Dunheved (St Marys to Ropes Creek branch line)

 
  BFCYU Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney "Sutherland Shire"
Hello;


In 1979-80 I used to be a signalman at Dunheved Railway Station;
ie. St Mary's to Ropes Creek branch line in western suburbs of Sydney.

I did not get any real photos while i was there.

The down main and loop signals were the old semaphore;
lower quadrant type. (Home; Loop, Starting & Shunt ahead)

I found out a few years after I left Dunheved (I went out as an engineman at DELEC Enfield)
that the railway station & signalbox was vandalised and burnt down.

I am enquiring about any old photos that people may have of Dunheved-station-signal box
and the old type semaphore signals they were using on the down main before "they closed the branch line down". Question

THANKS.

PS:

(I got a few yarns to tell of Dunheved when I was stationed there.)

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  The-Commissioner Train Controller

Location: Strathfield, NSW
THere are a number of photos of Dunheved and other Ropes Creek line locations available at the Railway Resource Centre. Copies are available at a reasonable charge.

http://www.arhsnsw.com.au/resource.htm

Geoff
  neety Chief Commissioner

BFCYU,

I don't have any "old" photos, just some taken in the last few years, mostly around the Dunheved area.
http://fang.omni.com.au/trains/RopesCreek.html
  Crazy-D Chief Train Controller

This might be of some value to if you haven't yet found it. Smile

NSWRail.net: http://nswrail.net/lines/show.php?name=NSW:ropes_creek

This rustry thing?
http://nswrail.net/locations/photo.php?name=NSW:Cochrane:4&line=NSW:ropes_creek:0
  Syd3642 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
The Book series 'Sydney's Forgotten Railways' written by John Oakes are great books to read.
One of his books 'Sydneys Forgotten Military Railways' has many photos and descriptions of the line.

I've visited the station sites a few years ago, and yeah it was over grown with weeds. I must visit the sites again soon, 'even if the huge development of the housing estate has taken over the sites'  Question



BFCYU, I wish to here your stories working at Dunheved.
  Chovies5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Here, There and uhhh Penrith
Syd3642 yea the housing site has gotton rid of Ropes creek and the one before it ( i know the name jsut can't spell it  8) )

Dunheaved is still accsesible but everything but the station and footbridge is gone.


Anthony
  Sydney_Gunzel Chief Commissioner

Location: The Red Lines.
Syd3642 yea the housing site has gotton rid of Ropes creek and the one before it ( i know the name jsut can't spell it  8) )
"Chovies5910"

Are you thinking of Cochrane?
  Syd3642 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
From looking at Google Earth:
It looks like Dunheved is still intact well barely intact
Cochrane a pile of Rock and sand and no traces left
Ropes Creek looks ok, intact platform, platform roofing, stanchions fallen, some still standing.
Their is also some rails sticking out in some of the crossings.
Might need to go and look again before what they had done to Cochrane.
Stupid politicians of that time, closing all lines which they did not like as it did not give them good profit and money. Rolling Eyes  The Line could of been used for the upcoming new estates which are built right next door to the line, they shouldn't of closed the line.
  Chovies5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Here, There and uhhh Penrith
Yea its a shame isn't it. Id like to have seen a tourist railway cause its close to my house to Very Happy .


Anthony 8)
  rherkes Chief Commissioner

Have you looked at the the more recent issues of Under The wires? The October and August 2007 issues have an article on it.
  BFCYU Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney "Sutherland Shire"
Thank's fella's
brings back a few memories!! from the photos.

I took a transfer from the Illawarra line as station assistant;
to a "promotion" as *safe working station assistant in 1979
to Dunheved. (not knowing what I got myself into).

After doing all the 3 weeks safe working training; and first day on the job
i found out the hours of duty was M-F 0635-1635 (6:35am-4:35pm)
and with a two hour lunch break. Mad

This was to coincide with the 3 passenger trains a day.
Train No. P1 & P3 in the morning and (??) one in the afternoon.
This was a marshalled train as two red rattler carriages & two parcel vans.
They were mostly Blacktown train crew (driver & guard)
There was also a diesel shunting trip train
called "5 trip or T127" with Richmond diesel drivers on it. (Pat Teirney)
It used to go into my "loop siding" off the down main. (mid morning)
The "48" class diesel would run around their train; (to go back the other way) and the old brakevans used to be on both ends. (NVGA or NVJA)
and after they had their religious crib break-you could never break that rule;!
I would sent back on the up line (towards St Marys) and they would
shunt the Sims Metal siding. I would give the freight train guard a hand there at Sims'ys. I would open up the ground frame; the guard shunt it.

As a *SWSA I found out you were " a jack of all trades" there;
from operating the signal box (about a 30 red, blue & black lever frame);
to selling passenger tickets (& doing all the clerical paper work),
and doing the station cleaning-and checking the signal lights on the old semaphore-quadrants that they were not broken etc, and any other signal wires etc which needed attention.

