Memories of South Dynon in the early 19802

 
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
A4 started with us signing on at 0815 on Sunday, rostered to run the 0930 Ballarat pass, train 8105, changing over with the 0900 up pass from Ballarat. B80 and B62 were to run this train and once departure time arrived, we moved off. After the stop at Sunshine, Roy wound up the paired B class as we turned west. We ran through Rockbank on the auto exchanger but approaching Melton the distant was against us and remained that way, so Roy slowed the train. As we approached the station, one of the arrival home signals cleared to allow us to enter the station but that was as far as we were going, as the up was nearby, train 8122. Exchanging B80 for B81, on the up pass, at 1010, we were given the staff and set off back the way we’d just come. Another auto exchange at Rockbank, a brief stop at Sunshine and we rolled back into Spencer St at 1055, 7 minutes late. We were relieved and returned to Dynon to go onto standby which dragged out until 1615 when we signed off.
Monday’s start was 1215 for the 1300 Geelong pass, train 8233. We had B62 for this trip and, in the long run, spent a lot of time working with it. With everything ready, we departed Spencer St and, so most likely we stopped ‘all stations’ from Werribee. We drew into Geelong platform 1 at 1415, 5 minutes late, where I cut off as we needed to run around the train fairly quickly as we formed the 1430 up pass. Recoupled, Roy did a quick continuity test and we were off again, heading for Spencer St, stopping at all stations to Werribee again. We had a better run than the down journey, as we pulled into Spencer St at 1535, so, once again, I cut off, we ran around and formed the 1600 down pass to South Geelong, train 8247. This would have been a virtual repeat of the 1300 down pass’ stopping pattern, except we departed Geelong platform, collected the staff as we passed the signal box and climbed the grade through the tunnel, crossed the level crossing at the down end and dropped into South Geelong platform, arriving at 1717, to hand up the staff. For the third time today, I cut off B62 to do the run around and once re-coupled, we formed the 1740 up pass, train 8268. With another staff on the loco we climbed up to the tunnel and then dropped down the grade through it, handing up the staff on the way past the signal box and pulled into platform 2. Getting moving once more, we did the ‘stopping all’ pattern to Werribee once more, before drawing into Spencer St for the final time today at 1900. We signed off at 1910, clearly from Spencer St station and not Dynon. Although we actually worked for 6:55, the mileage we’d covered paid us 9:24. This sort of day was far more interesting that some, being kept on the move virtually the whole day.
Tuesday was rostered off.
Wednesday was on at 0825 for an 0900 Nyora ballast. We located T334 and took it to the Ways and Works sidings to collect the loaded ballast wagons. Once the train was examined, we were given the ok to depart. Departing the Yard, we ran under the hump, along the goods lines between the suburban lines and the East Yard and through Viaduct Junction onto the new viaduct. Running into Flinders St, past Flinders St ‘A’ box, we continued on through the spark stabling sidings, past Flinders St ‘E‘ box and on towards Richmond. We climbed the grade towards Caulfield and then continued on towards Dandenong. At Dandenong, we collected the large electric staff for Cranbourne and ran past Lyndhurst and its cement siding. At Cranbourne, we did a full staff exchange to collect the staff for Koo Wee Rup, before descending Clyde bank. At Koo Wee Rup, we collected the staff for Lang Lang and then, at that staff station, collected the one for Nyora, where we arrived at 1258. It would appear that we unloaded most, if not all, of the ballast before our arrival at Nyora. Once at Nyora, we ran no. 334 around to get it to the up end of the rake and, with a replacement staff on the loco, departed at 1335 on our way back to Melbourne. The return trip was noticeably quicker as we returned the, now empty, rake to the Ways and Works sidings at 1545, then returned the T to Dynon to sign off at 1625.
On Thursday, the start was 0833 for the 0935 Kilmore East bound ‘Apex’, train 9317. Allowing an hour for us to walk up to North Melbourne station seems excessive, so we may have actually travelled to Broadmeadows to meet the train, especially if it was coming out of Brooklyn, not Westall. My notes don’t give any indication of what actually happened there, however, we relieved a goods crew of T401 and S308, at the head of the down empties, and proceeded on our way to Kilmore East and the loading sidings. We approached Kilmore East with the, co-acting, distant against us and ran through the station under clear signals to start up the grade towards the junction, where the calling on signal cleared to allow us entry to the sidings. Crossing to the up main and then across the SG we followed the curve into the loading siding to draw the whole train under the loading chute, at 1150. With the train ready for loading, I cut off the locos and we ran around the train to recouple and then shift ourselves to the S class for the loading process. Drawing the train forward as each wagon was filled occupied nearly two hours. With a fully loaded train, totalling 1,400 tonnes, Roy did a brake test and we drew forward towards the dwarf protecting access to the main line. I called the signalman on the post telephone and at 1410 the points reversed and the ‘stick’ cleared. Roy applied power and we snaked our way over the SG and onto the up main, as train 9318. Once the van was clear of the junction points, more power was applied and we set off on the run back towards Melbourne. At Broadmeadows, we followed the suburban lines through towards Essendon with the dynamic brake working at retarding our speed down the grade. We approached North Melbourne junction then ran under the station to stop level with the goods crew standing on the platform waiting to relieve us, at 1550. Apparently, we signed off at this time as well, so there was no hike back to the depot to sign off, instead a change of platforms for the next spark to head for home.
Friday was an 1115 start, to run the 1230 Ballarat pass, train 8115. We took charge of B67 and the train for this run. I have a feeling that it was a ‘stopper’, most likely from Ardeer, so staff exchanges would have been by hand from Rockback onwards, with me leaning out of the window of the driver’s door for this purpose, when required. We arrived at Ballarat station at 1415 and then had a wait for the 1745 up pass, train 8148, one that was not a regular runner, as it was a summer only train, out of Adelaide, that was known as the ‘Adelaide Daylight’, although I can’t remember if this was an official title or one that crews had dubbed it with, for obvious reasons. X41 drew into Ballarat station, where we relieved the incoming crew. Being a daytime equivalent to ‘the Overland’ we weren’t going to repeat the down journeys regular station stops, so Roy wound up the old X to get up Warrenheip’s grades and I prepared to work the auto staff exchanger. We had no staff exchange issues, although at that time of day we probably had a fair few crosses with outbound traffic, to draw into Spencer St at 1952 to be relieved and sign off at 2000, once more not returning to the depot for that purpose.
Saturday was rostered off.

