crew running the train had to put up with a low ceilinged flat top, although the flat tops did ride somewhat better than the later versions due to the longer wheelbase. We could have travelled in the guard’s van but the T had heaters and seats enough for both of us, which a van wouldn’t have been able to match. The journey back to Melbourne would have been a near repeat of Wednesday night, except that I wasn’t solo this time. The crew up front got us back to Melbourne, and the depot, so we could sign off at 0325.
Saturday was OR.

Neil
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
The Roster Clerk kept me following the roster, so I moved onto 39A but, for a change, did not have Sunday off this week. Instead, it was an 0825 start with Driver F Pellazarri to start off with the 0855 SG drop on and then form the SG Pass Pilot. Our loco was Y103, which was removed from the SG turntable. What we were ‘dropping onto’ I can’t work out anymore. Shunting the ‘Aurora‘ and the ‘Spirit’ rakes were a normal part of the SG Pass Pilot. Whatever happened for the start of the shift, we were waiting in the Dock siding at Spencer St when the ‘Aurora’ rolled past us into the platform at the end of its southward journey. When the dwarf cleared, we departed the siding onto the main line to stop at the home arrival signal and wait for the signal to display the low speed caution aspect to enable us to approach the motorail wagon at the rear of the ‘Aurora’. A shunter coupled us up and then pulled the pin to uncouple the wagon from the rest of the train to allow us to shunt the wagon into the dock road. Once we were within the signal protecting the dock road, the train engine then copied our manoeuvre so it could haul the carriages back to Dynon. When the line to Dynon was clear the ‘Aurora’ rake departed for the carriage sheds. We then waited for the ‘Spirit’ to roll past us for its turn in the platform. This time we coupled directly to the carriages and prepared to haul them to Dynon, once the train loco had gone past on its light engine run back to the depot. Unlike every other day of the week, we didn’t have fit our work in around the ‘Daylight’s’ departure since it didn’t run on Sunday. When the rake was ready, and the ‘stick’ had been cleared, we set off over the flyover back to Dynon and drew the rake through into the shed, while the cleaners did their external wipe down. The loco was uncoupled from the rake, and we then spent the rest of the shift working in and around the carriage shed. We finally deposited the Y class at the SG fuelling point, to sign off at 1625.
Monday was on at 0940 with Driver I Discak, I think, to run a 1015 Bona, meaning loco and guards van only, to Upfield, although this job and driver do not appear to be the original reason I signed on. Whatever that was is now too obscured to be able to read, as is who I was supposed to fire for. T347 was rostered for this, so we took it off the pit to wherever the guards van was stabled and coupled up to it. Departing this location, we then made our way to Upfield, presumably via the suburban line as there is no mention of the Loop line or Somerton in my notes. We finally reversed into the Ford sidings at 1200 to shunt the wagons forming the 1300 train to Geelong, no. 9253, and add the van at whatever end needed one. This train usually had a van at each end due to the reversal required at Somerton. With the train examined and ready to depart, we set off up the grade to Somerton where I uncoupled, and we ran around. Coupled at the up end, we got out onto the main line and headed for Broadmeadows to work our way to Newport where we arrived at 1445. Relieved by another crew we then travelled ‘per’ to Dynon by spark, where I expect we spent some time on standby as we didn’t sign off until 1640.
