When did the North Coast Mail last operate? (ANSWERED.)

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ADF492 Station Staff

Location: Perth

I travelled to Grafton on the last North Coast Mail, behind a clapped out 442, which got more behind schedule as the trip progressed. IIRC, it was two or three hours late, by the time it reached Grafton.

I have no recollection of the date. I wonder if any kind New South Welshman could advise me, please? Even the year would help me.

Thanks, in anticipation.

 
jd4980 Chief Commissioner

Location: Grafton

I'm not saying this info is correct, but i have this photo in a collection i inherited, labeled in the back, claiming to be of the last UP NC Mail, taken at Coffs Harbour (which i can verify), on Sunday 13/10/1985.

Also if of further interest, mail trains in general get a good mention in this thread from a few years back.
http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11303967-0-asc-s0+A.htm

Others should be along eventually with more info on the subject.

 
Warks Minister for Railways

Location: Near H30+059

Jeez I don't even remember starting that other thread!

Plenty of info there.

The last NC Mail I caught would have been December 1983.  It took forever and a day - but the beauty of those compartments is that they were de facto sleepers if the train was not more than 1/4 full.  Who cares if you stopped outside Telegraph Point for an hour and a half while four goods trains creaked past? Very Happy

 
GrahamH Chief Commissioner

Location: At a terminal on the www.



The last NC Mail I caught would have been December 1983.  It took forever and a day - but the beauty of those compartments is that they were de facto sleepers if the train was not more than 1/4 full.  Who cares if you stopped outside Telegraph Point for an hour and a half while four goods trains creaked past? Very Happy

- Warks

But one had to be a bit agile to get into the 'bunks' in an FS.  Very Happy

 
Warks Minister for Railways

Location: Near H30+059



The last NC Mail I caught would have been December 1983.  It took forever and a day - but the beauty of those compartments is that they were de facto sleepers if the train was not more than 1/4 full.  Who cares if you stopped outside Telegraph Point for an hour and a half while four goods trains creaked past? Very Happy

- Warks

But one had to be a bit agile to get into the 'bunks' in an FS.  Very Happy

- GrahamH

Yes! I was never game to try the luggage racks but they must have been pretty strong going by the size of some of the blokes I saw snoring in them!

 
GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper

I recall reading that the North Coat Mail became the North Coast Overnight Express and was extended to Murwillumbah.

 
574M - Moderator White Guru

Location: Shepparton

Jeez I don't even remember starting that other thread!

Plenty of info there.

The last NC Mail I caught would have been December 1983.  It took forever and a day - but the beauty of those compartments is that they were de facto sleepers if the train was not more than 1/4 full.  Who cares if you stopped outside Telegraph Point for an hour and a half while four goods trains creaked past? Very Happy

- Warks

Me. I used to live at Telegraph Point. Very Happy

Somewhere, I think I have photos of the last loco hauled passenger train in regular service at Telegraph Point.

 
Zodiac Junior Train Controller

Location: The Never Never

The KAM in the photo makes it sus as a North Coast Mail pic.

I worked on the SM Sydney staff from the mid to late 70's and whistled out the NC Mail many many times and my note books tell me that in 4 years a KAM never appeared on the NC Mail.

As a matter of fact in 4 years a KAM did not appera on any train train let alone the NC Mail

So the upshot is unless the pic is prior to 1978, which it cant be due to the candy KB, I'd do a little more investigation of that pic before claiming it's the NC Mail.

 
Zodiac Junior Train Controller

Location: The Never Never

This link may be of interest to you.

http://australianscreen.com.au/titles/australia-post-last-tpos/clip2/

 
MBAX Chief Commissioner

Location: Mostly the Imperial

I travelled on an LVR tour to Wallangarra in KAM 508 on 3-5/8/85. The tour notes advise that KAM 508 was hired from the RTM so it was in preservation at that stage. I recall that the car had undergone a lot of work and been repainted.

The "Railway News" dated May - June 1977 states that KAM 508 has been "utilised at the NSWRTM Thirlmre for members overnight accommodation since 7.1975."

Would say if KAM 508 was on the North Coast Mail it may have been attached for a tour group?

4204 ran to Armidale and 4908 did the leg to Wallangarra on the LVR trip by the way.

 
jd4980 Chief Commissioner

Location: Grafton

The KAM in the photo makes it sus as a North Coast Mail pic.

So the upshot is unless the pic is prior to 1978, which it cant be due to the candy KB, I'd do a little more investigation of that pic before claiming it's the NC Mail.

- Zodiac

Well, YOU can do all the investigation YOU like, that photo is unmistakably Coffs Harbour as anyone familiar with the former yard/station area and overhead bridge will atest. I'm certain YOU'LL find Coffs, has always been, still is, and will be for a long time yet, situated on the North Coast Line, and i think its reasonable to assume its a pass train with sleeping accomodation, and parcels van, its most likely a mail train.

I look forward to the results of YOUR invetigations.

 
BFCYU Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney "Sutherland Shire"

Aahh the memories of the North Coast Mail.

