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    Bathurst NSW
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    Trains and photography

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  1. G'day JHB, Did Brunel (GWR) have any influence on the Irish Railways ? No soot belching going on here in cockroach (NSW) country, mexico (Victoria), or croweater (South Oz) country. Total Fire Bans in all three states due to the horrendous bush fire conditions. Makes me think of that emerald isle. But, I probably would not be able to endure the Irish winters. Back in the soot belching era here, all perways were burnt by fettlers to reduce the fire risk during summer. Since weasels took over, such antics have been forgotten. The blackened property did look awful at the time, but succeeded in preventing fires from exhaust sparks. I was amused while toiling down in Tassiemania, about the fire restrictions imposed on some of the old English Electrics. They would really spurt out the exhaust sparks at night time under full load. The culprits banned from working the South Line below Parattah (1 in 40 grades south of Parattah) during summer. But, when motive power shortages occurred, them culprits suddenly appeared on the south line working into Hobart town. A highrail water tanker truck shadowing the trains to douse any embers lighting up the perway grass. When I travelled around Yankeeland and subsequently Europe, I was at first nervous about steering a car on the "wrong side of the car and road". But, I got used to such quickly. I guess trundling around in left hand cab locos had prepared me a tad. But, when I first lobbed into Tassiemania and squizzed that narrow gauge track, I wondered how I would keep the train on it. Fortunately track speeds are very SLOW in Van Diemens Land, 70 kph was the fastest track speed, and there weren't much of that. Trains mostly percolated at around an average of 35 kph. Steve.
  2. G'day JHB, Yes, I can imagine a driver darting from one side of the cab to the other while the fireman was swinging the banjo. I have been told that a right hand drive soot belcher is better for a right handed fireman, in regard to swing angle of the banjo. I have only swung the banjo on a left hand drive soot belcher many moons ago during a week-end of stomping out to Wallerawang and return to LIthgow. I spent my early childhood in Bananaland (Queensland) and rode the suburban network which was still mostly soot belching. Narrow gauge with right hand cabs, though I didn't know anything about such back then. The oddity being that on double track, trains percolated along the left hand track and signals were mostly plonked on the left side in the direction of travel. This put the driver on the opposite side of the cab to the sticks. Most of the Aussie narrow gaugers adopted right hand cab in contrast to the standard, and broad gaugers which adopted left hand cab. I spent most of my footplate career perched in left hand cab locos, initially on the right side and then on the left side after being appointed as driver. When I transferred down to Tassiemania, narrow gauge with mostly right hand cab, I had to adjust not only from standard gauge to narrow gauge, but the right hand cab. Tassie was also ODD in that some rebuilt locos emerged with left hand cabs. I would be perched on the right hand side some shifts and on the left hand side other shifts depending upon the lead loco. Not many sticks to worry about down there as the safe working system was Track Warrant Control. Our global railways do hurl up some interesting oddities. I guess that if and when Driverless autonomous trains become the norm around the globe, then some of these oddities will vanish. We now have a driverless Metro in smog hollow Sydney, plus some autonomous ore trains rattling around the Pilbara region of Sandgroper country. Steve.
  3. Thanks JHB, Just found your latest postings. Yes, I can imagine that the cost of restoration is high. And, dinkum Crossley donks would not be found. You infer that Irish steam locos also had dual cab controls ? Such was rare here Down-Under. Though our AD60 class Beyer Garratts were modified for dual cab controls, primarily to solve cab heat and fumes when running funnel first through tunnels. And, not many 105 foot turntables existed on the network. Steve.
