Memories of South Dynon in the early 19802

 
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Reverting to 15A, BJ was off working another roster so Mondays sign on was 1025 to work with Driver Ray Stinson, having had Sunday rostered off. We were supposed to work a train departing at 1130, which I can’t make out anymore, but it had been cancelled which resulted in us being sent straight to the meal room on standby. We finally were able to remove ourselves from the plastic chairs and laminex tables tasked, at 1500, with relieving the P7 Pilot from Tottenham. Making our way out to Sunshine, since the pilot wouldn’t have been anywhere else other than the Albion area and Siding B we relieved the crew of Y106, worked that location and returned the rake to Tottenham Yard. We left the Yard and returned the Y class to Fuel Point at Dynon ‘light’ and signed off at 1905.
Tuesday started off in a similar manner to Monday. I arrived to sign on at 0950 for a 1025 relieve the Port Melbourne Pilot, a job that once again had been cancelled or allocated to another crew. Instead, Driver N Ellery and I retired to the meal room on standby, until midday when Manpower gave us the job of taking the loco out for the 1515 Cooks River. Removing X50 from the standard gauge turntable we gained access to the main line and set off for Upfield ‘light’, in a repeat of the previous Tuesdays job, except that we weren’t going to run the train out of Upfield. After the reversal at Somerton we ran down to the Ford sidings and coupled on to the train where the examination was undertaken. The Wodonga crew running the train appeared at 1430 to relieve us, so we made our way back to the depot. Sign off was at 1650, although from the comment noted I went straight home without actually returning to Dynon to sign off; one of the perks of being a fireman, the drivers had to show their face to be signed off but the presence of their fireman was not obligatory. Some excuse could always be made for their absence; getting things from their locker upstairs, getting ‘sweaties’, visiting the canteen or on the toilet.
Wednesday’s job of 1019 on, once again with Driver Stinson, for an 1100 relief of the Port Melbourne Pilot actually occurred as rostered. We made the trek up to North Melbourne station to catch a spark bound for Flinders St then another spark to Graham station, which was closer to the up end of the yard where the loco would be found, where we crossed the lines into the yard to where Y136 was waiting for us. I won’t say the crew was also waiting for us because it is highly likely that, knowing we were on our way, they put the handbrake on and headed for home early. Once in possession of no. 136 we shunted, as necessary, until 1740 and then departed the yard ‘light’ to make our way back to Dynon where we left the Y at Fuel point and signed off at 1831.
Thursday was an 0830 start for the 1045 Serviceton ‘Jet’ with Driver Stinson again. C507 had been rostered to run this train, so we located it within the depot and ran it to North Dynon yard to couple up and examine the train. With everything checked okay we departed the yard for the down run towards Ballarat. With the usual journey via the Independent Goods line and Tottenham we diverge at Sunshine and made our way over the Melton Weir and dropped the last electric staff off, at Bacchus March, before attacking the climb up the grades towards the horseshoe curve and Bank Box loop. Our approach to Bank Box was on restrictive signals indicating that we were crossing something, which turned out to be our change-over, in the form of an up ‘Jet’ lead by X53 and S312. With the change-over of both loco crew and guard, at 1340, we retraced our path down the grades to ‘the Marsh’ to collect the Parwan staff. Making our way back to Sunshine and the Up Independent Goods line we eventually pulled into the Arrivals Yard to be uncoupled and return to Dynon at 1640 to sign off at 1655.
Friday was a return to working a Pilot, on at 1024 to relieve a Newmarket Stock Pilot. Relieving the day shift crew at 1100 we took control of Y149 and worked the stock sidings, whilst holding our noses any time we had to have the cab windows open due to the stench that the stock wagons and bluestone faced unloading platforms always had clinging to them. Moving cattle and sheep by rail meant packing them in to prevent any from falling over in transit and getting trampled yet a number of times that I was able to watch the unloading and, probably, because of the cramped conditions, one or two sheep were often unable to get themselves out of the wagon and had to be lifted out by one of the unloading crew. Considering they were usually heading for the abattoirs anyway these ones may have met an earlier end than the rest of those travelling with them. Still seemed cruel to me at the time. Whether road transport is any better I can’t comment. With our shunting completed we made our way to the up home departure to join the suburban line and then return the Y class to Dynon at 1800 to sign off 15 minutes later.
Once again the roster clerk took advantage of me and rostered me on at 1025 for what appears to have been a Warragul, which, unsurprisingly, based on the start of the week, was cancelled! Instead I found myself in the meal room warming a seat until 1515 when I was teamed up with Driver D Rhodes to work Fuel Point. T333 was the only loco recorded as being shifted in the hour that I spent there, Driver Rhodes either having started an hour before me or both of us electing to knock off early.

Neil

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  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Roster 16D was rolled on to and I teamed up with BJ Smith again for most of the week, however I was rostered to start on Sunday with Driver Warren Soderman at 0817. Considering our first task was to relieve the up ‘Overland’ it appears that the job we came in to work was scrubbed, once again. Making our way to Spencer St station we waited for and met the train to relieve the Ararat crew and return the locos, which I didn’t record, to Dynon; this taking place between 0930 and 1030. I made a note that we were supposed to contact Manpower from Spencer St but the reason for this eludes me considering we already had a task allocated for us to complete and not likely to be re-tasked from the ‘Overland’ relief. Back on the depot we sat for two hours on standby when Manpower gave us another job. Allocated Y147 and 135 we were to run ‘light’ to the ‘AGM’ siding to assist with re-railing T349, which had disgraced itself by coming off the rails there. In my trying to recall exactly where that was I checked a decent number of signal diagrams. It had to be in an industrial area which suggested the Brooklyn, Dandenong or North Melbourne areas. In typical ‘railways’ fashion the term ‘AGM’ probably dated back decades and had not been ‘updated’, as I’m fairly certain that the location referred to was the Pilkington / ICI sidings that existed at that time, off the same siding, south of Dandenong on the Korrumburra line, that Comeng, now Bombadier, used. This was easier to write about than achieve as we weren’t able to get back to the depot to sign off until 2100. Even allowing for an hour to travel there and another hour back, the re-railing effort took something like seven hours to achieve, all without any rail mounted cranes as the VR had ceased relying on them by this date. The poor re-railing crews had to rely on wooden blocks, crowbars, jacks and a loco or two to get any heavy vehicle, like a loco, back onto the rails and a ganger crew would have then had to repair the damage done when the T dropped off the rails.
Monday’s start was 0800, which was right on my eleven hours off limit. I re-united with BJ to run the 0900 P8 Pilot out of Tottenham Yard. The loco we had to do this job? T349; which obviously hadn’t suffered any serious damage after the previous day’s adventure off the rails. The fitters at Dynon’s Maintenance Shops must had worked overnight to check it out to ensure there was nothing to prevent it resuming work. So, with the adventurous T class in our control, we ran out to Tottenham ‘light’ to collect the wagons to take them to the location we were to shunt. We completed this work and then headed back ‘light’ to Dynon where we deposited the T at Fuel Point and checked in with Manpower at 1345. BJ must have signed off then but I was asked to stay as a loco assistant was required for an urgent job. I was teamed up with Driver J Currie and, together, we were allocated T349, fresh from being refuelled, and set off for Melton ‘light’ at 1400. As we were in a hurry we were directed onto the main lines at South Kensington, ran through Sunshine and onto the CTC lines to Deer Park West, onto the single line to Parwan and collected the staff for Melton, by hand, since no T class ever had an automatic staff exchanger. On arrival at Melton, at 1500 by my notes, with the staff handed to the signalman, we found the 1205 up Horsham with, a disabled, T403 at the head, hence our urgency. I coupled no. 349 to 403, with a quick continuity test done and the electric staff for Rockbank we set off, dragging the delayed train and its, less-than-useful, loco towards Melbourne and Spencer St station. I’m unable to say for certain now but I would say that we still had passengers on board so stopped at Sunshine to allow passengers to get off. We drew into Spencer St to allow any passenger still on board to get off, then pushed the defective T back to Dynon for it to have its turn in the maintenance shops. Back at the Manpower window we signed of around 1730 for my second, long, shift in a row.
Tuesday, I signed on at 0640, with 10 minutes left up my sleeve under the 11 hours off rule, for the 0700 Conversion Pilot, with Driver M Collins, probably an adjustment made because of my long hours the day before. We had Y125 to work this job and, unlike the previous two days, nothing out of the ordinary occurred. We finished with the loco at 1450 to sign off at 1525 for my eighth day straight, with three more to come.
Wednesdays start was 0735 for the 0755 P8 Pilot again, instead of Fuel Point as the roster prescribed. Whether my driver was Smith or Collins I didn’t note, but it was probably Smith as I had more than enough time off overnight to not have to have my shift changed. Today’s loco was H5, so we ran it ‘light’ out to Tottenham for a repeat of the first portion of Tuesdays shift; thankfully, no rescue of a failed loco was required this shift. We completed the day’s work at Tottenham Yard at 1440 to return the H class ‘light’ to Dynon with sign of at 1549.
I started at 01720 on Thursday for a 0745 Pass Yard Pilot once again with BJ. We made our way to Spencer St to find Y175 and spent the day shifting carriages around individually or in rakes to and from the various platforms. We ceased this at 1545 to sign off at 1600
For shift number eleven I signed on at 0715, with BJ again, for an 0800 Maribyrnong goods for which T364 was provided. This was not one of the transfers of briquettes from Caulfield, or Oakleigh, to Maribyrnong but one from the Centre Yard to the goods yard on the branch. Departing the loco depot we, literally, passed under the hump and up the, rather, steeply graded S bend into the Centre Yard where we were coupled to the loading. With the train examined and cleared to go the dwarf cleared and we headed out of the Yard, past the west side of the Arrivals Yard to draw to a halt at the home signal protecting the South Kensington junction to wait for access to the suburban line. Once the signal cleared we moved onto the down Newport line to travel as far as the Maribyrnong River where we diverted onto the branch line. We ran along the branch into the yard where we uncoupled and then spent some time shuffling wagons around in the yard. Eventually, we assembled an up load for return to the Arrivals Yard. Departing the yard, we travelled back along the branch to draw up to the home signal at the junction. When the line was clear and the ‘stick came off’ we moved back onto the main line as far as the junction that leads up onto Spion Kop, as it was known, and the Arrivals Yard. Separated from our load we cleared the Yard and returned the T to Fuel Point at 1340 to sign off at 1400 for a short shift and, with Saturday off roster, a well-earned rest.

