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.
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.
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.