Tuesday’s sign on was at 0902 with Driver Pellazarri once again and once again the rostered job had been scrubbed, although this time we ended up on standby until 1200 when Manpower found us something to do. He gave us the job of running a 1215 light engine to Upfield, this time on the SG, to form the 1515 Cooks River. The loco rostered today was 42208 which was taken off the turntable and pit to then run to Somerton. From there we changed ends and travelled down the grade into the Ford sidings to assemble the lines of loaded auto carriers into a train. Driver Pellazarri also got the job of examining the train for the crew who were going to run the train north, with my assistance. This crew made their appearance at 1500 to relieve us after which we made our way to Upfield station to travel back to the depot. Once more I would suggest we ended up in the meal room on our return although I signed off a little early at 1645.
On Wednesday I started at 0925 with Driver Pellazarri to work a 1000 Mooroolbark ballast. Our locos, T338 and T412, were coupled in multi on a through road for us and we climbed on and set off for the TR point. When the West Tower signalman cleared the road for us we moved on to the reversing point beneath the hump so we could reverse into the Ways and Works sidings. Coupled to the rake of wagons, the train was examined, and we were given the okay to depart. Travelling under the hump we ran past the East Yard, onto the original viaduct to Flinders St. We would have run through the centre road between platforms one and two to join the Burnley Through lines. Running through Richmond, then continuing on through Burnley we were routed onto the down line to head on for Camberwell. After Camberwell, we remained on the down line as we headed for Box Hill. Through Box Hill we moved on through Blackburn and on to Ringwood where we travelled through and then made our way to where the load was required near Mooroolbark. As with other ballast trains I’d worked, we uploaded on the down part of our run. Once the train’s load had been unloaded where wanted we moved on to Mooroolbark so the locos could be run around. I uncoupled so we could run forward, changed locos to no. 412 and then ran past the train. Reversing back onto the empty train, I coupled up again so a continuity test could be completed. At 1420, we got underway to retrace our path back to Melbourne Yard. We would have returned the locos to the depot, although the time went unrecorded, and presumably ended up in the meal room to complete the shift, which for me was at 1710.
Thursday’s job was on at 0945 working with Driver N Mann rostered to work a Maribyrnong goods, but in a continuing theme, it had been cancelled. Manpower found us another job almost immediately though, allocating us a 1005 LE test run to Geelong with X48, which must have just come out of the workshops after some repair or overhaul work. We would have reversed out of the depot to the TR point and then on to the hump before being able to sit in our seats without getting stiff necks from the awkward position reversing a New X caused its crew to take to be able to see. With the signal cleared we headed for South Kensington so we could join the suburban lines. Once on the suburban lines we headed for Newport and on towards Geelong. Being a test run we didn’t get much priority, nor did we run the maximum speed possible for a light engine since we eventually arrived in Geelong at 1200, this time more than likely being at Geelong loco so we could turn the loco. We would have had a meal at the depot and possibly had the local fitters look at anything that might have been of concern on the down run. At 1345 we departed the loco on the up run, ‘light’ again heading back to Dynon. This run was obviously covered at near maximum speed as we returned the loco to the Fuel Point at 1430, to, once more, go on standby to sign off at 1645.
Friday and Saturday were both rostered off.