Neil
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Instead of moving onto 17N I swapped with another fireman to move to 43D with Sunday OR.
Monday was an 0600 start with Driver G Windsor for the 0830 Spotswood Pilot. T336 was the loco allocated for the task so we located it and departed for Tottenham ‘light’. Once at Tottenham we were coupled to the loading to be transferred to Spotswood’s sidings and, once tested, departed over the flyover towards Brooklyn, with a gang of shunters aboard, collecting the staff from the Tottenham signalman en route. Through Brooklyn, where we did a full staff exchange, and on along the east line towards Newport where the staff was handed up to the signalman as we passed in front of the ‘box to the sidings where we were to run around the loading. On the move again we headed up the suburban lines to Spotswood where the signalman directed us into the sidings. Once we were clear of the fouling point and the dwarf protecting the points we set about placing and collecting wagons as directed by the shunting gang. With the load collected and tested, for return to Tottenham, we drew up to the dwarf where the head shunter advised the signalman that we were ready to depart the sidings. Once the traffic on the main gave us an opportunity, the dwarf ‘came off’ and we set off on the return run to Newport. Once again we entered some sidings to run around for the journey back to Tottenham. Collecting the staff from Newport we re-traced our path through Brooklyn back to Tottenham where we were uncoupled from the loading at 1250. With nothing further required of us we took the T back to Dynon, ‘light’ again where it was deposited into the hands of the fitters and we returned to the Manpower Clerks window for a 1400 sign off.
Tuesday was another 0600 start but since Driver Windsor and I signed on for standby duty I had 10 minutes in the meal room before being called out by myself to team up with Driver P Gooding to run the 0610 Special Pilot. Y116 was allotted this job but for the life of me I cannot relate what this job did anymore. We worked whatever was required of us until 1230 when we became the Instructional Pilot. I’m making an assumption that this was to give new shunters ‘hands-on’ experience on how to do their job safely while working with a loco and its crew. Theoretical knowledge is okay but, in an environment like the rail industry, some practical knowledge is a must to avoid losing a limb, or worse. We finished working this Pilot at 1335 but for some reason it took us a while to get no. 116 back to the depot as we didn’t sign off until 1425.
Sign on at 0635 for one of the 0700 Spencer St Pass Yard Pilots Driver Windsor and I re-united. Making our way to Spencer St we located Y147 somewhere in the tangle of sidings and passenger cars. We spent the rest of the morning moving rakes around until 1245 when, for some reason I noted we, or I, finished, yet sign off was not until 1515. This was unusual for the Pass Yard Pilots as they were normally worked for virtually the whole shift, unlike the Melbourne Yards Pilots which were more often than not an early finish for the fireman.
Back to an 0600 start again Driver Windsor and I signed on to take the loco for the ANZAC Pilot ‘off the pit’ to Tottenham where another Dynon crew were to relieve us. Y160 was run out to Tottenham and coupled to the load and testing started. Our relief occurred at 0800 so we made our way to Tottenham station to travel per back to Dynon to go onto standby. This was broken by our being tasked to relieve the up ‘Spirit’, so we, once again, travelled per, this time to Spencer St to make our way to Platform 1. At 1000 X47 drew into the platform with its ‘big wheel’ crew coming back from a rest job. We climbed on board and they departed for home while we prepared to take the New X back to the SG Fuel Point. We left it there at 1030 to return to the meal room, once again on standby. As was normal Manpower sent us out to Fuel Point for our last hour, from 1300, although whether we were needed there, or not, I can’t say as I didn’t record any locos moved.
Friday was rostered off and the roster clerk gave me the day off, probably because I specifically asked for it.
Saturday was another 0635 start with Driver Windsor, this time for the 0700 Conversion Pilot, using a Y class that I didn’t note. Whatever we did took most of the shift as I noted that our tasks were complete by 1315 and yet we were signed off at 1415.

Neil
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Returning to my scheduled 18A, Sunday was OR. Even though Both BJ and I were both back on ‘our’ rotation I only worked with him for half the week; half as I worked six days once again.
So, Monday was 1430 on for a Brooklyn Pilot, which was cancelled. BJ presumably went to the meal room on standby however I was teamed up with Driver Lou Ghersetti to work the 1430 Diesel Maintenance Shops. We must have moved a number of locos in or out of the ‘shops’ but I didn’t note which ones. Lou let me depart for home at 2230 telling me that he would sign off at 2315.
Tuesday was 1404 on for a 1450 Spencer St Pass Yard Pilot with Driver G Davies. I don’t know where BJ was this day because this was our rostered job. One thing about these Pilots at Spencer St was that we knew them as Pass Yard Pilots; Spencer St was never mentioned as it was assumed everyone involved understood the reference. So, making our way to Spencer St we located Y138, our loco for the shift and set to work ensuring the outbound peak hour went as smoothly as we, and the other two crew also working the ‘Pass Yard’, could. In those days of variable length trains, depending on destination and expected loading, this could get somewhat complicated. With the, later, introduction of fixed consists, in the form of N and, later again, H sets, the work of the Pass Yard Pilots reduced considerably. The Bank sidings contained large numbers of wooden carriages that only worked the peak hour trains and had to be added to rakes already in a platform or assembled in the sidings before being moved into the appropriate platform ready for passengers and loco(s). Some were pushed into place and the Pilot would immediately depart for the Yard again yet others were pulled into the platform which often then trapped the, uncoupled, Pilot in the dead end extension until the train had departed. Who worked out which option was to be used I have no idea. At 2215 we tied up the loco and headed back to the depot for a 2245 sign off.
Wednesday, it appears should have been a day off but the roster clerk booked me on for a 1435 start for the 1500 Dynon ‘Jet’ Pilot. A Driver whose name I failed to note, other than his first name started with C and I worked together on this one. Y125 was allotted the job so we made our way to North Dynon to take over from the day shift, although I’m sure they weren’t still on the loco by the time we got to the loco.  We assembled the ‘Jets’ bound for Adelaide that the day shift hadn’t finished and watched them all head west. At 2240 we departed North Dynon and headed back to the depot to sign off at 2300.
Thursday, and BJ and I teamed up for the first time for the week to run the 1410 No. 6 Dock Pilot with Y125. We worked the docks and transferred loads and empties to and from Melbourne Yard, across Footscray Road, to the frustration of the motorists using this road. I didn’t note when we finished with the loco but sign off was 2235.
On Friday we started at 1240 for the 1400 Dandenong Pilot. Collecting Y102 from the depot roads we made our way to the East Yard to be coupled to the wagons to be moved. Departing from the Yard we worked our way across the new viaduct, through Flinders St and onwards towards Caulfield. Continuing on towards Dandenong we actually ran through that station and continued on to General Motors. Pulling up in the station we then set back into the sidings to sort things out, leaving the inbound and collecting those to be returned to Melbourne Yard. I made a note that we finished this at 1715 but there was a 45-minute delay, probably for train examination, before we were able to push the up load into the down platform so we could cross onto the up line on the return journey.
Saturday was a rostered 1205 start, with BJ, to travel per the 1250 Seymour pass. So, we made our way to Spencer St to find the train and settle into some vacant seats for the trip. The crew up front got us to Seymour at 1435 where we left our seats and then spent a number of hours cooling our heels waiting for the 1915 up pass. It was obviously cheaper to send us to Seymour on that train, with so much time to kill, than taxi it even though we were on time and a half pay. Eventually S310 and 309 drew into the platform and we climbed into the cab to relieve the previous crew. Chart signed, log book completed and other essentials done, we got the ‘all clear’ from the station staff and guard to set off for Melbourne. This was not a ‘stopping all’ so BJ got us up to line speed and kept us as near to it as possible, which with two S class wouldn’t have been that difficult. We rolled into the platform at Spencer St at 2035 but this didn’t mean a rapid return to Dynon. We finally signed off at 2120 so there must have been a number of reasons for that delay us, like us shunting the cars back into the Bank Sidings instead of a Pilot.

