Memories of South Dynon in the early 19802

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
159A began on Monday with a 1527 start to run the Ford goods from Newport to Upfield. I worked with Driver Morgans for the whole of this week. Together we made our way to Newport by spark where we met the up goods and took control of T367 at 1705. Running via the Albion loop line to Somerton we ran into the sidings there and ran the T around to the other end. The guard stayed in the van now coupled to the loco to make entering the Ford sidings easier. Travelling along the dual gauge line we stopped shortly after the points, which were set, by default, to the Ford sidings where the guard removed the scotch block to clear our path into the sidings and we drew into them to terminate at 1930. Uncoupling from this rake we spent some time assembling the Geelong bound train and had a meal break. After Richard had done a brake test we were ready to depart and did so at 2050 stopping to enable the guard to return the scotch block to protect the siding. We made our way back to Somerton where we once again ran around using siding “A”. I contacted the signalman, by using the dwarf signal post phone, to advise we were ready to depart towards Geelong and eventually the dwarf cleared, after SG control gave the Somerton signalman clearance for us to cross the SG. Running through Broadmeadows, back onto the loop line we made our way back to Newport stopping behind the signal box at 2305 to be relieved by another crew. We made our way back to Dynon by spark to sign off at 2345.
Tuesday’s start was 1440 for the 1500 SG Goods Pilot. We had Y155 for the shift and, as was usual, shunted both North and South Dynon yards. We signed off at 2315.
On at 1430 we worked the Diesel Maintenance Shops. During the 8 hour shift we moved C509, Y137, B70, S317, X34 and X32, although now I can’t say which went into the shops and which came out.
On Thursday I signed on, by myself, for an 0930 start to make my way to a 1000 appointment on the 8th floor of 530 Little Collins St. I don’t recall what this was for, unless it was a follow up on January’s unfortunate incident. Once the appointment was over I returned to South Dynon to go onto standby, but, as a fireman with no driver, my odds of getting a job were low. As it turned out, I gave up waiting at 1630 to head for home again.
Friday I signed on with Richard again at 1435 to run the 1500 Dynon Jet Pilot. For this we had Y124 and once again shunted North Dynon although on the BG, not the standard. Signing off again at 2315 we departed for home ready to come in once more on Saturday.
This shift started at 1335 to run a 1400 West Yard Pilot. This was an unusual start for any Melbourne Yard Pilot, as weekdays were always 1500 for the Afternoon shift Pilots. We had Y161 to work this Pilot and, in another less normal event, the shift was over at 2100 and we signed off at 2115.

After a Sunday OR I met my regular driver as we both worked 160D. I met Brian J Smith for the first time and together we started at 0330 for the 0400 Arden St Pilot operated with Y121. Shunting the usual selection of cement wagons to start with and then the other goods we finished working the Pilot at 1100 to sign off at 1225.
Tuesday was an 0325 on for an 0400 Newmarket Stock Pilot run with Y130. The roster called for us to run the Brooklyn Pilot but, in a foretelling of the future, it had been cancelled. Shunting Brooklyn with a dedicated Pilot became a rapidly decreasing event until, in my last year or two, it was effectively gone from the rosters, so much so, that when I started writing up my notes seeing Brooklyn Pilot was a real memory jogger as I’d basically forgotten it had run. Anyhow, we shunted stock wagons around the loading platforms as necessary until 1115 until relieved and made it back to Dynon to sign off at 1207.
An 0345 start had us taking Y’s 173 and 153 coupled together for us to run to Caulfield light where we were to run the 0500 Maribyrnong goods. We coupled up and took the load through Melbourne and terminated at 0615. Probably due to the peak hour now beginning we didn’t get away from the Maribyrnong line until 0825. When we did, it was as a light engine movement as far as the Storage Yard where we tied up the Y’s and made our way back to the depot. Once there Manpower made us continue to earn our keep by sending us to the Fuel Point but we only moved one loco, being B73, before we signed off at 1045 for a 7 hour shift.
Thursdays 0405 Glenroy was cancelled so after we signed on at 0315 we went onto standby until 0530. Manpower called us out to get us to travel per to Dandenong. Once there we relieved the ‘foreign’ crew of the up Westall goods hauled by L1170 and 1174. Departing Dandenong Yard at 0730 we ran into the sidings at Westall with our load. Stabling the train we returned the locos to the depot and signed off at 1030. Unlike the previous payday it was a case of join the queue immediately and head home once I had my filled pay envelope in my hands.
Friday was 0315 on for the 0410 Port Melbourne Pilot. This wasn’t the job listed on the roster but I’m unable to read what the original one was. Y143 was our allocated loco and after running around at Jolimont and shunting Montague we pulled into the yard at Port. We shunted as necessary before making our way back to Dynon, LE or travelling I can’t recall, to sign off at 1218.
On Saturday, Brian must have requested to be booked off but I was rostered to work a Newport to Geelong goods. Signing on at 0545 with Driver Kevin Whelan we made our way to Newport where we met our train hauled by T378. Relieving the other crew we departed for Geelong at 0700. We made it to North Shore by 1000 where the up goods that was our change over met us. Handing over the T we took control of X36, in my opinion a trade that we benefited from more than the Geelong crew, to run this train to the Arrival Yard. We returned the X to Dynon and signed off at 1430 to finish this weeks’ roster but the Roster Clerk decided to have me work through the weekend.


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  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
161N did not have a job rostered on Sunday but I was in to sign on anyway. I met Driver Dave Gauwitz when we signed on at 2020. We were allocated Y101 to run the 2120 Dandenong Pilot. We collected our train and basically ran straight through to Dandenong as we arrived in the Yard there at 2220. We had nothing further to do so with the Y so we made our way to the station to travel per back to the depot. It is possible that we ran the Y out to Dandenong for it to form the local Pilot for the week. For some reason I forgot to note when we signed off which makes me think that neither of us were really that interested in sitting the shift out on standby.
Monday began a week of Night shift Melbourne Yard Pilots. This was a ‘feature’, if you will, of the rosters; there was a regular occurrence of a week spent on these Pilots throughout the 210 weeks. It was rare to work the same one twice in a week but each day you would be rostered to work one of the following selection; East, Centre, West, Canal, Hump, Trimmer or one of the Dock Pilots with the occasional Spencer St Pass Yard or Dynon Jet Pilots as a variation. These Pilots did appear mixed in with other types of jobs, as you will have seen from previous posts, especially on weekends. Add to that the Fuel Point and other Pilots that were generally mixed in with running jobs, like Newmarket, Port Melbourne, Princes Bridge, Arden St, Kensington and Scrap it isn’t really that surprising that South Dynon crews spent a lot of their shifts working Pilots.
So, sign on at 2235 with B J Smith driving the 2300 Canal Pilot. Y126 provided the power until 0700 when we were relieved and walked back to the Depot to sign off at 0725.
Tuesday was on at 2257 for the 2300 Trimmer Pilot, where F201 was idling on the stub road and we spent most of the night asleep in the cabin; which really didn’t help adjusting to night shift. Again, relief arrived at 0700 with sign off at 0720.
Wednesday was on at 2257 for the 2300 Centre Yard Pilot operated by Y116. Of the Melbourne Yard Pilots this was probably the second busiest, with the Hump Pilots being number one due to the constant arrival of trains in the Yard, which had to be cleared. With two Hump Pilots running you were pushing a rake over the hump every 40 to 50 minutes. When there was only the one Pilot, as was the case in later years as traffic dropped off, you were pushing a rake roughly every 20 to 30 minutes. We signed off at 0703.
Thursday was the same starting time for the 2300 West Yard Pilot run with Y154. Sign off was the same as Wednesday.
Instead of working the No. 5 Dock Pilot as per the roster I instead had the day Off Roster. As Thursday was my eleventh shift in a row I wouldn’t have complained. Saturday was OR as per the roster.

After a Sunday off 162A began with a 1215 start to run the 1400 goods towards Ballarat, train 9133, with B J Smith driving for the week. My notes suggest that the roster was meant to be a Somerton goods but that had been cancelled before the rosters were drawn up. C503 was our loco, which was a little unusual as nos. 501 to 504 were generally operated on the standard gauge in the early 1980’s. This meant that either Dynon or Newport had fitted an auto exchanger to it as the ‘gauge’ locos did not need or have exchangers fitted. This was, apparently, the reason that X31 spent so many years on the ‘gauge’ as Clyde, supposedly, messed up the auto exchanger spaces which prevent any being fitted. Taken off the pit to either the Canal or North Dynon we were coupled up and the train prepared before we headed west. We made it all the way, using the auto exchanger at most, if not all, stations to Ballarat no later than 1800 as we had a passenger train to catch for our return, travelling per. For some reason I failed to note either the loco hauling the pass or when the pass arrived at Spencer St. We made it back to Dynon and signed off at 2130.
Tuesday’s start was 1115 for the 1330 Serviceton ‘Jet’, train 9127. Once again, we had a C class, in the form of 510, one of the ‘usual’ broad gauge C’s. Retracing our path of yesterday we only made it to Bank Box Loop today where we were held to meet our change over, in the form of train 9146, an up ‘Jet’. This train had C508 leading C509. The details of the make-up of the train were noted, being 1757 tonnes and equivalent to 131 vehicles. Due to the still common nature of 4 wheeled vehicles, trains were counted as equal to x number of 4 wheeled wagons. This ‘Jet’ wouldn’t have had any of these, being a fast 80kph goods, so the actual number of wagons would have been slightly less than half the ‘equivalent’, say somewhere around 60 to 65 bogies, depending on how many wagons over 60’ were in the consist. The VQDW 80’ ‘Jumbo’ wagons used for TNT containers often made up the first five wagons of a ‘Jet’ and their presence affected ‘equivalent’ calculations. Departing Bank Box we made good time, considering we had a number of Bacchus Marsh and other down passenger trains coming towards us. We had the paired C’s back to Dynon and were signed off at 1845. A short shift but over 2 hours of tonnage loading would balance the dropped hour.
Wednesday was OR even though the roster had a job listed, although I can’t make out what is under the crossing out anymore.
After two road jobs to start the week we finished on Pilots. Thursday was 1205 on for the Kensington Pilot operated with Y123. We worked this job until around 2000 and returned the Y to Fuel Point to sign off at 2025.
Friday was booked for the No. 6 Dock Pilot, on at 1346 for a 1410 job but this had been cancelled before we signed on. Instead we were tasked with running the Dynon Jet Pilot with Y143. We went from running ‘Jets’ earlier in the week to now assembling them for someone else to run. We returned 143 to the Fuel Point and signed off at 2130.
On Saturday, we started at 1310 for the 1335 Canal Pilot. Y117 was allocated to us to put together trains, generally for destinations to the west of Melbourne. Being a Saturday there was less work than a week day so the Pilot wound up early and we were signed off at 2010.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Roster 163D began with Sunday OR followed by 0635 on for the 0700 Conversion Pilot. We had Y120 to work the job but, unfortunately, I can’t recall what this Pilot actually did or where in Melbourne it shunted. It didn’t shunt the Bogie Exchange, as that Pilot was labelled appropriately, so why it was called Conversion will have to remain a puzzle for now. One thing Brian did for the first time in our working together was let me drive, from around 0850 until 1100. We finished around 1500 and signed off at 1525.
On Tuesday we started at 0715 to make our way to Spencer St to relieve the crew of the up ‘Vinelander’ at 0755. The roster would have had us run one of the transfers of briquettes from Caulfield, or another station like Oakleigh, through to the Maribyrnong terminal but this had been cancelled or allocated to another crew. We waited for the pass to arrive, which when it did was hauled by X39. We returned the old X class to Dynon, once it was released from the train. We walked back into the depot at 0855 where we went onto standby. Manpower called us out again at 0950 and tasked us with a job that was not on the roster and never would be. Taking T411 we headed light to Werribee to assist in rerailing a Guards van that was in the dirt. There was a lot more to getting this van back on the rails than appeared at first glance as it took nearly two hours. The decimation of the VR’s breakdown cranes meant the breakdown crews had a lot harder job to get things back onto the rails, relying on a loco or two plus lots of packing and hard work. Eventually we were able to make our way back to Dynon where we left 411 at the Fuel Point at 1315 and signed off at 1330.
Wednesday was an 0640 start for the 0700 Diesel Maintenance Shops. This was not our rostered job but we were taken off whatever this job was before the roster was written up. I’ve commented that this was run by ‘grounded’ drivers but that would only seem to apply to the weekend shifts, as it may have been picked up in previous posts that I had done this with drivers who I had worked with for most of a week. There wasn’t much activity in or out of the shops this day as the only loco we shifted was Y152. So, on signing off at 1445 we left the depot having done almost as little as a full shift on standby, effectively the only difference being we spent it somewhere other than the meal room.
On Thursday, we started at 0625 to run the replacement locos for the ‘Apex’ from the depot out to Westall. Departing the depot at 0715 we had B74 with T385 trailing. At Westall we coupled to the empty rake of wagons and drew it out of the siding, ran around and prepared to begin the journey back to Kilmore East. Working from the T we were cleared out of the loop road at 0900. The likelihood that we had the T switched off-line is quite high as 74 would have had power in hand to move both train and push the T as well. We weren’t a high priority in the eyes of Train Control as we didn’t draw to a halt at one of North Melbourne’s platforms until around 1200. Relieved by the crew who were going to load the train we made it back to Dynon at 1215, to finish the shift on standby, signing off at 1425.
Friday was an 0700 shift in Spencer St Pass Yard, signing on at 0635. Y146 was used for the shift until close to 1500, which is when we were signed off.
Saturday was rostered for 0635 to run the 0700 Centre Yard but we were booked off instead.