Neil

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  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
A7 started with Sunday off.
On Monday, Roy and I signed on at 0703, for the 0755 Horsham Pass, train 8105, via North Geelong. We relieved the crew, sitting on B66, at Spencer St and readied ourselves for the journey. Departing we made the Footscray stop and then the express run to Ballarat where we arrived at 1002. Relieved of the Horsham train, we had a wait before the 1245 up pass was due to depart. The usual job was the 1055 up goods, train 9146, also via North Geelong, however today we were rostered to ‘travel per’ the pass. X32 drew into platform 2, where we boarded the ACN, with the guard’s compartment directly adjacent to the loco, and found seats near that compartment. In the cab was a foreman, a senior Ballarat fireman under his tuition, and their fireman. The old X was running long end leading and with the ‘right away’ they got us moving to tackle Warrenheip bank. Riding in the carriage, we sat back to enjoy the ride with all going smoothly until we were on the North line on the up side of Ardeer station. We were running at line speed when I noticed that the brakes had been applied, reasonably hard, which I thought was a little odd, as I knew we weren’t that close to Sunshine yet. Then I saw ballast flying past the window, which was definitely not a normal event and the train finally ground to a halt, in the middle of nowhere. As this was decidedly out of the ordinary, the pair of us got up and tapped on the guard’s internal access door. He took a peek and saw us in our VR overalls so opened the door. We all went to the large baggage door and leaned out, looking forward. On the loco, the Ballarat fireman and foreman were both leaning out, looking back towards us. I moved back into the middle of the car and, opening the door we’d just come through, did the same, only looking through the train. At the far end, there was a decent number of the passengers clustered at the door of the last carriage, looking through the window, to where there was obviously something in the middle of the line, that shouldn’t have been there. I joined Roy again at the side door, and, together, we descended to rail level, walked the short distance to the loco, to climb onto the footplate where Roy asked the crew what had happened. Apparently, an older woman had tried to cross the line from the north, at one of the unprotected pedestrian crossings, and just walked straight into the path of the train somehow, obviously not seeing it nor hearing any of the whistle blowing that would have been happening, with fatal results. Control had been advised of what had occurred and Dynon Manpower were told by Control. Since Manpower knew we were travelling 'on the cushions', we were instructed to take over the train for the rest of the trip as the Ballarat crew had another train to return to Ballarat with, although I’m not so sure about the fireman under instruction being up to driving it; I’m not sure I would have been under those circumstances, of having seen the whole event unfolding in front of your eyes and being unable to do anything more than brake and blow the whistle. A taxi arrived to collect the three man Ballarat crew and they climbed in to head into Melbourne. We took over at 1350 and Roy returned to ground level to check the loco, at least, to confirm it was fit to continue and got me into the driver’s seat, in case he needed me to operate the air brake. I was still in the driver’s seat, with Roy out of sight, when a police car pulled up, on Forrest St, the road running parallel to track, to the north of the line. A cop got out of the car, hopped the fence and wandered through the grass towards the loco, as I watched his progress. He stopped, on the far side of the drainage ditch, looked up at the loco and gradually this puzzled look appeared on his face. Eventually he called up to me, asking what's the "registration of the train". I leaned a little further out and tapped the big, cast iron, black and white, number plate mounted on the cabside, directly below me and answered 'X32'. He took that information down in his notebook but I could tell it didn't make sense to him, being used to car number plates with six characters. He then proceeded in the direction of the victim, when Roy reappeared and climbed back up to the cab to reclaim his seat, then without much more fuss, got us under way again. We stopped at Sunshine for the ‘set down only’ stop and then headed on to Spencer St where we pulled up at 1420 to be relieved in our turn and signed off at 1430, once more at Spencer St without returning to Dynon. Some readers may recognise elements of this, as a simplified version, based purely on, a somewhat faulty, memory, has been posted on the thread about X41 and X42 being scrapped. The loco number was completely wrong in that version and this completes the whole day, which the previous post didn’t.
Tuesday, I signed on at 0830 with a 0930 appointment with the RMO in VR Headquarters on Spencer St in room G.26. Retracing my path back to North Melbourne station, having walked the opposite direction not that long before, I caught a spark to Spencer St, then walked around to HQ. Once the examination was over, I made my way back to Dynon to report back to Manpower at 1030 who immediately tasked me a job with Driver Tim Timmins. Together we found T337 in the depot yard and headed for Spencer St, crossing the flyover to reverse into the Bank Sidings. In the sidings, a shunter directed us to couple up to the ‘Norman’ car, the original ‘Spirit’ parlour car. Coupled and having confirmed the brakes were functioning, we pushed “Norman” back towards the platforms clear of a departure home and prepared to tow the car to Newport Workshops. When the ‘stick’ cleared we set off to make, what was effectively, an empty car(s) move to Newport on the suburban lines. At Newport station, the home signal gave us a ‘low speed warning’ aspect so we could enter the ‘shops yard. We stopped where directed and “Norman” was retrieved by another Pilot, probably one of the M class but that’s not definite. We now had a LE return to Dynon, so, when the dwarf signal cleared we set off to return to the depot, re-joining the main line at Newport. No. 337 was left at Fuel Point at 1330 and we went onto standby until 1430 when I signed off. After this, I walked up to North Melbourne station, yet again, to catch another spark to Spencer St, then changed to one going through the loop towards Eltham. As the spark entered the tunnel everything seemed normal, however, as the spark climbed the ramp towards the Jolimont portal the outside light improved somewhat but gained an odd, red, colouration. As we emerged from the portal we ran into the huge dust storm that hit Melbourne that day, eight days before the Ash Wednesday fires. The journey home was an eerie one to say the least. Thankfully it had blown past by the time I had to walk from the station the kilometre or so home.
With somewhat clearer skies, Roy and I signed on at 0740, on Wednesday, for the 0855 Shepparton, train 8307. Once at Spencer St, we got ourselves organised readying everything for the north bound run when, yet again, a foreman rolled up and I found myself booted off the loco. The problem with the ‘Big Wheel’ roster was that the trains ran at an ideal time, and were also great trains to get some experience on, for a foreman and anyone they were training. Relegated to one of the carriages, I sat out the run as far as Seymour when my services were required again as the disruptive pair weren’t going any further than there. Passing the ‘right away’ across the cab to Roy, he got us underway again to climb up to Mangalore for the first staff pick up. Working our way on towards Shepparton, stopping and exchanging the staff, we arrived at our terminus at 1120. I left the cab, then dropped into the gap between train and loco, on the side away from the platform so Roy could see me easily. I signalled Roy to ‘ease up’ so I could ‘pull the (uncoupling) pin’. I closed the tap on the loco but left the one on the train open for now. With the pin lifted, I waved Roy to move the loco away from the train so the air hoses would separate. Once that had happened, I signalled him to stop so I could close the cock on the train and connect the locos brake pipe to the dummy coupling, for its own safety. Returning to the loco cab, we then moved clear of the points so the signalman could direct us into no. 2 road to run around. Changing cabs, we then ran through no. 2 road. Back on the main line at the up end of the station, we backed towards the carriage set until close enough for me to once more leave the cab, this time onto the platform, and then drop into the pit again. Ensuring one jaw was unlocked, open and the two were aligned with each other, using a good solid kick from the sole of my boot to shift one to align them, if necessary, I scrambled back onto the platform to give Roy the ‘ease up’ signal until the couplings were almost together when I indicated ‘stop’. The reaction time of the driver combined with the momentum of the loco ensuring the jaws closed properly, the pin dropped and there was not too much of a jolt delivered to either train or loco. Most drivers didn’t take kindly to a rough ‘ease up’, since they were the one to suffer from it, not the fireman, so it was, generally, preferred to do it this way. You had to make sure you got the timing right or the speed and force would be too low to close the jaw fully and allow the pin to drop into its slot. If this happened, you could try giving the driver another ‘ease up’ and hope everything worked, but, I found that, it was generally better to wave the loco a short distance off the train, double check the couplings and have another go. If you failed to get the pin to drop, but didn’t realise it, the loco would leave the train behind, when power was applied, with embarrassing results for the fireman, as he’d have to do it all again and cause a delay to the train; almost guaranteed to get a ‘please explain’ from Head Office. Once properly coupled, the dummy coupling(s) were removed from the brake pipe hoses and the two hoses united, then the cocks opened. A blow of air from the union indicated you hadn’t united the two properly so the cocks would have to be closed, the hoses separated again and another attempt made. I found it was rare to get it wrong more than once but, the longer on the job, the better I got at ensuring the rubber inserts of the brake pipe heads were matched to give a good seal. For someone to not get better at it, I’d say they were a slow learner, especially considering it was guaranteed that you would couple a loco to a train, at least once, any time you ran a passenger train and, probably, a lot more. A Geelong ‘double’ would account for a fireman doing it, a minimum of, three times in one shift. The continuity test confirmed to the driver that you had united the hoses properly and opened both cocks but didn’t pick up if the couplings were locked together properly. You only discovered that mistake by trying to move the whole train. One thing I would not do was stay between the loco and train on the ‘ease up’. This dangerous practice caused more than a few injuries and I heard, with good authority, of one fireman who ended up crushed between a loco and the carriages of one of the Sydney night expresses. The concertina enabling people to walk through the train were an added danger in this situation, especially if the loco was an S class. Of course, the only way to lift a pin is to ease the tension on the coupling, so in order to release him they had to compress him even more before they could separate the loco from the train! He ended up in hospital, under the very best scenario. In our case, with the loco at the up end and everything ready to go when required, we had a break until a few minutes before departure at 1225, running as train 8316. Handed the staff we got underway, crossed Wyndham St safely and continued on back to Seymour, where, to my disgust, we were met, once more, by foreman and trainee. I can’t say they were the same pair but it is highly likely. Once more, I wandered back to the carriages for the ride back to Melbourne. Roy was able to achieve an arrival at Spencer St at 1456. I can’t say whether we reunited briefly before our official signoff at 1501, but it is most likely.
Thursday’s start was 0711, for the, now, very familiar, 0826 Bairnsdale, train 8407 from Flinders St. At Spencer St we took over control of L1161, and prepared for the run to Warragul. After the usual stops in the metropolitan area then the express run from Dandenong we descended the grade from Drouin to stop at 0955, in the Warragul platform to hand over to the local crew. Considering this was one of the better down runs on this train, the subsequent up journey was a bit of a disappointment. Taking a break, we waited for the up pass, train 8456, which arrived in time for us to get underway again at 1056. In charge of L1160 we made our way back towards Melbourne, with the same stops to, finally, arrive in platform 8 at Spencer St, at 1315, which indicates that we had a terrible run back into Melbourne, since the timetabled arrival was supposed to be 1220. Since I failed to note any problems with the loco or train, like ground relay or accident, there must have been problems with the sparks that delayed us. Relieved by one of the crew working Spencer St standby, we were officially signed off at 1320.
On Friday, we started at 0700 for Spencer St standby duty. Making our way to the station, I didn’t record what we did initially but at 0840 we were tasked with taking B78 on a Jolimont Washdock special, with two ‘candy’ sets, as I described them at the time, N5 and N15. How we achieved this exactly I can’t recall but the easiest way would have been to get the train into platform 8 so we could just depart as normal. Any other departure would have had us pushing carriages around on main lines and been very disruptive to other trains. However, we did it we ran over the old viaduct and then crossed the western throat of Flinders St station to enable us to get into Jolimont yard, adjacent to the, now demolished, workshops. We crawled through the spark washing equipment and, once done, got no. 78 to the other end of the, now, cleaner carriages. Getting a cleared dwarf to depart the yard, we retraced our path back to Spencer St and left the carriages somewhere for further use, at 1230. The activity of the following two, or so, hours went un-noted, before we made our way back to Dynon for a 1500 sign off.
Saturday was OR.
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
Roster A8 had Sunday off.
So, Monday Roy and I signed on at 0815 but whatever we were supposed to run did not happen. Instead, after some time on standby, Manpower called on us to relieve the Upfield SG Pilot. Where the Pilot was at the time we relieved it, and how we got to it, I didn’t record so have no idea now. A taxi is probably the most likely option if it was anywhere other than near Broadmeadows. However we achieved it, we relieved the previous crew and took control of T410 at 1000. We completed whatever work in or around Upfield that they had not been able to do and then prepared to return whatever loading we had to South Dynon yard. Gaining access to the SG main at Somerton, we passed over the suburban lines between Broadmeadows and Jacana then made our way along the line parallel to the Albion goods line, worked our way through Sunshine, past Tottenham yard and back to the SG yard via the Bunbury St tunnel. Leaving the T class at the SG Fuel Point we returned to Manpower, who consigned us to the meal room on standby, once more, until 1515 when he decided that the Fuel Point needed another crew working there. So, in the 45 minutes we spent there we definitely moved 42220 and 42213 from the SG fuel point to the turntable, since I specifically noted those two New South locos. We signed off at 1615 for a full shift for a change.
Tuesday was also changed to an 0840 on for an 0900 Pass Yard Pilot. The original job was also a Pilot but which one is too obscured now to relate. Instead, we made our way to Spencer St and took over Y141, to spend the shift moving carriage rakes around between the Bank Sidings and the platforms, as our team of shunters directed us. We left the loco at 1450 which would have made sense if we were working an 0700 Pilot but rather early for any other start. It is quite likely that we actually returned to Dynon to spend some time on standby before signing off, at 1705.
Wednesday was sign on at 0720 to run the 0755 Horsham Pass, train 8105. B77 was provided as motive power and after departing Spencer St and pausing at Footscray for the ‘pick up’ only, we made good time, travelled via North Geelong, as was usual for this train, to descend into Ballarat at 0958. Our change over, train 9146, up ‘Jet’ was still some distance away so we had a break within the station. We took control of C505 when it came to a halt within platform 2, relieving the western depot crew, at 1055, to be advised that we had well over 1,000 tonnes trailing. We got the train underway to climb the grade up to Warrenheip and then descended the long descent down to North Geelong. This trip is memorable, because it was so hot in the cab that the overalls came off, even though they were bib and brace, not a full boiler suit, in attempt to stay a little cooler. This was a once off for me as far as I can remember; the overalls never came off no matter what but shorts and T-shirt were far more appealing that day, especially in a non-air-conditioned C class cab. The windows of these locos are so small as to minimise any chance at getting a draft in, even if the window was wide open and there is no way you would leave the cab doors open to encourage a breeze, as the racket from the diesel engine guaranteed that wouldn’t happen, ignoring getting yelled at by a driver irritated by the noise! I had one driver insist I close the cab windows one night coming back to Melbourne on the Bendigo line, because it was “too cold”, yet I had them open, leaning out as much as I could, to try to stay awake, using the cold air for that purpose. With the windows shut, I know I succumbed to sleep. So leaving a door open to admit the racket from the engine would have been equalled frowned upon. We ran onto the West line at North Geelong and headed on towards Melbourne. Eventually leaving the train in the Arrivals Yard, we returned the C to the depot at 1628, to sign off at 1640. I’m fairly sure that the overalls stayed in the kit bag for the trip home, as well. Ironically, although this round trip paid 9:36 as mileage, we actually worked a minute longer than that! The day was Ash Wednesday and, on getting home, the news of the numerous bushfires devastating places like Macedon and Cockatoo started to appear on the news.
We started at 0740 on Thursday for the 0855 Shepparton, train 8307. On arrival at Spencer St, we relieve the crew sitting on B80, to organise ourselves for the north bound run and with no Foreman, and their trainee, around I got to stay in the cab for this one. On getting the ‘right away’ Roy got us moving, clearing the junctions around Spencer St and North Melbourne before climbing the grades towards Broadmeadows. After the usual pause there, he got us moving again for the non-stop run to Seymour. Getting underway once more we climbed the grade to Mangalore to pick up the staff and stop all stations. Arrival at Shepparton was 1123, 3 minutes late for reasons unremembered. I cut off, we ran around the rake of carriages, coupled up again and sat out the wait before the departure time of 1225, with train 8316, rolled around. Retracing our path to Seymour we halted there briefly before once more running non-stop to ‘Broady’ and then the final descent down the grade to North Melbourne and drawing to a halt at Spencer St at 1455. We were signed off at 1500, which was hardly enough time for the relief crew to climb into the cab, let alone us get out of it but that didn’t matter as the actual hours worked were irrelevant considering the mileage paid far better.
On Friday, I signed on at 1000 but Roy did not join me. Instead, I worked with Driver Keith Dabkowski, to relieve the, empty, down ‘Apex’, train 9317. This time it definitely came out of Westall as, after the walk to North Melbourne station, we took over from the previous crew at 1030. T390 was leading S310 at the head of the rake. With a clear aspect on the home signal ahead of us, we got the train moving again to pass over the suburban lines between North Melbourne and South Kensington to re-join the Essendon main lines just short of Kensington station. Climbing up the grade on the down side of Essendon, as we approached Jacana, Keith got a warning that S310 had shut down on us. I’m fairly certain that he stopped the train in order to attempt to get the S running again, most likely to the frustration of any spark driver(s) behind us, and Control. The S decided to co-operate and restarted without any serious objections and then continued to run as normal for the rest of the shift. What exactly caused the shutdown, I didn’t record, if we could work it out. Clearing the suburban area, which would have made any number of spark drivers, and their passengers, happy, we continued on to Kilmore East and gained access to the loading siding, where we stopped at 1335. With the locos at the up end of the rake, loading commenced. Once this process was complete, resulting in a load exceeding 1,000 tonnes, giving us the tonnage allowance, and the air brake continuity was confirmed, we drew forward to the dwarf signal protecting access to the up main to get clearance to get underway at 1600, as train 9318. Climbing out of Kilmore East, we made our way back to Broadmeadows where another crew were waiting on the platform, to relieve us of the train. Relieved at 1720, we caught the next spark back towards Dynon, after the ‘Apex’ had cleared the platform, although I’m doubtful that we actually returned to the depot, since our sign off time was 1750.
Saturday was off roster.
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
A1 started with a Sunday OR.
Monday was 0735 for the 0800 P8 Pilot from Tottenham, with Driver Adam Wozniak. We made our way to the depot yard where H5 was tied up waiting for us. Heading to the TR point where I advised the West Tower signalman of our destination, we were cleared to head towards the hump reversing point where we halted, reversed our seats and then proceeded towards Tottenham, via the Independent Goods lines. At Tottenham, we backed into the yard onto our loading, were coupled up, the brakes tested and our shunting crew made themselves known to us. Departing the yard, we headed towards Brooklyn, having collected the staff from the Tottenham signalman, and our various shunting locations. With the inbound loading placed and the outbound wagons collected behind the loco, we made our way back to Tottenham where these wagons were left in the Top Yard. Freed of them, we took the H back to the depot to leave it in the Fuel Point at 1410 and returned to Manpower to sign off at 1430.
On Tuesday I signed on, solo, at 0900, as I had my Evaluation Exam with Gerry Leeman at 0930, instead of running train 8407 ‘the Gippslander’ once more. This exam appears to have taken place somewhere at South Dynon itself, probably in one of the admin spaces within the Maintenance shops, as there is no note about a particular room at Head Office, as I usually noted. All of the effort to attend the VRI classes, inconvenient as they may have been, and the effort put in to learn all that I could, came into play here as I was put through an almost three-hour test of my knowledge. At the end of this, at 1220, Gerry finished with me and sent me on my way back to the depot to report to Manpower. Being sans driver, I ended up in the meal room on standby, until I was called on to assist Driver D Small and run the 1405 Bacchus Marsh pass, train 8119. We made our way to Spencer St where T358 was coupled to the head of the train, to relieve the crew in occupation of the cab. On getting the ‘right away’ we got underway for the usual ‘stopping all stations’ effort of a Bacchus Marsh bound pass, including the staff exchanges. Arrival at ‘the Marsh’ was 1515, where a run-around was performed, so we could form the 1545 up pass, although for some reason I missed recording this trains running number. Departing on the up journey, we made our way back to Spencer St, to arrive 3 minutes early. I made a note of this fact but forgot to actually record the time we stopped at the platform at Spencer St. We returned to Dynon and, I gather there is some missing time here as, we signed off at 1745, which to my mind means we took something like 45 minutes to get back to the depot; an unlike event, unless we were not relieved immediately on arrival at Spencer St, also an unlikely event.
Resuming my more usual duties on Wednesday, I re-joined Roy to actually run the 0826 Bairnsdale, train 8407, that I missed out on the day before, signing on at 0710 for that duty. Class leader L1150. ‘R. G. Wishart’, was at the head of the train when we arrived to take over from the previous crew. Roy received the ‘right away’ and got us moving as far as Flinders St, then on to Caulfield and then Dandenong. As we approached Officer, we could see evidence of the fires of the previous week. The fire had come from the north but was obviously losing momentum, and probably under attack by the CFA still, being only a grass fire at this point, since, although it had jumped the line, burning some sleepers as it went, the blackened grass only extended in a rough semi-circle, of, probably, no more than about 100 metres, to the south of the line. I have a strong feeling that a temporary speed limit had been applied through this stretch, until the damaged sleepers could be replaced and that would account for the loss of about 5 minutes on the timetable. Clear of the suburban lines and fire affected track we continued on, to finally draw to a halt at Warragul at 1000. Temporary speed restrictions were listed in the Weekly Notice bulletin, when that was possible, which is unlikely in this case, due to the unexpected nature of the damage but they were also marked by boards placed lineside for crew use. The first was the warning board, a yellow fishtailed board with a red W on it and another, round, board underneath with the speed limit on it, placed 800 yards from the actual restriction point. 100 yards from the point of the temporary speed limit, another board was passed, a round one with a red C on a yellow background, also with a speed indicating board mounted beneath. In the suburban area, NS boards are placed around 200m from the end of the speed restriction, which permitted a spark to increase speed from that point. These are square with black lettering on a white board. For country trains, an N board was placed, 800 yards past the end of the restriction. These are identical to an NS board in shape and colour, however, with only an N displayed. I can’t provide all metric measurements as my memory is a bit hazy on the exact distances and the only source I could find to refresh my memory was in imperial measurements. In earlier years, these boards had coloured lamps mounted beneath the signs, purple on the W and C boards and green on NS and N boards. With the improvement in headlights, particularly with diesels, there was less need for these coloured lamps but they may have flood lights illuminating them now, something I’m not sure of anymore: it has been a little while since this was all in my working memory! The up pass, train 8456, arrived a little early as we were able to get it moving again at 1055, climbing up the grade towards Drouin, riding in L1160. The speed restriction at Officer came into play, again, since we didn’t draw to a halt at Spencer St until 1230, once again, down a little on the timetable. Relieved, we were signed off at 1240.
Thursday’s start was 0703 for the 0755 Horsham, train 8105. B80 was provided for us to use when we relieved the crew at Spencer St who’d prepared the train for us. Getting underway we headed for North Geelong, as usual, to swing around the curve to North Geelong ‘C’ and head on towards Warrenheip, up the reasonably easy grades. Cresting the climb at Warrenheip and handing up the last staff we dropped down the steeper grade to arrival in platform 1 at Ballarat at 0952. Relieved by the crew taking the train on further we had a break while we waited for the up ‘Jet’, train 9146. Making our way over the footbridge to platform 2 just before 1100 the ‘Jet’ arrived with C506 doing the hard work. We relieved the crew who’d brought it in, did the usual checks and then, with a cleared ‘stick’, departed Ballarat. At Warrenheip, the staff was collected and the pattern of exchanges continued until Gheringhap. Running through the curve from North Geelong ‘C’ to North Geelong ‘A’ we joined the main line and moved on towards North Shore and Melbourne once more, via Tottenham Yard, of course. With the train safely tied up in the Arrivals Yard, the C was released and we returned it to Dynon to be left at Fuel Point at 1525. We made our way back to Manpower and signed off at 1540. No excessive heat or fires this day, thankfully.
Friday was on at 0815 for the 0900 Sydney bound ‘Daylight’, train 8661. Getting ourselves to Spencer St, the loco, in charge of the train, was 42213. With the ‘right away’ given and passed on to Roy by me, he got the train moving past the carriage shed and over the flyover. Passing the SG carriage shed we then crossed the Maribyrnong River and entered Bunbury St tunnel. Running along the dual gauge lines to the up side of Tottenham Yard the BG Independent Goods lines diverged as we continued on past the Yard. The ‘Overland’ can’t have been running too late this day, so after our stop at Sunshine to collect any onward passengers Roy got us moving again. The rest of the trip was completely normal, meaning I don’t remember any specifics of it. Crossing the Murray River into New South Wales, arrival at Albury was 1235 and obviously 42213 remained in place, although whether another New South loco was dropped in front of it, or not, I didn’t record as it had little bearing on me personally, although it was most likely. With no loco to return to Wodonga depot in, we wandered out to the station forecourt to the taxi waiting to collect us for the ride back to Victoria and the depot, where we signed off at 1300.
Saturday was the usual 0510 start at Wodonga Depot to run the ‘Spirit’, train 8632, into Melbourne, off our ‘rest’. After a taxi ride, over the border, to Albury station we waited for the train to roll into the platform. X47 was left on the train upon its arrival at Albury but the NSW loco came off. Taking charge of no. 47, I passed the ‘right away’ to Roy and we re-entered Victoria. This run was similar to the down run of the day before, completely normal and completely forgettable! Arrival at Spencer St platform 1 was 1000, where we were relieved and signed off at 1015.

