Commonwealth Railways Bicycles

 
  Commrail Station Master

Hello Forum Members,

I understand that Commonwealth Railways issued bicycles to station and yard staff. Do we know what colour they were painted, and whether they had an identification plate fitted to the crossbar, with cut-out letters and numerals, similar to those fixed to postmen's bicycles of the period? (I know that SAR employees were supplied with grey bicycles bearing identification plates).

Any information on the subject would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,

Ross alias Commrail

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  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
Most likely I am totaly wrong but I believe Bicycles used by Call Boys (NSW) were made of heavy wallled steam pipe and designed to withstand a 100 years of misuse and abuse which they certainly got !!
Australia Post and Telegraphs also had Bicycles (painted RED?) but whether they were the same as the Railway ones, I dont know but everyone who ever rode either said they were were quite heavy.

From memory the Railway ones were just matt black.
  Commrail Station Master

Most likely I am totaly wrong but I believe Bicycles used by Call Boys (NSW) were made of heavy wallled steam pipe and designed to withstand a 100 years of misuse and abuse which they certainly got !!
Australia Post and Telegraphs also had Bicycles (painted RED?) but whether they were the same as the Railway ones, I dont know but everyone who ever rode either said they were were quite heavy.

From memory the Railway ones were just matt black.
gordon_s1942
Hello gordon_s1942,

Thank you for your contribution.

Cheers,

Ross alias Commrail
  Radioman Chief Train Controller

Hello All,

The PMG bicycles were to a PMG specification and were painted Post Office red, which was a darker shade than the current bright Australia Post red. I do not believe that they were available for sale outside of the PMG , except when Australia Post started selling them off when the Honda 50cc motorbikes came along.

As I recall the later PMG versions had a smaller front wheel than back wheel , which allowed for a deeper front carrier for the mail bag.

These were the days when the postie wore public service dark blue trousers, jacket and cap ( had to wear a cap ) and sky blue , two large flapped pocket shirts with a silver PMG on a black background cloth woven badge above the left pocket . And the postie used to blow a Thunderer whistle each time mail was inserted in your letter box. ( much to the annoyance of the postie , that made a dog's day ! )

I was always fascinated by British films where the postie walked and inserted mail in the front door , yet British cities were and are ideal for an Australian style of postal delivery , which would be more efficient.

These uniforms were made at the Commonwealth Clothing Factory at Batman ( not Preston as originally posted, thanks YM for the correction ) , a northern suburb of Melbourne . All Defence Deaprtment clothing , and VR clothing was also made there .

Best wishes and regards , Radioman
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Hello All,

The PMG bicycles were to a PMG specification and were painted Post Office red, which was a darker shade than the current bright Australia Post red. I do not believe that they were available for sale outside of the PMG , except when Australia Post started selling them off when the Honda 50cc motorbikes came along.

As I recall the later PMG versions had a smaller front wheel than back wheel , which allowed for a deeper front carrier for the mail bag.

These were the days when the postie wore public service dark blue trousers, jacket and cap ( had to wear a cap ) and sky blue , two large flapped pocket shirts with a silver PMG on a black background cloth woven badge above the left pocket . And the postie used to blow a Thunderer whistle each time mail was inserted in your letter box. ( much to the annoyance of the postie , that made a dog's day ! )

I was always fascinated by British films where the postie walked and inserted mail in the front door , yet British cities were and are ideal for an Australian style of postal delivery , which would be more efficient.

These uniforms were made at the Commonwealth Clothing Factory at Preston , a northern suburb of Melbourne . All Defence Deaprtment clothing , and VR clothing was also made there .

Best wishes and regards , Radioman
Radioman
In my day CR uniforms were made at the Commonwealth Clothing Factory in South Melbourne. Either the Clothing Factory was overworked, under staffed, inefficient, incompetent, just plain hopeless or CR was at the bottom of their priorities.

I was not aware of their Preston site but they were located just east of Batman station at one stage.

