Steam on the mainline in NSW

W44 – the zinc concentrate train
W44 was the number given in the Working Timetable to a train that ran regularly between Broken Hill and Newcastle (although the number changed to something quite different once the train reached Sydney) … and it was THE iconic train for railway enthusiasts at that time.

The train was always a block load of tarped open wagons loaded with concentrate mined in Broken Hill and destined for the smelters in Newcastle.

It always left Broken Hill behind a single 49 Class diesel. A branchline loco like the 49 class could handle the heavy train until it reached Parkes because the grades further west didn’t require a heavier loco to handle the train.

At Parkes a 60 Class Beyer Garratt (with tender leading) would be added to the train along with a 36 Class helper and the two locos would haul the train to Molong.

Grades east of Molong were steeper and the 36/60 combination couldn’t handle the tonnage over the grades to Orange so the 36 was always swapped out at Molong for another 60 Class but that loco was always run tender first.

At Orange East Fork the 60 Class that had been on the train from Parkes was removed and the 60 Class that had been added at Molong took the train on to Lithgow where electric traction took over.

And the reason for only running tender first between Orange and Lithgow was the Marrangaroo tunnel that was long enough to cause problems for the loco’s crew if the loco was marshalled with the funnel ahead of the cab.

Double 35 Class on Hawkmount
For some reason the 35 Class 4-6-0’s have never really appealed to me but this video made me think a little differently about them.

It’s the middle of 1968 and there are only 2 of the 35 Class left and someone has rostered them both on a freight that’s tackling Hawkmount.

These old girls might be close to being withdrawn but they’ve still got what it takes to drag a heavy goods train up the 1 in 44 just south of Newcaslte

A Triple Header and One on the Rear
That was steam heading up the hill out of Lithgow before the wires and electric traction put an end to steam between Sydney and Lithgow.

We’re riding on the 57 Class train engine. The banker would drop off at Zig Zag signal box and the two locos in front of the 57 would be gone by Mt Victoria to leave the 57 to go on alone.

Steam on the Main North
Everything from C30 tank locos hauling Newcastle suburbans to Standard Goods on non-air coal trains with Garratts on Hawkmount.

You can almost smell the steam.

6029 Departs Orange
Big NSWGR steam … in the shape of 60 Class Garratts … were part of the railway scene around Orange, and further west, for many years until they disappeared with the demise of steam.

It seemed unlikely that we would ever see a Garratt back in the west but with the restoration of 6029 it became possible and someone was there to film it when it did come back to Orange.

The climb out of Orange is never easy thanks to the steep climb out of the station yard and up to East Fork and here we see 6029 having a bit of a struggle to get a heavy tour train (and 2 diesels that don’t seem to be doing much) up the grade.

By the way, you have to be dedicated to stand on the Franklin Street bridge in the middle of winter to video or photograph trains. I’ve done it and I can tell you that it is BITTER!

Gosford to Fassifern in NSW
Take a trip over part of the Short North in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s … this was the railways that I remember.