From what I have read on similar threads in the past the power reversers seemed to be well liked by crewYou have to understand the big difference really was with the shunting. Both reverser types had 19turns full forward to back and the opposite direction. When working pick up services and the primary engines were prior to the 59cl with a lot less turns and lighter lift, were either normal 36 or 38class. On 3 primary services, 256, 78 and 392 up pick ups that spend 2 or more hours shunting at Moss Vale, Berrima and other locations on the way to Enfield and each train had designated destinations that required shunting at, having to shunt those hours on full forward and reverse, ended up with Goulburn and Enfield enginemen banning them on the pick ups, there were also changes to some down through trains that became nothing more than pick up types at Clyde and to Berrima, Medway and other yards on the way.
On your comment on the 38 and 59 class, that would make sense, the power reversers having been donated to the pigs by retired 38s and 57s
That is why the number of pigs were put into storage at Enfield, until the shortage of loco's was critical and the so called Indian summer of steam returned primarily as the 422cl were late in deliveries. 3638 was the first to be tested with the air reversers, and its first main line roster was on 31mixed from Central to Goulburn, it shunted the milk pots off at Bowral, Moss Vale and through to Glbn before returning on 256 pick that morning, the crews certainly found it good but very hesitant at first until they found the different reverser fitted. Local union reps ok'd it and then others were fitted including 42, 51, 54. along with several others for through train working. While those pigs were out of service Enfield had 6 59cl extra allocated to it for southern working including the pick ups, but care had to be taken owing to the short water capacity on them, once they left Enfield they had to be given a through run to Picton when the water was cut off there with the electrification work being carried out.
Point is, the 36cl were vg loco's some duds like any other member of any class, they were simply not pleasant and hard work for the driver especially with performing work such as found on those pick ups even on the west where they filled a big role, they were last resorts for pick ups for that reason and why freighters or 38cl were more usual on them.
If say 16 or 09 were returned to service they would be pretty much performing the work they were designed for at that being exp and through passenger or fast goods working. As such the original reversers were fine.
There was no such thing as a power reverser, those fitted to the 36, 38, 57, 58cl were air assisted with its own regulator valve on it, which is what you hear when the reverser is used, especially when fully reversed or to the middle, if that regulator air valve ceased and you had to turn it off,, then you were no better off than the original type owing to the weight of links, the garrat's had steam assisted reversers.