I was always intrigued at the dexterity of the ladies hand making some of the various insignia/badges for the brass in the forces.

All made in China now, I suppose, in keeping with the policy of doing nothing in Australia these days. Crying or Very sad

Speaking of Railway Bikes, one of the foremen at Dynon had a bike which he used for his various duties around the place. It was, by far, more efficient than a motor vehicle and was used to great advantage. I don't know if it was an official railway bike, whether it was his own or perhaps from lost property. Every so often someone would chuck it in an outgoing wagon............!
  RustyRick Chief Commissioner

Location: South West Vic
Seeming as the conversation has slightly deviated  - A kid I went to tech school with in the late 70's had an ex - postie bike. The front forks, gooseneck / head stem, and front wheel axle were way heavier than anybody else's bike. I think the chain and sprockets were also heavier than normal. He rode it places that would have destroyed a normal bike. It was tough!

Sorry, don't know about CR bikes.

Rick
  Commrail Station Master

Hello All,

The PMG bicycles were to a PMG specification and were painted Post Office red, which was a darker shade than the current bright Australia Post red. I do not believe that they were available for sale outside of the PMG , except when Australia Post started selling them off when the Honda 50cc motorbikes came along.

As I recall the later PMG versions had a smaller front wheel than back wheel , which allowed for a deeper front carrier for the mail bag.

These were the days when the postie wore public service dark blue trousers, jacket and cap ( had to wear a cap ) and sky blue , two large flapped pocket shirts with a silver PMG on a black background cloth woven badge above the left pocket . And the postie used to blow a Thunderer whistle each time mail was inserted in your letter box. ( much to the annoyance of the postie , that made a dog's day ! )

I was always fascinated by British films where the postie walked and inserted mail in the front door , yet British cities were and are ideal for an Australian style of postal delivery , which would be more efficient.

These uniforms were made at the Commonwealth Clothing Factory at Preston , a northern suburb of Melbourne . All Defence Deaprtment clothing , and VR clothing was also made there .

Best wishes and regards , Radioman
Radioman
Hello Radioman,

Thank you for your memories of PMG bicycles and uniforms.

Regards,

Ross alias Commrail
  Commrail Station Master

Hello All,

The PMG bicycles were to a PMG specification and were painted Post Office red, which was a darker shade than the current bright Australia Post red. I do not believe that they were available for sale outside of the PMG , except when Australia Post started selling them off when the Honda 50cc motorbikes came along.

As I recall the later PMG versions had a smaller front wheel than back wheel , which allowed for a deeper front carrier for the mail bag.

These were the days when the postie wore public service dark blue trousers, jacket and cap ( had to wear a cap ) and sky blue , two large flapped pocket shirts with a silver PMG on a black background cloth woven badge above the left pocket . And the postie used to blow a Thunderer whistle each time mail was inserted in your letter box. ( much to the annoyance of the postie , that made a dog's day ! )

I was always fascinated by British films where the postie walked and inserted mail in the front door , yet British cities were and are ideal for an Australian style of postal delivery , which would be more efficient.

These uniforms were made at the Commonwealth Clothing Factory at Preston , a northern suburb of Melbourne . All Defence Deaprtment clothing , and VR clothing was also made there .

Best wishes and regards , Radioman
In my day CR uniforms were made at the Commonwealth Clothing Factory in South Melbourne. Either the Clothing Factory was overworked, under staffed, inefficient, incompetent, just plain hopeless or CR was at the bottom of their priorities.

I was not aware of their Preston site but they were located just east of Batman station at one stage.

I was always intrigued at the dexterity of the ladies hand making some of the various insignia/badges for the brass in the forces.

All made in China now, I suppose, in keeping with the policy of doing nothing in Australia these days. Crying or Very sad

Speaking of Railway Bikes, one of the foremen at Dynon had a bike which he used for his various duties around the place. It was, by far, more efficient than a motor vehicle and was used to great advantage. I don't know if it was an official railway bike, whether it was his own or perhaps from lost property. Every so often someone would chuck it in an outgoing wagon............!
YM-Mundrabilla
Hello YM-Mundrabilla,

Thank you for your thoughts on railway bicycles and CR uniforms.