First time i got on the "mail train" for the North Coast was in the early

1970's. (about 13 years of age)

I already had a liking for the NSW Govt. Railways before hand as "youngster" but the NSWGR North Coast mail train only

made my desire (or NSWGR rail fan) more.

I was going with my "best" mate: Laurie to his aunties farm just out of Wingham (near Taree).

Leaving Sydney with a beaut noise of an Alco diesel up the front was

music to my ears. The diesel smoke with my window open in "our own compartment" was like a sweet smelling incense!

After Maitland where the the single line took over;

with the electric staff and instruments and the station crossing loops

was part of the "magic"

Sitting in a crossing loop for me was "as good as it's gets"

HEY!

I wasn't in a hurry.

At Stroud Road (i think) and Dungog was like a railway fans "sweet orchestra"

Hearing the 44 class "um um Hum Hum" in it's four stroke cycle

in idle speed.

Hearing the signal box telegraph wire & phones ringing and in code.

eg: ringggg  ring, ringgggg ring.  (long, short, long, short ring code)

Seeing the electric staff being "exchanged"

and hearing the summer time crickets insects at night,

with all this, I was in NSWGR fan's "heaven"    

My mate Laurie at 11pm at night said

"why don't you try and get some sleep"

I replied saying " I am having too much fun".

We ended up going to my mates Auntie's dairy farm at "Killabakh Creek"

but all the fun for me was the NSWGR trains.

BUT: lucky for me another Uncle of my mate was a NSWGR train driver

at Taree on the "special class roster trains".

He lived at Wingham but showed me the Wingham & Taree Railway stations and locomotive "running depot".

First time for me "up the front" on a diesel----only for a moment,

but cherished memory.

After the first trip; my mate and I went many times not only to Taree (Wingham) but also to his cousins place at Grafton.

Any excuse for me to catch the "NSWGR North Coast" mail train,

was something to look forward to.

In the end; I think I must have got the North Coast Mail train

at least a dozen times,-------plus the "South Mail" a couple of times to Junee and also Griffith, with the first portion with a big GM two stroke 422

class "up the front' hauling us with ease..

Yes!

Good Memories.

RIP NSWGR North Coast Mail Train;

and ALL the NSWGR "Mail Trains"

We all miss ya. Sad

 
GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper

Ahh! The good old days.

 
Zodiac Junior Train Controller

Location: The Never Never

The inclusion of a Mail Sorting Van would persuade me a little more, the presence of a Parcels van does not advance the argument at all.

A 44 class with a KB and a KAM in a crossing loop that could be anywhere does nothing to persuade me either as that configuration is as common as muck on any single track line.

The previous post regarding a Tour to Wallangara with the said KAM attached is a little more feasible unless some other evidence can be produced.

 
Moolabin Junior Train Controller

I recall reading that the North Coat Mail became the North Coast Overnight Express and was extended to Murwillumbah.

- GeoffreyHansen

The North Coast Overnight Express started operation before the North Coast Mail finished operation. When the North Coast Mail ceased operation the North Coast Overnight Express was cut back to Grafton City.

Also the Last Down North Coast Mail was hauled by an 80 Class and the RTM had a number of carriages attached to this train as part of a tour hence this could be the answer to JD's photo of the KAM sleeper.

 
Zodiac Junior Train Controller

Location: The Never Never

Indeed it's not outside the realms of possibility that this could be the case.

Does anyone have any details of this run ?

In particular the consist on that run.

 
ADF492 Station Staff

Location: Perth

I'm not saying this info is correct, but i have this photo in a collection i inherited, labelled in the back, claiming to be of the last UP NC Mail, taken at Coffs Harbour (which i can verify), on Sunday 13/10/1985.

- jd4980

My reason for asking the question, was that I record details of trips and of photographs taken in shorthand note books, I want to hunt down photographs taken on my trip, but I have no recollection of the date. After reading the above, I raced to my 1985 book, but I went to N.Z. that year.

Moolabin's recent posting makes me wonder whether the name of the train was North Coast Mail. I know that Mail Trains were historically overnight trains, but I think that the Mail title was used for daylight trains in later years. The train on which I travelled, left Central in the morning and was supposed to reach South Grafton before dark. (Mine didn't!) So please bear in mind that I may have used the wrong name for the train.

I can't recall how I returned to Sydney, but I think that the replacement train was an XPT.

I hope that someone may be able to answer my question. Once I receive an answer, I should be able to confirm its correctness, by reference to my notebook.

 
Moolabin Junior Train Controller

I'm not saying this info is correct, but i have this photo in a collection i inherited, labelled in the back, claiming to be of the last UP NC Mail, taken at Coffs Harbour (which i can verify), on Sunday 13/10/1985.

- jd4980

My reason for asking the question, was that I record details of trips and of photographs taken in shorthand note books, I want to hunt down photographs taken on my trip, but I have no recollection of the date. After reading the above, I raced to my 1985 book, but I went to N.Z. that year.

Moolabin's recent posting makes me wonder whether the name of the train was North Coast Mail. I know that Mail Trains were historically overnight trains, but I think that the Mail title was used for daylight trains in later years. The train on which I travelled, left Central in the morning and was supposed to reach South Grafton before dark. (Mine didn't!) So please bear in mind that I may have used the wrong name for the train.