Neil
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
I was recently asked how many enginemen were based at South Dynon in my era. Part of my answer referred to different classes that took firemen off the locos for a while. This post covers one of these classes.

Instead of rolling onto A2, I came off A roster, and the locos for some time, to attend ‘Diesel class’. As I made a note of the jobs on A2 I’ll list what they were, where I can:

Sunday, February 27, was rostered off;
Monday was 0710 for the 0826 Traralgon pass, train 8407, returning with the 1056 up pass, train 8456;
Tuesday was 0740 for the 0855 Shepparton pass, train 8313 and return with 8324, the 1225 up;
Wednesday was on for the down, empty, ‘Apex’ to Kilmore East, trains 9317 and 9318, being the up, loaded, train;
Thursday was 1215 for a Geelong ‘double’, 1300 and 1600 down pass, trains 8233 and 8247 with the corresponding 1430 and 1740 up, trains 8246 and 8268;
Friday was the same job as Thursday;
Saturday has 1215 on for a Bendigo pass noted but no train number other than 80--, yet I have written in L11-- as a loco, so there would appear to have been a Warragul alternative in there somewhere, as well.

So, Monday, I signed on at 0730 to attend the first day of this class with various other senior firemen, including my remaining class mates from 1979, all freshly replaced on their ‘Big Wheel’ rosters by slightly more junior classes of firemen. Together, the group of us sat in a classroom, under the tuition of Dick Ziems, to learn the intricacies of a diesel-electric locomotive, very specifically Clyde-GM versions. Topics covered would have included how to deal with a Ground Relay and also the Generator Field Switch, amongst the many other, similar, topics. This latter was a toggle switch on the control panel that enabled the generator to develop current. If turned off, you could throttle up the diesel but the loco would not move, except by gravity. This switch was quite a trap for the novice, especially if someone was trying to pull a prank on you. I’m fairly certain that I was caught out by this, at least once, in earlier years of my career; probably why I remember it so specifically. The class wrapped up at 1530 and we somehow cribbed an extra 30 minutes before our official sign off for the day. One day was insufficient to cover all of the subjects required to cover this topic, so for the rest of the week the bunch of us signed on at 0730 to spend more time with Dick, successfully signing off at 1600 every day, although the class finished at different times, ranging between 1500 on the Friday and 1520 on Tuesday. Although there would have been a lot of information acquired during this time, I had absolutely no memory of this class until I found the 1983 diary again, although it does explain what knowledge I still have of the workings of diesel electric locos.
The roster clerk left me alone for the whole weekend.

The following week was pretty much a duplicate of the previous one; on at 0730 every day to spend time learning more from Dick and, still officially, finishing at 1600. The classes were over between 1510 and 1515 this week, with the possible exception of Friday, since I failed to note when the class finished this day.
However, this Saturday I was written into the roster to sign on at 0700 to relieve the 0630 up Geelong pass. Who the driver was I didn’t note but the pair of us got ourselves to Spencer St station in time to relieve the crew of this train at 0745. We took control of B64 and maintained control of it but not for another passenger train. Instead, we, and the loco, formed the Maribyrnong Pilot. This would have required us to run over the flyover and, most likely, around the old ‘Spirit’ reversing loop which encircled the Ways and Works sidings and the North Melbourne Wagon workshops. This loop wasn’t a line that was used all that often in those days so it was a memorable occasion when it was traversed. Once beneath the hump we then reversed into the Centre Yard, travelling under the hump proper and then the A/B balloon leads. Coupled up and the train tested, we then departed for South Kensington and the main line to access the Maribyrnong line. On arrival, we shunted things around for some time before departing to return to Melbourne Yard. We left the B class at Fuel Point at 1305 and I signed off at 1315, to have Sunday OR.

Considering Monday was the Labour Day public holiday none of us complained about spending time in a classroom to get paid time and a half. The third week of ‘Diesel class’ was pretty much like the first two with both start and finish times the same, just varying end of class times between 1500 on the Friday and 1510 or 1515 for the rest of the week. Being in close proximity to the Maintenance shops I have an idea that we made the short walk there, probably more than once, to check out some finer points on the real thing, instead of reading or being told about it.
The roster clerk left me alone, again, on this Saturday.

Neil
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
Reverting to the goods roster, the roster clerk put me onto 179N which had Sunday off. This change in pace provided far more variability to my working shifts once more, in some ways for the better, but also re-introduced true night shift, which was not so appreciated.