Regards,

Ross alias Commrail
  Commrail Station Master

Seeming as the conversation has slightly deviated  - A kid I went to tech school with in the late 70's had an ex - postie bike. The front forks, gooseneck / head stem, and front wheel axle were way heavier than anybody else's bike. I think the chain and sprockets were also heavier than normal. He rode it places that would have destroyed a normal bike. It was tough!

Sorry, don't know about CR bikes.

Rick
RustyRick
Hello Rick,

Thank you for your memories of a postman's bike. Incidentally, by the late 1970s, Australia Post had changed the official  "Postman" and "Postwoman" designations to the unisex title, "Postal Delivery Officer".

Cheers,

Ross alias Commrail
  Radioman Chief Train Controller

Hello YM -Mundrbilla and others ,

Thanks for the correction re Batman , YM , I have amended my original posting to reflect your advice. My late father worked for the Commonwealth Clothing Factory for a while just after WW2 when he was still living at home in Carlton .

The VR Clothing Depot at Flinders St had a good supply of sizes , so getting a uniform to fit was not a major problem , then again the VR in the 1970s had approximately 30,000 employees , so a variety of sizes were logically required .

Perhaps CR , being a lot smaller , just did not get the variety of sizes the VR got , hence the problem . Alternatively the application form may be the problem. My initial form required a lot of measurements , and subsequent issues were very close matches , even though subsequent forms were quite minimal in detail. The other advantage for me was the Clothing Depot was easily accessible so a swap could be done coming home from work , and my record was updated on the spot. ( I once read in a history book that the essence of British India was efficient record keeping , and a payroll system that delivered every pay day , something that does not happen in the backwaters of modern , independent India .)

So getting back to the topic of railway bikes, did the Dynon foreman also have a back up bike ?

When I was in South Africa in 1976 , train chasing , a lot of diesel hauled trains had a push bike lashed onto the running plate . This allowed the fireman to cycle down to the rear of the train to speak to the Guard if required . I understood these bikes to be SAR - SAS owned .

And if it is relevant I used to cycle to work from Noble Park to Spring Vale , and when I worked at Flinders St one of my fellow signalman used to bring his new black English Raleigh to work . Bloody thing weighed a ton compared to my pre WW2 racer that was my Uncle Len's bike , now long gone. I currently use a Radius Strata straight handlebar, middle weight road bike,nothing flash , but comfortable and gets from A to B fine.

By the way this year is the 200th Anniversay of the bicycle . How many inventions are still in daily use that are that old ?

Happy cycling , best wishes and regards to all, Radioman
  barryc Chief Train Controller

Location: Waiting for a train to Canungra
Despite the sturdiness and sheer weight of PMG bikes, I remember one being broken in two during my time as a postie in Byron Bay, Casino and Lismore in 1980/81.

The NSWGR had bikes but I don't know if they were just commercially available models or specially made. The station bicycle at Menindee had Dunlop Thornproof tyres.  They were obviously designed for softer thorns and it was always wise to allow time for tyre inflation before ridng down to the road/rail bridge to let the Indian/Pacific through.
  Commrail Station Master

Despite the sturdiness and sheer weight of PMG bikes, I remember one being broken in two during my time as a postie in Byron Bay, Casino and Lismore in 1980/81.

The NSWGR had bikes but I don't know if they were just commercially available models or specially made. The station bicycle at Menindee had Dunlop Thornproof tyres.  They were obviously designed for softer thorns and it was always wise to allow time for tyre inflation before ridng down to the road/rail bridge to let the Indian/Pacific through.
barryc
Hello barryc,

Thank you for your memories of PMG and NSWGR bicycles.

Cheers,

Commrail

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