Neil
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Instead of 19D, which was 0400 starts, I swapped to what I think was 127D. Sunday was OR with Melbourne Yard Pilots rostered.
So, Monday was 0635 for the 0700 Centre Yard Pilot. Driver A De Kort and I worked this job with Y119 until 1410 when we tied up the loco and headed home, although officially we finished at 1525.
Tuesday was 0657 for the 0700 West Yard Pilot, this one worked with Y125. We tied up the loco at 1420 with sign off at 1503.
Wednesday was the East Yard Pilot with the same start time as Tuesday, worked with Y103. Tying up the loco at 1407, sign off was, once again, at 1403.
Thursday was another 0657 for the 0800 Hump Pilot. H2 lead the paired H class with us working from H4. I can’t recall what happened but we tied up the locos at 1300 with sign off at 1330, considering this Pilot’s usual hours were the same as all the other Melbourne Yard Pilots we should have finished at 1503. The possibility is that we were the second unit and there was little need for it, hence the early finish.
I requested a later start of the roster clerk for Friday and he obliged by allocating me to the 0745 Pass Yard Pilot with Driver C Baker, which we signed on at 0720 for. Y134 was the loco of choice for the day and we, surprisingly, worked until 1605, well beyond the norm, and since we had to get back to Dynon to sign off it took another 35 minutes to achieve this.
Saturday was OR

Returning to 20N, Sunday was OR.
I signed on at 1700 on Monday, to work with a variety of drivers as BJ was working a different roster. The job was the 1810 Werribee pass, which in typical VR rostering was, worked with Y118. Who I actually worked with I didn’t note but the pair of us took the Y over the flyover to couple to the carriages and have the train examined. At 1810 we set off at the best the poor old Y class could achieve to do the usual ‘stopping all’ from Newport onwards. We pulled into Werribee at 1907 where I uncoupled so we could run around, re-couple, and form the 1920 up, after a quick continuity test. As a counter peak there were far less passengers to cause extended station stops so we were able to pull into the platform at Spencer St at 1958. Once the carriages were dealt with, we returned no. 118 to Dynon Fuel Point and ourselves to the meal room, where we sat it out until 2300 when I told Manpower that I was signing off.
Tuesday was a return to a Pass Yard Pilot, this time on at 1404 for the 1450. Driver D Small and I made our way to Spencer St to spend the shift working on F202 around the Bank Sidings. At 2220 we climbed out of the cramped cab of the F to return to the depot and a sign off at 2245.
Wednesday was supposed to be rostered off but I signed on again at 1430 to work with Driver L Ghersetti again, within the Diesel Maintenance Shops. We shuffled locos until 2215 when Lou sent me on my way, while he hung around to sign off at 2315.
Thursday was the Melbourne Show day public holiday which would have meant a lot of jobs didn’t run but I was rostered to work with Lou again on the Maintenance Shops job. The only difference between the days were the locos that we would have moved and the rate of pay, as, once again, I was sent on my way at 2215, with the same sign off time.
Friday’s start was 1356 with Driver Bob Smith, not BJ Smith, to work the 1410 SG Goods Pilot. Y115 was used to move wagons around as directed by the shunting team until 2200 when we tied up the loco and returned to Dynon for a 2225 sign off.
On Saturday I started at 1304 with Driver Dave Gauwitz for the 1300 Wodonga. Based on a number of things I would say that this was an, early, Oil train out of the Paisley oil depot and that we traveled to Broadmeadows to meet it and relieve the previous crew. We took control of X53, supported by Y154, and headed off along the north east line. Our change-over was supposed to be the 1740 out of Seymour. I didn’t note exactly where we were stopped to do the change but it occurred at 1820 so it would have been somewhere north of the dividing range. When the change-over met us it was a passenger train with a Seymour crew travelling per, so we got to ride back to Melbourne ‘on the cushions’. If I read my notes correctly X41 was at the head of the pass and it appears likely that Y162 was also on this train, holding the X class back, due to its speed limit. Either way we finally returned to Dynon at 2140 with a sign off at 2215.

Neil
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
I made reference to a down 'Jet' that we had problems with a few weeks back. This weeks roster is where you'll find the details, just scroll to Friday if you want to read ahead.