164N was supposed to begin with a Seymour goods, which had been cancelled before we signed on, to be replaced by 1800 standby. Manpower called us out at 1920 to send us to Newport to relieve a Bendigo bound goods. Travelling by spark to Newport we gate crashed the signal box to wait for our train.  It pulled up behind the signalbox and we relieved the crew. Taking over control of B68 we had T’s 367, 376 and 380 tied up behind providing a boost in power. We got the train moving again at 2015, heading for Brooklyn and Sunshine.
Something that I haven’t described is a hand exchange of the Electric Staff. To achieve a successful exchange, by hand of the Miniature Electric Staff, the VR provided a hand exchange cane which was a length of bamboo, or something similar, that was doubled over and the gap closed with a strip of leather with two short leather buckles for holding the staff. The loop so formed was roughly 80cm long and about 40cm wide.
To do an exchange you went out onto the footplate, after pressing the VC to ensure it didn’t go off while you were otherwise busy, behind the driver on a hood loco long end leading, with the staff in the cane and found your balance; generally, reasonably spread feet was sufficient. After working on locos for some time you developed an ability to stand comfortably in most situations and I can generally still balance on a moving train reasonably easily, even now. Almost all hood locos had chains that could be clipped across the gap between the loco’s body and handrail, to reduce the chance of falling or being knocked off, but I can’t say I ever saw anyone use them. Bulldog nosed locos meant you opened the window of the driver’s door and leant out as far as was reasonable. This was a little more awkward as those windows weren’t large and did limit movement to a large degree; which is probably why most drivers took care of the staff exchange themselves on one of these locos. Being seated with a slightly larger window made it that much easier to achieve.
To actually do an exchange the left arm was extended out from the loco with the forearm extended forwards and a clenched fist, to protect the fingers. It could be described as a forward facing L but not perfectly horizontal; this arm lowered 10 to 20 cm below horizontal. The right arm, with the cane held firmly by the leather section, but not with a death grip, was then held out across the body so it was above the left arm. The signalman took up the same stance, just with arms reversed, facing the train, with both people only focused on getting their fist though the opening in the cane to be picked up. As the old cane hit the upper arm of the signalman above the elbow you’d feel the pressure and let it get pulled out of your hand, and he’d do the same. Describing it is almost harder than actually doing it; I certainly never had a missed exchange by hand and as long as the driver was controlling the trains speed the incoming cane would whack you on the shoulder blades but not hard enough to complain about. Once you had the new staff you re-entered the cab and read out aloud the names of the two stations engraved on one end, to ensure you had the authority to continue into the next section.
If the exchange was on your side you just opened the window(s) as much as necessary and leant out. In this case the arms were reversed; i.e. left holding the staff and right for the pickup.
Most stations using the Electric staff had a raised platform to enable the signalman to be high enough to do these moving exchanges. A station platform was suitable but places like Brooklyn that did not have any needed purpose built ones for both East and West lines. If, for some reason, the signalman was standing at ground level then the train had to be stopped for the exchange and you would have to climb down to meet him to do the exchange; it was a little too far to just lean down.
A Large Electric Staff exchange was similar except that there was no holder for these. They were nearly a metre long so a pouch would be have been huge if provided. To exchange one of these was basically the same as a Miniature Electric Staff, except that the fist was now an open hand with your thumb extended away from the fingers so you could close the hand into a grasping fist as you felt the new staff hit your palm. Again, you focused on the staff you were collecting and left the signalman to do the same for the one you were holding. The Large staff was only used from Newport to Brooklyn then Sunshine and/or Tottenham and along the Korumburra line from Dandenong. There may have been one or two other locations around Melbourne that also used it but I can’t think of any, if there were. The electrified suburban area used Miniature Staff to make it easier on the spark drivers. I wouldn’t want to be driving a spark and having to handle and store a Large Electric Staff.
Clear of the Electric Staff sections to Sunshine we headed on up the double line towards Bendigo. We eventually passed through Elphinstone tunnel and had the distant against us at Castlemaine where we stopped in the down platform at 2240. Our changeover was on its way towards us so we waited for it to pull up alongside the B. We descended from the B to climb the steps onto X53, which had T321 in support. We drew forward to allow the guards to change and then began the climb back up to the tunnel at 2300. This was bound for the Arrivals Yard where we tied it up around 0300 and returned the locos to Dynon to sign off at 0330 for a nine and a half hour shift.
On Tuesday I started at 1900 with Driver S Kerwin. Together we made our way to Newport where, once again for me, we waited for the same Bendigo goods as Monday. The load was considerably smaller tonight as when it pulled up behind the ‘box it had a lone T class in no. 329 up front. We got the train underway at 2015 again but with far less horsepower we struggled up the grades, especially compared to the previous night. We were stopped at Kyneton to meet our changeover at 2345. S302 rolled into Kyneton around 0000 and we changed trains with the Bendigo crew to get the up goods moving again at 0005. Tonight we were headed for Geelong, instead of the Melbourne Arrivals Yard, so retraced our path back to Newport where we drew to a halt to 0210 to hand the train over to another crew and then climbed into the waiting taxi which returned us to the depot where we signed off at 0240.
In what was becoming a bit repetitive, at least for me, I signed on at 1900 on Wednesday to run the 2015 train from Newport towards Bendigo! I probably would have preferred the Korrumburra that was written on the roster as the train I ought to have been working. So, for the third night in a row we travelled to Newport by spark to wait for and relieve the crew that had brought the goods from Geelong. Once again, it was hauled by a solo T class, but at least tonight’s loco was a roomier, chop nose, T403. The load must have been more than Tuesdays, though, as we took a lot longer to climb the grades as we only made it to Woodend before we were stopped to meet the up goods that was our changeover, the 2016 (time, not year) from Bendigo. It rolled to a halt next to us and we changed locos before getting X39 moving south again at 0130. We were headed back to Newport where we were relieved at 0335 to taxi back to the depot again for an 0410 sign off. The difference between heading to Newport and into Melbourne via the independent goods lines and Bunbury Street tunnel to the Arrivals Yard is evident in the comparison between the three nights: roughly four hours from Castlemaine to the Arrivals Yard verses two hours ten from Kyneton to Newport and two hours five from Woodend to Newport.
Thursday, I signed on at 1845. I haven’t made any note about standby but there must have been some time in the meal room as the train I finally ran was the 2125 Geelong pass, a change of scenery to the Bendigo line. No pass required nearly three hours to prepare for, not even the important ones like the ‘Aurora’ or ‘Overland’. B82 provided the power and succeeded in drawing to a halt at Geelong platform at 2240. We took the loco to Geelong depot and, after a meal break, exchanged it for B80 to run the 2325 goods back to Melbourne. The train was left in the Arrivals Yard and the B was left at the Fuel Point at 0200 with sign off at 0215.
In a near repeat of Thursday, although I signed on at 1725, I didn’t get to run a train until nearly three hours later. The rostered job was to take out the locos for a Serviceton ‘Jet’ and then relieve the PB Pilot. Both jobs would have been necessary but for some reason other crews did them, possibly because they had a number of hours under their belt already and a fresh crew was more use to Manpower on standby. In the end we relieved the 1620 up pass from Geelong which was hauled by T365 and with this loco we formed the 2005 down Geelong pass. Comparing the times B82 achieved the previous shift with tonight the B had fewer station stops since the T finally pulled into Geelong at 2146. With the T back at Geelong loco we were given another one, no. 322 this time, to run the 2300 up goods back to Melbourne. We had a slightly slower run than Thursday, although whether that was the lower power available in the form of the T or traffic ahead of us I can’t recall. We didn’t get 322 over the pit until close to 0220 with sign off at 0235.
Saturday was rostered off.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Roster 165A had a 1500 Spencer St Pass Yard Pilot booked for the Sunday but the Roster Clerk had us OR instead. After last week where I worked with various drivers other than B J Smith, we teamed up again for most of this week.
Monday was 1500 Fuel Point duty. We dealt with a reasonable number of locos in our 8 hours. In order, they were T336, X42, X33, B60, T393, Y104, Y119, Y140, C507, S311 and Y136. Of these, Brian gave me control of T336, X33 and all of the Y’s, probably because they were a very forgiving loco to drive and he spent a lot of time driving them as he tended to prefer Pilots over road jobs, especially during the hours of darkness.
On Tuesday I ended up working one of the Spencer St Pass Yard Pilots, signing on at 1402 for the 1435 job. I don’t know what happened to Brian, as I was teamed with Driver C Angove for the day. We had the ‘pleasure’ of working on F203 for the shift, although once relieved by the Night shift crew, we were given the job of taking F202 back over the pit for servicing. With the F back over the pit we signed off at 2235.
On taking over a loco I’ve referred to one of a fireman’s jobs being to check certain essentials were available on board and note the logbook appropriately.
Some of these essentials were at least one red flag, a box or more of detonators, some spare light globes and a multiple unit jumper cable.
A check that there was a handlamp on board, and working, was also a must, especially before a shift that included working in the dark. These were a large metal torch, roughly the size of a Dolphin torch, with a three-lens mechanism, which displayed red, green or clear, rotated by a triangular knob on top, in front of the handle.
Every loco was supposed to have a water bottle, of roughly 20 litre capacity, for crew use. The problem with these was that there was no clear instruction on who was supposed to empty and replenish them, so there were some that you wouldn’t dare sample what was supposedly water in them. Others were obviously emptied regularly but it was still a case of use ‘only if desperate’. The water in the fireman’s billy was always fresher and the billy would have no mould in it.  
The VC had two isolating cocks which were cable tied in the open position. On the B, S and L classes the VC isolating cocks were in the nose. On hood locos it was in the short end. If, for any reason, the VC had to be cut out these ties had to be broken to close the cocks. If any of these were found to be broken it had to be noted in the log book so they were another item to check. There would have to be a very good reason provided by the crew who broke them to avoid penalties.
On Wednesday, Brian signed on with me at 1402 for another stint at Spencer Street shunting passenger trains to and from the platforms. F202 had completed its servicing at Dynon, as it was back in the Bank Sidings waiting for us to form the 1435 Pilot. Once relieved, we had to make our way back to Dynon under our own steam as there was no loco to be returned to the depot for servicing tonight. We signed off at 2230 nonetheless.
Signing on at 1415 on Thursday, Brian and I located B75 and Y158 in the depot and ran these two locos ‘light’ out to Paisley, after collecting a guard, to make up the 1600 Wodonga oil train. Having a B class on the Wodonga oil was not common, there was almost always a Y class as the second loco but the lead loco was most frequently a T as the train was rarely all that long, say a dozen bogie tank wagons plus vans, and the combined power of a T and Y was enough to get this load over the climb to Heathcote Junction. After departing Paisley and making our way through Sunshine and Broadmeadows we succeeded in getting as far as  Kilmore East by 2050 where we met the up empties bound. T350 had charge of this load and we got it moving at 2055 to return to Paisley again. Leaving the empties in the sidings we returned to the depot LE, with the guard travelling with us, leaving 350 to be refuelled at 2335 and signing off at 2345.
Signing on at 1425 on Friday we were rostered to run the 1510 Geelong pass but something happened to move us to the 1500 Trimmer Pilot, a retrograde step in my opinion, swapping a pass for a Pilot. F204 was idling on the stub road, for use when required, but as usual we spent the bulk of the shift in the trimmer cabin, waiting for some mis-directed wagon needing rescue. Relieved by the Night shift, we walked back to Dynon to signoff at 2335 for the end of the working week for us.

This week would have been 166D, which appears to have been very early Day shift starts in the 02 to 0300 range, however Brian and I, together, had swapped rosters with another crew and worked 106D instead, which was generally 0700 jobs. 166D had Sunday and Monday OR but worked Saturday instead whereas 106D had the Sunday and Saturday off.
So, Monday was 0635 for the 0700 West Yard Pilot run with Y108. Little of note until we were relieved by the Afternoon shift at 1500 with sign off at 1525.
166D on Tuesday would have been the Brooklyn Pilot, if it ran, but 106D was the 0700 East Yard Pilot worked with Y123, on at 0657 and sign off at 1503.
Wednesday, I actually signed on at 0657 to work the 0700 Hump Yard Pilot with H1 & 2, instead of 0700 standby, as far as I can make out. Like Tuesday we were off again at 1503.
Thursday’s 106D job was cancelled the day before, to be replaced by the 0600 No.1 Dock Pilot which we signed on at 0557 for. Y138 was used and we worked solely between Melbourne Yard and West Swanston dock. We finished at 1403.
Friday was another 0557 start, this time for one of the 0635 Spencer St Pass Yard Pilots. We had F202 to bounce around in for the shift. I say ‘bounce’ since the very short wheelbase of an F combined with the numerous points and very rough trackwork in the Bank sidings caused a lot of rapidly changing vertical motion, so much so that those with weak stomachs could possibly suffer from a little sea sickness. Although I don’t remember this, my notes say that I drove from 0730 until the end of the shift. Spending that much time driving, in a rather public place was challenging the powers that be a little but obviously we got away with it. We were relieved and finally signed off at 1500. Whatever job 166D was supposed to run on Saturday I can’t say as, unfortunately, I was too thorough with a black pen.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Returning to roster 167N after our week ‘away’, Sunday was supposed to be 2140 on for No. 8 Dock Pilot but, somehow, I was rostered off instead.
Monday’s roster listed the Hump Yard Pilot as the job we ought to have run but this was probably the second unit and was cancelled instead. So, we got the pleasure of signing on at 2215 to go and sit in the meal room on standby. Four hours later we were still sitting there having not been given anything to do so we signed off and went home for some, more comfortable, sleep.
Tuesday was an OR so destroying any chance of actually adjusting to Night shift although Wednesday was a 2232 start for the 2335 Princes Bridge Pilot. F201 was the loco running this and I’m sure we had more than a little time with our eyes shut, even in the confines of a cramped F class cab. I recall, once, trying the wooden floor of one of these on a Night shift which, believe it or not, was probably worse than sleeping in the seat, leaning against the cab window using a ‘sweatie’ as a pillow. At least a Y class floor gave you some room to stretch out a bit, although in winter with the fireman’s heater on you had a little less room available, unless you wanted to roast your toes or head. We were back at the depot signing off at 0635.
On Thursday, for some reason, I was teamed with Driver E King and not B J Smith. The job we signed on at 2245 for, a 2330 Bendigo either didn’t run or was taken from us by another crew. Instead, we sat it out in the meal room until Manpower called us out at 0330 to travel to Broadmeadows, by taxi, to relieve another Dynon crew. I didn’t record the loco of this train for some reason, however with the train in our control we took it on to Newport, via the Albion loop line, to hand on to another crew to take on to Geelong. Having been relieved ourselves we were transported back to Dynon in another taxi getting there at 0540 and signing off 10 minutes later.
The last shift for this week was also changed from the rostered job. Instead of starting at 2245 Brian and I were on 10 minutes earlier to run the 2310 Korrumburra. With T360 ready to go we took this train as far as Dandenong where we met the 2230 up out of Korrumburra at 0235. Changing to another T in the form of No. 396 we retraced our path back to Melbourne and the Arrivals Yard where we left the train at 0420. Manpower let us sit out the rest of the shift in the meal room, possibly because we signed off at 0535 for only a seven hour shift. If we’d hung around for that extra hour we probably would have ended up moving locos from the Fuel Point. As we had been on Saturday penalty rates for all bar 1:25 of the shift dropping an hour didn’t hurt too much.