  4. G'day JHB and LeGrange, Mike Beckett has provided some information concerning the Downrail preserved A39. I have also suizzed a couple more video clips featuring the cab and locomotive interior. The FOUR control stands does baffle me. I can only presume being for shunting purposes ? OR, was there some Right Hand running and signalling on the Irish broad gauge network ? OR, did Metro Vickers hope to also sell this class to Europe ? I know that there was some broad gauge in Spain, Portugal, India etc, but have no idea if the cabs were right or left hand. The only Metro Vickers loco that I was exposed to was the NSWR 46 class 1500 vDC electric loco. We called them Butter Boxes due to the body shape. It possessing left hand cab and Westinghouse A7EL brake valve. The Metro Vickers (Beyer Peacock) WAGR X class narrow gauge diesel did have right hand cab and vacuum brake system. This including the European wheel throttle, though there being only a single control stand at each end. However, I have never been inside the cab of one. Steve.
  5. G'day, I am wondering if anybody might have any information concerning the Davies Metcalfe FV3 vacuum brake valve. This brake valve was utilized on the WAGR X class diesel locos built by Metro Vickers. The valve handle is aligned vertically for running position. And, pushed forward for Quick Release to activate the loco vacuum pipe exhausters. Pulled backwards for brake application. I am intrigued by this brake valve. I have only experienced the vacuum system briefly during a visit to West Oz in 1989. I got to play with a WAGR Y class diesel. That vacuum brake valve was different to the FV3 utilized on the X class. Steve.
  6. Good to see the MVR Rattler again rattling. Just a shame that it no longer ventures down to Imbil. Did the society relocate the air operated turn table from Imbil to Amamoor ? Or was there already a turn table at Amamoor ? Or do they run tender first for one direction ? I must wander up to Gympie again some time. Been a long time since I was last up there. Oh, I have not viewed your video clip. My www access is very limited. Steve.
  7. G'day, I am not sure if anybody has previously mentioned the Tasmanian Government Railway X class English Electrics. 32 units were built in the UK for the TGR from 1950. Being an EE 6 SRKT 660hp weighing 57 tons. Narrow gauge 3 foot 6 inch. The class were the first diesel electric main line locos introduced down-under. 7 of the class are preserved, including X10 seen in my photo taken in 1993. Steve. Tasrail X10 Claremont 4 april 1993 S Jeffs audio.mp3
  8. G'day Kirley and JHB, Thanks for your responses. I will take a gander at the Downrail web site to see what info I can scrounge. Plus, also send an email to the society. Encountering differing railway facets featured in video clips at You Tube does portray that global railways do have interesting variations. Steve.
  9. G'day, I have recently squizzed a video clip at You Tube featuring an interesting preserved diesel loco A39 at Downpatrick. I am very curious about the controls. I noticed the European wheel throttle. Plus, the vacuum brake independent (red) and train (black) valve handles. These intrigue me. Release being towards the windscreen and application towards the cab rear wall. I am wondering just how common this style of brake valve was. My only exposure to vacuum brake system was briefly during a visit to Western Australia in 1989. I got to play with a WAGR Y class diesel to get the feel of the vacuum system. The TGR in Tasmania also possessed vacuum brake system until converted to air brake by Aussie National. When I transferred down to Tassie in 2004, only some preserved vintage locos continued to possess vacuum system. And, none of those had brake valve handles similar to these featured in the A39 diesel. Steve.
  10. G'day, Having recently squizzed some video clips featuring the class 37 at You Tube, I find their chortle very familiar. Most Aussie state rail systems possessed English Electric locos. In fact the very first main line diesels introduced in Australia were the TGR X class EEs down in Tasmania. However, the NSWR did not possess any EEs on the loco roster. The BHP (nee AIS) steelworks at Port Kembla NSW did and continues to possess a few EEs. When I transferred to Tassie in 2004, I finally got to play with EEs. A number of EEs still existed on the loco roster which I had to become accustomed to. The EE 12CSVT donk featuring in many of them. One of the facets that at first baffled me was the apparent surging in traction amps while powering. Maintenance staff confirming that this surging was normal. I have noticed this in the audio heard in the couple of video clips from You Tube of the class 37. Sadly, most of the Tassie EEs have today gone to history, a few are preserved. And some were sent interstate to continue to do battle. I am hoping that the class 37 will still continue to exist and entertain. Steve.
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