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"
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..
RIP NSWGR North Coast Mail Train;
and ALL the NSWGR "Mail Trains"
We all miss ya.