168A started with a Sunday OR followed by a modification from the roster with a 1520 start to run the 1558 Yarram pass from Flinders St. What we were originally booked to run I can’t make out anymore. Brian must have swapped rosters again as Driver H Schang took control of T377 as we left the depot and made our way to Flinders St. Departing Flinders St we headed for Dandenong where we collected the Cranbourne large electric staff.
Making our way South-East we continued on stopping at all stations to exchange passengers and the staff until we ground to a halt at Koo Wee Rup at 1730. The up goods was sitting in the loop with Korrumburra crew waiting on the platform for us. They took over the pass and took it onwards while we waited for the pass to clear the platform road. While we did so the signalman would have changed the staff that we had brought with us for a new one and handed it to us. With the staff in hand we dropped into the pit to cross the line to where T347 was idling, waiting for us. Getting the goods back out on the main line we made our way back to Dandenong, making light work of Clyde Bank. I’d heard stories about how this bank was an issue in steam days but diesels made relatively light work of it. I certainly never experienced anything close to a struggle up it. From Dandenong we continued on through Melbourne and on to Spotswood where we pushed the trainload of sand from Nyora, back into the sidings and tied it up. Returning to Dynon light we signed off at 2230.
Tuesday should have been 1520 on for a 1601 Upfield goods, which replaced a Geelong. However, I failed to make it to work due to illness. I missed Wednesday as well but the roster had me rostered off anyway so there was little lost.
With my health recovered I resumed work on Thursday at 1540 working with Dave Gauwitz again. The roster had us running the Bayswater goods but that was replaced by the 1625 Bacchus Marsh pass. In a fairly normal allocation we had H1 to run this train. Stopping all stations after Sunshine we arrived at Bacchus Marsh at 1527. Shunting the cars into the stabling yard to tie them up for the night we sat in the sidings waited for the next down arrival. It arrived hauled by H4 and was shunted to join our cars in the yard. The two H class were coupled together and we then waited for a chance to get back to the main to return to Dynon light. Control finally gave us a chance to go against the traffic coming out of Melbourne so we departed Bacchus Marsh at 1935 with us in the leading loco. Hand staff exchanges were in order in both directions, the down due to stopping all stations and the up where we had no other option. Once we were at the reversing point beneath the Hump the crew of No. 4 took over and towed us back to the depot where we left the locos at the Fuel Point at 2055. On standby until 2140 we were then sent to Fuel Point. In our two hours there we moved two locos, Y119, which I drove, and E1109, which I didn’t.
On Friday I signed on at 1629 to run the 1714 Kyneton pass. My driver for the day was L Melli and together we took T359 to Spencer St for our train. Stopping at all stations after St Albans we finally made it to Kyneton at 1912 where we stabled the cars for the weekend. S305 and T399 were already tied up in the sidings waiting for us so we coupled 359 behind these two and took control of the S class for our onward journey. Departing Kyneton around 1950 we took these locos on as far as Castlemaine light, arriving at 2030. The Bendigo crew with our changeover were on their way to meet us so we sat there on the main line and waited for them. T402 drew to a halt adjacent to our loco and we did the crew change. Getting the up train underway at 2110 we returned south to leave the goods in the Arrival Yard, the T class at the Fuel Point and signed off at 0130.
Although the roster said 1425 on for a Spencer St Pass Yard Pilot, I was booked off, probably on my request.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
After a swap of rosters from 169D to 140N my week started at 1845 working with Driver G Dobinson for that week.

Officially 169D was;
Monday, Spencer St Pass Yard Pilot;
Tuesday, relieve an up ‘Jet’;
Wednesday, Bendigo goods;
Thursday, standby;
Friday, OR;
Saturday, illegible.

What we were rostered to run on Monday is not obvious any more but what we did end up running was the 2125 Geelong pass. B65 was the loco allocated and made a good run to Geelong arriving there at 2240. Leaving no. 65 at Geelong loco we took control of B77 with T354 coupled in multi. We took the locos to North Geelong Yard and coupled up to form the 2325 Melbourne goods. The additional horsepower was welcome as most Victorian Railways goods suffered from locos trying to handle bigger loads than EMD or Clyde intended. One train I ran was so overloaded that we came within inches of stalling on the climb to Bank Box Loop, not helped by defective sanders. We came into Melbourne via the usual route of Newport, Brooklyn and Tottenham to leave the train in the Arrival Yard at 0230. With the locos sitting in the Fuel Point we returned to the depot and signed off at 0300.
Tuesday’s start was 1845 to run the 1920 Lilydale goods. With Y104 taken to the East Yard we collected our train and set off for Flinders St and the Ringwood line. After we passed through Flinders St and were near ‘D’ Signalbox I was offered the chance to drive. Not looking a gift horse in the mouth, I accepted and was given the opportunity to drive all of the way to Lilydale. We would have used the down line as far as Box Hill and I have a memory that we did a little shunting in the siding on the up side of Mitcham. Clearing Ringwood we proceeded on until we rolled down the grade to enter Lilydale yard and tie up the train at 2330. Another crew had been sent, by Manpower, in a taxi to relieve us and they finally arrived around 0025. Taking their place in the taxi we were driven back to Dynon which took an hour even at that time of night. Dropped off at Dynon we signed off at 0145.
On Wednesday we signed on at 2015 to run the 2050 Dimboola goods via North Geelong. Taking T333 from the depot we followed the usual route towards Geelong but a less usual event, for me, was driving the train after we passed through Brooklyn. I drove on through Newport and along the East line through Werribee until we approached Little River and the start of the single line section to Corio at 0130. Our change-over was already on the single line section approaching us so we were held there to wait for it. X53 approached to diverge onto the West line and stopped next to the T. Swapping locos and trains we retraced our path back to Melbourne using the West line to leave the X at Fuel Point at 0315. Manpower didn’t waste any time and sent us straight out to work the Fuel Point immediately. The fitters hadn’t finished refuelling and reprovisioning X53 before we had completed the round trip from Manpower and arrived at the Fuel Point foreman’s crew room. When the X was ready to be stabled the foreman gave us the job of doing so, most likely on the BG turntable as it would have needed turning before running its next job out of Melbourne. B71 was also moved in the final hour of our shift and I drove both from the Fuel Point to where we were told to leave them. I can’t tell you whether I also took the controls of the BG turntable but if I was in the driver’s seat it’s unlikely
Thursday we were rostered off.
Back at the depot on Friday at 1805 we were rostered to run the 1840 Traralgon goods. L1154 drew the train from the East Yard as far as Caulfield where we met L1173 being operated by a ‘foreign’ crew. 1173 was being used solely as a means of getting this crew to effect the change over so was running ‘light’. We continued to run L1173 ‘light’ back to Dynon and were back at the depot before 2000 as Manpower gave us the job of relieving the up ‘Daylight’ at that time. At Spencer St we waited for X51 to draw into platform 1 and relieved the crew. Released from the train we ran the X back to Dynon long end leading and were once again back on the depot at 2045. At 2300 we were given yet another job, this one of relieving the up Paisley oil train. We walked to North Melbourne station and waited for a down Broadmeadows spark. We met the ‘oily’ at Broadmeadows and relieved the Dynon crew, who were obviously heading for some serious overtime if they hadn’t been. We took control of Y123 but even before we had left Broadmeadows I was in the driving seat and had control of the train from there through Sunshine and on to Paisley. I was in charge of the shunting and then the light engine return to Dynon which occurred around 0200 with sign off at 0210.
The final shift for the week on Saturday was on at 1655 to run the 1800 Dimboola pass. For this job we had S315 and ran it over to Spencer St from the “noisy” end. Being the Dimboola meant few stops and lots of auto exchanges before we made it to Ballan, at 1918, where we had to meet the 1810 up pass being run by our change over crew. With the change-over effected we started our return journey with B74 hauling the train. A recurring theme of this week was my being given the opportunity to drive and this night was no different. As we ran through Bank Box Loop seats were swapped and I drove the pass all the way back to Melbourne. My thinking is that this was the first passenger train that I’d driven; empty cars from Werribee do not count as they had no passengers on board. Not having much experience in handling passenger trains and the speeds they operated at I would have had more than a little coaching from Driver Dabkowski. He had enough confidence in me, after my previous efforts, to surrender this train to me as well. I didn’t mess up this run too badly or I would remember it more distinctly, as I do an up Werribee, of later date, where I misjudged the braking required to stop from 100kph and completely overshot Aircraft station. My notes indicate that we finished this job at 2130 but I can’t recall if that is arrival at Spencer St or the depot. I’m inclined to go for the depot as even a stopping pass should complete the up run from Ballan in well less than two hours and ten minutes.
Considering we then spent the rest of the shift, until 0255, on the depot the Manpower clerk was nice to us and left us on standby; no Fuel Point for us tonight.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Another long week with an example of how things can go badly really quickly without even trying!

Roster 170N began on Sunday and being a mixture of road jobs and Pilots, Brian had swapped rosters. Instead, I worked with Driver P Junck for the next five days. A 2130 start to take the F class for the Trimmer out to the Hump was the job we signed on for and so F204 was duly noted at the TR point, run into the Arrival Yard and then up the Hump and back into its stub where I wound on the hand brake and we adjourned to the Trimmer cabin. At 2300 the Night shift crew appeared at the cabin door and sent us on our way so they could settle down to get as much sleep as they could. Manpower decided we were of most use at Fuel Point so at 2330 we headed out there. S302, Y107 and B78 were shifted in the time we worked the ‘Point’. Whether by mutual consent or not, we signed off at 0230 after only 5 hours on duty, half of which were at double time.

On Monday night we signed back on at 2330 to take up Fuel Point duty again, this time rostered for it. Over the next eight hours we moved E1110, Y109, H3, B78, T362. I drove the next one, a standard gauge Y class, no. 122, so only a short trip to stable it on the SG turntable. Back on the broad gauge again B72, T332, T326 were moved next followed by Y133, which I was given to drive. We finished the shift by moving X34 before signing off at 0730.

Tuesday was on at 2330 to run the 0015 Ballarat. B75 was the loco providing the power but we also had T403 coupled up but being towed ‘dead’, i.e. shutdown. It was presumably going to Ballarat North workshops for some work, otherwise it would have been running and able to assist on the grades. Coupled up to the train we headed through Tottenham and onto the South line from Sunshine through to Deer Park West and onto the single line through Rockbank, Bacchus Marsh and on up the grade to Bank Box Loop. Once off the grades past Ingliston the run was easier again and we made it to Bungaree by which time it was 0330. The 0230 up from Ballarat was on the line between Warrenheip and Bungaree so we stopped in the platform road, which made handing up the staff really easy, and waited for it to arrive. C506 was at the head of the up goods and we changed locos with the Ballarat crew. With the Miniature Electric staff for Gordon in our possession we set off on the return journey back to Melbourne, retracing our outbound path. This took us until around 0615 with the C class back on the depot at 0630. We signed off at 0645.

Wednesday night was a 2337 sign on to travel to Newport to meet a Seymour bound goods. The goods finally arrived in the back road at Newport at 0052 hauled by X39. Getting this train underway we headed for the north east line and made it to Broadford, at 0340, where the signalman had the home signal at the down end of the platform against us and came out of the ‘box to advise us that the 0200 up from Seymour, our change over, was in the section coming from Tallarook. X44 appeared, short end leading, coming up the grade through the curves approaching the station and drew to a halt next to no. 39. The Seymour crew took our place and then proceeded to go on a meal break, so we were left with the task of ensuring the guard changeover occurred. Now X44 wasn’t the only loco on this train; we also had three T’s nos. 346, 336 and 334 as this was a loaded train of grain weighing in at 2297 tons, consisting solely of GY wagons. With this weight made up of GYs this was a long train. So, we drew forward slowly under a few notches of power while the pair of us leaned out of the X class as far as possible to give ourselves the best chance of seeing a red light from the distant guard’s van. The lines curvature and descending grade, on the up side of the station, combined to prevent us seeing any such signal so as the two vans drew level and then passed each other the Seymour guard pulled the ‘air’ to let us know to stop. As we had four locos with power on, providing over 4,500 horsepower, the air brakes had a fight on their hands. When the air brake flow gauge showed the brake pipe pressure dropping Driver Junck shut off power as quickly as he could but everything in the cab was thrown around with the violent stop. Once the train was halted and the brake handle put into the ‘release’ position the air pressure of the brake pipe refused to build up again. This told us that something was wrong with it somewhere behind us so I descended to ground level and set off back past the locos checking all the obvious points of failure as I went. There was nothing wrong with any of the pipes between the four locos so I moved on to pass the first of the GY’s. At around the eighth or ninth wagon there was a large gap in the train; here was the problem. As I moved in to close the brake pipe cock I realised that the last GY still attached to the locos no longer had a jaw. The brakes going on from the rear and the locos still powering had combined to shear most of the jaw off, in a vertical fracture parallel to the pivot, leaving only the pivot and a few centimetres of the jaw. This was not something that a loco crew could fix on the road; the wagon would have to be repaired in a proper facility. I closed the brake pipe cock on what was now the last wagon and returned to the locos where I related what I had found. Soon after some car headlights appeared driving parallel to the rail line on the down side. The car stopped opposite the locos and the signalman emerged to find out what was going on. The guard might have advised him that the brake pipe was not recharging or the amount of time we sat on the main line, unmoving, made him realise that there might have been a problem. He was filled in on the situation and he returned to the station in his car. He returned some time later, again by car, to tell us what Control had decided to do about the problem. As we couldn’t re-couple to the rest of the train, we were to take the wagons still attached to the locos to Kilmore East and leave them in the up siding, then return ‘wrong line’ to Broadford to collect the balance of the train. We would then take that part of the train to Kilmore East where we would leave the damaged wagon in the siding but add the others to the train so we could continue on towards Geelong. We had to return ‘wrong line’ as the locos were near the up starting signal and the only crossover we could use, to get from the down line to the up, was blocked by our own train, and with a defective coupling we couldn’t, safely, push the whole train back to clear one. We set off for Kilmore East with a small train of GYs, ran past the siding points to stop clear of the disc signal controlling access to the siding, and prepared to push the GYs back into the siding. With the Kilmore East signalman ready for us, courtesy of Control, we soon had the disc signal cleared to allow us to push back where I uncoupled the wagons and put down a few handbrakes to prevent any more, unexpected, issues. While I was doing that a red or yellow card was attached to the damaged GY by Driver Junck. With just four locos now we returned to the main line and the pair of us relocated to T334 for the ‘wrong line’ move. The signalman gave us clearance to depart and we headed back to Broadford at a moderate speed, slowing as we neared the landmarks that told us we approaching near Broadford. The remains of our train came into view and slowed down more, to approach to a point where I could recouple. With the slightly abbreviated train coupled successfully we relocated back to the X to pump up ‘the air’ and prepared to head for Kilmore East. The signalman reappeared once more and told us that we were going to be ‘put away’ in the up refuge siding, behind the up platform. Control had decided that we would be a potential delay for the up passenger trains soon to be coming up from behind us out of Seymour. We drew forward until we were clear of the loop points, the signalman cleared the dwarf light signal and then set back into the loop. The signals from the guard were visible this time as we were off the worst of the curves, vertical and horizontal, and once we were moving back into the siding we didn’t need the guard’s signals anymore as we would just stop the X class clear of the dwarf light signal protecting access to the main line. We then proceeded to sit in the refuge for a number of hours waiting for and then watching the passenger trains accelerate away from the platform past us. Eventually, the signal ahead of us cleared and we moved back out onto the main line to make our way to Kilmore East for the second time this night. This required a bit more of an effort from the locos compared to the previous time. The Kilmore distant was ‘against’ us; i.e. at the horizontal warning position displaying a yellow light, but we weren’t expecting to run through anyway. What did surprise us was the sight of another crew standing on the platform waiting for us. Dynon Manpower had been advised of the problem we had and had sent a relief crew, by taxi, to meet us. We stopped the train where it would enable the signalman to be able to get the locos back into the siding and then handed over to our relief at 0820. We then walked to the taxi idling in the station carpark. I’m fairly certain that the guard joined us in the taxi, so the taxi boot was completely occupied by three large kit bags. The taxi driver returned us to Dynon where we signed off at 0940 for just over 10 hours on duty. My notes indicate that four hours of that tonnage worked out at roughly an additional $23. As this was a pay week and it was now well into Thursday morning I would have collected my pay before going home.

