Tumut line question

 
  Daryl Junior Train Controller

Location: Carrum Downs
Hi, probably an urban myth but before the Tumut line lost it's passenger service the NSW govt. had made an attempt to close the line earlier around early '80s and did so when the bridge at Gundagai was damaged probably due to flooding the railway was promptly closed until someone said there was a 48 class at Tumut.
The cost to road it out was more than the cost of fixing the bridge so the railways reluctantly repaired the bridge which reinstated the passenger service until it closed for good in around 1983.

Can anyone recall if this actually happened? Was the attempt to close the line foiled by a loco at the terminus?
The time was early '80s.

Damn, can't edit the title typo

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  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I don't know the answer to that, but the line was just hanging on before.

Today to transport a 48 class would require 2 x 100t cranes to lift her off her wheels and onto a long wide flat bed plus another truck to carry the bogies, then repeat the exercise at say Gundagai or the main line. A pure guess this is 1-2 days work including set-up, transport (police escort?) and load/unloading and probably not much change from $10,000. So reluctant or not, you go with the cheapest option. As the railways were abandoning general carriage at this time and passenger numbers likely a hand full or less per train. The outcome was obvious.

There are probably a few other similar examples elsewhere and I know one in Tassie where a line closed following significant damage to infrastructure with partial patchwork repairs made to enable strandard rolling stock to be recovered and then closed permanently.
  Daryl Junior Train Controller

Location: Carrum Downs
I recall a story by Patsy Adam Smith where some branch line off the main line on the Darwin Larimah line was being dismantled and when the gang arrived at the terminus and saw the loco in it's shed said oops and relaid the line to retrieve the loco. I assume it might have been a short line, I don't recall any branchlines off the NAR. But there might have been some at the turn of the last century.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Thanks for posting such a great thread.
  a6et Minister for Railways

My understanding was that it was a bridge near Gilmore that had been damaged, and roading out the stranded loco was considered and of course line closure would follow. But the AFULE of the day said the loco would be declared "black", and not operated further if that happened. It may have been a relatively new 48 Class at the time, and a lasting black-ban (which probably would have lasted in those days) would have rendered the loco to scrap value only, and so the line was repaired and hung on a bit longer.
3l diesel
31 diesel when was this black ban supposed to have happened?  Just the year will do.

I was from end of 1982, a regional divisional councilor of the AFULE & there was nothing ever came out in regards to any black ban being put in place on a 48cl on the Tumut line.  Such a decision would have to have been ratified by the Divisional council as a whole, we used to meet at leas quarterly but by the end of 83 with the WB issue along with many other areas of rural cutbacks taking place it was not unusual for urgent meetings to take place ever other month. That did not include phone hook up type meetings either.

During those days there was a lot of rural councils & towns protesting about closures as well, one of the reasons why I along with other districts had representatives on rural boards, along with SRA & Government approved committees to report back on meetings held across the state. That was at a time of the likes of Booze Allan & Travers Morgan reports that came out in regard to the states rail networks, which was basically a rubber stamp, & giving the State government of the day the info they needed to justify the cut of lines, owing to the way they stopped not only the marketing but the wholesale scrapping of a lot of rolling stock & say there was no wagons, after they said there was no business owing to customers turning to road, then there were surplus wagons to need, so a reason to cut them up, vicious circle but true.
  a6et Minister for Railways

^^^
G'day a6et, I really could not say what year the loco stranding was supposed to have happened but I suspect it was later 1970's - if the event actually occurred! Take "My understanding" above as what I do believe did take place, but I have absolutely no reference at hand that supports such a theory. So, of course I may need correcting. I just tried ringing another mate of mine to try and see what he might recall of this incident, but there was no answer, so leave it with me, and - if I can remember - I'll ask around and see if the loco stranding account stacks up. That is even if these pages would be the most likely sources of info. When a past regional divisional councillor of the AFULE can't recall the incident, that doesn't sound so good about the story!


Fine on the fire-fronts from all angles in those days. Losing the railways was taking a psychological chunk out some of those rural towns, much like the later bank closures, I suppose. Fair enough on the wagon scrapping, what a disingenuous way of saying we can't take that traffic. I was going to have a bit of a rave about that era and my thoughts on what happened, maybe another time...