So, Monday was 2030 on with Driver J Stewart to run the 2155 Tottenham Yard to Geelong goods, train 9285. We located T374, stabled somewhere on the depot and headed for the TR point and then ‘light’ to Tottenham, as train 9285. Once at Tottenham we reversed onto our train, coupled up and did the usual examination. With everything ready to go, we were given the all clear to move onto the down Independent Goods line and from there across the bridge over the suburban lines, staff on board, collected from the signalman at Tottenham. With a full exchange at Brooklyn, we continued on towards Newport, where we ran behind the signalbox, handing up the staff as we did so. Joining the main line before Newport South junction we continued on our way, more than likely on the East line. We passed through Werribee, Little River, Lara, Corio, North Shore to, most likely, terminate in North Geelong Yard, on the down side of the running lines, at 0010. The next sequence of events is unclear now but we moved T374 to the departure roads adjacent to ‘A’ box on the other side of the main lines, somehow added T322 to the down end of T374, probably brought off the depot by a Geelong crew and possibly dropped onto the train before we could manoeuvre no. 374 onto the up load and prepared to run the 0040 up, train 9204 to North Melbourne. This didn’t really give us any time for a meal break, so whether we had it on the move, or paused somewhere, at some point during the up run, I can’t relate. Whatever happened, we got the train moving, after the usual examination, to make our way back to Newport and, more than likely, via Brooklyn, Tottenham and the Up Independent Goods lines to the Arrivals Yard. The paired T class were released from the train and returned to Fuel Point at 0320. Sign off was at 0337.
Tuesdays start was 1530, which was an afternoon shift start, not a night shift one, but this was because I had an interview scheduled at 1600, with Gerald Dee, in room 226 at Spencer St Headquarters, and Mr Dee was not going to work night shift hours just to suit the roster that I had been placed on. Making my way to Spencer St Headquarters, I spent 20 minutes in the interview with Gerald and was, obviously, deemed suitable to continue working towards becoming a driver, since I must, also, have passed my recent Evaluation Exam. Post interview, I made my way back to Dynon to meet up with Driver Stewart, again, when he signed on. Together, we were rostered to the job of running the 1802 Shepparton pass to Broadmeadows, with B66. Although this was what we were rostered to work, the job occupies a very small part of one line of my diary, with no timing details at all, so all I can report is that we ran up the grade to be relieved at Broadmeadows and then returned to Dynon ‘travelling per’. Back on the depot, we spent some time on standby before Manpower gave us another job, this one to run the 2130 Bacchus Marsh pass, train 8145. B83 was allocated to run the train, stopping all stations from Sunshine, collecting the staff from Rockbank, then exchanging it at Melton and Parwan to hand it up at ‘the Marsh’, on arrival at 2225. Once the passengers had all cleared the carriages, we pushed back onto the main line so we could clear the points for the sidings. Running forward into the sidings we stopped clear of any fouling point and, once the carriage rake was secured with hand brakes, uncoupled the loco. Moving back to the up end of the yard we then waited for a chance to access the main line again, with the white tail disc up and red markers lights displayed at the down end of the loco. The signalman handed us the staff, for Parwan, after clearing the road and dwarf for us, allowing us to depart ‘light’ to make our way back towards Melbourne, at 2300, as train 0102. With more staff exchanges on the return, which may well have been performed using the auto staff exchanger, since there was little need for us to slow down unless to cross another train, we made our way back to Dynon where B83 was left at the Fuel Point at 0115 and we signed off at 0140, which for me meant 10:10 on duty, courtesy of the afternoon shift start.
Wednesday was on at 1711, with Driver N Stephenson for the 1826 Sale bound pass. However, this wasn’t what was originally rostered, although I can’t tell what the intended job was anymore but its sign on appears to have been a few hours later than I actually started, which would match the starting times of 179N more closely than this one. We took over L1173 at Spencer St, to run train 8430 between Spencer and Flinders St, changing to 8431 from Flinders St. Getting underway after getting the ‘right away’ we crossed the original viaduct to stop at platform 1 at Flinders St. After the usual stops, en route, to Dandenong, we then ran non-stop on to Warragul, without having to worry the temporary speed restriction from the damaged sleepers at Officer, as they had been replaced by this stage. Arrival at Warragul was 1957, where we handed over the train to a local crew to continue on towards Traralgon and Sale. We had no train to bring back ourselves, so, instead, we crossed to the up platform where a goods, either drew in immediately or was already waiting, for our arrival, to depart. We took possession of the trailing cab, of L1161, so we could ‘travel per’ back to Dynon, with another Dynon crew in the leading cab, having taken over from an eastern depot one. The crew up front got the train moving at 2000, which didn’t give us a lot of time to get from the far end of the down platform to the opposite end of the up one. We took it easy during the run back to the Arrivals Yard where the train was tied up, for preparation for humping and the L uncoupled. With the loco left for sanding, and any minor maintenance issues to be tended to, at Fuel Point at 2340 both crews returned to Manpower. We signed off at 0014.
Thursday was back working with Driver Stewart, on at 2115, for the 2230 down Ford train out of Newport, train 9281, although being pay day I would have been in briefly at some early time in the day, though I’m sure I didn’t come in just prior to the pay office closing and then hang around, as that would have been a long wait. We made our way to North Melbourne station to catch the first Newport bound spark to get ourselves to where we could relieve the crew bringing the train from Upfield. We waited in the signalbox for the goods to pull into the road behind the ‘box and then climbed up into the cab of T390 to relieve the previous crew. Getting the train underway once more, we moved onto the main line and headed on towards Geelong. We ran through Corio and, although it is not explicitly recorded, I would say, we terminated in sidings at North Shore, at 2335. The reason I say this is because, once uncoupled from the train we’d just arrived with, we moved T390 to where another rake of the Ford, VBFW, wagons were tied up, so we could form the 0001 North Shore to Newport, train 9210. If we took the down train into North Geelong Yard, we’d have been beyond the point they were to be delivered to and would also be left with very little time to get to the North Shore sidings, where the up train was definitely waiting for a loco, as I specifically noted the up train departed from North Shore. With a continuity test completed, we were ready to go, once the dwarf signal cleared to permit us to return to the East line. Powering away from the sidings at North Shore, we made our way back towards Melbourne once more, although whether we crossed to the West line for the whole journey or did that near Newport South junction, I didn’t record. On approach to Newport station, we were diverted into the back road, where we were relieved by another Dynon crew, to then return to the depot by the same taxi that had delivered our relief to Newport. Presenting ourselves to Manpower, at 0245, we hardly had time to sit down before being tasked to relieve an up SG goods in South Dynon yard. Making our way into the Yard by foot, we relieved a Wodonga crew of 42211, at 0310, to enable them to go to their hotel and rest up before their return train, much later in the day. Uncoupled from the train, we moved the loco onto the main line, past the cleared up dwarf signal to stop beyond the down home signal, protecting the left hand points leading into the depot and right hand ones leading into the Yard. We changed cabs and then, when the home signal showed a low speed warning aspect, moved into the depot, past the SG turntable to leave the loco at the SG Fuel Point, in the hands of a fitter. Returning to Manpower, at 0335, since we were less than an hour from the finishing time of a standard shift, there was no Fuel Point duty for this final 40 minutes, so we actually got to sit out our time, signing off at 0415.
Friday’s start was 1830, with Driver L Melli, although exactly what the rostered job was I’m not sure, but we appear to have been taken off that or it was cancelled. Instead, after some time on standby Manpower allocated us to relieve a down Geelong bound goods, departing from North Melbourne. We set off on our way walking along the SG trackside path to North Melbourne station. The train drew to a halt near us, hauled by T321, and we took over at 2030 to get the train moving once more. I can’t relate whether we travelled directly to Newport along the suburban lines or if we diverted via Tottenham Yard. I’m inclined to say that we took the more direct route since this train was most likely coming through from Lyndhurst, a load of empty cement wagons. From Newport, we ran on to North Geelong Yard, although I failed to note our arrival time. With the loco uncoupled we returned to the main line at North Geelong station, having run through the length of the yard, for a change, to take the loco to Geelong loco’s Fuel Point. With the loco in the hands of the local fitters, we entered the depot where the local Manpower clerk had lined up a taxi for us to get us back to South Dynon since there was no train available for us to run, or travel ‘per’ on. When the taxi arrived, we climbed in and sat out the drive all the way back to North Melbourne. Deposited in the depot car park we made our way to Manpower to sign off at 0145.
Saturday was OR.

Neil
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
Another of the classes taking firemen off the locos

My reversion to the goods roster was short lived, although I noted that if I had stayed on the locos, moving onto roster 180A, I would have worked the Bogie Exchange Pilot on the Sunday starting at 0910. Instead, the three of us, remaining from the January 1979 induction course, went into another classroom, from Monday March 28th, still with others from the classes on either side of us, starting at 0700, until sign off at 1500, for ‘Roads and Signals class’. Lloyd Hocking was in charge of this ragtag bunch and organised us so that we were each sitting at a table with a large pile of the latest, full sized, meaning approximately A2 sized, signal diagrams, the same as found on the VictorianRailways.net website, with pens and paper to write a description of where each signal, on every (signal) post, would take you, within the suburban area. We did this for four days, finishing up each day at 1445, before the Easter long weekend intervened. We then had the Friday until the following Tuesday rostered off. Someone had worked out there was no need to pay a group of firemen extra money for working public holidays while doing little more than writing out road and signal descriptions. If I was still following the roster, 181D would have had me working a SG Goods Pilot on the Tuesday, assuming it ran.

Resuming our places for the second week, on the Wednesday, we picked up where we had left off and did this for another three days before the weekend, and the roster clerk, gave me two days off. Working day shift, within the depot, made it easy to collect my pay on the Thursday.

Returning to Dynon on the Monday, for the third week, still starting at 0700, Lloyd paired us all up and sent us off in different directions with the task of actually visiting the whole suburban area. One of my remaining classmates and I were told to do the Glen Waverley, Port Melbourne, Sandringham and St Kilda lines. Being young, we were, perhaps, not as diligent as we were supposed to be, in getting to every yard and seeing every signal but we at least travelled to the end of each of these lines, this day and those that followed.
Tuesday’s routes to check out were the Frankston and Dandenong lines and this day is particularly memorable. We made our way to Flinders St to catch a spark from there to Frankston. We travelled back to Caulfield and then changed trains to do the Dandenong line. After checking the signals in the yard at Dandenong, we made our way back to the station where we travelled to Caulfield. We left the spark there and quickly checked the small yard before returning to the station. An up Frankston pulled in and the driver, seeing two youths in VR overalls called us into the cab, not the first time that this happened to us during these travels and certainly not the last. We joined him and he promptly had me in the driving seat, again not for the first time, nor the last. I’m certain that both of us got a fair few kilometres under our belts driving sparks during this time. Spark drivers saw the overalls and regularly invited us to join them, so they could talk ‘shop’ with others who understood the lingo and a drive was almost as frequently offered as we were obviously senior fireman, with at least 4 years’ experience under our belts, to be doing ‘Roads and Signals’. The train that I was now in charge of was a Hitachi and the driver asked if we knew anything about these sparks. We obviously didn’t know a lot, so he suggested I follow his instructions. Being an express to Richmond we had no stops to make so going through Toorak the spark driver told me to give it full throttle, which I did. We rapidly gained speed down the grade towards Hawksburn and the 40kph curve under the Williams St bridge beyond. He told me to shut off power, which I did, and then told me to apply the brakes fully but only when he told me to. We approached the curve rapidly, travelling flat out. I was getting a bit toey about not getting around the curve without derailing when he told me to hit the brakes. I did as I was told and the train nose-dived so hard that I had to kick the brakes off and apply a little power before we reached the curve board as we had nearly stopped. I don’t know what the passengers on board would have thought was going on but it was a good demonstration of the braking ability of the Hitachi’s! The rest of the journey to Flinders St was driven in a more normal manner, probably to the relief of the passengers, and, to be honest, me as well.
On Wednesday the lines we travelled were the Lilydale, Belgrave and Alamein.
On Thursday we made our way out to Hurstbridge, which included walking into the stabling sidings beyond the platform to check out the various dwarf signals there and then visited Epping, a quite uninspiring dead end single platform then, compared to now with the train maintenance depot and extension to Mernda.
Friday, we did the Altona, Williamstown and St Albans lines. Werribee was still being run by diesel hauled trains; electrification was underway, but incomplete at this point in time, so we didn’t have to cover that line as it was still regarded as ‘country’, at least, for a while longer.
Come Saturday, the roster clerk decided I needed to earn my keep a bit, so I signed on at 0725. I joined Driver M Stanford for the 0800 Maribyrnong, once more. There was something about this job, which I can’t explain, that the Roster clerk put me on it relatively regularly through this period. Maybe he was permitting too many goods roster fireman the day off and had to cover it with those like me who were not on a regular rotation? Whatever the situation, we took T’s no. 328 and 374 off the pit to the Centre Yard to collect whatever was offering, which, as it turned out, was quite a bit. Although I didn’t record the weight, or for how long we worked with it, I did note that we earned the tonnage allowance, meaning the train weighed over 1,000 tonnes. Dragging this load as far as the Maribyrnong River Junction and then along the branch to the terminal we shunted the newly delivered wagons to wherever they were required. We continued moving wagons around, to eventually made up the return load, to tow it back to the junction and then into Melbourne Yard where we left it and returned the paired T class to Fuel Point. We made our presence felt at the Manpower window to sign off at 1515.