I can't recall how I returned to Sydney, but I think that the replacement train was an XPT.

I hope that someone may be able to answer my question. Once I receive an answer, I should be able to confirm its correctness, by reference to my notebook.

- ADF492

You could have travelled on the North Coast Daylight Express or (after the XPTs were running everything) 35 pass Fri Only day train to Grafton. The only train on the north coast to have the term "Mail" attached to it (other than the North Coast Mail) was the Brisbane Ltd but that was mainly between Brisbane & Grafton

 
GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper

Wasn't there a Holiday Coast XPT in the 1980s?

 
Moolabin Junior Train Controller

Wasn't there a Holiday Coast XPT in the 1980s?

- GeoffreyHansen

That replaced the loco hauled North Coast Daylight Express. The first XPT services on the north coast line were the Mid(North?) Coast XPT to Kempsey originally departing Sydney just before 6pm and Kempsey around 5am, it was then changed to a day return service ex Sydney around 0700 and Kempsey around 1500 but it didn't last long and was cut out prior to the Holiday Coast XPT starting up.

 
ADF492 Station Staff

Location: Perth

Your blood's worth bottling, Moolabin! Once you'd given me the correct name of the train, I:

* Did a Railpage search, using that name.

* Found an excellent posting by DeanAU, in a thread entitled "XPT", which gave me the year: 1993.

* Easily found the details in my notebook.

Here is the story:

* Date of last train: 19.11.1993.

* 44225 was the tired loco that hauled it.

* On 20.11.1993, I photographed south bound XPT NT2 at 1137 hours. I suspect that that was probably the replacement train?

 
ADF492 Station Staff

Location: Perth

I've been reading my notebook and the following information may be of interest.

On 20.11.1993, I made the following entry of a photograph I took at the station at 1628 hours. "44225 and Grafton Express consist." After all the time that has passed since then, I don't know whether my entry meant that I had photographed the complete consist of the train, or that it was the empty consist of the last down Grafton Express.

The other reason why I quoted the exact entry from my notebook, was my capitalised "Grafton Express". That may have been the final name for the train.

On 22.11.1993, I photographed XPT Train N3 at 1705 hours. I didn't record the direction of the train and I am unfamiliar with NSW train numbers, but I wonder whether IT was the service replacing the Grafton Express?

 
davidr2105 Locomotive Driver

Just as a matter of interest, the North Coast Mail was train no., 11. How do I know, I used to work at Wingham station in the early 70's and had to sign on at 4.06am to meet the thing at 4.22am to get all the parcels and mail. I eventually got sick of getting up ar 3.30 am and left.

The return was known as No., 14.

 
wpI7713 Station Master

[/quote]

The North Coast Overnight Express started operation before the North Coast Mail finished operation. When the North Coast Mail ceased operation the North Coast Overnight Express was cut back to Grafton City.

Also the Last Down North Coast Mail was hauled by an 80 Class and the RTM had a number of carriages attached to this train as part of a tour hence this could be the answer to JD's photo of the KAM sleeper.[/quote]

I travelled on both trains many times.

The last UP North Coast Mail is an interesting story.  The  RTM attached KAM 508 + and I think 2 TAM to the Friday night down  train and provided a bottle of sparkling wine to each compartment. Supper was also provided.

In the morning croissants were loaded at Kempsey, and the party alighted at Coffs Harbour on the Saturday morning and were accommodated in a motel and a hotel near the station.

A bus took us to Dorrigo via Bellingen.

This was the weekend that XPTs were to commence North Coast services ( that is beyond Kempsey) but there was heavy rain and the news on the Sunday morning was that flooding had caused the cancellation of the new service.

On the Sunday afternoon a bus was available to take those interested  to see the collection then at Glenreagh and we were shown around, and then taken to Grafton for the last Up North Coast Mail.

Those who had chosen the Sunday " beach" option were looking rather bedraggled when the last Up North Coast Mail arrived at Coffs. A seafood supper was served; then on arrival at Kempsey the train was " officially" terminated and passengers transferred to buses.

However those in the RTM  party were able to stay in the " empty cars" which were , from memory attached to the rear of the empty cars of the UP AC train which had been terminated at Kempsey during the Saturday night ( can't remember if it was North Coast overnight from M'bah).  This train would depart when the flood waters fell, and there was no forecast  of a Sydney arrival time.

We woke, moving, through very sodden North Coast scenery on Monday morning.

Sydney arrival was about  2pm Monday.

Incidentally, the RTM had run a number of smaller cars attached tours on the North Coast Mail in its last years.

Typically KAM 508+ TAM  would be attached  to the Friday night down North Coast Mail; change at Grafton to a bus, spend Saturday/Sunday at Yamba in the Pacific Hotel overlooking the beach; bus back to Grafton on Sunday afternoon with seafood bought from the Yamba Co-Op  for supper in the KAM to arrive in Sydney before 0600 on the Monday morning.

Total fare for the weekends: $ 200 from memory.

 
r_rogel Junior Train Controller

What was the motive power on the last North Coast Mail?

 

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