BUT at least it was a "solo" railway station-ie working by yourself.

With the passenger trains there was no real story to tell.
P1 went from St Marys then Dunheved @ 0645 to Cochrane & terminated at Ropes Creek. (with Ivan my other signalman mate there who we did the safe working school together)
Ivan at Ropes Creek then sent it back to St Marys via me at Dunheved and then did another loop return (P3) there & back on the branch line.
and then went back to Blacktown. (I think it used to leave Dunheved @0815 or 0820)

It used to take people to the industrial area around St Marys (Dunheved) and to the Commonwealth area at Cochrane and Ropes Creek.
There used to be a "special school" for intellectually handicapped students
at Dunheved; and while they were waiting for the train (afternoon);
I used let some of them sometimes "play" with the spare signal levers and old crank signal telephone.
(Gee; those people would never had enough fun from the signal box and their laughter would always make a bad day-good again!!)

My mate Ivan had to go through a Commonwealth Police check point
to travel by car to get to Ropes Creek. (because of munitions factory)
They were serious officers there; but they got to know both of us; and a friendly "let us through" with out stopping us. (i had an old '59 FC holden!)

Once a week T127 would bring a munitions covered van (bogie covered van) i think they were a "BPV" van with padlocks on the doors.
Big red/white "explosive" dangerous goods posted on both sides.

I would leave it on No. 3 or 4 siding in the Dunheved Yard.
The munitions fellas had there old shunting tractor and would pick it up from our Yard. They would then proceed with it down to the munitions factory with "their fireworks on board)

That is when the fun started.

I would always ring the munitions people but they were never in a hurry to pick it up.
One day after I rang them My Station Master from St Marys was waiting for me at the Dunheved Station at 0635.
I thought what have i done wrong??
I found out that the munitions people were taking there time to pick it up and that night-some kid's or teenagers let the handbrake off (the air was probably already bled out or they knew the release valve wire!) and away it went; all gravity grade fall down to the munitions factory!!

It went through the cyclone fence-gate and smashed the door of the factory. (It was all yard working for about 2km to the factory and no "jack" points -derails and all trailing points Dunheved Yard to them.)
Hey; it wasn't my fault; I did ring them the day before.
Luckily the BPV was unloaded, and no fireworks anywhere.

After consultations with my Station Master and the munitions factory we decided to put a chain & padlock over the handbrake spider wheel and pawl. But this was found out later to be in vain.
About a month after that the same thing happened again.
Some vandals broke the padlocks off; but fortunately, the BPV "run out speed" this time and just rested in the yard.

After that incident I would wait for the munitions shunting tractor to come & pick it up. (they were told no more delays there pick it up).

There is another "story or yarn" and I am not sure how true it is.
A relief signalman told me once about the Indian Pacific train on the St Marys to Ropes Creek branch line.

He told me "The Famous Indian Pacific" used to run 3 times a week from Central (Sydney) on its 4000 km journey to Perth.
On one occasion it was late departing Central on time (1515-3:15pm)
At the elevated signal box at St Marys (all toggle switch type) the regular signalman had a trainee with him that particular shift.
He forgot about the "most important train" in Australia because it was running very late.
He left the signal box for a short time and gave it over to the trainee.

Just after the signalman left "train control-traffic" rang the trainee and told him to "hold" (stop) the suburban train on  the down suburban line" (No 3 platform) and they will send the Indian Pacific around it on the down main (back platform or No.4) to catch up on time, ie run around the Sydney suburban train waiting on No. 3.

The trainee set the points & signals around the suburban train; but in a headstrong rush he also set it for the points & road for the Ropes Creek branch line. (which is just after the down main going west)
The driver of the Indian Pacific went through the "two yellows" turnout and then went straight for the Ropes Creek branch line. He realised it was too late when the "Indian" was going for Dunheved. (already went over the points)

The fireman came at speed straight for the signalbox and "Max" the resident signalman was rushing back up the steps to the elevated signalbox too.
There was a delay for about 20 minutes as the Indian Pacific with a train load of probably a mixture of International & Australian passengers had to propel back over the points and back to the turnout signal.

Imagine that: The most important train in Australia now going for a sleepy old branch line; headed straight for Dunheved & Ropes Creek.
Well; it was a Commonwealth Branch line anyway,! they owned it all the way from the St Marys junction to Dunheved (munitions) and Ropes Creek branch line.

The relief signalman "Thommo" who told me this yarn said the resident signalman "Max" and the Indian Pacific train driver both received the NSW Railways "Bung" and a $10 fine each. Shocked

I suppose I could go on forever of my NSW Railways experience at Dunheved and a locomotive engineman at Enfield and last work station at Botany Yard as shunter/train examiner but I would be here forever. Laughing

Regards BFCYU.
  Syd3642 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
BFCYU: Thanks for sharing the very interesting and enjoyable story/yarn at Dunheved mate ClapVery Happy
It is not in everyday life you will here a story about a safe working/station master who had been assigned on the station where the station and line has closed and now an archaelogical place.