Neil
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
I was rolled onto roster 40D which had both Sunday and Monday off for a four-day weekend. Notably this week marked the point where I only had four more weeks of work with VLine, as it now was, left to complete.

Tuesday was supposed to be an 0345 start to work a Maribyrnong goods but since the day was November 1st, and therefore, Melbourne Cup Day the job was cancelled so I had yet another day off, with pay.
I returned to the depot on Wednesday for an 0400 standby with Driver N Mann. After two and a half hours in the meal room, at 0630, the Manpower Clerk called on us to give us the job of taking out the loco for the 0750 Bendigo pass. We climbed into the cab of B80, released the handbrake and moved off to the TR point. Crossing the flyover, we approached the station and dropped onto the train, where I coupled up. The train examiner arrived and set to work checking the brakes and other running gear. The crew running the train arrived and relieved us, probably after the train examiner had finished his work. Once off the loco we made our way to another platform to wait for an up pass from Bendigo. B65 entered the platform road and drew to a halt short of the points leading to the centre run-around road. We climbed into the cab and relieved this crew. Although my notes aren’t specific it appears that we then took no. 65 back to the depot, since there is nothing about this loco being dropped onto another train. Whatever happened, once more back at the Manpower window, at 0950, we resumed our seats on standby until we signed off at 1200.
On Thursday it was an 0405 sign on to run 0425 light engines to Bacchus Marsh, as train 0101. The locos running to ‘the Marsh’ were T333 and B83, which were prepared for us by one of the fitters, so we took possession of no. 333 while another crew boarded the B. We departed the depot and ran to the hump, although since I’m not sure what order the locos were in, I can’t say if we did this leg or the B class crew did it. Whichever crew was in the loco to lead on the run to ‘the Marsh’ then took over and got the two locos to Bacchus Marsh. Entering the stabling sidings directly, at 0600, the other fireman and I separated them so we could couple to our respective carriage rake. We had the first departure, running the 0630 up, as train 8108, so after a quick continuity test, we drew the train out onto the main line and then pushed back into the platform, under the control of the signalman. With the staff on the loco and a number of passengers we departed the platform and climbed the grade out of ‘the Marsh’ heading for Parwan. Exchanging the staff there we stopped for the possibility of a passenger or two before getting underway again heading for Melton. Another stop and staff exchange, this time with a decent number of additions to our load of passengers we got underway for Rockbank. A final hand up of the staff and more passengers climbed into the carriages before we entered the CTC controlled single line on our way to Deer Park West junction. Once on the doubled line we stopped at both Deer Park and Ardeer, although neither offered many passengers back then, to finally curve through the junction into Sunshine for the ‘set down’ only stop. Powering away from Sunshine we made our way through the suburban area to draw to a halt at Spencer St at 0735. A little unusually, we were rostered to then form the 0905 ‘Marsh’, so I cut off and we ran around in preparation for another journey out to Bacchus Marsh. With another continuity test performed, we set off to trace our path west, with the same stops and staff exchanges until we arrived back at Bacchus Marsh at 1008. The biggest difference on this run was that I spent it in the driver’s seat, apparently my last drive of a passenger train. The T was cut off, probably by me, to run around and form the 1055 up. With the loco on the up end and a new staff we departed to return to Spencer St once more, where we arrived at 1200. I feel that we were relieved to make our way back to the depot to sign off at 1245, as returning a loco to the depot would usually have been quicker.
Friday was an 0430 start for the 0530 Werribee, train 8203. Our rostered loco was T359. Once it was coupled to the train and the train examined, we waited for the ‘right away’ to head for Werribee. The run was obviously a fairly normal one although I didn’t note when we arrived there. After moving the loco to the up end of the carriage rake, we formed the 0703 up, running as train 8212. With considerably more passengers on this departure than from Spencer St we set off to collect more in-bound commuters, depositing them at Spencer St at an unrecorded time. We made our way back to the depot, although I’m not sure if it was with or without the T class. Going onto standby on our return to Dynon we ended up signing off at 1215.
Saturday, I signed on with Driver T Hine at 0320 to run the 0405 Long Island. We found T358, leading S310, in the depot yard and headed for the yard where the loading was waiting for locos. Once everything was checked and cleared, we set off to head for Flinders St across the viaduct. Clearing the Jolimont Yards, we continued through over the Yarra to tackle the grade up to Malvern. Diverging at Caulfield we headed on towards Frankston where we drew into one of the sidings and were relieved at 0530. The crew that relieved us must have come from Dynon by taxi as there is no way they could have caught up with us by spark at that time on a Saturday morning. Quite why we only got to travel that far I have no idea, since we only had two hours on duty under our belt. We didn’t get the luxury of the taxi as we had to travel back to Dynon ‘per’ on the next, (first of the morning?) spark from there. Making our way to North Melbourne station, we arrived back at the depot at 0730, to once more, go onto standby with nothing more offered for us to do until we signed off at 1120.

Neil
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
I expected the Roster Clerk to roll me onto 41N so noted the jobs for that one, but I’ve crossed it out and written RD2 instead. I have no idea what that what supposed to reference anymore, but I ended up doing night shift anyway, just different jobs to those I recorded.
41N was going to have me work these jobs:
Sunday 2045 on for a SG Goods Pilot
Monday 2040 for the ‘Apex’ to Kilmore East
Tuesday 2257 for the 2300 Hump Pilot
Wednesday 2257 for what looks like the Special Pilot
Thursday 2257 for the 2300 Canal Yard Pilot
Friday 2235 for the 2300 Canal Yard Pilot again
Saturday OR

