Traffic movement for stations on Main South Line (e.g. Blackwood)

 
  SAR523 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Chicago, IL
Is anyone able to help me understand what the 60s era good traffic patterns were like for stations like Blackwood on the Main South Line?  Specifically two questions

1.  Were goods trains assembled that went along and serviced a number of stations, or did the trains just go to one station?

2. How did specifically firewood traffic move around?  I assume it was collected at larger stations (e.g. Tailem Bend) and then routed into the city?  Did the trains move in blocks to Mile End, from where it was reshunted and sent back out (e.g. to Mitcham, Blackwood etc) or did Up trains from Tailem Bend stop at these intermediate stations and drop off a few O wagons at the firewood merchants?

Sponsored advertisement

  allan Chief Commissioner

1961. I have a time table...

Mitcham was served weekdays by no 373, departing Mile End at 0930.

Blackwood, and all stations to Tailem Bend, was served weekdays by no 31 or 41, departing Mile End at 0030 (no 31, Wed, Thurs, Fri), or 0100 (no 41, Tues), both services arriving at Tailem Bend soon after 1000. Saturday service was no 53, departing Mile End at 0130, arrive Tailem Bend 1145.These trains were termed "Scavengers". There were no equivalent return services, the implication being that most (?all) traffic originated at Mile End.
  allan Chief Commissioner

By 1970, no 31 ran Tues to Sat, still departing Mile End at 0030, but arriving Tailem Bend at 0550. I'll guess that there was a major reduction in traffic, and substitution of a diesel for steam.
  CPH8 Locomotive Fireman

Re Mitcham traffic. As well as firewood on the Belair side of the yard, there was the limestone traffic on the Adelaide side of the yard. Large blocks of Mt Gambier stone were sawn into smaller blocks for housing, using a large circular saw continually wetted. As a school child at the station it was fascinating to watch. Back in the days at 8.30 am when the Belair - Adelaide all stations train with an F pulled into the loop to cross the Bridgewater - Adelaide train with an Rx on the main. From Mitcham the Rx ran express to Adelaide (10 mins) while the F continued as the stopping train. All the Belair - Mitcham commuters walked across to the other side of the platform to catch the express.
  SAR523 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Chicago, IL
Thanks guys, that suits my needs to move trains around the layout just perfectly. Prototype fidelity is always a bonus.

It does blow my mind that a station like Mitcham could justify a goods train a day in 1961. I can see the need for daily deliveries of dairy, but I’d think not a lot of D wagons could service the dairy needs pretty much all the way to Bridgewater.  Firewood and other disposable commodities like the mentioned stone would presumably be consumed at the station end relatively quickly, but quickly enough to need a train tomorrow?


Allan - so if I understand you, trains originated from Mile end and then serviced Blackwood to Tailem Bend, but then the engines and cars would have returned to Mile End directly?

The term ‘scavenger’ interests me, and I’ve heard it before. I wonder if that refers to their not being a whole lot of traffic originating in those stations, and they just picked up whatever was there with presumably the odd drop off?
  allan Chief Commissioner

It does blow my mind that a station like Mitcham could justify a goods train a day in 1961. I can see the need for daily deliveries of dairy, but I’d think not a lot of D wagons could service the dairy needs pretty much all the way to Bridgewater.  Firewood and other disposable commodities like the mentioned stone would presumably be consumed at the station end relatively quickly, but quickly enough to need a train tomorrow?


Allan - so if I understand you, trains originated from Mile end and then serviced Blackwood to Tailem Bend, but then the engines and cars would have returned to Mile End directly?

The term ‘scavenger’ interests me, and I’ve heard it before. I wonder if that refers to their not being a whole lot of traffic originating in those stations, and they just picked up whatever was there with presumably the odd drop off?
SAR523
No 373 had alternative destinations, Mitcham or Brighton! No 525 pyrites (ex Mile End 1245 weekdays) could handle additional loading, but may not have.

My presumption is that the loco from no 31/41 would have worked one of the Tailem Bend to Mile End services, and the wagons were added to any Mile End bound train to make up a load.

I think that "savenger" services ran on all mainlines, including Broken Hill, and, potentially shunted every siding, including those that through trains didn't even slow down for.