That night was on at 2325 to run a Newmarket Pilot with Y121. After the drama of the night before this was a cake walk with a chance to get a bit of a nap in the slow hours of 0200 to 0400. We finished at 0700 and signed off at 0730 for the final time this week as both Friday and Saturday were rostered off.

  Dave C Chief Train Controller

Location: Maitland
Thanks again Neil. I lived in Broadford for a while in the early 90's the house backing on to the line so can relate to this story quite well.
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Rolling onto 171A I had a Sunday OR, Monday was also officially OR but I signed on at 0930 with Driver Basil to spend the first hour on standby. Manpower then called on us to travel to Port Melbourne to relieve the Port Melbourne Pilot. Leaving the spark at Port Melbourne we found Y123 and its crew waiting in the Yard for us to provide relief for the crew. I don’t remember what work would still be required for this Pilot but whatever was offering kept us occupied until 1720 when we departed ‘light’ for the depot, reversing at Flinders Street, instead of Jolimont Yard, as we were running ‘light’. Sign off was at 1805.

Tuesday’s start was 0925 rostered for a Bendigo, which was cancelled after the roster was prepared. Instead, Driver Rees and I went straight to standby until 1000. At this time the pair of us were tasked to relieve the Port Melbourne Pilot. Today’s loco was Y112 which we relieved at 1130 again, however instead of sitting in the yard all shift we took a rake of wagons to Tottenham Yard departing, from Graham, at 1300. Running around at Jolimont Yard we then proceeded past Spencer St on the goods bypass lines, on through the Bunbury St tunnel and along the down Independent Goods line. We pushed the wagons back into the yard at 1400 and then spent until 1645 waiting at Tottenham, presumably for some loading that we were to take back to Melbourne Yard. With whatever loading we had been waiting for we set off for the Arrivals Yard to leave the wagons there and had the Y over the pit at 1725 and off 15 minutes later.

Wednesday was an 0850 on to run the 0935 Warrnambool pass. The original job appears to have been a Warragul. B61 was allocated so we took it over the flyover to Spencer St and coupled up. Getting underway we ran express from Newport and so arrived in Geelong at 1030. As our return train was the 1220 we had quite some time to fill in. We relieved the crew of B60 which was in charge of the train that formed the up pass. Unlike the down this train stopped at a few more stations as our arrival at Spencer St was 1337. We returned to the depot and went onto standby. There is a fairly cryptic note in my diaries about a relief between 1500 and 1540 but there are no more details that I can make out. We finished our shift at 1650.

On at 1015 the next day we were given B75 to take some vehicles to Newport Workshops, presumably for repair, departing, from whatever location we collected these vehicles from, probably the North Melbourne Truckshops, located inside the North Melbourne reversing loop, at 1100. We delivered our load to Newport and then made the return to Dynon leaving the loco in the hands of the fitters at 1230. We went onto standby until 1615 when we were dispatched to Fuel Point by Manpower. Over two hours we shifted a total of three locos; X40, X42 and Y108. I drove all three from the ‘Point’ to where the Fuel Point foreman told us to stable them.

Friday’s start was 0950 for a job that was very familiar to me from earlier in the week; relieve the Port Melbourne Pilot. We relieved the original crew, who were working with Y112 again, at 1045. In a replay of Tuesday’s job, we departed Port Melbourne at 1300 for Tottenham Yard again. I didn’t note when we arrived there but, once again, we had a delay before our return journey. Before departing Tottenham Yard, we coupled Y105 behind 112 this time, presumably since it was running low on fuel and our return trip to Melbourne and Dynon was a convenient way of topping it up. Departing the yard at 1600, we had the Y’s back on the depot some time before 1700 as that was when we finished our shift.

The roster had a Saturday job in the form of an SG Goods Pilot, starting at 0815, but I had requested the day off and the Roster clerk had granted my request.

Having swapped rosters with another fireman I took up roster 79D instead of 172D.

172D should have been a week of working various Melbourne Yard Plots, something like this:

Sunday: “If required”

Monday: 0635 for the 0700 Trimmer Pilot

Tuesday: 0657 for a (now obscured) Melbourne Yard Pilot

Wednesday: 0651 for an Upfield goods

Thursday: 05 something for the PB Pilot

Friday: 0657 for the 0700 East Yard Pilot

Saturday: OR

Instead of these I was OR until Tuesday when I signed on at 0503. Who my driver was I didn’t record but together we were to run the 0548 Geelong pass with T320. This was obviously a ‘stopper’ as we didn’t arrive at Geelong until 0727. Having a T on an all stations was a pain due to the amount of time it took one of them to get up to their maximum speed. Once at Geelong I uncoupled so we could run around to form the 0755 up pass. This run was completed somewhat faster than the down as we were back at Spencer St at 0911 but how this was achieved I don’t remember. We took the T back to Dynon to spend a little time on standby before being given the job of relieving the 1045 up Warragul pass. L1153 arrived at Flinders St at the head of this train which we took over at 1120. It took quite a while for the loco to be released and for us to be able to get it back to Dynon, which we achieved at 1230 to sign off at 1245.

Wednesday was an 0620 start to team up with Driver John Stewart. Together, we took L1153 to Flinders St to form the 0850 Bairnsdale pass, better known as ‘The Gippslander’. Being the name train of the Eastern Region that it was, we ran express from Dandenong to Warragul, slowing only for the hand exchanges of the staff at Bunyip and Longwarry. Arrival at Warragul was some time after 10 but I failed to note the exact time. On arrival we handed the train over to a local crew to continue its journey to Bairnsdale. We had a short wait for the up goods that we were to run back to Melbourne. When it rolled in we took over from its crew to get it moving again at 1100 with L1165 at the head end. For some reason I failed to note our arrival in Melbourne, the depot or our sign off time, although I’m of the opinion that we didn’t get back until sometime after 1300. We weren’t allocated any other jobs for the day so I doubt that we hung around on the depot for too long after our return there.

Thursday, we were rostered to do a run to Geelong but nothing ran that day due to another strike by the AFULE. Being a pay day I’m not sure how anyone collected their money (or why the AFULE went for a payday); whether the VR even opened the pay office that day I’m not sure.

Strike over, Friday was on at 0520 to run the 0605 Scrap Pilot. This would have been an E class job but I didn’t record which one for some reason, maybe I was so underwhelmed by these locos I couldn’t be bothered noting the number. Departing the depot ‘light’, we ran to Jolimont Yard and coupled up the couple of departmental HR wagons which the collected scrap brake blocks and other debris were dropped into. Whichever E class we ran the job with we wound up the job at 1250 to return the loco to the depot and sign off at 1317.

Saturday we were supposed to be running the Princes Bridge Pilot, on at 0510, however the ARU had their turn at calling a strike so the whole depot was booked off as “not required”.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Roster 173N was noted as being ‘available for rest’ starting with Sunday OR, although considering the ARU continued their strike action through Monday and Tuesday it is likely that the OR would have been an enforced one as I’m of the opinion that the strike extended over the four days. Monday ought to have been on at 1835 for a 1930 Seymour with Driver Levique and Tuesday on at 2025 for a Bendigo.

With the strike over, I signed on at 1945, with Driver Junck again, for the 2235 Albury SG goods. This job replaced another Seymour, if I can make out the original destination underneath Albury, making use of the ‘available for rest’ status. In a departure from the norm we took our own locos off the pit and did the full preparation of the train ourselves. X51 and 48 were provided to run this train north. The load must have been a large one to have two locos, probably to help move some of the loading that had accumulated in the preceding days. It was very rare to have a double header on the ‘gauge’, partially due to the more favourable grades created when the ‘gauge’ was constructed in 1961 and also due to the loads rarely requiring it. Putting two locos into multi with the limited stabling space available for locos at Dynon, other than the turntable, was difficult to do without blocking access to the SG Fuel Point, which was not desirable. Taking the paired X class of the depot and reversing on the main line we entered South Dynon yard to couple up and test the train. Once the tests were complete we departed the Yard to made our way north with nothing to make the journey particularly memorable but still took until 0350 to reach Wodonga, where we were relieved by a local crew who took the train on to Albury. From Wodonga depot we made our way to the motel the VR had our room booked for us and crashed for the balance of the night.
Unlike my first ‘rest job’ we didn’t hit a pokies venue. We may have made our way in to Albury for a look around but little more until sign on time approached. Our return from ‘rest’ was the 1720 up for which we signed on at 1615 at Wodonga depot. X31 was the loco provided and had a lighter load than the down trip, having the more usual single loco provided. Working the, lone, Old X on the ‘gauge’ was pretty much just like any Old X, broad gauge, hauled train so, like the down trip, the up trip had nothing particularly to bring any memories back of that run. X31 made the journey to Melbourne somewhat faster than the night before as we were back at South Dynon at 2305 and off at 2315. If we hadn’t done the ‘rest job’ we would have been running a Korrumburra, signing on at 1915.

Friday was on at 1935 to run the 2010 Warragul. I’m not sure if I worked with Driver Junck or Levique this shift. A triple header made up of L1155, L1173 and Y165 was provided, although the Y was being hauled for transfer east to replace another loco. Moving the load out of the East Yard we made the journey all the way to Warragul arriving there at 0000. Double headed L class was a luxury, although they were a little light on their feet, they had sufficient power for almost all loads offering on the Eastern line. A full load of briquettes, on the up, might have been the exception, especially in bad weather. Our change-over was the 2225 from Traralgon and was hauled by L1152, L1159 with Y172 being towed; obviously the loco that 165 was replacing. We made the up journey in decent time as we left the train in the Arrivals Yard at 0300 and we signed off at 0325.

Saturday was OR.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
174A began Sunday OR and, with Brian having swapped rosters again, I worked with a couple of different drivers during the week.

On Monday I signed on at 1205 to work a 1230 job but Manpower had a more pressing need for me. I was teamed up with Driver Peter Standen, instead of Driver Stanley who probably still ran the 1230 job, to run the 1300 Ballarat pass. This train was supposed to be a railmotor but the one that had been meant to run the trip had failed and there were none spare to cover it. Instead, we were tasked with running the train using X46 with two light weight, wooden, carriages, so the loco would have out-weighed the rest of the train. As a railmotor replacement it stopped at all stations from Sunshine, so all hand exchanges of the staff. The light weight of the train was great for acceleration with the high horsepower of the X but caused braking issues as there weren’t a lot of brake blocks to retard the train with the power to weight ratio, so we departed stations rapidly but had to slow earlier than usual for the next stop. We made good time with Peter coping with the characteristics of this somewhat unusual train until after we had left Ballan. I didn’t hear detonators explode on the approach to Gordon, which is surprising considering the amount of noise they make and, on a New X, there’s not the excuse of running long end leading which made it really hard to hear detonators go off. The puff of smoke the generated when going off was almost more obvious. So, Peter reduced speed and we crawled into Gordon, to stop once again and exchange the staff, with me sitting in the fireman’s seat wondering why we weren’t travelling faster, not helped by my not seeing any track crew working. This put us behind the timetable so Peter tried to make up some time after Gordon. Coming through Dunnstown towards Warrenheip we ran over more detonators, which I heard this time, so Peter slowed us down again to approach the junction through cleared signals. Part of this story has been related on the Albion Cement Siding thread but I’ll relate it again anyway. As we ran through Warrenheip platform to hand up the staff the only track workers visible were a pair of signal technicians, on the ladder of the down departure home at the far end of the platform and one of them, on seeing us approaching gave us an ‘all clear’ hand signal. Without discussing it both of us in the cab assumed that these two were the ones being protected by the detonators and so once clear of them Peter applied power to descend the bank to Ballarat. Power to weight took effect and he had us up to track speed quickly, which was a problem when we rounded one of the few bends in the line to see a flagman standing by the line holding out a red flag. Power to weight again had an impact and although Peter shut off power and applied full emergency we had no hope of stopping before the flagman. He rather earnestly held the flag more firmly as though that would stop the train but in vain as we sailed past him at speed and continued on some distance further down the line before finally coming to a halt. The flagman was protecting a spot where the local track crew could remove their track machines from the main line to clear it for trains. These were paired rails that sat at right angles to the main line, long enough to hold a small track machine and easily shifted to wherever they were wanted. Our speed carried us past most, if not all, of these which meant there was nowhere for the track machines blocking the line ahead of us to clear the line now. There was obviously a lack of problem solving amongst this gang as they had trouble deciding what to do now. Eventually someone worked out that they could clear the line by going down the hill to Ballarat East. The flagman had chased us down the grade until he was adjacent to the loco and was in contact with someone on the track machines. Once they were clear of the main at Ballarat East he gave Peter that information and permission to proceed. Peter got the, now really delayed, train moving again and as we ran into Ballarat East we saw the track machines lined up, out of our way, on the down side of the line. Arrival at Ballarat station was 1534 where we moved the carriages into the carriage shed after our passengers disembarked and then took the X to the loco depot. I’m not sure if we were supposed to return to Melbourne per the 1810 pass or not but we had a number of people talk to us about the safe working failure we had just experienced. We eventually boarded the 1810 up pass and travelled back to Melbourne, behind X44, to arrive at 2040. Back at the depot we finally signed off at 2115 after another memorable shift. The ones where things went wrong are, obviously, the ones you remember best, which is a pity in many ways, because the many problem free runs would be just as interesting to write up but don’t stick in the memory anywhere near as well. In writing up the last few weeks I didn’t realise just how close together the Broadford incident was to this one. It was an ‘exciting’ few weeks at work to say the least.

