Askin and Shirley, you've nailed them in one. One aspect that characterised Askin and Shirley was running down maintenance. My father's eldest brother was SM at Mt Vic from the early 60s to the late 70s (also spent a bit of time at MV) and I clearly remember him complaining in 1974 or so about lack at track maintenance on the western line and that it could lead to accidents. Well, he wasn't half wrong, was he?
I have never read a lot about the BR system and the Lord Beechings commission/charter that he was given but there has been some small snippets on the era in the ABC series that has a former politician doing a job that has a lot of history rather than the Great British Rail Journey's associated with it, after a few easy to turn off.
One show spoke or gave a great run down as to the changes that took place and how BR was in dire trouble owing to their reliance on steam services which in both passenger and freight areas had lost out badly to road transport for trucks/buses and the motor car. Beeching was hired to go over the system and try to find a way forward, problem was there was a lot of issues with the Railways being so reliant on Steam, and much of the steam fleet was old and worn out following the workload placed on the railways during WW2, much of the fleet was old, and not up to the needs of the 50's & 60's, the workshops still were producing low power loco's and the reliance on old steam was pulling the railways down.
His appointment to the role in the 60's to ""reshape"" the railways was done following a very big investigation that also ended in all the various companies being amalgamated into the one Entity British Railways. When Shirley was appointed to his role as Chief Hatchet man under Beeching, he progressed to having a real vendetta against steam and considered Steam was the problem as to holding the System back, he was responsible for closing many branch and secondary lines also getting a ban on Steam working on the Main Line.
His appointment to be Chief Commissioner here in NSW by Askin who had a hatred towards railways in general pretty much gave Shirley a free hand in what he was able to do. Like much of BR he pulled many workings out of the NSW rail system, his target began with the steam fleet, and then the passenger fleet, where the primary carriages that were withdrawn were the steel bodied carriages such as the N cars, FS/BS and other types, they were stored in many locations, at Rozelle the top roads near the stores were full of those carriages for ages, along with others stored elsewhere were sold off for a song to Sims scrap metals. What was left was wooden bodied carriages and were involved in some noted accidents following his tenure, Granville, an interurban running into the rear of a train on Cowan Bank were two to speak of, while he was gone by then the aspect of ply and timber meant the fleet had gotten rid of newer rolling stock at the expense of a bit of scrap money.
He put in process the removal of much of the goods rolling stock fleet that was old, even though there was still need of them as the freight business was still doing well, but his idea was to turn business away and close branch lines even those that were making profits during normal seasons.
Basically speaking had he gotten rid of the old by replacing it with modern and new items it may not have been as disasterous but when he cut something out it was not replaced, simple as that. Under McCusker the NSWGR had a person who was rail centric, pretty much had the rail workers onside with his want to see the system get better and if he had money to spend he could have made a huge difference. Askin wanted him out as he was too close to railway staff and saw the Railways as a blight on himself personally.
Two people not missed.
On 3813, it indeed was taken into the LES pretty well straight after the South Brisbane tour in early 1973.
On ZZR, happy to have been corrected about why they went NG.
I can very much relate to the maintenance aspect, under Askin he started cutting money to the NSWGR, when Shirley took over track maintenance became basically non existent, the old weekly speed restrictions issued to enginemen used to be a single sheet of paper app 8 inches wide, and around 2 foot long with all speed restrictions across the state on the sheet which was usually more than one page only, it did not take long for them to become full double pages and then almost in booklet form.
Enginemen were issued with these sheets but by end of 1973 the issuing of track defect booklets that drivers were also issued with when serious problems were found on the track, we had to write out the mileage of the defect and fill the form in, in duplicate, at the first manned signalbox or station, the officer on duty signed the form and butte of the book and it was telegraphed to Sydney. From that time we could not get replacement books when the current issues were filled.
The AFULE union office was told that the booklets were no longer being supplied and that was that. We were advised by the union to by some carbon copy books, and write in them in Triplicate, the original for the SM, as the ARU and the union covering Salaried staff also endorsed this, the 2nd one for the AFULE head office and the 3rd for the drivers record.
I came home from Lithgow Barracks in that period when we were involved in a derailment at Medlow Bath, a loaded BWH in the train consist jumped the track and ran along the top of the rail until we came under GWH on a left hand curve, with station steps going down to the platform, the BWH hit the station coping and took bricks out as it then speered out into the goods yard where 8 of the hoppers came to an upright stop, the whole train basically stopped within the overall station precinct.
In recent years, I tried to find out the date from a fellow who was an accident investigator, and I told him about the derailment, and all the relevant details, he found no record of the derailment. As MB station was not manned, the guard took over as we were protected by the signals and in Station Limits so the Traffic branch had to get someone in for that. After around 20minutes a car brigade pulled up with a stack of suits coming over demanding to know what was going on, My driver a very senior man said our train has derailed, and he then said who are you? The return reply came, and said I am the DS from Orange and we are heading back after a conference in Sydney. He also added what are you going to do about all this and my mate calmly said, Nothing, Why came the retorted next question to him, and my mate said, the train is inside station limits, protected by distance and home signals, and therefore is the responsibility of the Traffic Branch and perway to get it fixed. End of discussion and we waited on the 46cl until being told to cut off and run to Delec LE.
We both had to put in reports but never heard anything more about it. There were some other aspects that occurred at the time but that was the main thing. The track was falling to bits all round the state, and the weekly speed notices ended up being localised, that being that the old state wide speed notice sheets were terminated and local ones within a given district superintendents area of control were issued. That basically meant for Metro depots, we only got metro area notices to Broadmeadow/Pt Waratah, Port Kembla, Bathurst & Goulburn.
Thanks for that re 13. I would say that Shirley by the time it had arrived at the LES, had already done a works inspection and 13's arrival would likely have been kept from him, he was not well liked by pretty much the whole of the railway workers, so they kept as much as possible away from him. As mentioned earlier I had been trained as a Chargeman at Delec around that time and was in the chair on the day that the news came through regarding the inspection and condemning of the engine. I know I saw it at the shops in a pretty much stripped down condition and all the bits for it were sitting there ready for it reassembly, IIRC the Driving wheels had been fitted, and the boiler also had been fitted to the frame.