We will see what we can find out about the loco stranding incident and get back here when we find something. Cheers!
3l diesel
Thanks 31.  The one thing that did come up was a big fight with LVR in the 80's, more especially with the then owner of the 59cl & founder of LVR itself. At the time we there was a threat by the Coota branch of the union, who were usually the ones who took over LVR workings on the main line.  The owner of the LVR tried to put the qualified enginemen including the driver off the loco, & do all the driving himself, he owned it he could drive it. Being an ex fitter he was ok to drive inside locop points but only enough to move an engine for specified fitters work.

He had no knowledge of road ahead, had never been qualified in general safe working, road knowledge including signals & speed boards etc that a driver was required to know & be qualified for.  A photo appeared of him sitting in the drivers seat, & was captioned as being the driver.  It threatened to derail LVR at an early stage, with the SRA when they found out also putting the skids under him & was told he had no rights on the footplate except to provide mechanical work, but not while it was in motion.
  catchpoint Assistant Commissioner

Location: At the end of a loop
Found the definitive reference! R G Preston, "48 Backbone of the Railways", Eveleigh Press 2005, page 126 is quoted below.
"
The Tumut Holiday
     The summer of 1976 brought the usual bush fire problems and the country between Gundagai and Gilmore was ravaged on 13 February 1976. Many timber sleepers on the rural branch line to Tumut were destroyed and the track declared untrafficable. At this time, the negative policies of the Public Transport Commission were in full swing and, on receiving the news, the executive rejoiced with the chance of eliminating another section of branch line track - in this case two as the Batlow line would be cut off as well.
     However, they had overlooked one aspect of the situation. On the day of the inferno, the crew of the regular Tumut goods had battled through in the relative cool of the morning and, even as they pondered, 48151 was standing patiently in Tumut yard.
     Discussions were also taking place in the headquarters of the various unions who were opposed to the policies of the PTC. On 15 February, 4904 worked a freight to Gundagai and, once secure in the yard, both locomotives were declared 'black' until the entire line reopened. Plans to move 48151 back to Cootamundra by road were being made but were quickly put on hold and negotiations commenced.
     The result of these discussions was to agree to repair and reopen the branch and to continue both freight and passenger services. In the meantime, and electrician and fitter travelled to Tumut each week to start the engine, check all systems and, most importantly, to charge the batteries ready for the first trip back, an event that finally took place on 6 April. "


So slightly different to my account earlier. But I think the above tells all.
3l diesel

Not one but two....

Surely that event would have gone down in union folklore history and retold often....

I recalled reading the same story but could not remember from where, thanks for the clarification on the Tumut Holiday.

Regards,

Catchpoint
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
This an interesting website by the museum down there which includes newspaper cuttings about the final closure.
https://gundagairailwaymuseum.wordpress.com/branch-line-operations-history/

No mention of the stranded 48.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Found the definitive reference! R G Preston, "48 Backbone of the Railways", Eveleigh Press 2005, page 126 is quoted below.
"
The Tumut Holiday
     The summer of 1976 brought the usual bush fire problems and the country between Gundagai and Gilmore was ravaged on 13 February 1976. Many timber sleepers on the rural branch line to Tumut were destroyed and the track declared untrafficable. At this time, the negative policies of the Public Transport Commission were in full swing and, on receiving the news, the executive rejoiced with the chance of eliminating another section of branch line track - in this case two as the Batlow line would be cut off as well.
     However, they had overlooked one aspect of the situation. On the day of the inferno, the crew of the regular Tumut goods had battled through in the relative cool of the morning and, even as they pondered, 48151 was standing patiently in Tumut yard.
     Discussions were also taking place in the headquarters of the various unions who were opposed to the policies of the PTC. On 15 February, 4904 worked a freight to Gundagai and, once secure in the yard, both locomotives were declared 'black' until the entire line reopened. Plans to move 48151 back to Cootamundra by road were being made but were quickly put on hold and negotiations commenced.
     The result of these discussions was to agree to repair and reopen the branch and to continue both freight and passenger services. In the meantime, and electrician and fitter travelled to Tumut each week to start the engine, check all systems and, most importantly, to charge the batteries ready for the first trip back, an event that finally took place on 6 April. "


So slightly different to my account earlier. But I think the above tells all.