Instead, Sunday and Monday are recorded are E.D.O. What that represents I can’t say anymore but it was definitely different from me asking for time off, since Tuesday, when I noted the East Yard Pilot was what I was rostered to work under RD2, was recorded as ‘leave’. I had obviously asked the Roster Clerk for the day off and been granted it.
On Wednesday, I, actually, started working for the week, signing on at 2157 with Driver S Brock, who I appear to have worked with for the rest of the week to run the 2200 No. 8 Dock Pilot. The loco would have been tied up near Moonee Ponds Creek in the Canal Yard, so we made our way to that location where Y147 was located. With the hand brake released, our shunting team appeared and climbed on the footsteps except for the head shunter who joined us in the cab to explain what we were going to start with, and so we set to work. We would have collected container wagons from this Yard or some of the other near-by ones, like the West or D balloon and then headed across the Footscray Rd level crossing to whichever dock we were to work. Making our way to the sidings, we then shunted as directed until the early hours of the morning when the, fairly standard, couple of hours of down time arrived and everyone involved had a nap. When the shunters reappeared, we finished off the remaining work before returning the Y class to the same spot we found it in, I applied the hand brake and we wandered back to the depot to sign off at 0603.
Thursday was on at 2257 for the 2300 West Yard Pilot. Y120 was stabled in a similar location to the Y class from the night before. This night we headed east and moved into the West Yard where we were joined by the shunting team and for the rest of the night we moved within this relatively small area, including ‘C’ and ‘D’ balloons. Once more there was a break in the early hours before finishing off what was required to return the loco to where we first boarded it and returned to Dynon to sign off at 0703.
On Friday it was a 2235 start for the 2300 Centre Yard Pilot. This night we had to walk to the Centre Yard, passing under the hump and accessing the Yard via the approach track in its S shaped concrete tunnel, formed by the leads from the hump to ‘B’ and ‘C’ balloons. Y118 was tied up in the shunting lead near the crest of the approach track and once settled in we moved towards the south end of the Yard to meet our team of shunters. This night was pretty much a repeat of the previous two work wise finishing at 0725 when we signed off.
Saturday was OR.

Neil
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The joys of unexplained acronyms and abbreviations Neil. Smile
I have done it myself and years later wonder 'what was I thinking (or not!)'? Rolling Eyes
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
This week I found myself on 81A, instead of 42A, but some weeks previously I assumed that I would follow the roster progression and so recorded its jobs and then had to scrub them out and write 81A’s instead.
42A went something like this:
Sunday OR
Monday, a Dock Pilot, although which number is too obscured
Tuesday, the light engine run to Paisley for the 1600 Wodonga Oil
Wednesday, unfortunately no longer able to be made out
Thursday, a run on the Bendigo line, if my reading is correct
Friday, a run to Dandenong