Tuesday was another run on the Ballarat line although a different train and driver. I was on at 1215 with Driver William (Bill) Perussiach to run the 1400 Seviceton ‘Jet’ operated with C507 from North Dynon Yard. We departed South Dynon long end leading, passed the TR and reversing point below the hump then ran into North Dynon from the eastern connection near the Arrival Yard. The train was tested and we eventually got away from Melbourne. Being an express goods we were on the auto exchanger as often as the signalmen and control could arrange this. Between Ballan and Gordon there was one particular wooden road overpass that every time I went under it, in a C class, I ducked instinctively as it didn’t feel like we would fit through. Of course, nothing ever happened as it was built to the loading gauge but it sure felt close. I’m sure I remember one driver pulled my leg early on in my career, about how a C had hit this bridge when they first were delivered to the VR, which probably didn’t help! We descended Warrenheip bank, safely today, as there was no track gang at work on the bank, to stop at Ballarat for a crew change at 1815. Considering our return to Melbourne was travelling per the 1810 up pass it was either running late or it was held for us. I have a vague memory of doing a crew change at Ballarat East platform once, which may have been this shift but my notes do say we changed over at Ballarat. Whatever happened we had to hurry to get on the pass as my notes suggest that the up loco was B67 but that is question marked as I had little time to spare number spotting. With little to do for the return trip we sat back and enjoyed the ride until the pass pulled into one of the platforms at Spencer St at 2038. From there we made our way back to Dynon to sign off at 2105.

On Wednesday I worked with Peter Standen again, signing on at 0935 to run the 1000 Spencer St Pass Yard Pilot with F208. Considering I was working my expected roster this week, every job was changed except for Saturdays one. Unfortunately, I was too thorough in crossing out the original jobs so I can’t relate what they were originally, except for Thursdays, although from the shortness of the entry I would suggest they were all Melbourne Yard Pilots as I noted them as Hump, East, etc. as that was all that was necessary for my purposes, compared to a road job where the destination was written out in full. Our shift of pushing passenger cars around the Bank Sidings and to and from the platforms over we signed off at 1805.

Thursday was rostered as a round trip to Newport but Driver Standen and I instead signed on at 0745 to make our way to Spencer St to travel per the 0830 Dimboola pass, behind B71. We left the train at Ballarat and spent some hours talking to the local AFULE reps and others about Monday’s incident. It was during these discussions that I found out about my missing the detonators approaching Gordon. We returned to Dynon traveling on the 1515 bus; not my preferred method of travel, from anywhere, let alone Ballarat, as an engineman. We signed off at 1650 with absolutely no work achieved in moving trains.

I was rostered off on Friday but Saturday I was back on the depot again at 1105 to run the 1130 Dynon ‘Jet’ Pilot with Y102. I failed to note who was driving but I know it wasn’t Peter Standen, it was most likely Bill Perrusiach. Once we’d finished all of the tasks that were necessary to assemble the evenings Adelaide bound trains, we returned the Y to the depot and signed off at 1830.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Swapping from 175D, which were 03 to 0500 starts, onto 62N for the week I can’t give much of an idea of what jobs I was foregoing. The only ones that can be determined are the Sunday with an 0700 relieve an up ‘Jet’ and Thursday when I was going to be on at 0556 for a SG Goods Pilot
Instead Sunday was OR with an 0745 start on the Monday to travel per the 0830 Dimboola pass to Ballarat, in the company of Peter Standen again, for the official inquiry in the preceding Monday’s safeworking failure. We made our way to Spencer St to ride, behind B73, to Ballarat again to face the music. At least one of the local AFULE rep’s joined us as the Ballarat crews had been complaining about the way this track gang went about “protecting” themselves and their work for months, without a successful resolution. Our incident may have been the final straw as, at some point, we were advised that we had been exonerated of any failures on our part and the poor safeworking habits of the track gang were the reason for what happened to us and our train. With our part in the enquiry over we returned to Melbourne, via the 1515 bus once more, to sign off at Dynon at 1740; nearly ten hours pay with no productive work achieved on our part, unless you count getting protection of track work improved in the Ballarat district.
Now the enquiry was out of the way I was able to take up the roster I had shifted to and signed on at 1617, specifically for a Kyneton pass but somehow ended up on standby immediately. That didn’t last long as the Manpower officer called me out at 1640 and I was allocated to run the 1725 Bacchus Marsh pass. H2 was the loco provided so we dropped onto the rake of BPL and other oddities used for those commuter trains. Getting away from Spencer St we did the stop-start from Sunshine out to ‘the Marsh’ depositing our last passengers at 1835. Shunting the carriages into the Bacchus Marsh sidings we stabled them and then coupled our H to No. 3 which had arrived off the 1625 down pass about an hour before us. Due to the pressure of down trains coming out of Melbourne we sat in the yard waiting for a chance to get onto the main line until 2000. Previous times I’d run the 1625 Marsh pass we’d been the lead loco back to Melbourne with the 1725 crew getting a free ride but even though we’d arrived later we still, somehow, ended up being the lead loco. Even though we had made it out of the yard we still had a reasonably slow trip back as it took until 2115 before we had the paired H class at the Fuel Point again. Two hours of standby in the Meal room were put up with before sign off an hour short of a full shift.
Wednesday was supposed to be 1619 to run a 1630 to Brooklyn via Paisley but once again my health prevented me from getting to work. This illness kept me off until Sunday, whatever it was.
Thursday was supposed to be OR so I didn’t lose anything there but Friday’s roster was 1645 for a Mildura and Saturday, a 1700 takeout the loco for an SG goods.

Switching back to 179N Sunday was OR, Monday on at 2005 with Driver M Wilson. Together we located T399 on the depot and ran it LE to Tottenham to form the 2130 Geelong goods. A Geelong crew arrived and relieved us at 2120, before we had even finished preparing the train. This meant that we returned to Dynon by spark to take up standby duty for some time. Manpower called us out with the task of going to Sunshine to relieve the up Paisley oil train. A taxi took us to Sunshine station where we met and took over the train led by B71, at 0015, with the relieved crew using the taxi to get back to Dynon. Passing through Brooklyn and along the West Line through Paisley station we deposited the empty wagons in the sidings and then ran light back to the depot where we left the B at the Fuel Point at 0345. Sign off was 0400.
Starting at 2150 on Tuesday, Driver Wilson and I were rostered to run the 2305 Seymour goods. T338 was our loco so we took it to the Centre Yard to collect our train. With all the preparation complete we set off for the North East line via Tottenham and made our way over the Great Divide until we met our change over at Broadford. Thankfully neither train was so long that we couldn’t easily make the guard change over without damaging any part of either train. We exchanged trains with the Seymour crew to take control of H5 with Y134 and Y162 in the traces and departed Broadford at 0230. The up trip was a somewhat slower journey over the Divide and via Tottenham Yard as we didn’t get the locos back to the depot until 0650 to sign off at 0715.
Wednesday was on at 2000 to work with Driver Warren Soderman tonight. I was originally booked for standby so the change of drivers probably meant the Driver Wilson signed on to go onto standby without a fireman. Warren and I travelled per on the 2100 Warragul hauled by L1170, most likely in the rear cab, from where we left the loco at Warragul, at 2300. L1162 arrived from further east and we relieved the crew to get the train moving west again at 2320. We returned to Melbourne and left the train in the Arrivals Yard to take the loco back to the Fuel Point at 0145, where sand would be all that needed for a quick turnaround, unless there was some mechanical fault to be fixed. Manpower were kind to us as we went onto standby and stayed that way until we signed off at 0400.
Signing on at 2117 on Thursday I was back working with Driver Wilson again. We were given X44 to run to Newport ‘light’ where we were to meet the Geelong bound ‘Ford’ train out of Upfield and replace the existing loco, more than likely a T class, which would then return to Dynon ‘light’. The ‘Ford’ train arrived and after the other loco had departed we coupled up, did a quick brake continuity test and set off for Geelong at 2232. A brake continuity test was to confirm that the brake pipe was connected through the whole train after a loco exchange or removal of a few wagons. One of these was suitable in situations like this where most of the train had not been disrupted. With an X class on the reasonably lightly loaded ‘Ford’ we were able to make decent time along the flat Geelong line as far as North Shore where the up ‘Ford’, with its Geelong crew, met us. Changing trains, we took over T320, the more usual class of loco for this train. We got the up train on the move again at 0001. My notes say the train was bound for Melbourne which was not common for the ‘Ford’ but did occur occasionally when the train did not need to be delivered to Upfield immediately. The far more common scenario was to go directly to Upfield via Sunshine and Somerton. With the train stabled before its next leg we returned 320 to Dynon to sign off at 0445. I don’t recall but doubt that it took nearly four hours to do this so there is more than likely some standby time before our sign off.
Friday should have been 2055 on for a Warragul but I must have asked to be rostered off for some reason. Saturday was also OR.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Roster 180A saw BJ and I team up again on the Sunday at 0925. We were rostered to run ‘light’ to Somerton on the SG departing Dynon at 1010. We had the lone T class on the ‘gauge’ for this, in the form of No. 355, and after taking it from the SG turntable we then set off for Somerton with the trip taking 50 minutes. We spent two hours in and around Somerton shunting before we made the up run, with a load, back to South Dynon Yard where we left the rake at 1340 and returned 355 to the SG Fuel Point. We signed off at 1400 after only 4 and a half hours but the double time paid meant we weren’t out of pocket.
Monday was on at 0956 to relieve the Port Melbourne Pilot. Travelling per to Graham we relieved the original crew at 1100 to take control of Y149. We spent three hours in the yard there before departing with a load bound for Tottenham Yard. Including the time taken to run around at Jolimont Yard we arrived at Tottenham at 1430 where we uncoupled from the rake and then spent time waiting for the up load for Melbourne Yard. Y115 was added behind 149 before the loading was coupled up. Departing Tottenham at 1600 we left the loading in the Arrival Yard and deposited both Y class at the Fuel Point at 1635. We signed off at 1900.
Tuesday’s job was changed before the rosters were completed. Instead of 0930 on to run an Upfield we signed on at 0925 to make a 1000 run to Newport Workshops. We took T352 off the depot to where the vehicles to be transferred were and coupled up. The direct trip via Spotswood to Newport was completed at 1045 and we shunted the load to where it was wanted. Released from the rake we made our way back to the yard throat to wait for a clear road back to Newport station. The home signal cleared at 1120 and we ran back to Dynon ‘light’ and deposited the T at the Fuel Point at 1150. On our return we went on to standby which occupied the rest of the shift which ended at 1725.
Wednesday was another changed job, from 0925 for the Brooklyn Pilot, to 0815 for an 0850 Fitzroy goods. With X38 we departed the depot long end leading and made our way to the Centre Yard for our, rather small, load for an X class. Coupled up, with the train tested we departed the Yard, crossed the Western and Broadmeadows suburban lines to join the Upfield line and climbed up the grade to Royal Park where we collected the staff and diverged onto the single line. I can’t remember the safeworking method used on this line but a reference indicates that it was Train Staff and Ticket from the time it became single line, instead of the original double line block. Nothing I found indicates that this status changed prior to the closure of the line, so I’m assuming we were given a staff. We certainly never would have had a ticket as we were the only train there that day, probably that week. Passing under Royal Parade we slowed for each of the level crossings, including Lygon St and its tram lines, to be flagged across. I’m not sure where this flagman came from, if he was waiting for us at the Longmore St crossing, whether we picked him up earlier at Royal Park station or if he was travelling in the van from the Centre Yard; he certainly didn’t ride the loco to Royal Park. Turning south at North Fitzroy, past the remains of the Inner Circle to the Epping line, we drew into the yard at Fitzroy Goods at 1000. There were a number of four wheeled open wagons, RY and the like, already in the yard and our train added to that number. We shunted our loaded wagons, briquettes all from memory, to where they were required and collected the empties for the return to Melbourne Yard. At 1415 we departed Fitzroy Goods retracing our path and, again, had to be flagged across the level crossings. Drawing up to the home signal protecting the junction at Royal Park we waited for it to clear and then handed up the staff to the signalman on the platform. Unable to enter the Arrivals Yard from the Upfield line we instead ran back into the Centre Yard to leave the empties there at 1515. We signed off at 1545.
Friday, we signed on at 0950 to return to Port Melbourne once again, only this time we didn’t travel per to Graham. We took T394 off the depot to run a load from the East Yard departing there at 1045. After the usual run around at Jolimont Yard we made our way up the line to Graham to enter the yard at 1245. Leaving the load we coupled up to a guard’s van to form a BONA bound for Tottenham Yard. BONA was the telegraph code for loco and van and, of course, made its way into the terminology that enginemen used. Departing Graham at 1310 we run around the van at Jolimont Yard and then headed on to Tottenham arriving there at 1350. In what was now becoming a regular feature of the up run from Tottenham Yard we attached Y111 behind the T and then added the Melbourne Yard loading behind the Y. Departing Tottenham Yard at 1450 we ran back to the Arrivals Yard to leave the loading and return the locos back to Dynon sometime after 1520. Back on the depot we took up standby duty and finished the shift in the meal room at 1750.
Both Friday and Saturday were rostered off.

  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy

That piece was of particular interest for a couple of reasons.

The first is that in 1953 a special train took our school students from Gardiner to Princes Bridge, thence to Princes Park for the inter school athletics. We travelled via Rushall on the way there, but I can't remember which way we returned.

The second reason is that I live in Fitzroy North and there are, of course, vestiges of the old line still visible. . . very good for inducing satisfactory bouts of nostalgia.
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Instead of working 181D I swapped onto 68N.

181D details were rostered as:
Sunday            OR
Monday          OR
Tuesday          Spencer St Pass Yard
Wednesday    relieve up ‘Jet’
Thursday         Newmarket Pilot
Friday              Conversion Pilot
Saturday         Spencer St Pass Yard

So instead of being OR on Monday it was a 1545 start for the 1630 Kyneton pass. With B75 taken off the pit to Spencer St and coupled to the train we departed and ran to Sunshine to then stop all stations to Kyneton where we arrived at 1819. We stabled the pass cars in one of the sidings and tied up the B for another crew to take further north later. We made our way to the up platform where X40 arrived with the 1725 pass out of Bendigo which we boarded to travel per to Spencer St. On arrival there we left the carriage we’d travelled south in and relieved the crew who’d brought the train in. With the X released from the train we returned it to Dynon and went onto standby for the balance of the shift, signing off at 0145.
Tuesday, I signed on at 1600 rostered to run the 1659 Werribee pass. Instead of working this with Driver S Priest, for some reason I was shifted to standby without a driver. Eventually I was called out at 2250 to take Y114 out to the Centre Yard. My new driver and I left 114 with another crew and took control of Y138 to return it to the depot at 0000 and sign off.
Wednesday was off.
Thursday was on at 1550 rostered to run the Brooklyn Pilot but it had been cancelled after the roster was written up. Instead we went into the meal room on standby and remained there for the whole 8 hours, not even being sent to the Fuel Point by Manpower to relieve the boredom.
On Friday I signed on at 1635 to team up with Driver K Hayes to run the 1725 Bacchus Marsh pass. H3 was allocated to the task of getting the train to the ‘Marsh’. We coupled up, tested the train and set off stopping all stations after Sunshine. On arrival at Bacchus Marsh the normal process was to stable the carriages for the following morning commuter trains but, being a Friday, they were instead to be returned to Spencer St for use over the weekend. We ran around our train and then the loco off the 1625 down, H5, coupled in front of H3. The combined locos and carriages from the 1725 then backed onto the carriages from the 1625. With the two trains combined the crew of H5 then waited for access to the main line with us settling back for the ride. With the staff and a clear signal the crew of no. 5 powered the train out of the ‘Marsh’ at 1939 to run empty cars back to Spencer St. At Spencer St the carriages were pushed back into the Bank sidings and then the two locos were let out to return to the platforms where we took over control and took our turn at hauling the other crew back to the depot where we went onto standby.  At 2330 Manpower called us out to take one of the SG Y class to the South Dynon Yard to do brake tests for the various north bound goods. Taking Y155 from the SG turntable we tested a few trains until we finally signed off at 0235.
Instead of starting at 1638 for a Bairnsdale I was OR instead.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
With more people with extra time on their hands I might up the rate of posts here a bit to provide some more light reading, although that will require a bit more effort on my part to prepare.