Not one but two....

Surely that event would have gone down in union folklore history and retold often....

I recalled reading the same story but could not remember from where, thanks for the clarification on the Tumut Holiday.

Regards,

Catchpoint
catchpoint
The summer of 76 a very interesting time for the NSWGR, or as it was at that time PTCNSW, Shirley out by then & replaced by Alan Reiher, who followed the same path for his short tenure which ended with the Wran governments election. The whole system had been run down & during the previous 8 years the whole of the NSW transport & government agencies were under the run down specialist "let the bastards walk" premier Askin. The 2nd half of the 60's had industrial disputes across the whole of the Transport system, it included unions representing every part of the systems, including salaried staff.

The uproar was quite incredible in those years, & it wasn't just in the cities either when Shirley & his "Acts of God" reasoning to start the slash & burn directed to him from the Coalition at the time. The best evidence of the neglect of maintenance can be found in the Granville Rail disaster in January 1977.

What is interesting to me is that it was something I never heard about, at that time I was at Delec & working primarilly as a relief Chargeman while also driving. Mid year I got my drivers appointment on the ETR, & that section was in turmoil as well.  As a group of Senior inspectors from both Mechanical & Traffic branches, where formed as hit squads, provided with cars to travel around the state, & raid depots, yards Stations, Signal boxes, or anywhere they saw fit, an open licence to drop in & were given authority to suspend without pay any employee they saw reason to do.

Catchpoint, you say union folklore, latter years of Askin through to Wran & then his later years hold many such stories with 98% of them being true.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
My understanding was that it was a bridge near Gilmore that had been damaged, and roading out the stranded loco was considered and of course line closure would follow. But the AFULE of the day said the loco would be declared "black", and not operated further if that happened. It may have been a relatively new 48 Class at the time, and a lasting black-ban (which probably would have lasted in those days) would have rendered the loco to scrap value only, and so the line was repaired and hung on a bit longer.
3l diesel
The unions wonder why they don't get alot of support anymore!
  a6et Minister for Railways

My understanding was that it was a bridge near Gilmore that had been damaged, and roading out the stranded loco was considered and of course line closure would follow. But the AFULE of the day said the loco would be declared "black", and not operated further if that happened. It may have been a relatively new 48 Class at the time, and a lasting black-ban (which probably would have lasted in those days) would have rendered the loco to scrap value only, and so the line was repaired and hung on a bit longer.
The unions wonder why they don't get alot of support anymore!
RTT_Rules
RTT, consider my reply above.  In the days that the incident took place, there was a lot of things going on under the government of the day.  If you were involved, then you might understand.
  Showtime Chief Train Controller

In the mid 70's I was working in the power industry and all we seemed to be doing was fighting with the State government of the day.
If it wasn't for the Unions then we wouldn't have had the assets today that Baird is still trying to sell (crazy isn't it)
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Found the definitive reference! R G Preston, "48 Backbone of the Railways", Eveleigh Press 2005, page 126 is quoted below.
"
The Tumut Holiday
     The summer of 1976 brought the usual bush fire problems and the country between Gundagai and Gilmore was ravaged on 13 February 1976. Many timber sleepers on the rural branch line to Tumut were destroyed and the track declared untrafficable. At this time, the negative policies of the Public Transport Commission were in full swing and, on receiving the news, the executive rejoiced with the chance of eliminating another section of branch line track - in this case two as the Batlow line would be cut off as well.
     However, they had overlooked one aspect of the situation. On the day of the inferno, the crew of the regular Tumut goods had battled through in the relative cool of the morning and, even as they pondered, 48151 was standing patiently in Tumut yard.
     Discussions were also taking place in the headquarters of the various unions who were opposed to the policies of the PTC. On 15 February, 4904 worked a freight to Gundagai and, once secure in the yard, both locomotives were declared 'black' until the entire line reopened. Plans to move 48151 back to Cootamundra by road were being made but were quickly put on hold and negotiations commenced.
     The result of these discussions was to agree to repair and reopen the branch and to continue both freight and passenger services. In the meantime, and electrician and fitter travelled to Tumut each week to start the engine, check all systems and, most importantly, to charge the batteries ready for the first trip back, an event that finally took place on 6 April. "