Sunday remained off roster on 81A, but Monday was an 0815 start for the SG Pass Pilot. Driver L Thannock and I took Y104 off the SG turntable, departed the depot to cross the Moonee Ponds Creek bridge and headed for Spencer St to enter the car dock siding. When the ‘Aurora’ had passed us and stopped within the platform, we left the dock and dropped onto the motorail wagon to shunt it into the dock road for unloading. With the ‘Daylight’ departed, the loco, with a Dynon relief crew, off the ‘Aurora’ dropped onto the rear and then departed for the SG car shed at Dynon. Soon after the ‘Spirit’ rolled past us to also terminate. This time, the loco, once again with a Dynon relief crew, headed back to the depot ‘light’. Once it was clear we then dropped onto the rear of the train and followed the loco back to Dynon with the ‘Spirit’ cars in tow. With both overnight passenger trains in the carriage shed we did what was necessary, adding or removing carriages depending on the demand for that night’s down trains and whatever else was wanted done. I failed to note when we finished to leave the Y in the SG Fuel Point, but I did note that we signed off at 1615, so there may have been some down time in the meal room.
Tuesday’s start was 1000 for the 1045 Port Melbourne Goods, working with Driver C Johnson, however there is some heavy scrubbing out of this job which suggests that this train was cancelled. I wrote in 1600 Paisley, referring to taking out the locos to form the 1600 Wodonga Oil train but that was also scrubbed out, so it appears that another crew were tasked with that job. With nothing else written down, it appears that we went straight to standby and with the Paisley job not being taken we sat out the shift until I signed off at 1600, probably out of total boredom, and possibly, disgust.
On Wednesday, it was an 0930 sign on for a light engine run to Maribyrnong Goods Terminal with Driver Johnston, but this was not our rostered job, which is now too obscured to recover. Y147 and Y158 had been prepared for us by the fitters so we left the depot, had a guard climb into the cab of no .158, after we changed locos beneath the hump and set off to join the suburban line at South Kensington. We crossed the Maribyrnong River and immediately diverted onto the River line to wander along the line to the terminus. We did whatever assembly of our train was necessary before forming an 1140 to Oakleigh. A change of loco to Y147 was followed by a brake test and then we retraced our path back to the junction with the main line. I advised the signalman of our readiness to access the main line, soon the points changed, and the ‘stick’ cleared. We travelled back over the Maribyrnong on the up and, most probably, diverted onto the goods lines at South Kensington as far as Viaduct Junction. Re-joining the suburban lines we crossed the viaduct, passed through Flinders St Station, and headed on over the Yarra to climb the grade to Caulfield. Continuing through that station we stopped at Oakleigh, at 1335, where an L class with its eastern depot crew were waiting for us. I uncoupled and we ran clear of the train so the L could drop on to continue the journey to the east. We changed locos, once more, and then proceeded back to the depot ‘light’ leaving Oakleigh at 1345, although with me in the driver’s seat. The locos were left at Fuel Point at 1455 and we reported back to Manpower, who, at 1525, despatched us to Spencer St so we could relieve the 1400 up ex Bendigo. Once at Spencer St, we waited for S306 to stop near us so we could relieve the crew. I uncoupled so we could clear the points giving access to the run around road. Changing ends, into the noisy end, we then returned to Dynon where the S was left at 1630 to be refuelled and we signed off at 1645.
Thursday was 0940 on to work the P10 Pilot, out of Tottenham Yard with Driver M Underwood, although the original job was with Driver Ray Ludlow, for something completely different which is now overwritten by the P10 details. We departed the depot with T333 and ran ‘light’ to Tottenham Yard via the Independent Goods lines, to set back into the Yard and couple to the loading. A team of shunters joined us as the train was being examined and, when all was ready, we departed the Yard to head for our shunting destination. We obviously had a decent amount of work to do since the loco wasn’t returned to Dynon until 1730 with sign off being 1740.
Friday was an 0902 on to go straight onto standby, after yet another cancelled job, with Driver P Gooding. Our down time in the meal room wasn’t very long, since we were called out, at 0950, by Manpower and tasked with running a 1015 light engine to Upfield. Our loco, T352, was taken off the pit, the guard climbed onto the loco near the hump, and we set off to cross North Melbourne Junction and set off to make our way along the Upfield line. Once we had been admitted to the ‘Ford’ broad gauge sidings, by the guard, we did whatever shunting was required before the obligatory brake test and prepared to form the 1300 Geelong ‘Ford’. We departed the sidings to climb the grade to Somerton, did the run around and prepared to head for Newport. Getting access to the main line, we made our way down the grade to Broadmeadows and onto the Albion Loop line. Travelling along that line, we joined the suburban one, near Albion, and moved on to Sunshine where we took possession of a Sunshine - Brooklyn staff and continued on. A full staff exchange at Brooklyn was completed and we continued to Newport where the staff was handed up and we were relieved by the crew taking the train on to Geelong. We then travelled ‘per’ by the next spark back to North Melbourne, but I can’t give you any idea of when we made it back to the depot or signed off as I failed to note when these events occurred.
Saturday was OR.

Neil
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
Once more I had previously assumed I was still following the sequence onto 43D, but this obviously didn’t happen after the shift to 81A the previous week, although I haven’t written down any roster number for, this, my final week.
43D was “if required 5” on Sunday, which meant I was fifth in line to be rostered on should the depot have much extra work offering, which might occur in a heavy grain movement season but otherwise was unlikely to mean I would be rostered on. Unfortunately, the rest of the week is too obscured to make out any more except for an 0600 standby on Tuesday.