Although I reverted to 182N I discovered the BJ had swapped with Driver Junck this week so he and I teamed up again.
Monday was on at 1745 for the 1840 Seymour which had T344 providing the power. Departing Melbourne, we worked our way north via Sunshine, climbed the divide and met our change over, the 2210 from Seymour, at Broadford at 2230. The Seymour crew had done well to get to Broadford in 20 minutes although having S308 as their loco would have helped as this was not a heavy train which meant we had no complications with getting the guard change over. Even with the power provided by the S the return to Melbourne still took almost as long as the down trip had as we left the train in the Arrivals Yard at 0220 and signed off at 0245
Tuesday was on at 1850 to take out the loco for the 1935 Nhill. We located B74 on the depot and took it off the pit to either the Centre or Canal Yard where we were coupled up and started the brake tests. Another crew turned up to run the train so we returned to Dynon on foot and went onto standby. Sometime later we picked up another job in the form of taking out the loco for the 0035 Korrumburra. Manpower gave us this job at 2325 with the advice that T331 was the loco allocated. We took this loco off the pit to the East Yard and proceeded to do the same work as we’d done for the Nhill goods. Once again we were relieved by the crew running the train and we made our way back to Dynon getting there at 0005 and the pair of us signed off at 0020 for a short shift.
On Wednesday we booked on at 1805 for the 1840 Traralgon. We took L1158 to the East Yard and actually ran this train, unlike yesterdays efforts. We departed the East Yard and made our way through the suburbs, past Dandenong to Berwick where the 1630 up, our changeover, met us, at 2030. This train had L1162 and 1164 at the front. Getting the train underway again we ran through Pakenham but entered Dandenong Yard where the train was tied up and the locos uncoupled. This meant we had a ’light’ return to Dynon, running along the goods lines from Viaduct Junction, under the hump and back to the depot where we left the locos at 2325. Unlike Tuesday, we hung around on standby until our 8 hours were up at 0205.
The roster had a 1745 start for a 1900 Seymour listed but instead I signed on at 1800 with Driver G Bryson for another Albury rest job. C504 was already attached to the 1830 down train with another Dynon crew doing the testing until we relieved them. With the tests complete we departed South Dynon Yard and set off for Albury. We climbed the dividing range and passed along the momentum grades approaching Seymour. We ran through Seymour loop to climb the grade towards Mangalore until approaching Euroa I was given the opportunity to drive the train. From memory this would have been my first drive of a C class on a road job. I had control of the train through Benalla, up the grade to Glenrowan and used the dynamic brake to hold the train on the descent towards Wangaratta, through the cutting east of that station and on as far as Springhurst where I surrendered control again, before we attempted Chiltern Bank. We slowed to a halt at Wodonga and were relieved at 2230 to make our way to the motel. Officially we signed off at Wodonga depot at 2240 for 4:40 of work which paid 9:30.
With the earlier arrival we didn’t get much daylight time in Wodonga before we were required back at the depot. With a 1050 sign on for a 1200 departure we collected X50 and ran it long end leading over the Murray River into Albury Yard to pick up the train. With the continuity test completed we departed for Melbourne. We ran through Wangaratta, climbed over Glenrowan, cleared Benalla and on approach to Baddaginnie I was offered the chance to drive again. The relatively level run from there through Euroa to Mangalore was little challenge with the descent into Seymour using the dynamic brake. Over the Goulburn River we had the momentum grades to deal with which I handled better than my previous efforts on the broad gauge. Climbing up the grades through Wandong I handed control back before we crested the divide at Heathcote Junction. We didn’t draw into South Dynon Yard and uncouple from the train until around 1700 with the loco returned to the SG Fuel Point at 1710 and the pair of us signed off at 1720, which would pay us 10:45.
Saturday was OR.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
I swapped away from 183A onto 199N and had Sunday OR. What 183A jobs for the week were is almost impossible to determine now apart from the fact that they were almost all Melbourne Yard Pilots.
Monday was an 0325 start for the ‘Apex’ load to Westall. Driver G Bryson and I met the up train at North Melbourne station with S310 and T366 providing the motive power. Relieving the previous crew, we got the 1435 tonnes of train moving again at 0445 and travelled along the empty suburban lines through Spencer and Flinders Street stations then climbed the grade to Malvern and on out to Westall. Pushing back into the siding we proceeded to move forward after each wagon was unloaded. I noted that we earned 4 hours of tonnage allowance so the unloading process took us until around 0845. With the train now empty we drew forward so I could uncouple the T from the rake and we then proceeded to run around so the S was now the loco attached to the train. Now operating the train from the T class we waited for our chance to make the return journey to North Melbourne. With the suburban peak over we departed the siding, travelled through Caulfield and dropped down the grade towards South Yarra. Retracing our path through Flinders and Spencer Street we pulled up in, probably, platform 6 at North Melbourne, as the Westall ‘Apex’ usually ran via Essendon after using the flyover between North Melbourne and Kensington. The relief crew took over the T class at 1105 and set off for Kilmore East as we walked back to the depot to sign off at 1125.
On Tuesday I signed on at 0330 with Stuart Lodington, for the first time since that memorable week back in January. We were rostered to run the 0405 Long Island steel with X33 and T375. Following a similar path to Monday as far as Caulfield we headed south as far as Frankston where we stopped in the loop road at 0600 to be relieved by another Dynon crew who took the train on to Long Island. We then travelled per back to the depot to spend some time on standby. Manpower called on us to go to Spencer St to relieve the up ‘Aurora’ so we made our way to platform 1 where X49 drew the train in at 0900. Relieving the Wodonga crew so they could go for their ‘rest’ we ran around to take the empty carriages back to the carriage shed at South Dynon. Freed of the train we took the New X to the SG Fuel Point and resumed our standby status until 1130 when we signed off.
Wednesday’s start was 0405 for the light engines to Bacchus Marsh for two of the up morning commuter runs. Another crew joined us and took their place in S308 while we boarded T378. At 0425 the S class crew towed us to the TR point and then to the reversing point at the hump where we took control for the run out to the ‘Marsh’. Joining the main line at South Kensington we ran through Sunshine and onto the western line. With the S facing Melbourne and being the trailing loco all of the staff exchanges, from Rockbank on, were done by hand by myself, or the driver, who was either Lodington or Bryson. We arrived at Bacchus Marsh at 0530 where the locos were separated and attached to their respective rakes of carriages, left there overnight. As we were forming the 0630 up we drew the train out of the sidings and pushed back into the platform sometime soon after the continuity test was complete. With our passengers on board we departed the ‘Marsh’ with the Parwan staff. Stopping for the almost non existant passengers at Parwan we exchanged the staff and headed on to Melton. With a lot more passengers waiting for us there, another staff exchange saw us heading to Rockbank. More passengers met us at Rockbank and the last staff was handed up before we departed for Deer Park. Taking the North line we collected some more passengers there and Ardeer before we crossed the junction at Sunshine to stop there. Some express running had us at Spencer St at 0730. With the T eventually back at the depot we went onto standby and remained that way until sign off.
On Thursday I signed on at 0115 for a Lyndhurst, which appears was supposed to originate at Upfield. This train was cancelled before I signed on so an extended sit in the meal room eventuated. Finally, at 0805 I was called out to team up with Driver G Oakley to finish my shift at the Fuel Point. Based on my notes even the hour there meant nothing more than sitting in the crew room until 0900 and a sign off at 0915.
Friday was another 0330 on for the 0405 Long Island. The locos allocated were B66 and T364. We followed the same route as on Tuesday only we made it past Frankston this time. We were relieved at some time, probably at the Long Island siding themselves, and returned to the depot travelling per. My notes lack much detail about these events, other than we signed off at 1055.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Roster 184D was ‘available for rest’ with Sunday OR. Both BJ and I worked the roster which began with 0615 for the ANZAC Pilot, which had been cancelled, so instead Manpower told us to make our way to Spencer St to run one of the 0700 Pass Yard Pilots. Since my memory wasn’t up to recalling what the ANZAC Pilot did, I did some research to discover that this Pilot ran ‘light’ to Tottenham Yard, collected loading to shunt the Amalgamated Workshops at Spotswood and returned to Tottenham. Instead, we began the Spencer St shift with F207 but by the end of the shift were working with Y133. It is possible that we took the F off the pit for another crew to replace one of the F class, already at Spencer St, in need of servicing. After 8 hours of shunting the station and sidings we were relieved at 1400 and returned to the depot to sign off at 1433.
Tuesday’s start was 0635 to run another 0700 Spencer St Pass Yard Pilot. The start time was normal for one of these Pilots, unlike Monday’s sign on time. We had Y142 for today’s shift, which, unusually for my notes, indicated that we were allocated to work the west Bank sidings of the yard. Being Melbourne Cup day 1980 would have meant a slightly quieter day than most Tuesdays. Relief arrived at the same time as Monday but I failed to note sign off time.
Signing on at 0620 on Wednesday we were rostered for the 0730 Newmarket Stock Pilot. We took Y150 from the depot, made our way past Kensington and diverted onto the Racecourse line at Newmarket. Outside of race and show days this line was basically one large yard with the two position light signals crossed, indicating out of service, except for the two controlling access to the Broadmeadows line. On race and show days the signals were in use, with sparks going past constantly, and this really complicated working the stock sidings; for one thing you actually had to pay attention to the signals which were usually just ignored and signalmen had to be contacted to allow access to and from the ‘main’ lines. Thankfully for us we missed having to deal with that by one day. After spending some time shunting the various sidings along the line we collected a rake of wagons to deliver to the Brooklyn stock sidings. BJ handed the controls to me to take this train off the Racecourse line and into the Centre Yard, via the ‘high’ line over the western suburban lines at Kensington. Running around, I remained at the controls as we left Melbourne Yard and headed for Brooklyn running via the Independent Goods line and Tottenham. Collecting the staff from the signalman at Tottenham box we continued our way over the bridge above the St Albans lines and down to Brooklyn where the staff was handed up (down actually) to the Brooklyn signalman and the wagons then pushed back into the sidings there. Freed of the wagons we returned to the west line, picked up another staff and returned to Tottenham Yard ‘light’. Once at Tottenham Brian reclaimed the driver’s seat and took us back to Newmarket. Relieved at 1410 we made our way back to Dynon to sign off at 1450.
Thursday was an OR.
Back at the depot at 0640 on Friday we were rostered for one of the 0700 SG Goods Pilots. Collecting Y103 from the turntable we made our way into the yard to spend the shift shunting. BJ surrendered control of the loco to me from 1330 until 1440 when we finished working on the loco, however sign off wasn’t until 1535. One explanation for this would be we were at North Dynon when relieved; I can’t think of any other reason that would justify a 9-hour shift. It was common to have some “flexibility” with sign off times but adding a whole hour would have been stretching it beyond credibility.
Saturday’s job was the 0700 West Yard Pilot, signing on at 0635. Y124 was the loco in use for this shift but little of note can be recorded other than we signed off at 1400 to finish the week.

Notably the ‘available for rest’ did not eventuate this week, the first time that I was rostered as available for it but didn’t get to Wodonga.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Two weeks worth due to the somewhat repetitive nature of the jobs performed, described in more detail in previous posts.

Another roster swap for both Brian and I took us from 185N to 53N.
185N was something like this:
Sunday: 2335 for Bayswater
Monday: 1800 for Seymour
Tuesday: 1845 for Geelong
Wednesday: 1844 for Lilydale
Thursday: 1745 for Seymour
Friday: 1745 for Seymour
Saturday: OR

Instead we had Sunday OR with a week of Melbourne Yard Pilots following.
Monday was 2235 on to run the 2300 Trimmer Pilot operated with F212. Most of the shift was spent napping in the trimmer cabin until our relief crew arrived at 0710. Sign off was at 0725 on what was now Remembrance Day 1980.
Tuesday was 2257 for the 2300 Centre Yard Pilot worked with Y142. In a change to normal we finished working the Pilot at 0610. My take on this is that we had completed everything we were required to so we tied up the loco and headed for home with 142 left it to its own devices until the Day shift crew arrived. Officially, I had us signed off at 0705.
Wednesday was also 2257 on for the 2300 West Yard Pilot. Y118 was our loco tonight until we finished off, early again, at 0630 with an 0703 “sign off”.
Thursday’s start was 2257 for the 2300 East Yard Pilot run with Y150. Another early finish was recorded at 0615 with the same ‘official’ finish at 0703 again.
Friday was 2235 on for the 2300 Hump Yard Pilot. Unlike the preceding four nights we would have had little chance to have a few hours’ nap in, what was usually, the quiet hours of the shift. We worked on H5 with H3 the second loco. We had no chance to get away early off this job so we actually handed over the locos to the Saturday Day shift crew and signed off at 0725.
Saturday was OR.