So slightly different to my account earlier. But I think the above tells all.
3l diesel
So what did union actually save and did the union waste taxpayers money? Ultimately the decision to close the line was the right one.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Found the definitive reference! R G Preston, "48 Backbone of the Railways", Eveleigh Press 2005, page 126 is quoted below.
"
The Tumut Holiday
     The summer of 1976 brought the usual bush fire problems and the country between Gundagai and Gilmore was ravaged on 13 February 1976. Many timber sleepers on the rural branch line to Tumut were destroyed and the track declared untrafficable. At this time, the negative policies of the Public Transport Commission were in full swing and, on receiving the news, the executive rejoiced with the chance of eliminating another section of branch line track - in this case two as the Batlow line would be cut off as well.
     However, they had overlooked one aspect of the situation. On the day of the inferno, the crew of the regular Tumut goods had battled through in the relative cool of the morning and, even as they pondered, 48151 was standing patiently in Tumut yard.
     Discussions were also taking place in the headquarters of the various unions who were opposed to the policies of the PTC. On 15 February, 4904 worked a freight to Gundagai and, once secure in the yard, both locomotives were declared 'black' until the entire line reopened. Plans to move 48151 back to Cootamundra by road were being made but were quickly put on hold and negotiations commenced.
     The result of these discussions was to agree to repair and reopen the branch and to continue both freight and passenger services. In the meantime, and electrician and fitter travelled to Tumut each week to start the engine, check all systems and, most importantly, to charge the batteries ready for the first trip back, an event that finally took place on 6 April. "


So slightly different to my account earlier. But I think the above tells all.
So what did union actually save and did the union waste taxpayers money? Ultimately the decision to close the line was the right one.
RTT_Rules
Put it this, its easy to comment when you only want to look at one side of the coin, & just like the boffins in power at time both government & execs on huge pay sitting in air conditioned ivory towers telling their staff out on the work place to open the windows for air conditioning.  Who gave Shirley his plum job on 6 times the salary of the man he replaced, along with reforming the system that ran quite well under the commisioner, secretary along with single heads of branches, reformed the positions in hiring within 12 months & creating 26 different executives along with assistant commissioners.

Much ot the action also came as a result of the communities that had suffered since Shirley in particular along with Askins directives to cut, cut & cut, long standing customers in those so called areas suddenly were told to seek other transport modes, which gave out the cry that no one was using rail so they had to go.  Didn't stop there as it came in again under Call me David.
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

"The whole system had been run down & during the previous 8 years the whole of the NSW transport & government agencies were under the run down specialist "let the bastards walk" premier Askin."
a6et
I started as a Labourer acting Fettler in July '76. It was really hard to get tools etc in those days. Hammer handles were like gold. We resharpened our own picks and beaters ala blacksmith style. We reconditioned fish bolts by soaking them in diesel and cleaning up the threads with a file. Sleepers were really hard to get. Stories got about that per-way inspectors resorted to sourcing sleepers by re-ticketing S trucks of them, thereby getting them sent to their own gangs.

Another recollection of the late 70s was the amount of traffic off the Tumut line. I particularly remember well loaded twin CPHs arriving at Coota to connect with No.16.
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
So what did union actually save and did the union waste taxpayers money? Ultimately the decision to close the line was the right one.
RTT_Rules
They achieved another 8 years of work for the Railway employees - probably loss-making - as services on the line finally ceased in 1984, flood damage being the excuse.

Rails still exist along most of the route, though the Hume Highway duplication north of Tumblong in the 1990's took out about 1km of the ROW, and the more recent Coolac bypass has resulted in an embankment about 10m high crossing the ROW.
  a6et Minister for Railways

"The whole system had been run down & during the previous 8 years the whole of the NSW transport & government agencies were under the run down specialist "let the bastards walk" premier Askin."
I started as a Labourer acting Fettler in July '76. It was really hard to get tools etc in those days. Hammer handles were like gold. We resharpened our own picks and beaters ala blacksmith style. We reconditioned fish bolts by soaking them in diesel and cleaning up the threads with a file. Sleepers were really hard to get. Stories got about that per-way inspectors resorted to sourcing sleepers by re-ticketing S trucks of them, thereby getting them sent to their own gangs.