Sunday was rostered off.
Monday as on at 0555 for a 0610 No. 3 Dock Pilot with Driver P Waldren. It is most likely that the loco was already in the Canal Yard waiting for us, but it may have been a ‘take-off the pit’ job. It is too long ago, and nothing is noted to clarify which of these two options applied. Either way we took control of Y118, met our shunting team, and set to work. What we did and for how long is no longer available as there is nothing written about when we finished working the Pilot or signed off.
Tuesday’s start was at 0635 for an 0700 Pass Yard Pilot with Driver G Dobinson. We made our way to Spencer St to where Y105 was waiting for us and, teamed up with our shunters, got to work moving carriage rakes between the Bank sidings and platforms until 1330, when I applied the hand brake, and we left the loco. Once more I did not note sign off time, possibly because I did not go back to Dynon but headed straight home from Spencer St.
Wednesday was an 0500 start for the 0615 Werribee, train 8209. Driver W Winton and I took control of T326, most likely on the depot and would have made our way to Spencer St, over the flyover. Coupling the loco to the carriages the brakes were tested and on departure time we set off for Werribee. After the usual ‘pickup only’ stop at Footscray, we then stopped from Paisley onwards for the, very, few passengers who might have been travelling towards Werribee. I didn’t note when we arrived there, but I cut off and we ran around to form the return trip, the 0733 up, train 8218. Leaving Werribee, we repeated our stopping all stations pattern, collecting lots more passengers on this run than the outbound one. Once again there was no arrival time recorded at Spencer St. Either relieved of the loco and getting back to the depot under our own steam or having returned it to Dynon we ended up on standby and remained that way until sign off at 1300.
Thursdays was an 0640 start for an 0700 SG Goods Pilot, this day with Driver D Gauwitz. We made our way cross the SG main line, near the depot, to where Y101 was tied up waiting for us, I released the hand brake and we got to work. We shunted the container sidings at South Dynon and would have made our way to North Dynon for some work there as well at least once, until 1445, when we took no. 101 back to the point we took control of it, applied the hand brake, and made our way back to the depot to sign off at 1520.
Friday’s start was 0556 for an 0610 SG Goods Pilot working with Driver P Waldren once more. This time we worked on Y114, doing pretty much the same tasks as I had the day before, this time until 1400 when I recorded leaving the loco tied up for the afternoon shift in the SG Yard as near to Dynon as possible. On return to the depot, having handed in my resignation some time beforehand, I was preparing to leave the depot for the last time after handing back the Working Timetables and other items that I was not going to need anymore, when a foreman approached me and said, “You’re with me tomorrow” to which I replied something along the lines of “No, I’m not, this is my last day”. With that I signed off for the last time at 1400. I was the second last of my class of six left, three having quit or transferred in the first 4 years and the one who I did the Roads and Signals ‘tour’ with earlier in the year, in the preceding 8 months.

I came across my sole surviving classmate a few years later, on my way to my new employment in the CBD. He recognised me from the cab of the spark he was driving, since he’d successfully qualified. I rode in the cab with him to the CBD and we chatted about the other four, how he found the ‘horizontal elevator’s’ and other points of common interest. He was now doing what I would have if I hadn’t resigned but had passed my driving test.

And so, this thread has run its course, with this being the last post I can write of my experiences, although I can still answer questions if there are any. Oh, and I never did get around to fixing the title which was supposed to be “Memories of South Dynon in the early 1980s”. Pity my fingers and brain don’t always connect when typing.
Hopefully there are others’ out there who have records of their time on ‘the railways’ and are willing to share them with a wider audience so we can all learn more about their experiences.

Neil
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Neil,

Thanks for your efforts in recording the rail world as it was at the end of the government railways that were there for 'service before profit'.

It was an era that following generations will neither experience, nor have the chance to experience, the world of the railwayman of those days.

An era that has gone forever.

Regards
YM
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
Well Neil; the saga has finished, and what a "good bit of read" it has been. I wonder if you knew when you started to write, just what a task you had set yourself!

I have enjoyed every bit of it, and have also learnt a good deal about the working life of a 1980's engineman.

Thanks for your efforts.


Regards,
Valvegear.
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
Well Neil; the saga has finished, and what a "good bit of read" it has been. I wonder if you knew when you started to write, just what a task you had set yourself!

I have enjoyed every bit of it, and have also learnt a good deal about the working life of a 1980's engineman.