Neil
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
Picking up from the last post

Week four began, signing on once more at 0700, on Monday. Lloyd sent us all off again, in the same pairs, this time on our way to Upfield and Broadmeadows. That was the easy part of the day, but as he also insisted we do the Flemington Racecourse line, with no sparks running, we had to do this the hard way; by walking from Newmarket station to the Racecourse platforms and then all the way back again. In retrospect, it is a little amazing that we actually bothered to do this! We earned our money that day, as well as sore feet, before the usual sign off at 1500.
Tuesday and Wednesday we were back to sitting in the classroom again, although I’m not sure exactly what we were doing for these two days, although it was probably reviewing the suburban lines we had just toured in preparation for the final two days of the week.
On Thursday, Lloyd was replaced by Gerry Leeman, who set us to the task of writing out the all of the important locations in the suburban area. This, from memory, was under, something like, exam conditions. We were responsible for our own work, and couldn’t rely on someone else to help us out if we had a problem, as all of the work we were doing was going to be signed by us, as an official record of our knowledge and understanding of the roads and the signals that applied to them, that we were potentially going to work in the future as drivers. On Friday, we finished off writing out the suburban area. Our work, once complete, was checked to confirm we knew what we were supposed to and anyone who did badly would have had to have another attempt since someone who didn’t understand what they were looking at, or where they were heading, would be a hazard to any other trains in the immediate area. Not understanding what the signal in front of you was indicating you were to go was, and still is, a hazard that causes accidents. The weekend was something to look forward to, especially when the roster clerk allowed me the whole weekend off, with Monday being a bonus in the form of ANZAC day.

Week five started with Tuesday being the final day of writing out the suburban area but Bruce Wright took over from Gerry in supervising our writing efforts.
On Wednesday, we reverted to studying signal diagrams, this time of the country area, under the supervision of Brian Pritchard and we continued doing this through Thursday.
On Friday, we were all directed to visit different country locations, in pairs once more. The same pair of us signed on at 0725 to travel ‘per’ on the 0755 Horsham running, via North Geelong, to visit Ballarat. We hiked to North Melbourne to make the trip to Spencer St and boarded the train for the ride there and proceeded to wander around Ballarat environs for a while before taking a break. I’m no longer one hundred percent sure but it is most likely that we were supposed to travel in the loco cab to view the line, junctions and signals en route, even though we had been covering these routes for over four years as firemen. This time it would have been to focus our attention on the line from a driver’s perspective. Our return travel was the 1445 from Ballarat which we got back to Dynon from, to sign off at 1655 for a worked day of 9:30 hours, spent largely sitting on our rear ends; although you wouldn’t have heard us complain about it too much, I’m sure.

The sixth week of ‘Roads and Signals’ started on Monday with sign on at 0756, told, by Brian, to ride the 0825 Bairnsdale to Warragul to check out the yard there. The return ride was the 1056 up so there was no way that we weren’t back in the classroom by 1300, filling our time with something I don’t remember anymore. Sign off was once more at 1500 but I noted that the day paid 8 hours anyway.
Tuesday was an 0750 start to travel to Geelong on the 0835 Warrnambool. We had obviously been told to check out more than just the Geelong station yard as we caught the 1430 up back to Melbourne which enabled us to be back at Dynon by 1605 for an eight-hour day.
Wednesdays start was an earlier one as we were off to Bendigo. Signing on at 0720, we ended up going to the bus terminal at Spencer St to travel ‘per’ on a bus to get there. After checking out more than just the station yard, as I remember wandering around some of Bendigo town centre, we travelled back on the 1400 pass. This resulted in us not getting back to Dynon until 1635 so gained another long day having done very little actual work, once again.
On Thursday, we signed on at 0725 to travel on the 0755 Albury to Seymour. Seymour yard was not something that should have taken long but we were travelling back on the 1340 so would have had a fair bit of time to spare. We were able to get back to the depot for another 8-hour day.
Friday, we once again visited Ballarat, this time signing on at 0825 to travel on the 0855 which ran directly via Bacchus Marsh but back on the same train as the previous Friday, namely the 1445. This still gave us an extra 30 minutes of time signed on.

After the weekend off, for our final week of this ‘class’, we signed on at 0700 for another run to Bendigo, this time actually on a loco, on the 0750 down. This repeat was, probably, due to the fact that a bus could not provide us with a very good view of the rail line. Knowing the Calder Highway would be little use to a train driver! The return was, again, the 1400 up for another long day.
Tuesday was 0725 on for yet another trip on the Ballarat line, once more travelling on the 0755 Horsham, only this time the return was on the 1055 up ‘Jet’, so definitely in the cab, the pair of us getting in the way of the working fireman as he tried to do his normal duties, since this was a ‘Big Wheel’ job, covered, as you have read about, reasonably often only recently. This appears to have been a fairly slow trip as sign off time was not until 1710 and we travelled on the ‘Jet’ solely because it ran via North Geelong so we could get a view of the Ballarat to Geelong line on the up journey, since up passenger trains rarely covered this route.
Interestingly, in a sign pointing to the future, we did not travel to Korrumburra, possibly since the only location with any vague complexity was ‘the Burra’ itself and it wasn’t really that complex. Added to that was the limited opportunity for Dynon crews to actually travel all the way there, so it must have been deemed unnecessary to visit, unless someone forgot to task us to do that line. It is almost guaranteed that we still wrote out the important locations of that line. Considering that we were expected to travel the Alamein, St Kilda and Sandringham suburban lines, during the first four weeks of this class, which were extremely rarely visited by Dynon crews, this is a little surprising now that I think about it; at the time I didn’t even consider it.
On Wednesday we reverted to the classroom, once more; probably for a final review of the country lines, working 0700 to 1500 again.
Thursday was 0700 again, this time to write out the important country area stations, in the same way as we’d already done for the suburban ones over two weeks earlier. We wrote until 1500 then packed it in for the day.
On Friday, we resumed at 0700 to finish off what we hadn’t completed the day before. At 1030, I handed over my collection of writings to Brian and made my way to the main depot building to report to Manpower, unsurprisingly, to go onto standby. At 1130, I was called out to join Driver A Moriarty tasked, together, to relieve the P2 Pilot. We travelled to somewhere near where the Pilot was working which was somewhere reasonably remote as I noted we took over the Pilot at 1320 but the previous crew had nearly done everything as we returned to Tottenham Yard at 1440, to leave the wagons there and return to Dynon LE. Sign off was 1515 with Saturday was OR.

Neil
  Djebel Chief Train Controller

G'day Neil,

I notice you didn't mention travelling to Healesville either, only Lilydale.  Just wondered if there was a special reason for this.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
Interesting to see the role played by my old friend, the late Gerry Lehmann. I never knew that he had been involved with instructing and training as you described.
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
G'day Neil,

I notice you didn't mention travelling to Healesville either, only Lilydale.  Just wondered if there was a special reason for this.
Djebel
Most likely due, largely, to the fact that the line past Coldstream was closed completely in December 1980 and only a few goods ran to Coldstream before the final closure on the 10th of March 1983, which was the second Thursday that I was sitting in Diesel class.
In any event, even if the line had stayed open as far as Coldstream, there would have been no safeworking infrastructure there, as I'm fairly certain there wouldn't be a need for more than one train a week, if that. Based on those assumptions, we would, firstly, have had trouble travelling that bit of line on a train, due to their rarity (and I seriously doubt anyone would insist on us walking that bit, unlike the Racecourse line) and, secondly, there wouldn't really have been anything to look at! A runaround loop at the most, if that, would have sufficed for the volume of traffic offering.
On a slightly different note, I did ride the Walker railmotor from Lilydale to Healesville, and back, at least two years before it closed, so I did cover that line, in addition to all of the ones I actually worked over.

Neil
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
Interesting to see the role played by my old friend, the late Gerry Lehmann. I never knew that he had been involved with instructing and training as you described.
Valvegear
Oops; obviously never asked him how his surname was spelt as I just took his name straight out of my diary! Thanks for the correction and no insult was intended to him (or anyone else whose name has been mis-recorded along the way).

Neil
  Djebel Chief Train Controller

G'day Neil,

I notice you didn't mention travelling to Healesville either, only Lilydale.  Just wondered if there was a special reason for this.
Most likely due, largely, to the fact that the line past Coldstream was closed completely in December 1980 and only a few goods ran to Coldstream before the final closure on the 10th of March 1983, which was the second Thursday that I was sitting in Diesel class.
In any event, even if the line had stayed open as far as Coldstream, there would have been no safeworking infrastructure there, as I'm fairly certain there wouldn't be a need for more than one train a week, if that. Based on those assumptions, we would, firstly, have had trouble travelling that bit of line on a train, due to their rarity (and I seriously doubt anyone would insist on us walking that bit, unlike the Racecourse line) and, secondly, there wouldn't really have been anything to look at! A runaround loop at the most, if that, would have sufficed for the volume of traffic offering.
On a slightly different note, I did ride the Walker railmotor from Lilydale to Healesville, and back, at least two years before it closed, so I did cover that line, in addition to all of the ones I actually worked over.

Neil
ngarner
Fair enough.  For some reason I thought the Coldstream section remained open into the 90s Confused.
  hbedriver Deputy Commissioner

By the 1980's, the Coldstream was only used seasonally as I recall it. Traffic was superphosphate. I was on the final trip, a light loco (B65 or 75, one of only two locos left in blue/gold at that time), we ran out from South Dynon light loco to pick up 4 or 5 empty ELX-type wagons; that was I think in mid-1991. Heck that was 30 years ago; hasn't time flown!
One more rail movement went towards there perhaps a year or so later; a Hitachi train rolled away from Lilydale overnight (their handbrakes were always useless), and a T class was sent out to recover it.