Mitcham goods yard is worth a thread of its own. It was shunted well into the 1980s, possibly early 1990s. It was a generous yard, with a long siding across Wattlebury Rd (formerly the Clapham branch). I'm guessing that the Mt Gambier stone traffic died around 1960, as Besser Blocks became available, but the wood yard was active into the 1970s, at least, and Hollards is still there, over Grange Rd. The most recent use of the yard was for sleeper reclamation in AN days, well into the 1980s.
  DJPeters Assistant Commissioner

allan is right in assuming all lines had these scavenger services so incoming loads would be broken up at major yards and then sent out on one of these trains and shunted into place as they went, a simple few miles for a trip back then could easily take a good deal longer than running straight between the two places. Also the scavenger goods services also had to keep out of the way of other services both freight and passenger. Back then passenger trains got priority and more so the express ones like the Overland etc. So you would roll up to a station and maybe have to wait for a train to cross you there before commencing the shunt, places like Mitcham had a yard off and away from the mainlines etc but a lot of other stations out bush did not so expecting to wait at some station was to be expected.You could wait minutes or even hours depending on the frequency of train movements on the line.

Often at the old Kilkenny yard a train would come into the yard shunt the station yard then wait to crossover to the other side of the mainline and shunt that at the signalmans command. The trains here had to leave the yard and use the mainline here for those places on the Northern side of the mainlines. Having done all that and got back into the yard there, you then had to wait to get a path on the mainline to your next station or yard.

So even a simple shunting trip down the Outer Harbor line could take at least a good few hours and you have hardly gone far at all.
  SAR523 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Chicago, IL
Thanks Allan

I had to go and look up the Mitcham track plan (at least the version in Jenning's 'Line Clear') and it doesn't appear that impressive on paper (lacking even a goods shed) but clearly something interesting was happening there!

I would be nice to see it get a 'Station you can model' treatment in the convention notes one day, along the lines of the treatment that Des Egan gave Blackwood a few years back.
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
My recall of the Mitcham operations in the 1960s was a morning goods came from either Mile End or Port Adelaide and dropped its load, usually 4 wheel open wagons with firewood for Hollards, who are still there the other side of Grange Road, stowed its brakevan and picked up some passenger cars which ran to Islington Works around Gaol Loop.

The reverse happened in the evening, the Islington Works passenger train worked into the back road at Mitcham.   The locomotive, usually an Rx or F, or in later years a 500 class shunter, the picked up the goods wagons and the brake, stowed the passenger cars in the second road, and departed for Mile End or Port Adelaide, I can't remember which.

This would have required the loco to run around the train, I assume via the up main.   Signalling requirements would have required the loco to clear the Grange Road crossing.

There was a notable occasion where the brake van was given a too enthusiastic nudge and it took off down the track to Goodwood where it was derailed.

The one occasion I caught the up Mount Gambier overnight train it was admitted to the back road and split, the passenger cars continuing to Adelaide, and the goods wagons to Mile End.    I guess a loco came out from Mile End to enable this to happen.    Back in those days the goods movement would have required a brake van.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Is anyone able to help me understand what the 60s era good traffic patterns were like for stations like Blackwood on the Main South Line?  
SAR523
Slightly off topic I know but when did Blackwood Yard cease being used?

I grew up in Glenalta and I can still remember the Firewood signs at the station (complete with wood I think although the memory is not great). This would have been in the late 70s and into the 80s maybe, we used to drop Dad off at the station in the morning to get the train to Adelaide and then when I went to Blackwood High in the 80s I crossed the tracks at the Belair end of the station where there was a pedestrian crossing when I rode or walked (the 3km+) to school.

BG
  allan Chief Commissioner

My recall of the Mitcham operations in the 1960s was a morning goods came from either Mile End or Port Adelaide and dropped its load, usually 4 wheel open wagons with firewood for Hollards, who are still there the other side of Grange Road, stowed its brakevan and picked up some passenger cars which ran to Islington Works around Gaol Loop.

The reverse happened in the evening, the Islington Works passenger train worked into the back road at Mitcham.   The locomotive, usually an Rx or F, or in later years a 500 class shunter, the picked up the goods wagons and the brake, stowed the passenger cars in the second road, and departed for Mile End or Port Adelaide, I can't remember which.

This would have required the loco to run around the train, I assume via the up main.   Signalling requirements would have required the loco to clear the Grange Road crossing.

There was a notable occasion where the brake van was given a too enthusiastic nudge and it took off down the track to Goodwood where it was derailed.