Another recollection of the late 70s was the amount of traffic off the Tumut line. I particularly remember well loaded twin CPHs arriving at Coota to connect with No.16.
Lockspike
By end 74, the old Weekly speed notices which used to be an A4 2 page coverage of all the state increased to 4 page double sided A3 size. Owing to size & paper they stopped issuing a state notice, & began only issuing them at depot points for the roads in which we ran over, however that too, ended up a double sided A4 sheet, a real joke when one considered the typefont on them.

At the same time, or early 74, drivers could no longer obtain track defect booklets, to hand in at the next station/signal box reporting track defects, as there were too many coming in. When the AFULE wrote to the PTC about getting new issues owing to the members across the state needing them, it was replied that they were no longer available, drivers were then advised to purchase carbon booklets, similar to receipt booklets, & write out the defects in triplicate, rather than the old duplicate of the official forms, the main copy was for the station,signalman, 2nd to be forwarded to Union office & the 3rd to be kept by the driver.

This also caused an issue with the bosses as they were not an authorised form, they ended up agreeing to have them reprinted & accepted the written ones though.  All this became part of records after Granville.
  barryc Chief Train Controller

Location: Waiting for a train to Canungra
What is interesting to me is that it was something I never heard about, at that time I was at Delec & working primarilly as a relief Chargeman while also driving. Mid year I got my drivers appointment on the ETR, & that section was in turmoil as well.  As a group of Senior inspectors from both Mechanical & Traffic branches, where formed as hit squads, provided with cars to travel around the state, & raid depots, yards Stations, Signal boxes, or anywhere they saw fit, an open licence to drop in & were given authority to suspend without pay any employee they saw reason to do.
a6et

I spent four and a half years in the Orange District as a relief ASM between 1975 and 1980 including two periods as Acting Senior Traffic Inspector at Broken Hill.  I have never heard of the hit squads referred to by a6et.

What did happen, though, was that in about 1974 the government repealed the legislation restricting competition between road transport and the railways. There was no way the railways were ready for this as it came as a surprise. But even if they had known about it well (like 2 or 3 years) in advance, they would not have been able to compete on branch line traffic.
Branch lines were diabolically inefficient and generally had too little traffic to warrant upgrading.  For example, Bulk Loading (The main inwards freight to most country destinations from Darling Harbour) came up to Dubbo overnight but then took another full day to get to Cobar or Bourke. It took a full shift to go from Dubbo to Nyngan and then another shift to Cobar or Bourke. Then there was the same performance coming home.

One station I worked at a number of times was Brewarrina.  The line had been washed out in 1974 and the service had been replaced by PTC trucks. We ran two semi trailers and a flat top truck for fast freight from Bre with passengers being catered for by a half passenger/half freight bus based at Nyngan.  We could send a semi to Nyngan, do a pick up from a consignor's wool shed, unload at Nyngan, load if anything was available and be back home in one shift. The driver would assist with loading and unloading. Compare with the train where the grazier would have to bring the wool to the station, load it before the train got there.  The train would arrive and any loading would be checked and rectified by the train guard.(Roping wool bales is a bugger of a job but at least when I leave Bunnings my load always stays on. I learned well) Then the train with 3 men on board would dawdle off to the main line and ultimately complete a one way trip in the time a truck could do a round trip.

And so it went on.  Branch lines were too expensive to operate and gave the customers a lousy service.  The cuts in the country were necessary to stop wasting taxpayers money that could be better spent on hospitals and schools.

People may have hated Shirley, Reiher and the rest but they did a  necessary job on an organisation that had been run largely by people who had no external experience and no incentive to be imaginative.
  a6et Minister for Railways

What is interesting to me is that it was something I never heard about, at that time I was at Delec & working primarilly as a relief Chargeman while also driving. Mid year I got my drivers appointment on the ETR, & that section was in turmoil as well.  As a group of Senior inspectors from both Mechanical & Traffic branches, where formed as hit squads, provided with cars to travel around the state, & raid depots, yards Stations, Signal boxes, or anywhere they saw fit, an open licence to drop in & were given authority to suspend without pay any employee they saw reason to do.

I spent four and a half years in the Orange District as a relief ASM between 1975 and 1980 including two periods as Acting Senior Traffic Inspector at Broken Hill.  I have never heard of the hit squads referred to by a6et.

