On the Nose
On the Nose
Well after all, it is an EMD.
During my first 11 years, spent in Queensland as a child, I did not know very much about the differences between the various locomotive designs. There were some things with noses amongst the QR diesel motive power roster, which I eventually discovered were English Electrics.
Here in NSW, just a total of 16 beasts had that nosey EMD shape which reflected the F and E units of the USA, here in Australia untilmately nicknamed as Bulldogs.
I subsequently grew up in a state where Alco dominated the first and second generation diesel motive power roster of the NSWR. Having relocated to Bathurst in the Central West of NSW in 1976, I was not to experience many of the NSWR nosey jobs. The six members of the 42 class A16C, plus the ten members of the subsequent 421 class AJ16C were mostly based at Eveleigh and Enfield depots in Sydney and did not venture west.
By the early 1980's, the then titled NSW State Rail Authority desired to purge some of these old noisy nosey beasts. The 421 class had been the cause of rail union bans due to rough riding when hauling express passenger trains. Four of the 42 class were saved from the scrappers torch, one as an empty shell, three being preserved by various societies. I went out to chase 4204 working west during 1984 when the Lachlan Valley Railway society operated a special tour train to Cowra, the LVR having relocated from Sydney to Cowra.
At the prompting of work mates, I had transferred to loco, becoming a trainee engineman, and moved east to Lithgow.
In 1986, having been promoted to engineman class 2, and out on the road as a qualified fireman/observor, I was asked to volunteer to crew an eastbound LVR tour train. We drove west to Bathurst to relieve the crew onboard. 4204 was the motive power. This was my first experience in the cab of a noisy nose job. This confirmed my preference for Aussie Alcos.
The next year, most of the 421 class units were withdrawn and sent west for storage.
Amazingly, four units of the 421 class managed to survive, plus a fifth minus the noisy 567C donk. A private company titled the Northern Rivers Railway acquired the units. Based in Casino NSW, the NRR planned to operate freight service on the Murwillumbah branch on the north coast of NSW after service had been cancelled by Freightcorp (quango established when the NSW state government separated the rail facets). The NRR also acquired some passenger carriages from South Australia with the plan to operate a luxury passenger train service on the branch. The NRR soon discovered why Freightcorp had abandoned the branch, plus the Ritz Express was not a success. The Queensland government railway had created Interail as a quango to compete interstate with the growing number of private rail operators. Interail then acquired the NRR units. A couple of the 421's were then utilized for coal train haulage in the Hunter Valley region of NSW. Yet another name change when the QR made further inroads into the southern states, the 421's now being adorned in QR National livery.
Except during a very brief period of through working of motive power from South Australia, prior to privatization if you desired to see other noisy nose jobs, you had to travel interstate. Commonwealth Railway GM1 class 1500hp ML1 things did venture across the crow eater border at Broken Hill to drag the Indian Pacific east to Lithgow where electric traction continued the journey east to Sydney. However, this incursion by the red and silver CR things didn't endure long as these noisy nose jobs are only
A1A-A1A and struggled with the down-under silver streak on the steep grades in the Central West. Many a time a NSWPTC loco had to be dispatched to the rescue when the Indian Pacific had stuck up.
One of the CR GM1 class, GM3 was obtained by Clyde at Kelso (Bathurst) to perform shunting duty inside the plant. Originally after it arrived, GM3 could be seen outside the plant. It was also borrowed in 1995 when a motive power display was exhibited at Lithgow Maintenance Centre. W1/W2 reverted to NSW aussie alco power within NSW, exchanging power at Broken Hill with the green and yellow Australian National which had been created to absorb the CR and South Australian Railway.
Eleven GM1 class were built by Clyde Sydney for CR from 1951. Only two GM1 units remain today, including GM3 at Kelso.
After I had progressed to engineman class 3, and then onto the top fireman's roster at Lithgow working with the senior drivers; engineman class 6, Lithgow crews worked the Indian Pacific east to Sydney and also west to Parkes. However, thankfully no noisy nose jobs were involved. I did though venture out to Broken Hill and spied some AN things lurking at the joint facility loco shed. The more powerful and numerous Co-Co CR GM12 class A16C units in AN guise often worked the Indian Pacific plus freighters west from Broken Hill into South Australia. Surprisingly, of the original 35 units of the GM12 class, 11 remain active today, two with Chicago Freight Car Leasing Australia, and nine with what remains of the Genesee & Wyoming Australian incursion.
CR acquired some noses with more oomph from Clyde in 1970 when 17 CL class AT26C with the 645E3 donk were introduced. Morrison Knudsen invaded down-under and in 1993 bashed the CL class into either CLF or CLP class AT26C-2M things, the CLP version possessing HEP generation. The CLP concept contrived to remove the normal power generation van from the Indian Pacific and other trains. The lower numbered units becoming CLF and the higher numbered units morphed into CLP's.