Thanks for your efforts.


Regards,
Valvegear.
Valvegear
Absolutely no idea of what I had set for myself, Valvegear! After getting through the first years worth I was quite ready to stop there as I'd worked out some of what I had imposed on myself, but the encouragement of those who responded, like you, YM, Dave Harvey and others, enabled me to persist until the tale was done.

Neil
  Dave C Chief Train Controller

Location: Maitland
Neil Thanks for your efforts in sharing your view of what is now history. I have enjoyed every one of your posts and always looked forward to the next instalment.


Regards

Dave
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
Neil Thanks for your efforts in sharing your view of what is now history. I have enjoyed every one of your posts and always looked forward to the next instalment.


Regards

Dave
Dave C
Thanks for your comments, Dave. It's encouraging that so many have been able to look forward to my attempts to relate my experience of so many years ago, even with the many memory gaps and, on occasions, limited information from my diaries.
I'm hoping that someone else will take up the challenge so that I, too, can look forward to their next instalment.

Neil
  7334 Chief Commissioner

Location: In the workshop wondering why I started 7334 in the first place
I would like to add my thanks to those of the others who have already posted theirs, so thanks!  It has been a good read.

The amount of time you seemed to spend waiting for a job reminded me of a friend who was a NSW driver in the 1980s who once said he thought the job often seemed to involve a lot of waiting, waiting, waiting for a short burst of activity and then more waiting, waiting, waiting.
  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
Yeah thanks Neil, really enjoyed it
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
I would like to add my thanks to those of the others who have already posted theirs, so thanks!  It has been a good read.

The amount of time you seemed to spend waiting for a job reminded me of a friend who was a NSW driver in the 1980s who once said he thought the job often seemed to involve a lot of waiting, waiting, waiting for a short burst of activity and then more waiting, waiting, waiting.
7334
Yes, all the waiting was something that could certainly be said to have been the case. I actually thought of writing something along those lines in the final post but it probably would have been drawing attention to something that was evident anyway. The time spent on standby is obvious but, as your friend said, there were lots of times where nothing was happening that wouldn't have come out in the re-writing.
Thanks for the responses, 7734, Wobert and YM (who I haven't thanked yet, in writing).

Neil
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
There is one foolproof way to overcome the waiting, whether it's in the Army or the railways. Get a pack of cards and lay out a hand of Solitaire (or Patience). Within seconds, there'll be someone looking over your shoulder telling you there's no time for that, there's work to do.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
Neil,
Thanks for the time & effort to translate your notes into an enjoyable read.
I had never considered the amount of down time involved in an average 8 hour shift.  Except for the shunting shifts, it could be only 2- 3 hours actually in a loco cab.
  RC6 Station Staff

Many thanks for these reflections on your days as an engineman. They show both the good news and the bad news of the times.  The bad news was the wasted hours of manpower not productive but rostered.  The good news the rostered hours of staff available to cope with disturbances from 'normal' operations'.

The impression I get, perhaps unkindly, was of a system in decay. I can understand why you decided to leave.  I also understand that part of you is forever in waiting for the next call.

I had the privilege of working in railway service and it it equipped it me for life. I was made by the mentors and characters who gave of their time and experience. I started at 14.  I also realised that to stay was not my future.

I hope that I have been able to provide the support to young railway personnel around the world to repay the support that I was given.

Best Wishes Neil and Thanks  Again
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
'... I had the privilege of working in railway service and it it equipped me for life. I was made by the mentors and characters who gave of their time and experience. ... '

Me too RC6!

That was the way of the rail industry in those days. Much training was by doing things under supervision when necessary.

One may occasionally have had a youthful dislike for those who were trying to mentor, train and/or discipline younger staff but having been there and done that I soon came to appreciate their efforts. They instilled in me sufficient 'whatever' to stand me in good stead for 50 years in the industry.

I am, and will forever be, grateful to those men most of whom are no longer with us.

All mentoring went out the window with privatisation. No one told anyone anything; for tomorrow they would have your job.
  kapow Junior Train Controller

Location: Melmac
Cheers Neil it’s been an enjoyable story to read and a good reason to stop by Railpage. Many thanks for sharing matey!

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