Another swap took me to 73D instead of reverting to 186A.
186A was rostered something like this:  

Sunday: 0913 for a Dock Pilot
Monday: unknown
Tuesday: OR
Wednesday: 0950 for the Port Melbourne Pilot
Thursday: Brooklyn Pilot
Friday: Deer Park Pilot
Saturday: Maribyrnong

I teamed up with Driver G Tilley for the week and signed on at 0315 for the 0410 Port Melbourne Pilot. We took Y132 off the pit to the East Yard, collected our rake and departed for Jolimont Yard. After running around, we shunted Montague and then headed on to Port Melbourne to do whatever shunting was necessary. Our relief arrived at 1050 after travelling to Graham so that we could travel back to the depot ourselves to sign off at 1130.
Tuesday was 0330 to run the 0400 Arden St Pilot. Today’s Y class was no. 112 and we took it out to the Centre Yard to collect the cement and other loading bound for Arden St. Crossing the suburban lines at North Melbourne we entered the yard and, as was usual, shunted the cement first and then the general loading including the Montague sidings. Once we had completed all of the shunting we crossed back over the suburban lines and returned 112 to Dynon to sign off at 1222.
We started at 0325 on Wednesday to form the 0400 Dandenong. Y104, seemingly the standard loco for this job, was provided to power the train and so it was run out to the East Yard to collect our rake before we set off towards Dandenong. We may have shunted Westall but I have nothing to confirm that in my notes. We did make it all the way to Dandenong Yard where we left the loading for the local Pilot to deal with. The return trip was apparently not ‘light’ as my notes do not record LE on the up journey. With whatever wagons we had brought back from Dandenong deposited in the Arrival Yard 104 was returned to the depot so we could sign off at 1055.
Thursday was another 0315, once again, for the 0410 Port Melbourne Pilot. With Y115 we set out to do the same tasks as we had on Monday. Our relief arrived at the same time as Monday however we must have made better connections at Flinders St on our return to Dynon as we signed off at 1125.
Friday’s start was 0310 for a Newmarket Pilot. I don’t know what happened but I totally failed to record the number of the Y class we worked with, when we ceased work and when we signed off.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
I returned to roster 187D to find that, once again, BJ had swapped rosters so I spent the week working with Driver A Petterson.
After having Sunday OR I signed on at 0405 to run the empty carriages to Bacchus Marsh to form one of the two morning up passenger trains. We were allocated B80 and found it coupled to B69 which was to haul the following, up, pass. The crew of B69 towed us off the pit to Spencer St where we were coupled up to the two trains worth of empty cars. We took control and departed Spencer St for Bacchus Marsh empty cars. Running non-stop through Sunshine and along the South line to Rockbank I can’t confirm but feel that the signalmen would have had us on the auto exchanger as often as possible until we arrived at Bacchus Marsh, definitely finishing with a hand exchange. Unfortunately, time defeats my memory of exactly where we split the trains and the process used. As the platform road was too short for two trains and the main line would have had to be kept clear the sidings are the most logical place for this to happen. I feel that the two firemen separated the two B class after which we ran around to couple to our carriages, which were the rear ones on the down trip. With the two trains uncoupled by one, or both, of the guards, after a continuity test, we would have drawn our train back onto the main line to set back into the platform to form the 0630 up. Once our train was clear of the siding B69 would have run around its train and then taken our place in the platform road, after our departure, to form the 0715 up. With the electric staff on the loco and the departure home clear we set off for Melbourne to grind up the hill out of Bacchus Marsh. Topping the first hill we then descended slightly before starting up the next grade which topped out as we entered the Parwan curves. The down grade ceased as we passed over the top of the buried bridges and then climbing again, we passed the stud farm, as we approached Parwan. Stopping at that station briefly to exchange the staff, and do little else, we set off again along the relatively flat line towards Melton Weir. Descending onto the weir bridge we crossed it and then climbed up the curve towards Melton where we stopped again, for another staff exchange, but also a lot of passengers. Departing, we traversed the relatively straight but undulating line to Rockbank to hand up the staff and collect some more passengers. Departing Rockbank onto the CTC (Centralised Traffic Control) controlled single line towards Deer Park Junction we powered over the continuing undulations, on through the curve prior to the junction where we diverged onto the North line at 65kph where the line leveled out. Stopping at Deer Park for a few more passengers we powered on to Ardeer for another group of commuters and set off once more for Sunshine. Slowing for the curves into Sunshine and crossing the junction we stopped again to have a reasonable number of our passengers leave the train, with a few slipping on to top up the numbers a little bit. Setting off under the wires we ran the remaining distance into Spencer St Station pulling into the platform at 0731. With the train stowed in the Bank Sidings we returned to Dynon to leave no. 80 at the Fuel Point to go onto standby. Eventually, Manpower called on us to return to Spencer St to relieve the 0835 up Cobram pass. T328 drew to a halt sometime after 1000 and we relieved the crew. As with ‘the Marsh’ commuter once the carriages were in the Bank Sidings we took the T back to Dynon leaving it at the Fuel Point at 1120 to sign off at 1135.
Tuesday, we signed on at 0420 to run the ‘Apex’ through to Westall from North Melbourne. We walked up to North Melbourne and waited for S312 and T371 to pull into the platform so we could relieve the crew. After the changeover was complete we got the train moving again to travel through one of the Spencer St suburban platforms and over the viaduct, through one of the non-platform roads at Flinders St and on out to Westall where we pulled into the siding at 0600. Pushing the train back we then proceeded to unload it, wagon by wagon. With the rake finally empty we pulled back out to the siding and ran the locos around the train. Shifting control to the T class we returned to the main line at 0930 to retrace our path to North Melbourne where we stopped the train at the northern end of the platform where the ‘Big Wheel’ crew were waiting to relieve us. We walked back to the depot where Manpower dispatched us to the Fuel Point at 1120. In our hour long stint there we moved Y104 and 149, both of them under my hand. We signed off at 1220.
On Wednesday we started at 0400 for the Port Melbourne Pilot using Y143. We did the usual run from the East Yard to Jolimont Yard, the run around, shunt at Montague and then at Port Melbourne itself. Our relief arrived at 1115 and we made our way back to the depot by spark to sign off at 1215.
Thursday was on at 0440 for the 0500 SG Upfield. We took Y139 off the SG turntable and into South Dynon Yard where we were coupled up and tested the train. Departing the yard, cab leading, we crossed the Sims St junction passed over the Maribyrnong River bridge and entered Bunbury St tunnel. Clear of the tunnel we traveled on along the dual gauge line to West Footscray where the BG Independent Goods lines diverged to our left while we passed Tottenham Yard on our left to then run through Sunshine Loop. Passing the very short Sunshine SG platform we passed over the Sunshine Harvester BG diamond crossing to head on towards Albion. Turning under St Albans Rd we ran through McIntyre loop and on to cross the high Maribyrnong River bridge. Travelling on, we ran through Tullamarine Loop to then cross the Moonee Ponds Creek Bridge and then climb up the curve towards Broadmeadows with the broad gauge line becoming double track below us prior to the Broadmeadows junction. Passing under Pascoe Vale Road then crossing over the suburban lines we passed to the right of Broadmeadows station and then ran over the old BG Broadstore BG diamond crossing. As we continued on past this spot I took the opportunity to check that the train was following properly as we went through a shallow left hand curve. The train was following all right but there were large quantities of pale green fluid gushing out of many of the vents and from the seals of a large number of the hood doors behind me. I knew this wasn’t something a diesel electric loco normally did so I drew it to Driver Petterson’s attention. His side of the hood was also trying to be a colourful waterfall so he shut off power, applied the brakes to bring the train to a halt and once we were stationary shut the diesel engine down, before it did that of its own accord, or something much worse. At one point in my time at South Dynon a bulldog nosed loco was stabled on one of the roads leading into the Maintenance shops. This loco had thrown a piston somewhere on the network and been towed back to Dynon for repair. Inside the engine room was the piston, still lodged where it had stopped moving, projecting a decent distance from the engine it was supposed to be part of but wasn’t anymore. Considering the size of these pistons and the block they were supposed to stay inside this was quite a sight and not an event I would want to be inside an engine room to experience first-hand myself. We didn’t really want to have this experience even from the relative ‘safety’ of the cab, even though this was only a 6-cylinder diesel, not a 16 cylinder one. So, with the diesel shut down, there we were sitting on the SG line roughly half way between Somerton and Tullamarine loops without a way to clear the line. My job was to now protect the train, so I grabbed a red flag and some detonators, from the cupboard under the hotplate, and set off to walk along the line towards Somerton. The guard was supposed to do the same for the rear, whether he did I have no idea, although either he or Driver Petterson contacted SG Control or the Broadmeadows signalman with the news of the failure of our loco. According to the VR Rules and Regulations, the guard and, I should have walked 600 metres and clipped one detonator to a rail head, walked a further 600 metres to clip another one down and then walked a final 600 metres and clip three more in a row, each spaced about a metre from its predecessor. That was way too much walking, in my mind at the time, so instead I walked as far as the, reasonably nearby, up SG home signal, that protected the Broadstore crossing, clipped a detonator, or three, to one rail and propped there, holding my flag out for all to see. This signal was reasonably close to Barry Rd overpass and as the Y class decided to spoil everyone’s day at around 0825 there was a reasonable amount of traffic, road and foot, using this bridge so I drew more than a little attention to myself standing there. I stood there for an unknown length of time before C504 appeared, light engine, coming towards me at low speed, with a rather disgruntled Wodonga crew on board. They slowed to a halt short of me and I climbed on board to direct them to where the disabled train was sitting, setting off the detonator(s) in the process. Coupling up the C to the train I returned to the fireman’s seat in the Y class and the Wodonga crew dragged disabled Y and its train back to Somerton Loop, where they had left their train in the loop road, so they could come to our rescue. Things are a bit hazy about the sequence of events from here as I didn’t note exactly what happened from this point, however, the Wodonga crew were collected by a taxi to take them to their hotel so they could rest before their down train later that day. The rake that no. 139 was hauling was deposited in a siding, out of the way, for another of the SG Y class or T355 to deal with at a later time and then 139 was coupled to the train behind C504, in disgrace for its efforts or lack thereof. With the main line having been blocked for as long as it was, I’m fairly sure, the delayed ‘Aurora’ and ‘Spirit’ ran ‘through’ us on the main line, having been held somewhere north of Somerton Loop. Eventually the loop departure home signal cleared for us to return to main line to follow the passenger trains towards Melbourne. Retracing our outward path with both locos and a completely different train we entering South Dynon Yard and stopped until the locos, live and dead, were released from the train. We returned them both to the depot where we deposited C & Y at the Fuel Point, having to push the Y there from the main line, although, I can say for sure that, refuelling the Y was not a high priority for too many people at that point in time. After another memorable shift we signed off at 1240.
Friday’s start was 0405 to run the 0715 up pass from Bacchus Marsh. So, today we were allocated S301 and after towing B65 from the depot to the reversing point beneath the hump the crew of 65 towed us to ‘the Marsh’. We didn’t run empty cars today as the previous afternoon’s, down, commuter pass cars had been stabled at ‘the Marsh’ overnight, ready to form the morning up trains. At Bacchus Marsh the locos were separated with the B coupling to its cars and us to ours. The B set back into the platform to form the 0630 up and once they were clear of the up starting, home, signal we drew out onto the main and set back into the platform to wait for our departure time. The up trip was a repeat of Monday, just 45 minutes later, with an arrival at Spencer St at 0815. Once the S was back over the pit we went onto standby and remained in the meal room until 1115 when we signed off.
Saturday was OR.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Instead of work Roster 188N, it is a little unclear but I think that both Brian and I swapped to 160D; I certainly did, I’m just unsure about BJ. 188N was supposed to run something like this:

Sunday: OR
Monday:             OR
Tuesday:              Kyneton
Wednesday:        Warragul
Thursday:            2235 for a Serviceton
Friday:                  2235 for a Warragul
Saturday:             2015 for a Bendigo

Sunday remained OR but Monday, December 1st, was on at 0330 for the 0400 Arden St Pilot. Y117 was taken off the pit to the Centre Yard and the usual tasks were completed, cement and miscellaneous loading to their respective sidings with the shift finishing at 1130.
Tuesday was 0325 for the 0430 Brooklyn Pilot which was run with Y158. Once at Brooklyn we shunted there for a number of hours then returned to Tottenham Yard where we then had a loco swap. Surrendering 158 to another crew we took over Y154 to run it ‘light’ back to the depot which somehow succeeded in taking 70 minutes, sign off following soon after for a 7 hour shift.
Wednesday’s start was 0345 where B76 was taken from the depot and run LE to Caulfield, after collecting our guard soon after the TR point. At Caulfield, we coupled up to a Maribyrnong Goods Terminal bound train of briquettes, weighing over 1000 tonnes. After the continuity test we departed Caulfield at 0500, on the up Frankston line, to run through Melbourne and divert onto the Goods line at Maribyrnong junction. We pulled into the yard, uncoupled from the train and collected the guard on our way past his van as we returned ‘light’ back to the junction. Once we had the road and a cleared signal we departed for Caulfield once more, at 0620. We had a few more sparks to contend with this time as things were starting to build up to the peak hour now. Once more at Caulfield I coupled up to yet another rake of briquette loaded wagons and we tested brake continuity. Getting away from Caulfield at 0720 we retraced our earlier path back to Maribyrnong junction once more. Leaving this rake in the yard at the terminal we took the B back to Dynon ‘light’ with the guard travelling with us until we dropped him off near North Melbourne Workshops again. There must have been some time on standby after our return to the depot, since we didn’t sign off until 1105.
Thursday sign on was at 0340 to run the 0445 Glenroy with Driver P Rankin on Y138. What exactly happened is clouded by time as I noted that we finished this job at 0520. It may be that we ran straight to Glenroy up the suburban lines with a few wagons and left them in the sidings there to then run ‘light’ back towards Melbourne again as we were then tasked to run the 0400 Newmarket Stock Pilot with the same loco. If this was what happened, then we would have just stopped at Flemington junction on the up and set back onto the Flemington line to start shunting as needed. We ran this job to sign off at 1120 after which we would have joined the queue for our pay.
On Friday it was 0315 for the 0410 Port Melbourne Pilot. Y156 was the loco provided and the job ran pretty much as described a number of times recently. Off the pit, pick up the loading at the East Yard, run around at Jolimont Yard, shunt Montague sidings and then Port sidings until relieved to return to Dynon travelling per and a sign off at 1125.
Saturday was OR.