What did happen, though, was that in about 1974 the government repealed the legislation restricting competition between road transport and the railways. There was no way the railways were ready for this as it came as a surprise. But even if they had known about it well (like 2 or 3 years) in advance, they would not have been able to compete on branch line traffic.
Branch lines were diabolically inefficient and generally had too little traffic to warrant upgrading.  For example, Bulk Loading (The main inwards freight to most country destinations from Darling Harbour) came up to Dubbo overnight but then took another full day to get to Cobar or Bourke. It took a full shift to go from Dubbo to Nyngan and then another shift to Cobar or Bourke. Then there was the same performance coming home.

One station I worked at a number of times was Brewarrina.  The line had been washed out in 1974 and the service had been replaced by PTC trucks. We ran two semi trailers and a flat top truck for fast freight from Bre with passengers being catered for by a half passenger/half freight bus based at Nyngan.  We could send a semi to Nyngan, do a pick up from a consignor's wool shed, unload at Nyngan, load if anything was available and be back home in one shift. The driver would assist with loading and unloading. Compare with the train where the grazier would have to bring the wool to the station, load it before the train got there.  The train would arrive and any loading would be checked and rectified by the train guard.(Roping wool bales is a bugger of a job but at least when I leave Bunnings my load always stays on. I learned well) Then the train with 3 men on board would dawdle off to the main line and ultimately complete a one way trip in the time a truck could do a round trip.

And so it went on.  Branch lines were too expensive to operate and gave the customers a lousy service.  The cuts in the country were necessary to stop wasting taxpayers money that could be better spent on hospitals and schools.

People may have hated Shirley, Reiher and the rest but they did a  necessary job on an organisation that had been run largely by people who had no external experience and no incentive to be imaginative.
barryc
I could name the loco inspectors involved in the hit squads but not the 4 traffic inspectors. Several of the Locomotive Inspectors have now passed away, but a couple of them one of them especially were fairly reverred by railway fans. It would do no good in naming them in public.

Two of them though I worked with on several occasions when the squads were disbanded, one of them when being passed to go from ETR back to the Diesel section, along with several test load situations. During one of the times when we were on the loco together on those tests we talked about the squads, where he told me that out of the group which included 5 from the diesel section along with one from ETR along with 3 from the traffic branch in the main hated the role they were assigned to do, when the squads were disbanded which followed a late night raid on Rozelle goods yard, where prior information was given regarding the inspection, when the 2 loco inspectors along with 1 traffic inspector got towards the top of the yard short of Victoria road bridge the lights went out, & the three of them fell down the embankment but sustained no injury, after a short while the lights came back on, but they had dissapeared.

The inspector told me that was the catalyst for the disbanding of the squad. Those involved found it difficult to adjust back into their jobs which was reorganised.

The aspect with some of the branch lines, & Bre certainly was one of them, that by the time of the road transport had gained their second wind, following the much earlier removal of the road maintenance tax which had been put onto road transport to make it harder on them to compete with road, along with the more powerful rigs, road certainly offered a service that could not be bettered by rail, for the reasons you mention.

Thing was that were quite a few other branch lines that were doing the opposite, where they existed in areas where grain of various types was grown, along with the other quanities of general goods as well. Under Shirley these lines were targeted by mass withdrawal of old 4 wheel RS, without any new bogie vehicles coming in to replace those withdrawn, it created an artificial shortage of RS, with clients, many of them long term being turned away. The concept of Low volume branch line came about, with the rider saying they needed to be grain lines.  The next step was the turning away of grains such as sorghum, oats, barley from rail haulage with wheat the only grain being hauled, this led to the Hill edict which was the final axe when he had them classified as Low Volume seasonal wheat only lines were not sustainable. They had already turned away all other products that built up the lines with full loads being the norm, the death by slow and systematic strangulation achieved what had been planned in the days of Shirley.

Thing is all is in the past now, but the worst of it is that nothing was nor has been learned from what happened. By the end of Shirley's first year the big achievement was the simple fact that the cancellations of goods trains was becoming a thing of the past, no more shortage of locomotives or goods rolling stock, owing to less trains were needed through lower goods haulage.  That can be seen in the annual reports that had to be published & made available to the public & put to the state government for the budget.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Well I think this thread is really opening up chapters in Australian social history. There are the intrigues of management and union behaviour, and how those who participated in those times saw it.