The one occasion I caught the up Mount Gambier overnight train it was admitted to the back road and split, the passenger cars continuing to Adelaide, and the goods wagons to Mile End.    I guess a loco came out from Mile End to enable this to happen.    Back in those days the goods movement would have required a brake van.
kipioneer
By 1962 the working of the Mitcham goods/ workmens' train was as you have described. The wood yard was on site, and wood went there, not to Hollards. The Grange Rd wig-wags could be activated by a switch outside of the ticket office on the island platform.

The Mt Gambier train was broken at Mitcham, with the train engine(s) proceeding to Mile End, and the passenger cars arriving at Adelaide behind a 500DE. I think that the livestock wagons were the issue...

For BG, I have no absolute date for the end of Blackwood yard working, but think it unlikely that ANR continued it far into the 1980s.
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
By 1962 the working of the Mitcham goods/ workmens' train was as you have described. The wood yard was on site, and wood went there, not to Hollards.
allan
The wood yard at Mitcham was for Hollards who sold wood for fires as well as sand and gravel and chooks (they still do).    Many a time did my family buy mallee roots in particular from there.    I can't ever recall picking up wood from the station yard nor there being any obvious sign of stacks of wood in the yard.

There weren't many afternoons I didn't observe trains there in the mid 1960s it being only a short bike ride from home.

Hollards have subsequently changed ownership but have retained the name.   They seem to be more a garden and building supply business now.
  allan Chief Commissioner

Yes, Hollards sold firewood too. KIP, I"ve sent a PM...
  Captainchoochoo61 Locomotive Fireman

Re the South Line traffic.
As a boy in the 1960's my church held annual picnics in National Park, and my  fathers army unit picnics were held on  the same oval. So up the 128 steps to National Park station to set the train stopping disk. Then hide in the bushes. The Saturday procession of trains was constant. Many were block type trains but chalk markings like Melbourne, Mt Gambier, Karoonda, Loxton etc gave away the destinations a bit.

My father was a delivery driver and he regularly delivered to Mile End with electrical items, motors of various size , light fittings, rolls of wire etc.

The goods loading book was his bible.

All destinations were listed with closing days and times.

So if he had to get an item to Karoonda check the book and it had to be offloaded by say 2pm Monday to Friday. at say shed 1
LCL loadings would be dropped next to the M or DWF wagon chalked with Karoonda. There was forklift access at several points.

As the day progressed an extra wagon would be added if one was full or a four wheeler may be substituted if the M was needed for another run. Dad got to know the times when trains would be cut and shut or assembled to avoid delays or missing the drop off

As cut off time arrived the trains would be assembled , any extra wagons from Dry Creek and Port Adelaide would be marshalled in, and depart. So shed one would become a loading point for say Port Pirie.

A Saturday Picnic at National Park would see a progression of trains in both directions. Saturday would have been a day of extras to clear the yards and send out the wagons from Perth, Pirie etc. And also to send empties ready for the next week
Blocks of forty to fifty wagons in each direction. ( I could not tell if they were loaded or empty. Even OB and OBf were tarped in both directions to keep the inside clean and dry.
Demurrage was also a consideration as a VR wagon sitting empty at say Mile End would cost $ 8.00 per day. Friday was a good day to remove empties, especially before a long weekend.
A mixture of VR wagons, opens, M D etc would possibly be headed for Melbourne.
A mix of Of OB M FB, Dwf was probably bound for the mallee.
M etc, RX DW, DWf oil tanks was often bound for Mount Gambier.
Livestock was commonly in block trains headed for Murray Bridge, Naracoorte and Mount Gambier.
Keith was also a large livestock station
Chapmans at Nairne also had traffic to feed Chapmans, M vans, D vans and cattle and sheep vans.
With the empty pyrites wagons I understand that some loading for Nairne could be added as it seems that the loading of pyrites was normally about 8 wagons.
There were 25 pyrites wagons built. so 1 in shops, 8 on way to Nairne, 8 Being loaded at Nairne and 8 being unloaded at the Port would seem normal.
Trains to Strathalbyn , Cambrai, Sedan etc were required one or two times a week.
The Tailem Bend passenger often hauled excess Overland cars, products to and from Murray Bridge and early in container days containers.
Oil tanks were sent to almost every town that had a fuel agent or service station.