Huh, even in this day vandalism occurs but people counting off brakes and releasing the valves Shocked  but it is good to know these accidents as books won't tell us, I think the ARHS resource centre may have something about these two incidents.

The Indian Pacific on the Ropes Creek line  and the fine of $10 from each driver Laughing  I've heard the Indian Pacific has drifted into the Richmond Branch many times, there was one a few months ago too but really it also drifted into the RC line Shocked  That would of been interesting........

Really and truthfully thanks mate for the detailed workings and infos on that branch. Very Happy

Were you the station master selling those souvenir tickets at Ropes Creek on the last few days of the line until its closure?
  BFCYU Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney "Sutherland Shire"
Sorry Syd3642;

I was already "entrenched" at DELEC Enfield when the
St Marys-Dunheved-Ropes Creek branch line was officially closed.
(1986??) I left "traffic"-rail operations to the locomotive branch 1980

I gave the Dunheved Railway Station / signalbox back to that other
relief signalman "Thommo" when I left there.

I forgot his real first name-----Thompson but his father was also
A "Traffic Inspector".

The real Station Master at St Marys (who controlled the branch line too & Werrington) was a fellow called "Barney"

He may have sold you the last souveneir ticket.
  TheLoadedDog The Ghost of George Stephenson

Just adding my voice to the tumult of thanks, BFCYU.  This is the sort of stuff that needs to be recorded and archived for posterity.  It's worth bottling.
  bearsforever21 Beginner

Here is a pic of Dunheved from an August '86 Railway Digest.

Also have a heap of pics from a vist to Ropes and Cochrane about 3 years ago. Amazing place.

[img]http://img95.imageshack.us/img95/7308/dunlf8.th.jpg[/img]
  bearsforever21 Beginner

And thanks to BFCYU for the stories!! Awesome stuff.
  neety Chief Commissioner

Syd3642 yea the housing site has gotton rid of Ropes creek and the one before it ( i know the name jsut can't spell it  8) )

Dunheaved is still accsesible but everything but the station and footbridge is gone.


Anthony
"Chovies5910"


Ropes Creek station is still there. Have at look at the last 2 pics, right at the bottom of the page.
http://fang.omni.com.au/trains/RopesCreek.html
  Chovies5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Here, There and uhhh Penrith
Bears forever please post more pics of the line ! im making the line for trainz but i don't have enough photos for it !

Awsome stories to Very Happy .

Anthony
  Syd3642 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Sorry Syd3642;

I was already "entrenched" at DELEC Enfield when the
St Marys-Dunheved-Ropes Creek branch line was officially closed.
(1986??) I left "traffic"-rail operations to the locomotive branch 1980

I gave the Dunheved Railway Station / signalbox back to that other
relief signalman "Thommo" when I left there.

I forgot his real first name-----Thompson but his father was also
A "Traffic Inspector".

The real Station Master at St Marys (who controlled the branch line too & Werrington) was a fellow called "Barney"

He may have sold you the last souveneir ticket.
"BFCYU"


Ah....right Smile , but I think I worded the question abit wrong, I was born years later after the closure of the line. I questioned because I saw a photo in the Book by John Oakes which depicts the Ropes Creek station master selling souvenir tickets and I thought it could of been you.
  42209 Chief Commissioner

Location: Always running.
are there any plans by government/council/developers of preserving any of the station buildings along the line or will it all eventually be cleared out?
  Chovies5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Here, There and uhhh Penrith
After going for a look at Ropes creek station earlier today ( Its only a half hour bike ride from my house ) the station is still there at the moment and at the moment there are no signs of it being demolished. Got no photos sadely i diddn't want to seem like a terrorist to the workers Twisted Evil .
  BFCYU Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney "Sutherland Shire"
Is the track rail bed still there?

(St Marys to Dunheved)
or has it been sold off too!

I would not mind going out to have a look at it again.
(walk the old track area)

BFCYU.
  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle
No tracks around Dunheved Station anymore.

South of Christie Street, a dual track section still exists and is connected to the Main West still. Not sure if it is booked out of use these days though as most of the wagons that were stored there are gone.
  bearsforever21 Beginner

Hey All

I finally decided to get these pics of Ropes Creek and Cochrane uploaded after 3 years.  Very Happy

Chovies5910 - I'd love to see your end results of Ropes Creek for Trainz!

Never used Flickr before but the link to the pics is as follows:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/28348521@N07/sets/72157606031392981/

Here are my favs:


Ropes Creek Station


Looking down the Cochrane platform towards Dunhevend


Ropes Creek
  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle
Now this is what railway archaeology is all about - great photos!

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