Photo Images 2

First of all we start with a black-and-white shot courtesy Australian National's Public Relations department in about 1983.

This particular photograph was taken in the 40-chain radius curves between tunnels on the south line, somewhere between Belair and Eden Hills, heading down hill late one afternoon (note the long shadows).

Alco "World Series" number 962 manufactured by A E Goodwin of Sydney, and sister unit have dynamic braking engaged (holding its load in check) with a train of containers from the eastern states.

A bit before that, about fifteen years in fact, when I was working in Perth as a contract electrical draughtsman in the then Commonwealth Department of Works, the first through standard gauge passenger train from Sydney arrived, complete with gleaming stainless steel carriages. The railways were at that time called the "Western Australian Government Railways".

These new cars (still in use in 1999, thirty years later) had started being delivered from Commonwealth Engineering in Sydney, to Port Augusta in about 1968. Commonwealth Railways could be best described as the "executive" members of the consortium known as "Railways of Australia", comprising the government railways of not just the Commonwealth but also the states of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Although the smallest operator, they were owned by the national government who held the purse strings for national rail development.

As part of the acceptance testing, these carriages were placed in revenue service, progressively as each was delivered, on the "Trans-Australia Railway Express" service from Port Pirie to Kalgoorlie, the consists being mixed with maroon painted earlier Wegmann and later Commonwealth Engineering carbon steel bodied airconditioned carriages.

The new, as yet un-named transcontinental express from Sydney to Perth was to have first call on these coaches, and the balance would then be used on the extension of the "Trans Australian" from Kalgoorlie to Perth, which was currently being serviced by wooden bodied non airconditioned pre-war 3ft 6ins gauge rolling stock, the property of the Western Australian Government Railways.

Here we see the pair of 3300 horsepower Clyde-built EMD GT26C locomotives with the double consist (24 coaches) inaugural "Indian Pacific" service having a power van at each end, and the SSA Special Service car carrying the Australian coat of arms on it in the middle. The Governor-General, Sir Paul Hasluck, with Lady Hasluck and an official entourage, travelled in this self contained vehicle in the middle of the train.

Commonwealth Railways' first high power locomotive, Clyde-built AT26C CL1 paired with two late series GMs, totalling a bit less than 7000 horsepower - an overkill for that size of consist - had hauled this train, running extremely late with innumerable delays from Port Pirie, changing engines at Parkeston just to the east of Kalgoorlie in the early hours of that morning. The L's made up several hours of late running on the magnificently laid and maintained Western Australian track, arriving at 11.01 in the morning, just one minute late.

As the train crept up the platform towards the western end where extensions were still incomplete due to the inevitable industrial dispute which plagued so many Australian construction projects, it encountered a woven mat of one-inch wide crepe paper in patriotic red, white and blue colours. As you can see I had positioned myself to get the unique shot which has never been published previously, of the short nose of the leading L-class loco as it pushed its way through the streamers.

Unfortunately, whoever designed the streamer assembly had not done their sums on the tensile strength of crepe paper. The outboard side was attached at the top and bottom to a length of two-inch water pipe which was stuck into the ground mid way between the platform track and the run-around loop road.

The streamers did not initially show any sign of breaking, and in fact the pipe started to bend towards the side of the locomotive, something which neither I nor the other photographers were quick enough to capture, because someone in the locomotive ran out of the door behind the driver on to the walkway and put their whole weight against the pipe to prevent damage to the train and its engines.

The official party on the platform, of course, did not see any of this drama! Neither did the radio and TV commentators, and there were no (black and white) TV cameras on the trackside.

Some eight months before, in June 1969, the first through passenger train had arrived from Port Pirie with a consist of the new stainless steel carriages, but this was at what I regarded as the ridiculous hour of half past six in the morning, in the middle of winter!

Naturally my poor old black-and-white camera didn't do a really good job of welcoming this train at this time of day which from memory was not met by another photographer because there had been no publicity as it was felt that the occasion in the following year was the one to be celebrated.

What had been noticeable during the building of the terminal (more black-and-white shots) was the provision of an adjacent narrow gauge suburban platform so that passengers could interchange between the two systems.

This was in sharp contrast to the construction of the decentralised terminal built some years ago by Australian National in Adelaide, which would have to be one of the least traveller-friendly places to get to!

The reason for this arrival time was because the timetable across the Nullarbor was determined by connections between Melbourne and Adelaide (which was subject to frequent delays of hours) and the broad gauge connection between Adelaide and Port Pirie. The original Perth arrival of the narrow-gauge "Westland" was around eleven in the morning.