Roster 21A began with an OR on Sunday.
BJ and I signed on at 1435 on the Monday to work the 1500 Conversion Pilot but this had been scrubbed so we adjourned to the meal room instead, at least briefly. Manpower fairly quickly found us a job, to run a train from Tottenham Yard to Broadmeadows, bound for somewhere further north. H2 was allocated to this train so were took it off the depot at 1540 to run ‘light’ to Tottenham. Backing into the Yard we were coupled to the train and examined. Once everything was ready we departed for Sunshine and the Albion loop line. Merging with the suburban lines we stopped the train in the platform where our relief was waiting for us. Relieved of the train we then caught the first spark back to North Melbourne to wander back to Dynon where we signed off at 2135.
Tuesday was a 1345 sign on for a Newmarket Pilot, which, no surprise, had been cancelled. Instead I teamed up with Driver P Hampton to run the 1410 Arden St Pilot. I’m not sure what happened to BJ, presumably he ended up in the meal room on standby, without a fireman. On arrival at Arden St we found Y129 waiting for us, so the three of us worked the sidings until 2125 when we crossed the suburban lines and returned to Dynon to sign off at 2235.
Wednesday was a bit out of the ordinary, as I had an appointment with the RMO (Railway Medical Officer). So I turned up at Dynon at 1330 to then make my way to VR Headquarters on Spencer St to room G30. Whatever they wanted me for was dealt with and I then made my way back to Dynon where I reported back to Manpower at 1520 to go on to solo standby; not something a fireman wanted as it required another fireman to not be available before you found a job. My luck was in as at 1610 I was teamed up with Driver A Martin to run a 1735 Bendigo goods out of Tottenham Yard. We took Y112 off the depot ‘light’ and found T331 already at Tottenham, also rostered to run this train. So I coupled the two together, which was relatively easy as all I had to do was couple the brake pipe and plug in the jumper cable. No main reservoir or nos. 3 and 4 brake pipes to deal with unlike on any main line locos, courtesy of the fact that the Y class used Westinghouse No. 4 brakes, not A7EL as on most VR locos nor 26L, as found on the New X and C. We don’t appear to have actually left the Yard as I made no note about what we changed-over with or where other than we handed over the locos and were back at the depot at 1855. Nothing further offered itself to relieve our sitting on standby and either I, or both of us, decided to finish at 2105.
In a continuing theme, Thursday’s job was cancelled, so BJ and I went straight onto standby at 1310 instead of a totally obscured job. Manpower called on us at 1420 to relieve the ARC Pilot, which was being worked by Y106. We more than likely made our way to where the Pilot was by taxi and finished off the Pilots’ work including returning wagons to Tottenham Yard and return the Y to Dynon at 1830. Nothing more required our services so, in BJ’s preferred modus operandi of knocking off early instead of doing Fuel Point, we finished at 2010.
Friday’s start was 1345 for the 1530 Serviceton ‘Jet’. S312 and X52 were already coupled together for us in the depot yard with the S to be our lead loco. Either these two came in together as they were or the way they were facing when they returned to Fuel Point made it easy for the fitters to couple them together this way; this was something that we came very close to regretting later in the day.
Boarding the New X, we departed the depot, to change to the S class at the reversing point below the hump and entered North Dynon Yard from the east, where we coupled to the train. We were advised by the guard that our tonnage totalled 1527 so this was going to be interesting trip. Once the train was fully examined, and we were ready to depart, the dwarf cleared so we could set off towards the Maribyrnong River crossing and the Bunbury St tunnel. Clearing the tunnel, we proceeded on to pass Tottenham Yard on the Down Independent Goods line and dropped down towards Sunshine. When the home signal cleared to allow us to join the main lines BJ got the train moving again to proceed through Sunshine platform and diverge onto the South line. Along the flat line we were able to work up towards maximum speed for a ‘Jet’ until the climb up to Deer Park West Junction where the line became single however it wasn’t much of a grade and the subsequent momentum grades weren’t really a problem. As we approached Rockbank I prepared to collect the first electric staff. With a successful pickup we continued along the continuing momentum grades towards Melton where I prepared for a full staff exchange. With the exchange completed successfully we descended towards the Melton Weir passing over it and continuing on towards Parwan and another full exchange, completed successfully. Working our way through the Parwan curves we approached ‘the Marsh’ where the staff was handed up and Brian applied power to tackle the grade and curves out of Bacchus Marsh. Working our way up to the flatter stretch of track, beyond Rowlsey, Brian kept the power on as we prepared to take on the grades that commenced just before the horseshoe curve leading on up towards Bank Box loop. As we powered into the curve leading up to the bridge our speed started to bleed off and this drop in speed continued as we left the curve to straighten up, running parallel to the valley we’d just passed over. Moving on from the straight into the series of shallow curves, in cuttings, leading away from the valley our speed continued to drop even though the locos were in notch 8 and both working their hardest. As we worked our way up these curves the weight behind us continued to drag our speed down until we were moving at little more than walking pace and even then our speed continued to drop. It got to a point where we were only just inching forwards and this worried both of us. Brian was repeatedly standing on the sanding button mounted on the floor at his feet but it didn’t appear to be making much difference. As our speed became virtually nothing, he asked me to check to see if the sanders were actually working, so I stood up, punched the VC, moved behind my seat and opened the door. Grabbing the handrails, I descended the steps to the lowest one and then stretched out backwards as far as I could to be able to see the sanding pipe in front of the leading wheel. As Brian stomped on the button again a few grains trickled out of the pipe to hit the railhead and either drop off it immediately or disappear under the wheel with no real effect. I called up into the cab what I was (not) seeing and continued to hang there watching for sand as we slipped to a stop. The wheels continued to rotate but the trains weight was holding us back and the prospect of having to deal with a full-on stall loomed large. Should a train stall the process was to split it in two, using the driver’s judgement where it was best to do this, and take the front portion to the nearest location where that portion could be put aside so the loco(s) could return for the rear portion. To do this the hand brakes would have had to be put on a fair part of the rear portion to prevent it running away back down the grade if the air brakes bled off while the loco(s) were not attached. To suffer a stall was not great, due to the amount of time required to tie down handbrakes, separate the train into two parts, ‘lift’ the first portion to a station clear of the grade then return for the remaining portion, release the hand brakes, bring the rest forward and re-combine the train. The guard would also have had to protect the rear of the train with the additional delay of him walking back to the guard’s van when the rear portion was ready to be taken forward. Our luck was in, since, while I was still hanging outside the loco, the wheels gained traction again and we started to crawl forward. As our speed continued to increase, very slowly, I climbed back into the cab and closed the door, to grab the log book and record the fact that the sanding pipes had to be blocked as we would have expected no. 312 to have had its sand boxes filled up at Dynon before we even signed on that morning. Our speed continued to increase slowly so the threat of stalling appeared to have disappeared. Eventually, we cleared the last cutting with our speed continuing to increase especially as the line leveled off on the approach to Bank Box loop. The home signal was showing ‘bottom yellow’, a yellow light under a red, technically called medium speed warning, which meant passing the signal at a maximum of 40kph, being prepared to stop at the next (home) signal. This was because we were being put away in the loop as the up, our changeover, was somewhere on the line from Ballan. We stopped at the down home departure signal at 1725, greatly relieved to have actually made it that far. Our thoughts were that either the train was heavier than we were told or, more likely, the VR ignored the load limits that EMD specified for the locomotives they built, and expected them, and us, to work heavier loads up grades than the manufacturer thought they should. About 10 minutes after we stopped, S310 appeared from the direction of Iron Bark Gully, double-headed with S311, and drew to a halt next to 312. As he climbed into the cab of no. 310, preceded by his kitbag, Brian advised the Ballarat driver of the problem with the sanders, although it wasn't likely to be a problem for him as he wouldn’t have any severe grades to climb since we’d faced the worst of them already. We discovered that the up we were taking over was over 1300 tonnes so we gained tonnage allowance in both directions. At 1745 we got the up ‘Jet’ under way again until the vans were level to effect a change-over of the guards. With ‘top green’ showing on the up departure home Brian prepared to engage the dynamic brake to hold the train as we descended the grade that had nearly caused us grief on the down journey. ‘Top green’ was a green over a red light and, technically, was called clear normal speed, indicating the next signal was showing a proceed aspect and we could travel at maximum line, or train, speed; in our case, 80kph. We descended the grade back to the horseshoe curve bridge with the dynamic brakes working to retard our speed and obviously had none of the issues we’d had going the other way and dropped down into ‘the Marsh’ to start collecting the staff again. The rest of the trip was uneventful and we deposited the train in the Arrival Yard, were uncoupled and returned the paired S to Dynon to sign off at 2015.
Saturday was, thankfully, OR.

Neil
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Thanks Neil for the multitude of informative posts outlining the railway and its operations from an engineman's perspective.

As a matter of interest what is the origin/explanation/whatever of the various roster numbers, please?
Presumably the various codes mean something to someone.
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Thanks Neil for the multitude of informative posts outlining the railway and its operations from an engineman's perspective.

As a matter of interest what is the origin/explanation/whatever of the various roster numbers, please?
Presumably the various codes mean something to someone.
"YM-Mundrabilla"


The origin of the numbering is something I can't provide as it was well established by my time at Dynon but it basically made it easier for everyone, from the Roster and Manpower Clerks through to the enginemen themselves, to know what work was coming up in the near future. It certainly made it easier to organise a swap with another crew, or individual. A note, on the purpose provided pinboard, indicating which roster you wanted to swap and when you were supposed to work it made it much easier for others interested to see what start times, days off and jobs that roster contained and make an informed decision on whether they would offer to accept to swap theirs for yours.
With 210 weeks on the standard roster finding a particular weeks worth of work without the number would have been difficult and starting at 1 is obviously logical. Prior to my being allocated to a regular driver, in BJ Smith, you might have seen some jumping around of the roster numbers I was working, as it was obviously easier for the roster clerk to do that with a lone fireman. The same thing happened in 1983, after I came off the 'big wheel' rosters but that's going to be something that I, currently, can't show; partially because I haven't got to that year yet and also because that diary is still missing, so I'm unable to dig out what I worked that year.
When I get near to the end of 1982 you will see two different series of roster numbers come into play, being the two 'big wheel' rosters, which were segregated from the standard one by the letters A and B; they both also started at 1. I started with one B roster driver and then was moved to another at least twice so the number changed every time I was placed with a different driver. As I only spend a month on A roster with the same driver there wasn't any jumping around during that period.
The letters were simply a way of indicating day (D) starts anytime between 0400 and 1200, Afternoon (A) 1200 to 2000 and night (N) 2000 to 0400.
Hopefully that makes sense and clears things up for you. If not, ask again and I'll see if I can clarify it more.

Neil
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Thanks Neil for the multitude of informative posts outlining the railway and its operations from an engineman's perspective.

As a matter of interest what is the origin/explanation/whatever of the various roster numbers, please?
Presumably the various codes mean something to someone.


The origin of the numbering is something I can't provide as it was well established by my time at Dynon but it basically made it easier for everyone, from the Roster and Manpower Clerks through to the enginemen themselves, to know what work was coming up in the near future. It certainly made it easier to organise a swap with another crew, or individual. A note, on the purpose provided pinboard, indicating which roster you wanted to swap and when you were supposed to work it made it much easier for others interested to see what start times, days off and jobs that roster contained and make an informed decision on whether they would offer to accept to swap theirs for yours.
With 210 weeks on the standard roster finding a particular weeks worth of work without the number would have been difficult and starting at 1 is obviously logical. Prior to my being allocated to a regular driver, in BJ Smith, you might have seen some jumping around of the roster numbers I was working, as it was obviously easier for the roster clerk to do that with a lone fireman. The same thing happened in 1983, after I came off the 'big wheel' rosters but that's going to be something that I, currently, can't show; partially because I haven't got to that year yet and also because that diary is still missing, so I'm unable to dig out what I worked that year.
When I get near to the end of 1982 you will see two different series of roster numbers come into play, being the two 'big wheel' rosters, which were segregated from the standard one by the letters A and B; they both also started at 1. I started with one B roster driver and then was moved to another at least twice so the number changed every time I was placed with a different driver. As I only spend a month on A roster with the same driver there wasn't any jumping around during that period.
The letters were simply a way of indicating day (D) starts anytime between 0400 and 1200, Afternoon (A) 1200 to 2000 and night (N) 2000 to 0400.
Hopefully that makes sense and clears things up for you. If not, ask again and I'll see if I can clarify it more.