Keep posting, Neil; I think lots of use are enjoying the memories. Several of the other drivers you mention are still around.
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
Returning to working on the locos again, my time on the ‘Big Wheel’ was definitely now behind me, so the roster clerk found me a vacant roster in the form of 135A, starting on the Sunday with 1400 Fuel Point duty. Initially, I worked with Driver Ray Pizzica, but at some point in the shift, he signed off and instead I worked with Driver G Sandford to complete my shift. We left the Fuel Point crew room at 2130 to sign off at 2200.
Monday’s start was 1410, once more with Ray Pizzica, for the 1525 Geelong pass, train 8243. So, we got ourselves to Spencer St and relieved the crew who were occupying the cab of B75. At departure time, Ray notched up the B class and we set off towards Newport and Geelong. I’m inclined to think that this was an all stations but with no more information recorded I can’t confirm that. That said, we drew into Geelong station at 1635 and, I’m fairly sure, were relieved. Whether we stayed at the station or made our way to Geelong depot is another unknown but we were eventually picked up by a taxi from wherever we were. The taxi took us to Gheringhap where we were to relieve the up goods that was our return to Melbourne. Train 9142 arrived at Gheringhap with S309 leading sister 315 and a trailing load of 1,175 tonnes. Relieving the local crew, who climbed into the waiting taxi and disappeared in the direction of Geelong, we took over no. 309 and got the train underway once more, heading for North Geelong ‘C’ box and the linking curve towards the Melbourne main line. Rounding this curve, we moved on towards North Shore to continue our run back to Melbourne. At Newport we passed along the back road, collected the staff for Brooklyn and continued along the East line to enable us to get to Tottenham. Changing the staff at Brooklyn, we climbed the grade over road and suburban rail line to hand up the staff at Tottenham box and join the Up Independent Goods line. Continuing on past the yard we join the dual gauge lines at West Footscray, ran through the Bunbury St tunnel, across the Maribyrnong River and then towards South Kensington, past the North Dynon Yard access, climbed up the grade to Spion Kop and entered the Arrivals Yard. With the paired S class uncoupled we left the yard to stop beneath the hump and change to no. 315 for the short run back into the depot, where we left the locos at 2110. Sign off was at 2125.
Tuesday was on at 1450, with Driver Pat Murnane, to take the Ford train from Newport to Upfield, train 9260. However, before we headed for Newport, Manpower made use of us to take T363 to Spencer St station, so we found the T and took it to the TR point, over the flyover and into the station until another crew relived us at 1530. With this task complete, we caught the next spark to Newport to wait for the up goods and our rostered job. It’s possible that the goods was running behind time, which allowed Manpower, to make use of our starting when we did, to get the T class where it was wanted. At 1605, we relieved the inbound crew of T346 in the back road. The signalman provided us with the staff and, this time, we would have used the West line as we were heading for Sunshine, not Tottenham. Getting access to the suburban lines at Sunshine we ran onto them, crossed the Ballarat junction, ran on towards Albion and then diverged onto the Albion Loop line. Crossing the viaducts on our way to Broadmeadows we entered the loop and drew to a halt at the down end to wait for access to Broadmeadows station itself. When the ‘stick’ cleared, we climbed up the short grade to then pass through the platform and moved on to climb the grade to Somerton and gain access to the sidings, across the SG line, to enable the run around. After I coupled, we moved the T to the other end of the train, recoupled and drew up to the dwarf protecting the single, dual gauge, line leading to the Ford factory. When the dwarf gave us a proceed aspect we descended the grade to stop short of the scotch block so the guard could admit us to the sidings. My notes indicate that Pat gave me control of the train, however I didn’t note between which locations, so I may have driven the whole trip from Newport or only a shorter length. As I noted that I also drove on the down run I may have done the whole shift in the driver’s seat. Based on my notes from Thursday, it would appear that this is more likely. Once in the Ford sidings, at 2000, we proceeded to shunt the train, as needed, and collect the train for the down run. This process took us an hour, which probably included a meal break. With the train brakes checked, at 2100, we set off up the grade to return to Somerton, as train 9281. Retracing our path, we arrived in road behind the signal box at 2300, to be relieved by another crew. Interestingly, we were signed off at 2336 which suggests to me that we got back to Dynon by taxi, not spark, somewhat unusually since it was normal for crew to travel ‘per’ by taxi only when the sparks were not running.
Signing on at 1424 on Wednesday, I worked with Driver K Hambleton, to run the loaded up ‘Apex’ to Westall, train 9316, from Broadmeadows. We got ourselves to ‘Broady’, by spark, and relieved the incoming, ‘Big Wheel’ crew, at 1500. Taking control of S307 and T338, with 1310 tonnes of train, we got underway to use the dynamic brake of no. 307 to help control the descent the grade to North Melbourne then ran along the suburban lines through Spencer and Flinders St stations. Over the Yarra River, more power was applied to get us up the grades to Malvern and we continued on to Westall, to enter the loop road there at 1630. Pushing the train back into the unloading siding, I was then given control of the locos for this process. With the unloading completed, I moved the train back into the loop, then handed control back so I could uncouple the locos for the run-around. With the locos coupled at the up end, and the T now leading, we prepared to get underway back towards Melbourne. The dwarf cleared at 2105, so we got the empty train, now known as no. 9337, moving, back onto the main line. Moving back the along the path we’d taken earlier with the loaded train, we continued to North Melbourne station where another crew were standing on the platform waiting for us. Relieved at 2140, we made the trek back to the depot to sign off at 2200. The slightly shorter shift would have been compensated by the fact that we were paid four hours of the tonnage allowance.
Thursday was a 1500 start, although the job rostered appears to have been cancelled and Driver W Pierorazio and I ended up doing a mixed bag of tasks. Our first task was to collect our pay but that should have happened before our official sign on. Our first task, after sign on, was to get to Spencer St, so we could run a 1615 empty cars from Spencer St to Flinders St as train 8422. We took control of L1170 and, with everything in order, departed platform 8 to run over the old viaduct into Flinders St platform 1 where an eastern crew relieved us and prepared to run the train as train 8423, with passengers. We were off L1170 at 1635, to then change platforms so we could catch a spark to Caulfield, where we were to relieve the up Long Island, train 9530. T382, and train arrived, although whether that was into the sidings adjacent to the Frankston line or the middle road between the platforms, out of the way of sparks I didn’t record. Either way the existing crew were relieved and headed back to the depot by spark. We were in control of the T class from 1715, and dragged the train onto the main lines towards Flinders St, when the signal cleared for our departure. Once over the peak of the grade near Malvern, the T was allowed to coast down the grade to South Yarra, with the air brakes applied, as required, to control train speed. Rolling around the curve under William St, power was applied to keep the train moving across the Yarra River, thorough Richmond and the maze of spark stabling sidings onto the Special lines leading to the centre road, No. 12, between platforms 9 and 10 and onto the new viaduct when the road, and signal, was clear. After crossing the viaduct, we diverted onto the Goods lines at Viaduct Junction and continued on towards Spion Kop to then continue around onto the Through Goods lines over Dynon Rd, the Maribyrnong River and on to Tottenham Yard. At that Yard we pushed the train back into the Yard, where the T was uncoupled, to enable a light engine return to Dynon. The return trip re-traced our path as far as the Arrivals Yard diverging so we could reverse beneath the hump and deliver the loco to Fuel Point. We presented ourselves to Manpower at 1915 to be directed to the meal room for a stint of doing nothing. Eventually, we were called on to relieve the Shed Pilot so we walked over to the Canal Yard in search of Y119 and its crew. We took over, from the previous crew, at 2130 and worked with the shunting team until they told us we’d completed everything needed. Whether we tied the loco up in the Canal Yard, or returned it to Dynon, I didn’t record but we were finished with it at 2210, which meant more standby time in the meal room, although sign off wasn’t until 2325, which is now a bit of a mystery to me as that puts me over 8 hours on duty, unless I signed on 25 minutes before Driver Pierorazio and I stuck out the shift to finish with him.
Friday and Saturday were both rostered off. This constant change of drivers continued over the next few weeks, as you will see, which suggests that the driver usually working this roster was either on leave or no one was allocated to it. The latter would be unlikely, in my opinion.

Neil
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
Roster 136D began with Sunday off.
Mondays starting time was 0635 to work the 0700 Trimmer Pilot, with Driver G Dixon. We walked up towards North Melbourne, to make our way to where F201 was idling in the Trimmer siding, with the night shift crew, possibly still in the Trimmer cabin, although I would be surprised if they hadn’t already departed by the time we got there. Settling into the cabin we waited for the call out to rescue any stray wagons. By my notes, it appears that a reasonable number were rescued as I recorded that I drove for half the shift, which considering we actually sat in the cabin for the bulk of the shift suggests a reasonable number of calls on us and no. 201. Considering the boredom that this job could generate, the more rescues, the better, except on the night shift! For some reason we waited for the afternoon shift to arrive, which occurred at 1510, and somewhat more surprising was that we were officially signed off at 1535, for a 9-hour shift; not the norm for a Melbourne Yard Pilot.
Tuesday’s start was 0640, with Driver R Oaff, for an 0700 SG Goods Pilot. The fact that the first two days of this roster were Melbourne Yard Pilots would prepare someone with a reasonable knowledge of the South Dynon rosters, in that era, to consider that the whole week would be Yard Pilots, yet these were the only two Pilots for the week, not that I would have complained about that. We walked out to the SG Yard to where Y101 was tied up waiting for us. I released the hand brake, checked the tool kit and other essentials and we got to work. After working both North and South Dynon Yards through the shift, we tied up the loco near the east end of the yard, at 1435, so we could walk back to the depot through the gap in the fence lining the standard gauge main through the Dynon area, where the Yard and depot access points were. Sign off was at 1500.
I signed on at 0715 on Wednesday, to work with Driver Trevor Penn on another mixed bag of jobs. Our tasked job was to take out the loco for the ICD, the 0900 ‘Daylight’, train 8661. New South Wales loco 42217 was stabled on the SG turntable. Checking it out before releasing the hand brake, I then went to the turntable cabin and aligned it to the road the 422 was in. Trevor moved the loco onto the table so I could then align the table with the eastern departure road. With the locking pawl in place, I joined Trevor in the cab and we moved to the dwarf protecting the main line. Calling the CTC controller on the phone, adjacent to the signal, I advised him of the loco number and what it was to run. Returning to the loco, the points reversed and the dwarf cleared, so we moved onto the main line and climbed the grade to the flyover then descended onto the straight track approaching Spencer St station. With the train already in the platform, courtesy of the SG Pass Pilot, we received the low speed warning on the SG home arrival signal protecting both platforms 1 and 2 and approached the carriages. Trevor stopped short of the train so I could leave the cab and prepare to couple the loco to the train. Coupled up, with the brake pipe hose connected, we changed ends and waited for the train examiner to appear. When he did, we worked with him to ensure everything was ready for the Dynon ‘Big Wheel’ crew working a ‘rest job’ to Albury, as I had done myself, only recently. This crew appeared and relieved us, so we left the cab but hung around platform 1 as our next task was to relieve the incoming Wodonga crew coming in on their rest job with the ‘Southern Aurora’, train 8630. The ‘ICD’ departed and after a pause the ‘Aurora’ arrived. We relieved the foreign crew of possession of 42202 so they could go their rest. I uncoupled and Trevor moved away from the train to prevent, unintended, re-coupling when the SG Pass Pilot dropped onto the other end of the train, to shift the Motorail wagon to the unloading dock road. I joined him in the cab again and we moved into the dead end, clear of the points, changed ends, and waited for the signal to clear for us to run past the train. With a proceed aspect on the signal, we moved past the train along the run-around road to stop at the dwarf protecting the junction, waiting for it to clear so we could re-join the main line. Once on the main, we stopped clear of the arrival home again, changed ends once more, so we could drop onto the rear of the train, now with the Motorail wagon removed. Trevor stopped short of the van so I could couple up once more. Another change of ends and we were ready for the short run to the South Dynon SG carriage shed. When the home departure signal cleared, we moved out of the platform to cross the flyover once more and slow on approach to the home signal, waiting for the low speed warning aspect to appear so we could re-enter Dynon and then drew the train into the carriage shed, at low speed so the cleaners could wipe down the exterior as it passed them. Once the train was fully inside the shed we were signalled to stop and the loco was uncoupled. We then ran out of the shed, reversed once more so we could run back past the SG Fuel Point, reversed for a final time and actually entered the fuelling point, with a change of ends at each reversal. Leaving the loco in the fitters hands we returned to Manpower. We had very little time on standby, if any, as we were then given the job, at 1100, of running the 1130 Long Island, from Tottenham Yard. Locating T343 in the BG yard we departed the depot once more, with me driving to stop at the BG TR point, where the West Tower signalman was spoken to this time, although probably by Trevor, not me. Getting a proceed aspect on the dwarf, we ran to the hump, where we reversed to then proceed to Tottenham ‘light’. At Tottenham, I reversed into the Yard and were coupled up to the loading. With the train tested we were given the okay to depart, so I got the train moving onto the Up Independent Goods line, through the tunnel and past South Kensington. Our change-over was the 0605 up from Long Island and we met it somewhere around North Melbourne, most likely on the goods lines adjacent to the Arrivals Yard. We took control of X35 on change-over and, once again Trevor put me in the driver’s seat. Getting the train moving again, we ran through South Kensington towards the Maribyrnong River bridge again on approach to it, diverged to the left, to enter the Bogie Exchange area. We tied the train up there, released the loco from it, then retraced our path back via South Kensington to return to the depot, this leg with Trevor driving according to my notes. There are no timings recorded from the time we were supposed to depart Tottenham Yard, so how long all this took I don’t know. Whether this took us through to sign off, or we had some time on standby, I’m not sure now but we signed off was at 1415.
Signing on at 0715 once more on Thursday, this time with Driver Warren Winton, I was rostered for the same initial tasks; i.e. take out the down ‘Daylight’ loco and relieve the up ‘Aurora’. Train 8661’s loco today was 42203, with the same process followed as the day before and the loco we relieved the Wodonga crew of, from train 8630, was X54. Back at the Manpower window, he sent us to the meal room on standby, for longer than the day before. Warren signed off at some point during this stint in the meal room so when Manpower decided it was time I earned my keep, I joined Driver A Peterson to head out to the Fuel Point waiting room, at 1225. Together, we worked as the foreman there directed, unfortunately without any locos noted, until we departed ‘the Point’ at 1430. We signed off at 1500.
Friday was on at 0728, working with Driver A Wagner, rostered to run the 0835 Warrnambool pass, train 8221. At Spencer St, we took control of B82 from the previous crew and organised ourselves for the run west. On getting the right away, power was applied and we departed the station, to stop at Footscray for the pick up only and then settled in for the express run to Geelong station, where we drew to a halt at 0938, 8 minutes down on the timetable. Another crew relieved us, to take the train onwards, while we took a break within the station prior to our return run. We relieved another crew of B64 and prepared for the up pass, in the form of the 1130, train 8240. With the continuity test done we were all ready to go when the cab door opened and, yet again, a foreman climbed into the cab followed by his trainee. Ejected from the loco, once more, I found a seat in the train and sat out the trip to Spencer St. My disgust was marked by my failing to record when we drew to a halt in a platform there. With the foreman and his tag-along gone, we went onto standby, although whether at Dynon or the station I’m not sure. We were given the job of relieving an up ‘Marsh’ pass, due at 1356. The train stopped near us and we relieved the inbound crew at 1400, taking over B84 and spending the next 30 minutes on it before another crew arrived to take over from us for a down train. We definitely made our way back to Dynon this time to continue on standby until we signed off at 1528.
The Roster Clerk decided my services were required for a sixth day running, possibly to try to make up for the recent, multiple, weeks of class time, so I signed on, at 0600, with Driver E Dietze on Saturday. We were rostered to travel ‘per’ to Dandenong where we were to relieve an up pass from Traralgon, which was, most likely, train 8444, the 0600 departure from that station. This train was due to depart Dandenong at 0740, so although I didn’t note any times this day we would have been at Dandenong by that time, to relieve the eastern depot crew. L1154 was the loco hauling this train, which was one of the few facts I recorded for this shift. We should have arrived at Spencer St around 0830, as train 8445, having stopped at Caulfield and Flinders St in between. Whether we were relieved, waited on the loco for relief or returned the loco to Dynon I didn’t note, but as the carriages were scheduled to form the 1227 Traralgon, it would have been a long wait on the loco for us if we stayed at Spencer St on it, or for any relief crew who took over from us. Back at Dynon we eventually signed off at 1400.