The companion departure for the east was also changed, from about five in the afternoon to late evening, and these two changes enabled the previous fare structure to be retained for several years through the deleting of a breakfast on the morning of arrival, and an evening meal on the evening of the departure, despite the increased costs associated with the construction of the rolling-stock.

When the Indian Pacific started running, it maintained the same timetable across the Nullarbor, and this persisted for a number of years.

In about 1975, with an increase in the iron ore traffic between Koolyanobbing open cast mine (between Southern Cross and Kalgoorlie) and the blast furnaces at Kwinana, the L's replaced the lighter weight lower powered K-class locomotives on some of the ore trains. This released the 2000 horsepower English Electric CoCo units to passenger traffic.

Here, at a well photographed curve in the double track dual gauge Avon Valley route between Millendon Junction and West Toodyay, we see K204 in the later orange livery of "Westrail", hauling a "Trans-Australian" consist, with a silver painted Commonwealth Railways louvered van immediately behind the engine. These vans (which ran on high speed bogies) were frequently attached to passenger trains if special freight consigned by passenger rail could not be accommodated in the regular HGM brake van. The HM van behind it was a dedicated mail van, and as such could not be used for general freight. Victorian and South Australian Railways operated similar vans between Melbourne and Port Pirie via Adelaide, initially painted to match the "Overland" passenger stock. Photo courtesy Westrail.

Here we have a photograph captured from a Westrail publicity booklet dated 1976 while R J Pascoe was the Commissioner.

At this particular time, Westrail were experiencing motive power shortages, as indeed were Victoria and New South Wales as well, and CR came to the rescue by hiring out the older series of A7 GMs. Here we see a maroon liveried GM standing at the head of the "Indian Pacific" for its 9 o'clock night departure for the east. The EMD bulldog end is an attractive object to photograph - even in the dark - and here is yet another example.

Some eighteen months after the narrow-gauge "Westland" (which had connected the "Trans-Australian Railway Express" with the city of Perth) ceased operating because of through running as shown in the previous images, the WAGR took delivery of a number of diesel-hydraulic rail cars constructed in Australia to the Budd Company's patented process by Commonwealth Engineering. These featured streamlined ends, a galley where pre packed food could be heated and served, and the ability to operate in multiple at very high speeds, which they have continued to do for twenty-five years. These "Prospector" trains replaced the old leisurely narrow-gauge "Kalgoorlie Express" which ran some two to three hours displaced in time from its interstate cousin, the "Westland".

Here we see four cars en route in the far east of the WAGR system, in the scrub land between the wheat belt and the Goldfields. Photo © Westrail.

Latest information to hand is that these units will be replaced by diesel-powered "Eurostar" look-alikes.

Adelaide photographer Ken Brine took this shot of the first passenger train to leave the relatively new Keswick terminal bound for Perth on the standard gauge on Wednesday 30th May 1984. This was a sixteen car "Trans Australian" consist plus two motorail "swingers" headed by GM3 (four motors) and GM14 (six motors).

Ken and I had stood for ages at the Torrens Junction where the standard gauge line (to the south of quadruplicate broad gauge tracks heading westward out of the Adelaide station yard) crosses the southern pair which diverges for Port Adelaide from the northern pair which continues north to Dry Creek, Salisbury and Gawler. Torrens Junction is, in fact, a pair of diamond crossings protected by signals; there are no switches actually there. The situation is complicated by the fact that the broad gauge tracks are owned by a different operator, the state government owned "State Transport Authority", renamed "TransAdelaide" in the middle 1990s.

The train was extremely late in departing, and I had run out of an already extended lunch break from my employers, neighbouring Gerard Industries across the parklands. Ken very kindly sent me a copy of his snap taken nearly an hour after I had gone back to work.

Photographs taken on the day that the last "Overland" departed from the Adelaide Railways Station, and the first movements in and out of the new passenger terminal at Keswick will be featured on this site in due course. Please take a look at the "Recent Photos" page.

For modellers' interests, some details of the differences in the CLF, CLP and ALF locomotives incorporated in their rebuilds will be included, as will their liveries in both Australian National and Australia Southern Railroad ownership. This all takes time to do, and will probably not be completed until a properly constructed site is created.

Further images will be added from time to time. Eventually it is likely that one or more CDs will be compiled from my collection of unpublished photographs, for the reason that images take a large amount of server space. I hope to be able to include some taken by others as well, and this product will be available for interested people to purchase at a low cost. Permission has been given by the Public Relations department of Westrail to feature the several historic photographs supplied by them to me a number of years ago, and thanks is extended to them, particularly as they will be able to be included as 24-bit colour jpeg images on the CD-ROM sets.

Updated on 17th April 1999 using the Australian html editor Flex-Ed