BJ and I definitely swapped together to 202D away from 189A details of which are:

Sunday: 1500 Fuel Point
Monday:              1530 (I think) for Yarram
Tuesday:              OR
Wednesday:        1525 for Geelong
Thursday:            1537 for Westall
Friday:                  1530 for Upfield
Saturday:             OR

We didn’t get out of working Sunday as we started at 0817 for Standby. Fuel Point may have been better as after two and a half hours of sitting on our backsides we pulled the plug and signed off.
Monday’s start was 0557 for the 0645 Spencer St Pass Yard Pilot. We had the ‘joy’ of sharing this job with F201 which we found somewhere in amongst the sidings at Spencer St. We bounced around on the F class until our relief arrived at 1420. We made our way back to Dynon to sign off again at 1520.
Tuesday was 0700 for the Canal Pilot operated with Y119. As commented on previously, the blur of working the same job numerous times means that I can’t recall any specifics of what we did so I’ll leave it at that other than to say sign off was 1503.
Wednesday’s start was 0657 for the 0700 Trimmer Pilot. F208 was tied up on the siding while we adjourned to the adjacent cabin to while away the shift with those magazines that had been left behind by previous users of the cabin or whatever else we could find to occupy our time. We signed off at 1503 although I noted that we actually departed the cabin at 1425; we took a chance to get away early, in the hope that nothing would go wrong on the hump before the night shift crew turned up. If something had gone awry, then we would have had to deal with a ‘please explain’ from head office. Obviously, nothing did as no such query was made of us.
On Thursday we were rostered on at 0700 for the Dynon Jet Pilot run with Y116. Little of note from this shift to record other than sign off was 1500.
Friday finished our working week with 0635 for the 0700 Centre Yard Pilot. Y143 was allocated to this Pilot and once again there was a little cribbing of time as I noted we were off the loco at 1430 yet officially worked 8:50 for the day.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Just for a change after the recent manipulation of our rosters, BJ and I worked our scheduled roster of 190D.
Sunday was a day off so we started on Monday at 0600 for standby. At 0730 we were called out of the meal room to be tasked with relieving an up ‘Jet’. This train was not close to Melbourne Yard as we spent quite a bit of time on this task. What the loco(s) were I failed to record nor where we actually took over the train. Sunshine is a fair bet but I can’t confirm that though. We finally returned to standby in the meal room at 1000. Manpower gave us enough time to have ‘tucker’ and then dispatched us to Fuel Point at 1100. What we moved once there I missed on recording; must have been something wrong with me that day! We quit the ‘Point’ and signed off at 1400.
Tuesday’s start was 0625 for us to run the replacement locos to Westall to enable the existing ‘Apex’ locos to be serviced. At 0715 we took B60 and T406 off the pit and ran ‘light’ to Westall siding. The previous locos must have tied up the loaded train in the unloading siding and returned to the depot ‘light’ as we obviously performed the function of unloading the train. By the time the unloading was complete and we had run the locos around ready to depart for the run to Kilmore East it was well after 1100. We actually departed the siding at 1150 and made a rather slow run back to North Melbourne since, by the time we had walked back to the depot after being relieved, we signed off at 1325 for a short shift.
Wednesday was an 0600 for an 0620 Spotswood Pilot. Somewhat unusually we ran ‘light’ directly to Spotswood; more normally Pilots working west of Melbourne started and terminated at Tottenham Yard. T359 provided the power for this job but beyond that I didn’t record anything more about what we actually did except that we were off the loco at 1310 and signed off at 1400. This suggests that we were relieved near Spotswood and had to travel back to Dynon from there.
Thursday was supposed to be rostered off but the roster clerk had other ideas for us. Instead of staying in our own beds we signed on at 0405 for light engine to Bacchus Marsh for the 0630 up pass. Together with the crew for the 0715 we made our way to the ready roads where X38 and C510 were coupled together for us. The 0715 crew on the C class towed the X class out to the hump where we then took control and set off for the ‘Marsh’ via South Kensington and Sunshine. Having a C class in multi was limiting, with their maximum speed of 80kph. Without that limitation the X class would have been able to travel at 100kph, since it was running ‘light’. No loco was permitted to run at 115kph unless hauling a train due to the limitations of the braking of a light engine. The trouble I had on X46 on the 1300 down Ballarat pass a few months before is an indication of why this rule was in place. Another factor was the motion a light engine could develop without a train to smooth the ride out. Sometime in the future I was on a New X running light on ‘the gauge’ from South Dynon to Upfield. The driver was running at maximum LE speed somewhere on the Albion loop line and I was, literally, being, uncontrollably, bounced off the seat. This was not a normal experience as, even at 115kph, with a train behind the loco getting enough vertical motion to leave the seat was very rare. With absolutely nothing to hang onto, except for the seat itself, this was very unnerving! Once at Bacchus Marsh my counterpart and I separated the locos and coupled up to our respective trains. We moved our train into the platform and departed at 0630 for Melbourne. I would have liked to have run the 0715; the power the C provided would have been reminiscent of the 1300 down Ballarat but with better braking as this train had more than two carriages and no track crews to get in the way. We arrived at Spencer St at 0729 to return the X to Dynon after the usual shunting of the train and release of the loco. We had a reasonably brief time on standby before being called at 0950 to relieve the 0938 up Geelong. Making our way back to Spencer St we waited for the train which arrived with T408 at the front. Relieving the crew, we once again did the shunt to the Bank sidings and light engine return to Dynon where we went back onto standby at 1050. Nothing more was offered for us to do before we signed off at 1200.
On Friday we started at 0600 to form the 0620 ANZAC Pilot. Y104 was taken off the pit and run LE to Tottenham but the job must have been cancelled sometime around then as I noted that we finished this job at 0700; nowhere enough time to get to the Workshops near Newport, let alone shunt there. We would have returned to Dynon travelling per to go onto standby once again. Manpower called us to send us to Spencer St to wait for the up ‘Spirit’ to relieve its crew. X50 stopped in the platform at 1010 and we replaced its crew. With no need to do anything more than get the loco back to the depot we were back at Dynon by 1030 to finish our shift in the meal room.
Saturday was rostered on at 0632 to relieve an up ‘Jet’ but since we’d already done a weeks’ worth of work we applied for the day off instead, prompted by the fact that we were rostered ‘if required’ on Sunday night.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
For the second week in a row both of us stayed on our expected rotation, to work 191N with a start at 1820 on Sunday night for the 1905 Ballarat pass, instead of the ‘if required’ that the roster listed. Considering that this week was a roster of Melbourne Yard Pilots this was quite different to the jobs we’d be doing through the rest of the week. We walked out to the depot yard, climbed onto C506 and headed for Spencer St long end leading, which, for me, meant a fair walk to the TR phone point when we got there. With the dwarf signal changing to allow us to proceed we moved over the flyover and onto the approach lines for the station. Dropping onto the train I coupled up and we had a train examiner do his tests. Having missed out on the up Bacchus Marsh recently with a C class I now got to experience one on a passenger train. After stopping at Sunshine we ran through Ardeer and Deer Park to stop at Rockbank, then Melton and Bacchus Marsh. Leaving the ‘Marsh’ we had little trouble maintaining 80kph up the climb through the horseshoe curve and up to Bank Box loop to stop at Ballan. Travelling on to Gordon, Wallace and Bungaree along the flatter sections of the Ballarat line the maximum speed of the C was a hindrance but we descended Warrenheip bank to stop at Ballarat at 2010 so it didn’t hurt too much. With the carriages in the shed and the C deposited at Ballarat loco we waited for the 2110 up pass so we could travel per back to Melbourne on it. X41 was in charge of this train and by comparison to the down run had us at Spencer St platforms at 2200. We left the quiet of the carriage we’d travelled in and relieved the crew of no. 41 to take it back to Dynon. Manpower didn’t give us much rest as we were soon out at Fuel Point until 0020 when we signed off.

Monday was 2235 on for the 2300 Centre Yard Pilot run with Y113. Being the week of Christmas there wasn’t as much to do as usual so we spent a decent few hours napping before signing off at 0725.

Tuesday was supposed to be the 2300 West Yard Pilot but I called in sick. Being December 23, you could think that the ‘sickie’ was faked but I didn’t call in sick unless I was unwell. I missed the 2300 East Yard Pilot on Wednesday as well.

Thursday, Christmas day the roster called for us to work the Hump Yard Pilot but we were booked off as it didn’t run, however, Friday’s, Boxing Day, 2200 No. 8 Dock Pilot did run and I signed on at 2135 to work it. Which Y class ran the job I failed to record but we spent the night out amongst the containers on one of the docks, again napping for a decent portion of it. Why this Pilot ran at all I’m not sure as things were really quiet for the whole week. We knocked off again at 0600 to complete the week.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
192A was another ‘available for rest’ week which actually started on the Monday at 1435 to run the 1500 Dynon Jet Pilot at North Dynon. Y121 was our loco but with Christmas only just passed and New Year’s Eve in two days the amount of loading heading west and the number ‘Jets’ going that way would have been reduced so our work load would have been too. Nonetheless, the shift wasn’t abbreviated as we finished working at North Dynon at 2210 to sign off at 2315.
Tuesday, we signed on at 1451 for the 1546 Bacchus Marsh pass. B79 was provided for our use and after coupling to the train the B made a decent run of it, where Dynon crews were conditioned to have H class or similar, lower powered, locos rostered for this destination in the afternoon. After the usual stopping all stations from Sunshine we stopped at ‘the Marsh’ at 1652. Being an earlier train than the usual commuter runs I uncoupled and we ran around the train, still in the platform road, to form the 1700 up. The return journey was slightly quicker as we stopped at Spencer St at 1803. We left the train and returned 79 to Dynon for a short stint of standby before called out by Manpower to be told to travel to Sunshine where we were to relieve the up Horsham pass. Walking to North Melbourne we caught a spark to Sunshine where we transferred to platform 1 to wait for the pass. B81 rounded the curve from Ardeer, crossed the junction and stopped adjacent to us. We took the Ballarat crews place at 2000 and ran the train the rest of the way to Spencer St for the second time this shift, stopping there at 2025. Once 81 was freed of the train it followed the path of 79 from earlier in the day back to Dynon. We resumed standby status and stayed that way until we signed off at 2251.
Wednesday we started at 1500 to spend the last shift of 1980 at Fuel Point. It was either exceedingly quiet at the ‘Point’ or I didn’t note which locos we moved as none are recorded for the shift. After our eight hours we signed off to go home before the change of year. I would have made it home in time for midnight celebrations but I doubt I took much notice after spending 8 hours at Fuel Point.
Thursday was rostered 1435 for the 1500 Transfer Pilot but we were booked off for the public holiday of New Year’s Day.
On Friday I signed on at 1402 for another 1430 Spencer St Pass Yard Pilot, with Driver Ray Ludlow instead of BJ Smith. Y106 was waiting for us at Spencer St and we spent the shift moving carriages around, although far fewer than a usual weekday would require. We left the loco at 2205 to return to the depot to sign off at 2244.
Saturday I was booked 1335 for the 1400 West Yard Pilot but that was cancelled before sign on so I went straight to standby. Called out by Manpower I was teamed up with Driver Keith Buckland to travel to Flinders St to relieve the Spotswood bound train from Nyora. We met the train on one of the Flinders St platforms, at 1450, and sent the Dynon crew on their way back to the depot while we got the train moving again to travel over the viaduct and on to Spotswood with T343. Leaving the train there at 1550 we returned to the depot ‘light’ to resume standby status. Our next job was to take out Y109 to Spencer St and after handing it over to another crew then travelled to Flinders St again, this time to relieve the crew of the PB Pilot, being run by F201. With the PB Pilot finished we returned to Dynon to sign off at 2035 for 7 hours and the start of some annual leave for me.

  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
My leave over, I returned to work on roster 199D starting on Monday, February 16th, at 0325 to run the 0400 Dandenong. The loco in the, fairly usual, form of Y104 was allocated to us, so BJ and I found where it was stabled to take it off the pit to the East Yard. The run was obviously an interrupted one as we didn’t get to Dandenong Yard until 0830. We must have shunt at places like Westall to absorb that much time between Melbourne and Dandenong. With the down load detached we coupled to the up loading and after a very short wait got clearance to depart the Yard at 0900. The up trip took until 1100 to complete, including returning the Y to the depot, so Caulfield may have been shunted but not for all that long. Back on the depot we signed off at 1120.
Tuesdays job was rostered on at 0225 for the 0310 Geelong, however when we signed on Manpower told us to take a seat in the meal room as we were now on standby. We sat until 0500 when we were called out. The clerk behind the window told us we were to travel to Berwick to meet and relieve an up goods out of Warragul. At that time of morning I fairly certain a taxi was waiting in the depot car park for us, helped by the fact that I noted we met the train and relieved its crew at 0547, who made use of our taxi to get themselves back to Dynon. L1164 was the motive power of this train and based on further notes it was a ‘pickup’ goods. We probably shunted Berwick and Dandenong and possibly other locations as the train was deposited in the Arrivals Yard and the L returned to Dynon at 1120. Sign off was at 1135 for a little over 9 hours on.
As a trainee engineman we were expected to learn all of the things that a driver was required to know so the Victorian Railways Institute (VRI) ran classes on Tuesdays at 1000, 1400, 1800, and possibly 1600, to assist in this process. I’d been lazy and skipped them until the week before I resumed work but found that they were useful so made an attempt to get to as many as possible from then on. Today I made it to the 1400 class, all of which were held in the same room inside Flinders St station, on level 2 or 3 of the portion parallel to the platforms and Flinders St, west of the Elizabeth St entry; not far from the famous, unused, ballroom. It was quite an experience getting inside this well-known building with its high ceilings and grandiose architecture, although the novelty did wear off after a while, especially since it was effectively attending an educational class and I thought that I was past classrooms and studying. It was even harder after a really early Day, or before a late, Night, shift. The fact that I had over two hours to fill between signing off and the class starting meant hanging around somewhere in Melbourne for that time; not especially fun after getting up at 0130 or so that morning and having to get up at a similar time the next morning.
As it was Wednesday was an 0330 for the 0400 Arden St Pilot so I had some extra time in bed before having to get up for this shift. The fact that it was a Pilot and the Arden St was never full on, unlike the Hump or Centre Yards, provided an opportunity to catnap. Y150 was our loco for the shift and we delivered our loading to the usual places in the usual order until we returned the Y to the depot and signed off at 1255. Today I went straight home!
Thursday’s start was 0200 to travel to Newport to run the ‘Ford’ train to Upfield. After signing on we adjourned to the car park to climb into the taxi that took us to Newport. The train must have been delayed as it didn’t pull into the back road until 0300. We spent the interim annoying the Newport signalman; well, I certainly did. At least we had warning when it was coming into Newport as the various signal panels provided us with that information. T398 stopped and the other crew climbed down to head for the taxi that was going to return them to Dynon. We climbed on, with the staff in hand, to set off for Sunshine and the Albion loop line. Clearing Broadmeadows, we ran up to Somerton and crossed the SG into the yard where I cut the loco off so we could run around. Coupled to the up end we were cleared to travel down the dual gauge line to the Ford sidings where we left the train tied up at 0430. We returned to the ‘main’ line, with the guard in the cab, for a light engine run back to Dynon, along the suburban line past Essendon, departing at 0445. With the guard dropped off near the hump we returned to Dynon and deposited the T at the Fuel Point at 0600 to take up standby. We picked up another job, this one to relieve the up ‘Vinelander’ so we made our way to Spencer St to wait for it. We took over the B and T class combination (numbers not recorded) that drew the train into Melbourne at 0755 and what with the motorail wagon manoeuvre that was necessary so the motor cars could be unloaded and depositing the carriages in the Bank sidings we didn’t get these locos over the pit until 0900 to sign off at 0915. Obviously, neither of us wanted to sit for 45 minutes doing nothing as Manpower wouldn’t have sent us to Fuel Point with under an hour left of our shift.
Friday we signed on at 0330 for the 0405 Long Island. We had a lone B class in no. 79 for this and, as was usual, were relieved although I didn’t note where or exactly when. However, it was probably sometime around 0700, or a bit later, as we then travelled to Dandenong to meet the 0445 up ex Warragul. We arrived at Dandenong to relieve the existing crew at 0800 and took charge of L1167. The train was obviously put away in Dandenong Yard for the changeover and stayed in the yard for a decent period of time, probably due to the peak hour restricting our access to the up main. This train may have been the same as Tuesdays up Warragul as it took us until around 1230 to get the L class over the pit as we signed off at 1245 for the end of my first week back.


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