After I was appointed as driver, engineman class 5 in 1993, I no longer worked the Indian Pacific. Shortly afterwards, the AN CLP units began through running on W1 / W2. The CLP HEP system was not a success resulting in the return of power generation vans. Aussie National not wanting to pay for the use of electric traction between Lithgow and Sydney rostered a pair of CLP units to work through. Only a single CLP was necessary west of Parkes, but on the steep grades, especially the 3 % of the Blue Mountains to the east of Lithgow, two units were necessary. But, numerous problems were encountered, and the train stalled a number of times requiring rescue engines. Deja vu back to the late 1970's and the last unsuccessful attempt at through running. I was amused a number of times, when the eastbound silver streak was blown-out (cancelled) at Lithgow, unable to continue to Sydney. On two such occasions I was in the shed, and had to roar out of loco with a shunt engine to fetch into loco the car carrier wagon from the stranded train. A tilt tray recovery truck was hired to permit unloading of the passengers cars, they then motoring the remainder of the journey to Sydney. The other passengers had continued east on an interurban emu.
The train also paused in Lithgow on the westward-ho journey to perform a train brakes examination, this not being possible in Sydney as it remained parked on platform 1 at Central. However, this practice ceased suddenly after one of the Lithgow car and wagon examiners complained. The silver streak WC was not a retention tank style. While the train sat in Lithgow yard, the examiner tapping his way around the wheels, one passenger ignored the WC sign; " Please do not use WC while the train is standing at a station". The poor bloke did cop a rather nasty surprise. From then on, W2 rattled straight through.
I did get to work the IP and the CLP nose jobs once when the rostered fireman was not available. I was regaled by the class 6 bloke as to the joys of the CLP's. I did discover that they possess a nasty transition change, plus other quirks. I was definitely not impressed.
When AN was privatized in 1997, that brought about an end to the appearance of the CLP class on the IP. National Rail had been created by the federal government in 1994 in yet another attempt to usurp the state governments from freight rail operations. When an NR crew depot was established at Parkes, Lithgow depot lost the interstate freight traffic and eventually the Indian Pacific. As the NR class GE things began to appear from 1996, it was inevitable that they would end up on the front of the aussie silver streak.
I was also in the shed one day when a loco inspector came running down the back of the loco yelling at me. I was to be extracted from my cosy shed shift to work an RTM tour train down the hill to Sydney. Little did I know when I took a photo of the two preserved Rail Transport Museum units in loco when I had signed on duty, that I would be heading east on them. Apparently the tour train which had been worked west from Lithgow by a puffer billy was stuck down at the station waiting for the diesels which had assisted the tour up the Mountains that morning. Nobody had bothered to roster a crew to work the diesels back east. The shed chargeman was reluctant to release me as there was a reasonable amount of work to be done. I was suspicious about the whole affair. But, after an RTM official pleaded with me, I finally agreed. The noisy nose job 4201 had failed, but the good old aussie alco 4490 was still performing perfectly.
The Genesee & Wyoming made a foray down-under acquiring a large chunk of Aussie National, including numerous AN units. This did not include the Tasrail narrow gauge system, which was acquired by Ed of the WC via ATN. However, it did include the isolated narrow gauge system of the Port Lincoln Division. So, the noisy nose jobs appeared in a new livery. Australian Southern Railway was the first identity. The ASR operation involved all three gauges in South Australia. The Dry Creek facility in Adelaide featuring both standard and broad gauges.
The ASR delved into Western Australia, and then when the federal government finally got it's wish to flog off National Rail, in conjunction with NSW Freightcorp, in late 2002 the ASR sneaked into NSW operating a once per week interstate intermodal freighter between Adelaide and Sydney. Such was the deteriorating reliability of the assigned CLF / CLP units that five or six untis were required to get the train over the Blue Mountains. By mid 2003 this interstater no longer worked via the Central Tablelands, instead taking the longer but easier graded route from Parkes south to Cootamundra, thence north to Sydney. But, the ASR noisy nose jobs didn't vanish from the Central Tablelands for long.
The ASR name was changed to ARG as an amalgum of the operations in all three states. ARG established a crew depot in Lithgow when acquiring the Manildra flour contract. The noisy nose jobs reappeared. But, again motive power problems began to plague this operation. ARG established the loco depot at Clyde yard in Sydney, which we dubbed Jurassic Park, when a swag of varied livery AN hand-me-downs appeared. The Manildra contract involved hauling the domestic flour from Manildra out on the Central West Slopes and Plains east and down the Blue Mountains and then down the Illawarra south coast to Nowra. While I worked unit coal trains under the guise of Pacific National between Lithgow and Port Kembla, a stranded ARG train would be frequently seen suffering from motive power problems. Ok, by this stage most of my beloved aussie alcos had vanished or been sold off, at least I was in the cab of a more modern EMD thing, sans nose. But, ARG as such went belly up when rifts developed in the amalgum. QR National stepped in acquiring the NSW facet of ARG. But, this did not prevent the loss of the Manildra contract, and along with it so vanished the noisy nose jobs from the Central West of NSW. So, the CLP / CLF units are now divided between QRN and the revamped much smaller GWA
Victoria is a state which did not seem to desire Alco products, opting instead for almost entirely EMD things. Well, the VR did build it's railway to Irish broad gauge.
From 1952 the VR acquired 26 B class ML2 1500hp double ended noisy nose jobs. Next from 1957 the 18 members of the S class A16C were acquired.
So, a trek down south of the border was required to glimpse these odd B class things swaying along the 5 foot 3 inch gauge tracks.
VR changed it's name to V/line, and thus ended the traditional blue livery. However a small number of the B class retained the blue scheme.
As privatization began to slink around the Victorian rail network, a number of other liveries appeared. Great Northern appeared for a while performing regional freight work. But, this has since vanished.