You make sense Safeworking. I agree, one of the reasons why we just decided to tell the diesels to stop powering. a6et wont be able to comprehend this tho.Actually having a trial trip, before the official trial makes sense. Time is then available to deal with unexpected issues that could cause failure in the official trial. A second official trial takes expenditure, time, and resources better used elsewhere. Then there is the attractive thought, 'just what can this thing do?'. After thousands of person-hours over years, this is a very human emotion. The risk would be low as the diesels could easily be switched in once more and the team was very experienced in rebuilding, operating, and testing steam locos.So, based on what you have said in the last bit, which you have ignored your wonderous previous statement that said 6029 had a load of 1200tonnes from Rhodes to Thornleigh by itself the previous day, if it was a success then why go to Hawkesbury river for a test the following morning?They aren't the same as your day, thats what i'm trying to get across to you.I could not say that they are exactly the same as in my time, thing is though every load testing that I had performed on Goods trains, with the last being in the 80's with 81cl, the very same conditions that I put forward were what we had to abide by. That also included tests with the converted 45cl along with other working including passenger and the XPT, 42220 converted model on Xpt scheduling prior to introduction on the North.My opinion, Yes! and based on the fact that I had worked enough garratt's in my time also performing load tests as driver delegate on more than enough trains to be qualified to state the facts regarding them.No doubt all true, however your experience goes back to the era when the 60 class were in regular service. Are you perfectly certain that the requirements in this instance are exactly the same as in your time?I would also believe that there would be a different criteria for load testing in todays railways and operations, for steam there is also the likelihood of some stringent tests for the specific locomotive that was in question. Take the example of 3801's tests, this is probably the first time that a loco had the water spray to test it for adhesion, I have never seen nor heard of such a test in the past, but knowing how 01 was back in the 60's with it being prone to slipping as well as other members of the class, & 3812 comes to my immediate memory, its a darn good idea though. The aspect in tests were that the loco used was the candidate and covered all other loco's in that class, that were of the same type, exception being light and heavy for Garratt's, in 01's test the other night while it had the tonneage, it still was a small load size wise though.Every loco that does a test up Cowan, Steam or Diesel or Electric, has the water sprayers put on. The CM's did, The QBX's did, 6029 did and as you pointed out, 3801 did. This practice has been around for a while now. My argument at the time 6029 did the test was that the sprayers were installed right infront of the Driving wheels and not the front truck. The leading truck conditions the rail head before the driving wheels get to that bit of rail. We kept the sprayers where the authorities wanted them and passed on the first trip.The aspect also what Lowndes has said regarding 6029 hauling a 1200tonne load from Rhodes to Thornleigh is interesting as he said it was without assistance. That load is pretty much double the load that a heavy Garratt would haul on that same grade, but they could haul 685 tonnes from Hornsby to BMD, having worked several through services on Garratt's over that grade, one being on 6017, another on 6032, with both loads being full and a combination of loaded and empty vehicles which made them close to full length. from Denistone to Epping and the from the Epping dip through Cheltenham and Beecroft we were at a crawl, when we reached Pennant Hills the grade eases and a welcome easing even with a stocker and good coal, we were down to around 185psi and 3/4 water in the primary static water gauge, which was a good result. Interesting is that there was no info about that train either, if the load test done on Cowan bank as was spoken on, that load and test would not normally have been sufficient to cover a test on the down though. For me a question on what he said is did that train have a diesel on the back and working with the Garratt haven't seen anything on that train anywhere even here on RP, as I would believe if it existed then there would have been a few camera hounds out there to record the event.The trip up to Thornleigh was a decision made on the fly at Nth Strathfield by the Driver and Fireman on 6029 at the time. It wasnt advertised and it wasnt part of any official testing. It was a transfer train from Moss Vale to Hawkesbury River for the actual load test. No Diesels on the back of the train, they were on the front of the train and were told to shut off at Rhodes.
Bevan Wall was out at Beecroft that day. No one knew about what was going to happen up there, not even the crew. Infact the fireman didnt want to do it leaving Moss Vale to save on coal. At Nth Strathfield it was a 'F*%# It, hold my beer' moment.
And where did the load mysteriously appear at North Strathfield, when they made a decision on the fly? No one knew what was to happen! gee that's a wonderful indictment on how things run these days.
My memories of steam in service were that crews were very experienced at making decisions on the fly, it really was a necessary skill. How the job was officially done and what happened in practice were not necessarily the same.