Neil
  YM-Mundrabilla The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Neil,
I should know I suppose, but what route did electric locos take between Spencer Street and Dynon and vice versa, please?
All in a day's work of course but still very interesting posts. Keep them coming, please.
Regards
YM
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
YM,

Obviously, there are no direct connections.
Probably the best option was to access the goods lines to the west of the suburban lines at Spencer St from the viaducts. So, an L class coming off a passenger train at Spencer St would be best served by coming out of either platform 8 or the parcels dock, behind the headquarters building, onto the viaduct on the up, then reverse across Viaduct Junction onto the goods lines and then straight on past the East Yard, under the hump and onto the access road for Dynon. The next best alternative would be to travel, on the down, through North Melbourne station, then reverse at South Kensington up Spion Kop and past the Arrival Yard.
The advantage of the L class was that the only real need to one of them to return to Dynon was for sand or servicing. I don't recall ever taking one from Spencer St to the depot, although that doesn't mean I didn't. Far more common was bringing a goods into the Arrivals Yard, reversing to the hump and reversing a second time onto the approach road. It would be easy enough to roster one onto an up goods if necessary.
Passenger trains terminating at Flinders St made it easy but that didn't become common until after my time

Neil
  YM-Mundrabilla The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Thanks Neil.
L class a pain in the behind at Spencer Street Smile
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
Thanks Neil.
L class a pain in the behind at Spencer Street Smile
YM-Mundrabilla
Just checked various signal diagrams and you can scrub out the Parcel Dock option, as there was no way to get to the down goods line from the one viaduct track that could be accessed from the Dock, so the only options were departing from Platform 8 or road 8A, the run around road.

Neil
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
Rolling onto 137N, this was a full week of Melbourne Yard Pilots, unlike the start of the previous week, with Sunday was apparently rostered ‘if required’ but, thankfully, I wasn’t required.
Monday was a 2235 start for the 2300 Hump Pilot, working with Driver J Curran. The locos waiting for us, after our walk from Dynon, in the Arrival Yard were H2 and H5. Taking possession of the pair we, more than likely, were the only Hump unit working, as the demand for two Hump units had died off over the preceding few years. If it got too busy for one a second unit could be called out but this was now quite a rare event, unlike in 1979 when two units was the norm. We pushed the rakes up the approach for the shunters to separate them into their destination roads for the shift, with nothing to make it any different from other shifts on the Hump Pilot. We signed off at 0800, quite a bit later than was usual for a Melbourne Yard Pilot. Relief may have been late for some reason to cause this.
Tuesdays start was 2157 for the 2210 No. 8 Dock Pilot, with Driver Curran again. Y114 was provided for our use. Getting the Y moving with our shunting crew hanging off various handrails we worked between the Canal Yard and one portion of the docks for most of the shift, with a break of some hours in the dead hours around 3 or 4am. After this break, which everyone made use of to have a bit of a nap, we polished off any work that may not have been completed earlier in the shift or had accumulated in the preceding hours. We left the loco and were signed off at 0603.
On Wednesday, I was moved from the rostered job to work No. 8 Dock Pilot again, with Driver N Taylor, starting at the same time and using the same loco as the day before. The only difference I can say with any certainty is that our sign off was 10 minutes later than the day before. I’m inclined to say that I returned to the depot and waited, in the meal room, until the Pay Office opened to queue for my pay.
Thursday was a return to working with Driver Curran, on at 2257, to work the 2300 Trimmer Pilot. F201 was still sitting in its siding waiting for us, only tonight we would have preferred as little time on it as possible. Whether our sleep was interrupted much or not I can’t say anymore but that would have been our preference. We were signed off at 0713, probably leaving the cabin before the day shift crew arrived to relieve us.
Friday was a 2235 start for the 2300 Centre Yard Pilot, working with Driver J Jones and Y117. Having walked to the centre yard where the Y was tied up we set to work assembling trains until, once again the dead hours brought the opportunity to have a bit of a nap, either trying to do this sitting upright leaning against the cab windows or squeezed into the free space on the cab floor. I tried both at various times and my recollection is that neither was all that good but then, considering we were actually supposed to be working, not sleeping, I shouldn’t complain. Our sign off this time was 0725.
Saturday was rostered off, largely because Melbourne Yard didn’t operate Saturday night into Sunday morning, neither, for that matter, did much else on rails.

Neil
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
After the less then exciting previous week, it was back out on the road again this week.

Roster 138A was rostered off for Sunday.
Monday’s return to the depot was at 1153, to work with Driver D Dunn, but our rostered task appears to have been unavailable. It appears we sat out some time on standby before being given the job of the Jolimont Pilot. Walking to North Melbourne so we could travel to Flinders St we took over E1106 at 1400. This Pilot worked the various groups of spark stabling sidings, delivering new and removing used brake blocks. We certainly didn’t shunt the ERD workshops as that work was dealt with by the double-ended ‘Doggie’ survivors that were the workshops Pilots. This E and sister 1109 were the last two active survivors of this class by this time, as E1102 had been withdrawn only three months earlier to be placed in the ARHS Museum at North Williamstown and the rest were all withdrawn at least 11 months earlier. John Phillips has recently posted footage, on Youtube, which includes no. 1106 running this Pilot, sometime after I worked on it, as it has rear view mirrors! Such modern equipment didn’t exist on any VR loco while I was working at Dynon. Avoiding any shocks from the ‘electric chair’, we moved around Jolimont’s sidings as directed until we finished at 1910. Sign off was at 1925, although whether that means that we returned the E to Dynon, or not, I’m not sure although the timing would suggest we did. In my earlier years at Dynon, the E’s were stabled there on the one wired road, so there was often a line of E and L class locos tied up in that road, but with only two left it is possible that they reverted to spending most of their time at Jolimont as that was the only location they were still used consistently.
Tuesday’s start was 1140, where I went straight onto standby. The job I arrived to work was either cancelled or someone was substituted for me as I had no driver spending time in the meal room with me. Eventually, Manpower called me out at 1550 and teamed me up with Driver E Cole to work the 1705 Kyneton pass, train 8039. The loco we were to use was B61, which I was probably not that happy about, however I had little say in the matter. Getting ourselves to Spencer St we replaced the crew sitting in the cab to do the final preparations before departure. On getting the ‘right away’ we moved out of the platform and through the station throat. Eventually clearing the suburban area, at St Albans, we then stopped at all stations to Kyneton, where we drew to a halt at 1835. Once the train was empty, we shunted the carriages into the sidings, moved the loco away from the rake and tied it up for another crew to use later in the evening. We left the stabled B class to climb onto the up platform, crossing the line between the platforms, to wait for the arrival of the 1530 up goods out of Bendigo. This train arrived, hauled by Y109, although I failed to note what time that event occurred. As we were ‘travelling per’, and with limited room in the cab of the Y class up front, we would have made the return journey in the guard’s van. The slow up journey, not helped by the low speed limit of the Y class, meant that we weren’t off this train until 2220, with sign off finally, for me, being 2245. Much more time taken before sign off and the following shifts starting time would have been threatened.
Wednesday was on at 1150 to work the 1305 Bacchus Marsh pass, train 8117, with Driver P Gonsior.
On arrival at Spencer St, we took control of T365 for the down journey. With everything ready to go, we set off for ‘the Marsh’ to do the ‘all stations’ from Sunshine. We arrived at ‘the Marsh’ platform at 1410, where I cut off so we could run around the train to form the 1430 up, train 8138. Once the loco was attached to the up end of the carriages and a continuity test was complete, I was told to take the controls. Handed the staff by the signalman, I got the train moving after given the ‘right away’. I drove from ‘the Marsh’ as far as Sunshine station, making the usual stops and performing staff exchanges as necessary whenever the platform was on my side of the loco. At Sunshine, I resumed my more usual seat for the final stretch, back into Spencer St, where we drew to a halt at 1540. We were relieved of the loco and, it would appear, returned to Dynon, for some time on standby. Called out by Manpower, once more, we were tasked with running the 1802 Shepparton pass, train 8327, from Spencer St as far as Broadmeadows. We found B64 at the leading end of the train and set off for the relatively short run up the grades of the Broadmeadows line to stop there, where we were relieved. I failed to note when we handed over the train to the Seymour crew. Once the pass had departed, we waited for the next up spark to arrive in the platform. Travelling back to North Melbourne, we walked back to the depot to sign off at 1920.
On Thursday, sign on was 1215, with Driver D O’Grady, for one of the ‘Big Wheel’ jobs that I had become familiar with in my time on A and B rosters; the Geelong pass ‘double’. This was not what 138A had scheduled for me to work, but what that job was I can’t tell anymore. It would appear that I was required to replace the ‘Big Wheel’ fireman who should have worked this run. Having recently been on those rosters myself, the roster clerk probably took advantage of that experience and the fact that I was on afternoon shift with similar starts to move me to fill in. After making our way to Spencer St, we walked along the platform to discover that B61 was allocated to run the 1300 down, train 8233. At this point, I was probably hoping that I didn’t have to work on this B class for a third time this week, after the events of the week in January 1980. We relieved the crew occupying the cab and prepared for the run. Getting the ‘right away’, we set off for Geelong to draw to a halt in platform 1, at 1407. I cut off the loco and returned to the cab as we moved away from the carriages to perform the run around so we could form the 1430 up pass, train 8246. After I recoupled the loco and a continuity test was complete, we were ready to do the up run back to Spencer St. Setting off once more, we made our way back to Melbourne where we drew to a halt at 1535. In a change of pace, B61 was uncoupled from the train but not run around to haul the 1600 South Geelong down, train 8247. Instead, it was taken off our hands, something I wouldn’t have been upset about, possibly by the crew who had brought out a replacement loco, in the form of B75. No. 75 was dropped onto the train and another continuity test was performed but I ended up riding in the carriages, courtesy of yet another foreman and his shadow. Probably because I was somewhat cheesed off at being bumped off the loco once more, and, since the intruding pair went through to South Geelong, I didn’t note our arrival time at that station. Because the intruders were still occupying my place on the loco I wasn’t required to work the train on the up run either so I remained in my seat in the train for the 1740 up, train 8268. After the round trip riding in the train, I once more failed to note arrival time but sign off was at 1915, although this day’s ‘work’ paid me 9:24, even though I was a passenger for the whole of the second leg.
Friday was rostered off.
Saturday, I signed on with Ray Pizzica again, at 1045, for the 1200 Geelong pass, train 8231. After the usual trek from the depot to North Melbourne with the spark ride to Spencer St we walked up the ramp to the platform where B69 was attached to the train. Taking over the loco we departed with the Footscray ‘pick up only’ and continued onwards to Geelong, probably stopping all stations, to arrive at Geelong at 1302. We would have been relieved by another crew and spent some time waiting, within the station itself, for our return train. This was the 1500 up pass, train 8256, which came in from Warrnambool with paired B’s, nos. 84 and 81. We relieved the incoming crew and got the train moving once more back to Melbourne, this time, almost definitely, non-stop through the rural stations. We drew into Spencer St at 1557, 3 minutes early, definitely helped by the extra horsepower available to us. On being relieved, we made the journey back to the depot where we went onto standby, until 1745, when Manpower dispatched us to Fuel Point for our final hour’s work before sign off.