Neil
ngarner
Thanks Neil.
At least we now know what D, A and N stand for which is better than nothing.
In my particular field many hated night shifts but I never minded them with much of the day to myself! Smile
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
22D started with an OR on Sunday, being 0700 starts.
So, Mondays sign on was 0655 with Driver Bob Smith rostered to relieve an up ‘Jet’. This train must have been running late as we didn’t actually get anywhere near it until 0915, when we took control of C503, most usually an SG loco, leading C507. There are no notes about travelling anywhere to meet it but I suspect that we met it somewhere like Sunshine as we didn’t finish this task until 1105. Back on the depot we warmed some meal room seats until 1245 when we relocated to the Fuel Point waiting room on orders from Manpower. The only loco noted that we moved was S300 while we were out there which finished at 1455 when we also officially signed off.
Tuesday was an 0710 start which was supposed to be for the 0855 Bacchus Marsh pass, to return with the 1030 up but for some reason Driver J Stewart and I were taken off this job and instead we were sent to Spencer St from 0830 to ‘work as arranged’. Basically this meant that we checked in with Manpower regularly by phone and would be given the job of relieving inbound crews and similar tasks. What we actually did I didn’t bother to record, possibly because there wouldn’t have been room in the pocket diary to note them all, if we were even decently occupied. We appear to have spent the bulk of the shift in or around Spencer St as I didn’t record when we returned to Dynon but we finally signed off at 1540.
Wednesday was OR.
Thursday, Driver Stewart and I signed on at 0725 for the P8 Pilot out of Tottenham. Taking H1 ‘light’ out to the Yard we coupled to the loading, collected our team of shunters and set off to do the necessary tasks. We returned to Tottenham at 1345 and eventually left that yard running ‘light’ back to Dynon where we signed off at 1550
Fridays job was on at 0735 for the Transfer Pilot but I was taken off that job to work with Driver B Jones to work the 0835 Horsham pass. This was the first Friday of the ‘New Deal’ passenger services, which started on Monday the 5th, so the train would have been the newly built N set no. 1, just arrived off the 0650 up Geelong, with set N2 leading it. B80 was allocated to haul it, in its new coat of tangerine, with the silver ‘spiked cross-over’ logo as loco crews referred to it; perhaps better known by railfans as the ‘teacup’ scheme. Something happened to cause a delay, either a late arrival from Geelong or teething troubles in separating the two N sets, as we didn’t get away from Spencer St until 0910. Being a longer distance pass, we stopped at Sunshine but nowhere else until Ballarat so, although my memory doesn’t confirm this, I would suggest that I had ‘fun’ with the B class automatic staff exchanger at virtually every staff station. It doesn’t stick in my memory the way B61’s poor exchanger does from January 1980 so the exchanger can’t have been that bad, probably it had been serviced properly, to minimise any problems running the new timetable. It along with nos. 64, 69 and 74 were among the first B class to wear this scheme and did most of the running with the N sets initially. We pulled into Ballarat station at 1120 to be relieved by a crew, probably from Ballarat, who took the train on while we made our way to the up ‘Jet’ that was waiting for us to return to Melbourne with. My notes say we took control of this train at 1109 but that’s unlikely, considering our arrival time. However, we took control of two locos that were familiar to me from recent experience, in the form of X52 and S312. At least the X was leading this time and we really only had one bank to climb. Getting the train moving out of Ballarat we climbed Warrenheip bank, without the issues of the previous week, and at Warrenheip, where we collected a large electric staff, were directed towards Geelong. Descending the grade, we passed though the locations of Navigator, Yendon, Lal Lal, Meredith, Lethbridge, Bannockburn and Gheringhap, stations that I didn’t get to see all that often. With more, hand, staff exchanges at all stations, except at Navigator, Yendon and Bannockburn, those after Meredith being the miniature staff as opposed to the large one, we crossed Moorabool viaduct and pass through Moorabool itself. Arriving at North Geelong ‘C’ box the staff was handed up and we gained access to the main line towards Melbourne and continued our up journey. For the first time I traveled through the newly opened, duplicated, section between Corio and Lara, opened about three weeks earlier. We finally deposited the train in the Arrivals Yard and returned the locos to Dynon at 1558 to sign off at 1610. Instead of a tonnage allowance we earned a mileage allowance.
Saturday was on at 0730, where we immediately went onto Fuel Point duty, although I gather that Driver Smith and I were actually rostered for standby. Manpower obviously decided we weren’t going to be required for that. I didn’t record any locos or when we finished so I’m assuming a normal eight hours were put in before I signed off to go onto annual leave until November 14th.

Neil
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Back from leave onto roster 28D, my notes say Sunday was supposed to be 0635 for one of the Pass Yard Pilots but I was OR instead.
So Monday I signed on at 0500 for the 0615 Werribee pass, with Driver Ian Kercher, who had swapped with BJ for the week. Part of the ‘New Deal’ was to eliminate the use of Y class on these trains, probably to the delight of passengers as much as crew. T class were now the minimum for these commuter runs. So, together we found T410 and took it over the flyover to Spencer St to couple up to the train. With the examination complete we got the ‘tip’ from station staff and guard and headed for Werribee, ‘stopping all’ of the non-spark served stations after Newport. We drew to a halt at 0658 and actually had a reasonable amount of time before we formed the up run, timetabled to depart at 0733. I’m inclined to say that we actually drew the train to the Racecourse platform before I uncoupled to run around the carriages. With the loco now at the up end of the carriages we returned to the Werribee platform to allow our intending passengers to board. With departure time on us we set off for Melbourne, once again ‘stopping all’ to Newport and then Footscray. Pulling into Spencer St at 0817 the carriages were uncoupled from and the loco returned to Dynon and us to standby. At 1115 we were called upon to take out two locos, X41 and B76, presumably to Spencer St since we didn’t get back to the depot until 1245 with sign off 15 minutes later.
Tuesday was also 0500 for the 0615 Werribee but with Driver Dave Hopkins instead. So, apart from the loco being T412 and arrival at Werribee being 0700 the down journey was pretty much a repeat of Monday as was the up journey, although I didn’t note when we pulled into Spencer St station; possibly because of the event recorded immediately below. Once back at Dynon Driver Hopkins and I sat out most of the rest of the shift until 1210 when, either by mutual decision, on my own, I signed off.
My notes fail to indicate whether it was one of these two trains, or another in 1982, where the following happened. It may have happened during 1983 but, if so, I still haven’t found that diary, so I’ll relate the story now, as it’s worth repeating. Getting ready to depart Werribee, with the loco long end leading, the driver got me to take the controls. Now I hadn’t driven many passenger trains, especially stopping ones, so I lacked experience in the art of braking these, especially from speed. So, with the ‘all clear’ from the guard, whose compartment was nearest the loco, in a BCPL or similar, I popped the whistle in acknowledgement, release the brakes and opened the throttle. We accelerated out of the platform and headed for Hoppers Crossing. Since these two aren’t all that far apart, in rail terms, I was able to shut off power and brake to a halt in the platform without too many concerns. With more passengers on board the guard gave me the ‘right away’ again, so with another pop on the whistle, I got the train moving again. Descending the grade from Hoppers Crossing and with the relatively long run to Aircraft we got up to close to 100kph. As Aircraft grew closer I shut off power and made a reduction of about 30psi (pounds per square inch - sorry, can’t tell you what that is in metric as, although the VR added new markings for both speed and brakes, I only ever worked in psi when it came to the brakes) from the brake pipe. Our speed started to reduce but I came to the realisation that maybe not enough so I made an additional reduction of the brake pipe. As is common with any intending passengers, when they see, what they think is, their train approaching, those on the platform saw our headlight, straighten up and moved nearer to the platform edge. I worked out that there was no way we were stopping within the platform length and dumped the remaining air from the brake pipe, not that it made any difference at that late stage. So we approached the platform at speed and proceeded to sail through it, over the level crossing on the up side to finally grind to a halt with the whole train clear of the crossing. Watching the expressions change and the heads follow us, like in a tennis match, as we sailed past all these intending passengers would have been amusing in almost any other circumstance. Whether they thought that they were mistaken in considering we were the train they were waiting for and were actually an express would have been interesting to know; now. With the train finally stopped the guard appeared at his doorway, looked around for the platform and then towards me. Since I was leaning out, looking back towards him, I called back, “Do you think we should go back for them?” He indicated that he thought we ought to, so I threw the reverser, released the brakes, opened the throttle and sounded the whistle. The station assistant realised what was going to happen and raced down the ramp to the level crossing to flag down any cars that might have been tempted to cross without realising there was a train approaching, since we had cleared the ‘bell block’ and the booms had gone back up. When the last carriage triggered the ‘bell block’, the lights started to flash and the booms began to drop again so the station assistant was able to return to the platform. Safely over the crossing and in the platform I stopped the train, a lot more easily this time, and the, somewhat bemused, passengers boarded. Getting underway in the up direction once more, the run to Laverton was so short I would have had to work really hard to over-shoot it. I made the remaining stops without a problem and in discussion with the driver about what went wrong he said I hadn’t applied the brakes hard enough in the first application. He also said that when he got the ‘please explain’ from Head Office, as we both expected he would, he said he would claim that the brakes didn’t work properly at that station, and only that station, for some unknown reason. What happened to him in relation to this incident I don’t know because I didn’t work with him again in the time that Head Office would have required to ask him the question.
Wednesday was on at 0555 for the 0610 Special Pilot with Driver Kercher again. We had Y118 to work this job, which for the life of me I cannot tell you what it did or why it was 'special'. Whatever we did we finished with the loco at 1315 but somehow still didn’t sign off until 1415.
On Thursday I started at 0615 for the 0630 Truck Shops Pilot with Driver P Brock using F207. My notes indicate that I was supposed to work a Brooklyn Pilot but that must have been cancelled. We shuffled around the sidings adjacent to the North Melbourne Workshops, inside the reversing loop, until 1350 when we returned the F class to the Fuel Point to sign off at 1425.
Friday’s start was at 0640 for an 0800 Instructional Pilot, once more with Driver Kercher. We were allocated Y149 for this job. Unlike the recent short stint working this Pilot we were at it until 1420 to sign off at 1445.
Saturday was OR.