May I comment on a few posts and matters further. Firstly, RTT, the matter of support for the union black ban has to be seen against the context of the time. For sure there were excesses in the behaviour of the unions, to the extent that now, actually taking strike action is very difficult indeed. As either stated or implied in other posts, the railway employed many people. And for many of these, the railway, and their position in it was "all that they knew". To close the railway was to "throw people on the scrapheap". They would have been genuinely fearful for their future once the jobs had been lost. All easy to say "move elsewhere and work at something new", reality for a retrenched person may be not so easy. So people wanted their jobs, and then the towns wanted the people (you know the old story about "each job keeps another three people in jobs"). Black bans were common in the industrial unrest of the era, so should not be seen as out of character.

Secondly, I think Barryc has summed up the era and the economics rather well. I have a book about Beeching and the railways of the UK in that era. This book was written by a railway enthusiast, but was not of the blinkered eye view that many enthusiasts have that Beeching = evil. One of the conclusions of that book was that if Beeching had not stepped in, (or Shirley, Reiher or Hill in NSW) and shut branchlines down, someone else would have had to have done it. No point in going crook on the Coalition in NSW in the early 1970's about cutbacks, I wonder how many km of line was closed under Hill and the Wran Labor Government. Under Hill, trains ceased running to Tumut/Batlow, Hay, Tocumwal just to name a few. These were long branches. What Barry described about the branch line operation was almost mirrored in my Beeching book. Yes, we can all cry about the railways being a service, not a profit, but it has to be paid for.


Thirdly a6et has mentioned Granville. You may have noticed my comments in other threads about the differential wheel diameter as the cause. May I draw your attention to the following statement in the NSW Parliament just last week (10 August 2016) by Julia Finn, Member for Granville,


"There is still contention about the cause of the accident. While it is certainly true that the poorly maintained track buckled on a hot summer's day, causing a wheel to come off the track and sending the train into the supports for the bridge, poor maintenance on the wheels themselves cannot be ruled out as a causal factor. Maintenance records disappeared and have not been found since. However, defects are known to have been found in the wheels of the locomotive in August 1976. It went in for a check in December and was found to be satisfactory. They let it run and planned to keep it under surveillance and let it run another 43,280 kilometres. " https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Hansard/Pages/HansardResult.aspx#/docid/HANSARD-1323879322-91511


I might disagree with the "track buckled on a hot summer's day" as it was early in the day... yes I could go on, but perhaps not now. Cheers.
3l diesel
The train that preceded the Blue mountains train that was derailed, was the Heron, a DD suburban service that ran from Emu Plains, the timetable was an hour from Emu to Central, I was the driver on the day on that service, having signed on at 300am to work a parcels/ passenger rattler service to Penrith.

Going through the same turnout on the main at 80Km/h the track speed over the points, there was a jolt felt but it was nothing of concern from where I sat. On arrival at Central there is an office with supervisors who controlled the working of trains with drivers, ensuring everything was to work ok, transpossing of trains & crews as needed. This morning was hectic & was approached by an inspector who asked me had I felt any issues at the spot & said not really a short jolt, he told me of the derailment, & was told to wait, he came back & asked if I could extend shift owing to the problems, if needed.

On the day I finally the remaining part of the diagram working worked until I got to Hornsby car sheds, where I would normally work back to Central via Strathfield & finish around 11oo am. On this day I did not finish until after 200pm over 11hours on duty, was supplied with transport home to 7 Hills for rest.  Almost every driver & I understand guard on that day continued to work as long as they could to try & keep the system open as much as possible.

Anyway all in the past, as I already said. Much of what did go on, has always been passed & brushed off. So leave it in the way that people want to believe.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
So what did union actually save and did the union waste taxpayers money? Ultimately the decision to close the line was the right one.
They achieved another 8 years of work for the Railway employees - probably loss-making - as services on the line finally ceased in 1984, flood damage being the excuse.
mikesyd
Yes, but this form of economics benefits no one longterm.

Ok to be fair it was common back then, but reality caught up.

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