In the 60's the railways carried
Livestock, dairy products, LCL consignments, grain, fertilizers, oil, farm equipment, hay, departmental wagons, and in a perfectly made train there were coupler trailing loads to consider, but a train going to Say Pinnaroo would have the load for each station marshalled together if possible at Tailem Bend. At the rear of the train would be say an oil tank, an M , a C or S maybe an FB or OW, Next to that would be the next station with its assortment of wagons etc.
This could never be a perfect plan as trailing coupler loads applied to many classes of wagons, and empties had restrictions as well.
There was supposed to be a fender vehicle between petrol tanks and locos, A mixed train of livestock would see the guard trying to distance himself from the odour.
The Out of van or vans was usually next to the loco, as the guard may need assistance from the fireman or observer. And locomen did not like long walks. !!!

Add to this mix orders of empty wagons that were ordered. So O, OB, C Cf, S SF etc would be added in to this mix.

On the South line a 500 class steamer, 900 and 930 were capable of 500 tons each. An 830 was about 300 tons ( but had no dynamic braking)

Another thing to include is light engines attached, and shunt locos being changed over. They were usually attached to roadside goods because of speed restrictions.

Another thing to add confusion is loading going out of the normal order.
A load of a specific grain being taken from Say Keith to Strathalbyn for Lauckes.
It could be dropped at Balhannah and attached to the Victor Goods.

On the scavenger type trains you could see workmens vans being moved.

A neighbour of ours was a carpenter/ painter and had his own workshop and accommodation. He would often work on the Victor line. Start at Mt. Baker, then move to Bugle ranges, Strath, Finniss etc and his van would be moved by any convenient goods. When finished on a line he would head to the next destination.

So many trains, so many types of loading, so many combinations.

Another thing to consider to be prototypically accurate is weathering.
Trains do not stay clean and shiny very long.
7 to ten years was the supposed paint cycle
you would not see ten shiny m vans on a train. Maybe one or two clean ones, some in weathered dark grey from the 1950's, light grey post 1960's and into the AN era red, then green & gold and so on.
Even the Overland was like this. I remember a shot of the Overland at Mt Lofty. eight rooftops, six different variations of black, clean, dusty, brown.
Passenger cars were better overall, but not every carriage was repainted on the same day. The change from Green and cream to red took seven or eight years , then they changed class from 2nd to economy.
Also departmental loading, sleepers, ballast, rail, fuel, supplies in a D or DS van.

Enjoy choosing the different wagons.
If you find a copy of the working timetables from your chosen era you can gain a huge insight into loadings.
  Captainchoochoo61 Locomotive Fireman

Re Blackwood.
It was only removed during the standard gauge conversion.
Firewood in O, OX Of etc lasted till the very end of LCL and possibly later as an of of firewood was a full car load.

The crossover at both ends of the yard was in place right until the end of BG


Mitcham was a firewood depot in my memory until late in the piece.
When the south line concrete sleepers were inserted a lot of sleepers were sold there. Not sure if it was AN or the sleeper contractor.

The building stone depot lasted until at least the 80's as the loading siding on the Millicent line was still in use in the 80's
  DJPeters Assistant Commissioner

Mitcham  railway yard had a fire wood area that was on the Grange Road end of the yard from memory. A OF or OBF loaded with Mallee roots would just have the doors opened and let them fall out onto the ground, then presumably some one then threw or tossed them away from the rail track into a pile of them this lasted right up to the end of the yard from memory as not much else at that time went into the yard there.
  rwatts Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide SA
Mitcham  railway yard had a fire wood area that was on the Grange Road end of the yard from memory. A OF or OBF loaded with Mallee roots would just have the doors opened and let them fall out onto the ground, then presumably some one then threw or tossed them away from the rail track into a pile of them this lasted right up to the end of the yard from memory as not much else at that time went into the yard there.
DJPeters
Around 1979-81 I'd catch the train from Blackwood to uni, and would often see the guy running the wood yard unloading usually a single or sometimes two wagons on a siding track.  I can picture him standing in the wagon, throwing mallee roots into the bucket of an ancient front-end loader positioned at the open wagon doorway.

I never saw the wagons arrive or leave. From previous comments I gather that probably happened overnight.

Richard.
  DJPeters Assistant Commissioner

As the first photo does not seem to have come out I will try it again. Both of these are at Mitcham and were taken by Dean Jackson but the date is unknown though.


  DJPeters Assistant Commissioner

  allan Chief Commissioner

Date is early 1970s - the M van has dual imperial/metric weights marked on it.

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: kipioneer

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.