Neil
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Years ago I was given to understand that the two standard excuses for almost anything were "blown hosebag" or "departmental purposes" which seemed to cover a multitude of sins. Neither was going to work for your overshoot which was a bit of bad luck !
Thanks for all your posts - keep 'em coming.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Years ago I was given to understand that the two standard excuses for almost anything were "blown hosebag" or "departmental purposes" which seemed to cover a multitude of sins. Neither was going to work for your overshoot which was a bit of bad luck !
Thanks for all your posts - keep 'em coming.
Valvegear
What VG?
No DICs or DOGS*?
Yes unexplained acronyms with which I am heartily fed up. Some of the clever dicks so fond of using them can work these out.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
OK so you misjudged the platform!
I have seen an entire 7 car Tait miss the platform without report or repercussion. There are some things that one sees and some things that one does not! Just set back and all's well.
In this day and age someone would have been onto Neil Mitchell (3AW) before the cast iron brake block filings had settled and we would still be waiting for an ATSB Report.
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Swapping off 29N onto 16D Sunday was an 0700 start to work the Diesel Maintenance Shops with Driver N White, although my notes would suggest I actually signed on with another driver to work Fuel Point duties. Comparing this week, on 16D, to the one I worked, starting August 23rd, the only job during the week that was the same was Saturdays one, which goes to show that the official rosters were really only a guide to what you might be doing. Sundays were quiet for trains running but the maintenance shops kept working through, especially as there were more locos on the depot, than a weekday, so more could be serviced. That said I didn’t record what we moved in the 8 hour shift that day. Finishing time was, obviously, 1500.
Monday was on at 0815 with Driver J Wilson for an 0900 Newport ballast which T397 had the honours of hauling. Heading off the depot to back into the Ways and Works sidings, adjacent to the roads leading from Dynon, where the rakes of ballast wagons resided we coupled up and prepared to head for the Newport line. Where exactly we dropped our ballast I can’t say anymore but we emptied all of our load and then ran on through Newport station to be let into sidings to enable us to run around the train. Once the T was at the up end of the rake and the signal to allow us to depart the siding was cleared we made our way back to North Melbourne to deposit the train back into the sidings it came out of. The job occupied us until 1555 when we returned the T class to the Fuel Point to sign off at 1610.
Tuesday was an off roster.
Wednesdays start was 0840 for an 0915 Kensington Ballast this time. Driver Ray Pearson and I collected T330 and made our way to the same Ways and Works sidings as I’d been in and out of, on Monday, to collect todays rake. The location for the depositing this load was a lot closer than Newport but appears to have taken just as long. For some reason I failed to note when we signed off but I’m taking that to mean a standard 8 hours.
Thursday was an 0825 start for an 0900 Tottenham. Driver Ray Kaleta and I had T348 for this although what exactly it entailed I’m not sure anymore. It may have been one of the Pilots out of Tottenham but, although most likely, that is a guess. Whatever the job it occupied us until 1545 when we returned no. 348 to Dynon and signed off at 1605.
Friday was 0725 on for an 0800 Maribyrnong goods with Driver T Lamb. B74 had the honours and once again, this was an actual run to the Maribyrnong terminal from the Centre Yard, not a transfer of briquettes from the Latrobe Valley. So we took the B class to the yard, coupled up and had the train tested, then headed for the suburban lines at South Kensington via Spion Kop. Entering the suburban lines, we made our way over the Maribyrnong and diverted onto the branch line to travel to the terminal. Doing some shunting we made up the train to take back to Melbourne Yard to draw it along the branch back to the junction. Given access to the main lines again we deposited our load and returned no. 74 to Dynon sometime around midday. Spending a little time on standby we were called on, at 1215, to go to Brooklyn, via taxi, to relieve the Brooklyn Pilot. Which Y class we took control of I didn’t record but we spent a reasonable amount of time there including taking loading to Tottenham before returning the Y to Dynon ‘light’ to finish the shift at 1525.
Saturday was also OR.

Neil
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Reverting to 30A Sunday was OR, although once again BJ was working another roster. Considering we were supposed to be a partnership, we didn’t actually spend all that many weeks working the same roster, which, I gather, was a little unusual. Some crews worked together with few individual swaps; if one swapped they both did.
So, for the final day of November 1981, I started at 1530 with Driver Ian Kercher again to work Fuel Point duty. I didn’t note anything of interest other than we worked the full shift to sign off at 2330.
December 1st was a 1440 start for the 1620 Werribee pass, again with Driver Kercher. We located T402 and headed for Spencer St. Why the large difference between sign on and train time I no longer remember but eventually the train and loco were coupled, tested and ready to depart. Getting the all clear from station staff and guard we set off for the ‘stopping all’ from Newport to arrive at Werribee at 1702. Looking back the extra power and higher speed took the journey from about an hour, with a Y class pre-‘New Deal’, down to 40 minutes or so. Running the loco around we prepared for the return trip, with far fewer passengers, at 1742. The up journey was over when we pulled into the Spencer St platform at 1826. Based on the time taken for the run it is unlikely that this was the day I overshot Aircraft, but that’s not a guarantee. Released from the carriages the T was returned to Dynon Fuel Point while we retired to the meal room on standby. Manpower called on us at 2035 to travel back to Spencer St, this time to relieve a crew on one of the Pass Yard Pilots. On arrival back at Spencer St we located Y136 and took over shunting the platforms and Bank Sidings until we, in turn, were relieved. Making our way back to Dynon we signed off at 2315.
Wednesday was 1340 on for what was supposed to be a 1455 Berwick with Driver O Ziggy. Preparing Y120 we made our way to the East Yard to collect the loading. Coupled up and tested we were cleared to depart the yard to head towards Flinders St over the ‘new’ viaduct and moved on past the spark stabling sidings on our way towards Richmond before we crossed a number of lines to put us on the down ‘Local Line’. Crossing over the Yarra and passing through South Yarra we set off up the climb past the stations on the way to Caulfield. Clearing Caulfield, we headed on along the line towards Dandenong where we entered the Yard to terminate, at 1740, as we weren’t required to continue on to Berwick. We shuffled our loading around and assembled the return loading but didn’t get to depart on the up journey until 1910. The return trip occupied us until 2020 so we had a really clear run on the up, especially compared to the time it took on the down trip. With the Y class left in the hands of the fitters as they refuelled it we adjourned to the meal room for the balance of the shift, signing off at 2140.
On Thursday Driver Kercher and I started at 1521, this time for the 1706 Kyneton pass. B68 was allocated to do this run. The likelihood that we had to travel to Spencer St to take control of it is fairly high due to the far more intensive use of the B class with the introduction of the ‘New Deal’. Wherever we took it over, we eventually coupled to the train and completed the examinations. Getting away from the platform we wound our way along the lines leading to the suburban ones, through the junction near the Dudley St signalbox and on towards North Melbourne. Working our way through the suburban area to Sunbury we then climbed up the curve through the cutting near Rupertswood to the more level track to stop at Clarkefield. Getting on the move again we stopped at Riddles Creek, Gisbourne and then Macedon before tackling the grade up through the Black Forest to stop at Woodend. With the easier grades after Macedon we ignored the remains of Carlsruhe and finally drew to a halt at Kyneton. Shunting the carriages into the sidings near the old good shed we tied up the B for later use and moved to the up platform to wait for the 1530 up goods to arrive, which it did at 1900. We travelled back towards Melbourne in the guard’s van as the sole loco up front, a Y class, wouldn’t have comfortably accommodated two crew. I made a specific note about arriving at Sunshine at 2128. I’m making the inference that this goods was heading on to Newport so we jumped ship, so to speak, to catch the next up spark back to North Melbourne. We signed off at 2250, so we definitely did not have a taxi provided to get us back to the depot.
Fridays job was on at 1400 for what appears to have been standby. Instead I was allocated to a 1445 Pass Yard Pilot, it appears, with Driver Ziggy once more. Together, we made our way to Spencer St to find the final Y class, in no. 175. We helped set up the peak hour rush trains and its aftermath, a rather different effort to the work of the Pass Yard Pilots pre-“New Deal”. We were relieved and returned to Dynon to sign off at 2220.
Saturday was OR.