Link to the Youtube clip:

https://youtu.be/bU7iAj-yrD8
Neil
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
The roster clerk rolled me onto roster 139D which began with Sunday. This was an 0700 start, rostered for Fuel Point duty, with Driver P Ganovich. The pair of us spent the whole shift moving locos from the fuelling point to wherever the Foreman in charge want us to stable them.
The roster for Monday for an 0720 start for a Maribyrnong but, being the Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday, it didn’t run and so I was not required at work.
Tuesday was rostered off which gave me two successive days off, which partially made up for working the whole weekend.
Wednesday was on at 0807, with Driver A Lindo, to relieve the SG Upfield Pilot. We walked to North Melbourne station to travel ‘per’ spark to Upfield. From that station would have had a fair walk to the nearest stretch of SG track, not that I remember this walk but it would have had to happen. If my notes are accurate we relieved the previous crew of Y104, at 0900. If it didn’t happen at 0900, that would have been the time that the roster indicated that we ought to be on the loco. We took up shunting from where the previous crew had left off until we had completed everything outstanding. At 1030, we departed Upfield to head up the grade to Somerton. Based on later timings, we must have performed some shunting at Somerton and possibly at McIntyre Loop as well, before running around to prepare for the run back to Dynon as we didn’t get the loading back into the SG Yard and the loco over the pit until 1610. This time frame of nearly six hours is hard to explain now as I have no memory of what consumed all of that time. We signed off at 1625.
Thursday was rostered 0805 for the 0900 Lilydale, train 9550, on the down, with Driver K Jones. We got far enough into preparing to run this train that we knew we were supposed to use T351 for the job but it was cancelled before we actually coupled the loco to any loading. If we had made it to Lilydale the up goods was going to be train 9551. Instead, we went onto standby after this false start to the shift. Eventually Manpower found us a job, at 1100, to run from the North Melbourne Storage Yard to Newport Workshops. We had a different T class allocated for our use, this one being no. 372. Leaving the depot and coupling to the loading we pushed back out of the Yard, after the usual examinations. We made our way to Newport running along the suburban lines to enter the workshops at 1230. We then sat on the T class while things happened around us, with the workshops Pilots assembling the return loading, bound for the Storage Yard, to form a round trip for us. We got away from the workshops yard at 1430 and retraced our route back to North Melbourne where we pushed back into the Storage Yard at 1515. With the T class released we returned it to the depot again and signed off at 1600.
Friday was 0722 on for the 0800 ANZAC Pilot, P6, with Driver Jones again. We climbed onto Y class no. 112 (not the steam one) and departed the depot to run to Tottenham Yard ‘light’ via the Independent goods lines. We backed into the yard and coupled to the loading. Our shunting team made their presence known as the train was being examined. Once everything was ready to go, we got the ok to return to the Goods line with loading in tow. Collecting the staff from the signalman we diverge over off the Goods line towards Brooklyn and our shunting destination, towards the Newport end of this line. We shunted as directed, until we had completed all of the tasks necessary and had collected the loading to return to Tottenham. Travelling through Brooklyn again, we returned the shunting gang and loading to Tottenham at 1500. Released from the load, we ran ‘light’ back to the depot, once again on the Independent Goods lines. With the Y class sitting within Fuel Point, we returned to the Manpower window and signed off at 1551.
Saturday’s sign on time was 0730 to suffer the rostered standby, with Driver Jones, as far as I can tell. Thankfully this didn’t last very long as we were soon allocated the task of taking the locos for the 0835 Warrnambool off the pit, to Spencer St. The fitters had coupled B83 to B78 and connected all of the necessary brake hoses and MU cable. We checked the locos out before heading off the depot to the TR point. Crossing over the many goods and suburban lines via the flyover, we entered the platform road where the carriages were waiting and I coupled up. It is most likely that we worked with the train examiner before the crew running the train arrived, although that is not noted specifically as I took things like that for granted back then. After we were displaced from the cab of B81 we then waited around Spencer St as our next job was to relieve the 0840 up pass out of Geelong. This train drew into the platform hauled by B70, although I didn’t note when this happened. Taking the place of the inbound crew we can’t have spent all that long on this loco before we were replaced ourselves, since our next task was to relieve the Wodonga crew bringing the up ‘Aurora’ into Melbourne. The ‘Aurora’ drew into platform 1, led by 42204, so we waited for it to halt before approaching the cab and relieving the foreign crew. We then ran around to re-couple to the train for the haul back to the Dynon car-shed, after the SG pass Pilot had removed the motorail wagon. Drawing the train into shed while the cleaners did their thing to the carriage exteriors, we then took the 422 to the Fuel Point and left it in the fitter’s hands. Back at the Manpower window, at what time I failed to note, we were returned to the meal room until we signed off at 1400.



Neil
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
140N was rolled onto courtesy of the roster clerk, which were 1800, or thereabouts, starts, working with Driver G Bryceson for the whole week with Sunday OR.

So, Mondays start was supposed to be 1815 for a 19something Bacchus Marsh pass, however I asked for, and was granted, time off for the day.
Tuesday I signed on at 1915, yet for some unexplained reason, Driver Bryceson started at 1800 and then had to wait for me to sign on before he got to do anything, other than sit in the meal room on standby. Together, we ended up tasked with working the down Ford goods, from Upfield, train 9281, from Newport. So, we walked to North Melbourne station and travelled to Newport on the next spark heading that way. We made our way to the signalbox to wait for the arrival of the train. T401 arrived in the back road with its rake of VBFW wagons trailing behind. We relieved the previous crew and got the train underway again at 2200 to make our way to North Geelong Yard, where we drew to a halt at 2300. Released from the train, we moved the T from the east side of the main line to the west to wait for one of the local Pilots to bring the up load of VBFW wagons into the yard so we could couple to it for the return trip. We departed North Geelong Yard at 0130 as train 9210 and made the journey back to Newport where we stopped the train in the back road, once again, where our relief were waiting. Off the loco, at 0215, we made our way to where the waiting taxi was idling for the drive back to Dynon, accompanied by our guard, where we were signed off at 0300.
Wednesday was a 1735 start which was supposed to be for a Korrumburra goods. This train had been cancelled, I gather, so instead, I, and possibly both of us, somewhat surprisingly, attended a Radio Class beginning at 1820, specifically on train to base communications. What took us two hours to learn I’m not sure as the radio protocols we were instructed about weren’t that complicated, I would say. This class wrapped up at 2030, which put us back onto standby until Manpower called us out at 2130, giving us the job of taking out a replacement loco for the Swan Hill ‘oily’. We located X40 within the depot yard and headed for the TR point to then run ‘light’ to Newport via the suburban lines. Once at Newport, when both the light engine and oil train were in appropriate locations, no. 40 was dropped onto the front of the train of oil tanks wagons, replacing X31, which I gather had developed a fault that required it to be taken off the train and returned to Dynon for rectification of its problem(s). The crew running the ‘oily’ took over X40 while we climbed onto X31 and departed Newport, when the signalman gave us a clear road, back towards the depot, again via the suburban lines. With X31 back on the depot to be looked at by the fitters we presented ourselves to Manpower at 2330, who sent us back into the meal room on standby once more, until we signed off 0135, having somehow avoided Fuel Point duty during our last hour.
Thursday’s start was at 1935 to run a 2010 Heidelberg ballast. In the yard Y142 and 141 had been coupled together for our use by the fitters, so we took them off the pit to the Ways and Works Yard where we coupled up to the rake of loaded ballast wagons. With the train examined and given a clean bill of health we departed the yard to pass Spencer St on the goods lines, cross the viaduct and then manoeuver our way through the east end of Flinders St so we could get onto the Clifton Hill lines. Heading through the West Richmond tunnels and then the elevated line to Clifton Hill we crossed the Merri Creek on the, then, single line bridge and continued on towards Heidelberg. Where exactly we discharged the wagons of their load I can’t say anymore but it was obviously on the down run as I noted that we terminated at Heidelberg at 0045. Cutting the paired Y class off, we ran around the, now empty, wagons and confirmed the brake pipe was connected before preparing for the run back to Melbourne Yard. We departed on the up journey at 0120 and had were back in the ways and Works sidings before 0155 as that’s when we had the locos back over the pit, to sign off at 0210.
Friday was on at 1805 for a 1905 party special, running towards Bendigo, as train 8093, something like the ‘Rutherglen Red’ special that ran in later years, although that was more a wine sampling train than a party one. I would suggest that we took T320 off the pit ourselves since this was rather late for crews to still be working Spencer St standby. At Spencer St, I coupled the T class to a collection of wooden bodied carriages with a CE van directly behind the loco. This van, one of the four painted blue, if I remember correctly, had smooth wooden flooring placed on top of its usual grooved flooring, to enable its use for dancing. So, after the usual inspections, we got the all clear to depart Spencer St and with some throttle applied moved out of the platform to made our way past Sunshine and St Albans at a speed that ensured we didn’t delay any following spark but after that trundled along slowly enough to prevent too many falls in the ‘dance car’, nor hold up any following traffic. We had no definite destination, more a time limit, before we needed to stop and reverse direction. We wandered along the Bendigo line to climb up the grade towards Woodend a lot more slowly than would be normal, in the dark, with the T not making all that much noise, compared to usual, so much so that the music from the van behind us could be clearly heard in the cab, even with closed windows. As we descended the grade into Castlemaine our time limit was coming up so the decision was made that we would stop and run around there. Halting in the down platform at 2140 I uncoupled and we got the T class to the opposite end of the train. With the run around complete and a continuity test done, we departed Castlemaine, at 2155, for the up run, as train 8094, at a similar speed to the down journey, which required a decent use of the air brakes to retard our speed down Macedon bank. We were no longer able to hear any music, unless you call the chant of an 8 cylinder 567 diesel ‘music’, since the ‘dance’ car was now at the other end of the train but I don’t think that was a major concern for us. We drew to a halt in a platform at Spencer St at 0008 when our happy, in more ways than one, passengers left the train to disperse to wherever they came from; some more than a bit unsteady on their feet, and not from the swaying of the carriages! With the T separated from the carriages we then returned it to Dynon for a top up of its fuel tank and sanders, as required. I doubt that it took us an hour to get back to manpower so it would appear that we were on standby for a period there which was not recorded before we signed off at 0115, for a shorter shift but with the extra money paid from midnight we still earned slightly more than 8-hours work.
Saturday I signed on at 1625 for the 1740 Traralgon pass, train 8427. Once more we made the trek to Spencer St to take over L1163 and its train. On departure time we headed off for Flinders St, across the viaduct, to pick up only, then ran on to Caulfield to do the same. Departing Caulfield, we drew into Dandenong’s platform where an eastern depot crew were waiting for our arrival to relieve us. I didn’t record the time of our arrival for some reason. The eastern crew left us no return train to run so, instead, we changed platforms and caught the next up spark to Flinders St then one to North Melbourne and walked back to the depot. We must have gone onto standby on our return, although my recording of times was out the window again, since we signed off at 2240 and the spark timetables weren’t that terrible to make us take that long to return from Dandenong.


Neil
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
Reading about ". . . departing Newport in a taxi with our guard . . ." had me wondering how many of our young readers would be asking, "What's a guard?" or " Why did you need to be guarded?"

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