Neil
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Rolling onto 31D BJ and I teamed up again for most of the week.
Sunday was OR and with Monday supposed to be an 0330 start but I called in sick.
So, I returned to work on Tuesday at 0445 for the 0530 down Werribee pass. BJ and I found T397 in the depot yard, apparently with T377 attached for us to tow to Spencer St behind us but for another crew to use on another train. Double headed T class on a Werribee would be something that never happened! We departed Spencer St and did the Werribee shuffle, arriving at 0610, with the, now, decent amount of time before we formed the 0639 up pass. Brian kept control of the train on the up, not that I would have been that keen to have a go if this was after the over-shoot at Aircraft. With his experience, we stopped everywhere we were supposed to and pulled into Spencer St again at 0724. Once we were back at the depot again Manpower decided to make the most of us by sending us to Fuel Point from 0930. As had become my habit, I failed to record any of the locos that we moved but since we were there soon after the peak hour had wrapped up there would have been numerous locos to move before our 8 hours were up and we signed off.
Wednesday was an 0600 start, apparently originally intended to run another Werribee but somewhere along the line we were taken off that job and instead we ended up at Spencer St on standby. Unlike the last time I worked this I actually noted what we did, although not the locos involved. The first task we were given was to relieve an up Geelong at 0849. Whether this meant we returned the loco to Dynon and then returned to Spencer St by spark or we just relieved the crew and relocated the loco to another platform so it could run a down train I can’t be certain as 50 minutes is bordering on insufficient time for the us to do the first one. Whatever happened we then relieved an up Albury at 0940. This was definitely a case of taking the loco back to Dynon as our next task was to take out the loco for the 1235 down Albury. To finish our day, we relieved the crew off another up Geelong, this time at 1240. Like with the previous up Geelong we may have returned the loco to the depot but, again, I am unsure of this. We finally signed off sometime after 1400.
Thursday’s start was 0555 but it appears that the first task, a Brooklyn Pilot was cancelled. The next job, the No.2 Dock Pilot didn’t get up either so eventually I was teamed up with Driver A Wozniak to run the 0645 light engines to Westall to relieve the existing locos running the ‘Apex’ quarry. Together we took X53 and T344 off the depot for a fast run to Westall where we arrived at 0715. The existing locos had already departed so we coupled up and proceeded to do the unloading shuffle before drawing the train out of the siding to enable the run around of locos. With the T class now leading and a continuity test complete we were ready to head towards Melbourne. The signal cleared and we departed the siding, on the up run, at 0910. The empty train was little challenge on the run to Caulfield and, even though the T class had no dynamic brake, holding it down the grade to South Yarra was not much more difficult. Passing through Flinders and Spencer St stations on the suburban lines we stopped the train at North Melbourne to be relieved by another Dynon crew at 1015. We made our way back to the depot on foot to go onto standby until 1125 when Manpower tasked us with the job of testing the 1330 Serviceton ‘Jet’. Y134 was run to North Dynon for this job and once completed presumably returned back to the depot. I didn’t note when we made it back to Dynon but we signed off at 1355, presumably with some more time on standby to complete the shift.
Signing on at 0620, BJ and I made our way to Spencer St to run one of the Pass Yard Pilots from 0645, with F207. We shuttled around as directed by our lead shunter to leave the loco at 1415 adm sign off again at 1440.
The Roster Clerk decided I need to make up for missing Monday’s shift so booked me on at 0555 for the 0610 No.3 Dock Pilot with Driver Ray Ludlow. Y108 was provided for our use and so we moved container laden flat wagons around between Melbourne Yard and the docks until 1145 when the Y was returned to the Fuel Point. We hung around, in the meal room, on standby, until 1330, without being asked by Manpower to take on Fuel Point duty, possibly because the Fuel Point foreman already had sufficient crews to cope with the lower demands of a Saturday and more would have caused congestion in the crew room.
  Heihachi_73 Chief Commissioner

Location: Terminating at Ringwood
OK so you misjudged the platform!
I have seen an entire 7 car Tait miss the platform without report or repercussion. There are some things that one sees and some things that one does not! Just set back and all's well.
In this day and age someone would have been onto Neil Mitchell (3AW) before the cast iron brake block filings had settled and we would still be waiting for an ATSB Report.
YM-Mundrabilla
A bit late to the party, but back in around 2005 I was travelling in a late night up Lilydale suburban (a 3-car X'Trapolis) which skipped Auburn. This was actually the last one for the night, arriving at Flinders Street at around 0020. I can't think what was on the driver's mind when we went through at line speed, maybe he was just thinking of the usual express runs that occur during daytime hours. When the driver put the anchors on, we had already sailed halfway through the platform, and by the time the train was slowing down we were still around 2 cars beyond the platform so the driver just accelerated back to line speed towards Glenferrie like nothing happened. I can't recall if there was anyone at the station as Auburn is quiet at the best of times, I recall someone wanted to get off at the station, instead they got off at Glenferrie and walked down the ramp, presumably taking the half mile trip back on Shanks' pony.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
In similar vein is the story told in one of Nick Anchen's books about the Intercapital Daylight which did a nice fast run express from Seymour to Albury on a day which just happened to be the Albury Cup race day. Before departure, the guard came up with load details etc etc, and additional note. The nominated driver was in the second seat, letting his new mate learn the road from the driving seat. As the train approached Benalla, the bloke driving remarked about the number of people on the platform, and wondered whether they should be stopping. "Nah; they're probably just train cranks; keep going", said the senior bloke. Much the same happened at Wangaratta. Some time later, the senior bloke remembered the extra piece of paper the guard had given him, took it out of his pocket, and read," Driver of the Intercapital Daylight, you are required to stop at Benalla and Wangaratta account of Albury Cup".
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
In similar vein is the story told in one of Nick Anchen's books about the Intercapital Daylight which did a nice fast run express from Seymour to Albury on a day which just happened to be the Albury Cup race day. Before departure, the guard came up with load details etc etc, and additional note. The nominated driver was in the second seat, letting his new mate learn the road from the driving seat. As the train approached Benalla, the bloke driving remarked about the number of people on the platform, and wondered whether they should be stopping. "Nah; they're probably just train cranks; keep going", said the senior bloke. Much the same happened at Wangaratta. Some time later, the senior bloke remembered the extra piece of paper the guard had given him, took it out of his pocket, and read," Driver of the Intercapital Daylight, you are required to stop at Benalla and Wangaratta account of Albury Cup".
Valvegear
Probably fined 10 bob and/or perhaps regressed for a week.

These days there would be a two year $ million ATSB investigation which, having checked the weather, phase of the moon, wheel and rail conditions plus crew rosters for the previous fortnight would have found that:
  • Both crew should have had the opportunity to read the guard's advice.
  • The guard should have verbally advised the crew as well as the written advice.

Years ago coming down the suburban lines adjacent to Spion Kop on a Harris train the old bloke was powering crazily towards North Melbourne Junction. Passengers became visibly concerned and started to hang on fearing being spread all over the junction but thankfully he woke up and an emergency brake application saw us safely entering North Melbourne following a violent transit of the junction.

Another scare was on an Essendon to North Melbourne express Harris which used to make almost, but not quite, as good speeds on the run as a Tait train. Screaming down towards Newmarket the Gang was seen to be in the pit. Again an emergency brake application, frantic whistling and much brake block smoke we stopped just short of the gang about half way down the platform. Some 'discussion' and off we went again no doubt to be followed up later.
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
In similar vein is the story told in one of Nick Anchen's books about the Intercapital Daylight which did a nice fast run express from Seymour to Albury on a day which just happened to be the Albury Cup race day. Before departure, the guard came up with load details etc etc, and additional note. The nominated driver was in the second seat, letting his new mate learn the road from the driving seat. As the train approached Benalla, the bloke driving remarked about the number of people on the platform, and wondered whether they should be stopping. "Nah; they're probably just train cranks; keep going", said the senior bloke. Much the same happened at Wangaratta. Some time later, the senior bloke remembered the extra piece of paper the guard had given him, took it out of his pocket, and read," Driver of the Intercapital Daylight, you are required to stop at Benalla and Wangaratta account of Albury Cup".
"Valvegear"


Doesn't say much for the guard, as technically, at least in my day, he was in charge of the train and had access to the brake pipe to stop the train. Not doing so suggests, if he was a guard, and not a conductor, he wasn't paying attention - asleep maybe? Shades of 1969 and the Violet Town accident.
Speaking of sparks and heavy braking, I have a story about a Hitachi that I happened to be driving coming into South Yarra on the up. Unfortunately, this event occurred in January or February 1983 so, to maintain chronological order you'll just have to wait for it.

Neil
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
In similar vein is the story told in one of Nick Anchen's books about the Intercapital Daylight which did a nice fast run express from Seymour to Albury on a day which just happened to be the Albury Cup race day. Before departure, the guard came up with load details etc etc, and additional note. The nominated driver was in the second seat, letting his new mate learn the road from the driving seat. As the train approached Benalla, the bloke driving remarked about the number of people on the platform, and wondered whether they should be stopping. "Nah; they're probably just train cranks; keep going", said the senior bloke. Much the same happened at Wangaratta. Some time later, the senior bloke remembered the extra piece of paper the guard had given him, took it out of his pocket, and read," Driver of the Intercapital Daylight, you are required to stop at Benalla and Wangaratta account of Albury Cup".


Doesn't say much for the guard, as technically, at least in my day, he was in charge of the train and had access to the brake pipe to stop the train. Not doing so suggests, if he was a guard, and not a conductor, he wasn't paying attention - asleep maybe? Shades of 1969 and the Violet Town accident.
Speaking of sparks and heavy braking, I have a story about a Hitachi that I happened to be driving coming into South Yarra on the up. Unfortunately, this event occurred in January or February 1983 so, to maintain chronological order you'll just have to wait for it.

Neil
ngarner
True, the guard is 'in charge  of the train' and in the 'Daylight' case he should, in my view, have verbally instructed the crew about the additional stops in addition to the written advice handed to one of them. This would absolve him from blame to some degree. The crew member receiving the guard's advice note should also have conveyed its contents to his mate.

Once on the road, however, the guard is in an invidious position and, perhaps unrealistically so, subject to some archaic rules and regulations.

He is not driving the train. He cannot be privy to minute by minute conditions at the front where you have two responsible, qualified and experienced men running the train. How is the guard to know the precise stopping distance or braking point for a specific station what action short of stopping the train 'somewhere' by pulling the tap in an other than clearly emergency situation can/should he take? At night, the guard cannot be precisely aware of his location.

Granted he should not be asleep or inattentive and must be responsible for rear end protection but in reality it is difficult to reasonably blame him for what goes on on the loco. The rules then, like so many these days, are just to cover someone's behind and/or find someone to blame.

We have now recognised guards to a degree as anachronistic and gone to the other extreme where there is only one man on the loco, no suburban area train stop, no guard and a conductor who is irrelevant to a minute by minute train running situation.
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
In similar vein is the story told in one of Nick Anchen's books about the Intercapital Daylight which did a nice fast run express from Seymour to Albury on a day which just happened to be the Albury Cup race day. Before departure, the guard came up with load details etc etc, and additional note. The nominated driver was in the second seat, letting his new mate learn the road from the driving seat. As the train approached Benalla, the bloke driving remarked about the number of people on the platform, and wondered whether they should be stopping. "Nah; they're probably just train cranks; keep going", said the senior bloke. Much the same happened at Wangaratta. Some time later, the senior bloke remembered the extra piece of paper the guard had given him, took it out of his pocket, and read," Driver of the Intercapital Daylight, you are required to stop at Benalla and Wangaratta account of Albury Cup".


Doesn't say much for the guard, as technically, at least in my day, he was in charge of the train and had access to the brake pipe to stop the train. Not doing so suggests, if he was a guard, and not a conductor, he wasn't paying attention - asleep maybe? Shades of 1969 and the Violet Town accident.
Speaking of sparks and heavy braking, I have a story about a Hitachi that I happened to be driving coming into South Yarra on the up. Unfortunately, this event occurred in January or February 1983 so, to maintain chronological order you'll just have to wait for it.

Neil
ngarner
True, the guard is 'in charge  of the train' and in the 'Daylight' case he should, in my view, have verbally instructed the crew about the additional stops in addition to the written advice handed to one of them. This would absolve him from blame to some degree. The crew member receiving the guard's advice note should also have conveyed its contents to his mate.

Once on the road, however, the guard is in an invidious position and, perhaps unrealistically so, subject to some archaic rules and regulations.

He is not driving the train. He cannot be privy to minute by minute conditions at the front where you have two responsible, qualified and experienced men running the train. How is the guard to know the precise stopping distance or braking point for a specific station what action short of stopping the train 'somewhere' by pulling the tap in an other than clearly emergency situation can/should he take? At night, the guard cannot be precisely aware of his location.

Granted he should not be asleep or inattentive and must be responsible for rear end protection but in reality it is difficult to reasonably blame him for what goes on on the loco. The rules then, like so many these days, are just to cover someone's behind and/or find someone to blame.

We have now recognised guards to a degree as anachronistic and gone to the other extreme where there is only one man on the loco, no suburban area train stop, no guard and a conductor who is irrelevant to a minute by minute train running situation.
"YM-Mundrabilla"


No arguments from me, YM. They were very much passengers once they gave the driver the 'right away' but even a small release of air from the brake pipe should draw any drivers attention to the brakes and, hopefully, make him think about where he was supposed to stop, however, I never experienced a guard acting on their 'control' of the train once in motion, in my five years.

Neil
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
In similar vein is the story told in one of Nick Anchen's books about the Intercapital Daylight which did a nice fast run express from Seymour to Albury on a day which just happened to be the Albury Cup race day. Before departure, the guard came up with load details etc etc, and additional note. The nominated driver was in the second seat, letting his new mate learn the road from the driving seat. As the train approached Benalla, the bloke driving remarked about the number of people on the platform, and wondered whether they should be stopping. "Nah; they're probably just train cranks; keep going", said the senior bloke. Much the same happened at Wangaratta. Some time later, the senior bloke remembered the extra piece of paper the guard had given him, took it out of his pocket, and read," Driver of the Intercapital Daylight, you are required to stop at Benalla and Wangaratta account of Albury Cup".


Doesn't say much for the guard, as technically, at least in my day, he was in charge of the train and had access to the brake pipe to stop the train. Not doing so suggests, if he was a guard, and not a conductor, he wasn't paying attention - asleep maybe? Shades of 1969 and the Violet Town accident.
Speaking of sparks and heavy braking, I have a story about a Hitachi that I happened to be driving coming into South Yarra on the up. Unfortunately, this event occurred in January or February 1983 so, to maintain chronological order you'll just have to wait for it.

Neil
True, the guard is 'in charge  of the train' and in the 'Daylight' case he should, in my view, have verbally instructed the crew about the additional stops in addition to the written advice handed to one of them. This would absolve him from blame to some degree. The crew member receiving the guard's advice note should also have conveyed its contents to his mate.

Once on the road, however, the guard is in an invidious position and, perhaps unrealistically so, subject to some archaic rules and regulations.

He is not driving the train. He cannot be privy to minute by minute conditions at the front where you have two responsible, qualified and experienced men running the train. How is the guard to know the precise stopping distance or braking point for a specific station what action short of stopping the train 'somewhere' by pulling the tap in an other than clearly emergency situation can/should he take? At night, the guard cannot be precisely aware of his location.

Granted he should not be asleep or inattentive and must be responsible for rear end protection but in reality it is difficult to reasonably blame him for what goes on on the loco. The rules then, like so many these days, are just to cover someone's behind and/or find someone to blame.

We have now recognised guards to a degree as anachronistic and gone to the other extreme where there is only one man on the loco, no suburban area train stop, no guard and a conductor who is irrelevant to a minute by minute train running situation.


No arguments from me, YM. They were very much passengers once they gave the driver the 'right away' but even a small release of air from the brake pipe should draw any drivers attention to the brakes and, hopefully, make him think about where he was supposed to stop, however, I never experienced a guard acting on their 'control' of the train once in motion, in my five years.

Neil
ngarner
Thanks Neil.
Yes, it's a fine line balancing act where you may well be damned if you do and damned if you don't.
It's all academic now anyway with on train communications etc (and no guard to use them).
  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
How come you gave it up after 5 years Neil? If it's none of my business, ignore me.

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