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World series a world away

Back when I was on the top fireman's roster (acting drivers), working with the class six drivers, it was fun working the west to and from Parkes on the Indian Pacific and high wheeler freighters. This particular afternoon, we are headed eastbound and have been put into Molong loop to cross a high wheeler westbound 5SP5 being dragged along by three venerable 44 class DL500B. How things have changed. Molong is no longer manned and the miniature electric train staff token safeworking has been replaced by stupid train orders. The lower quad semaphores are long gone and the world series 44 class have virtually vanished. Mind you, there was one class six (passenger roster) driver who was a bit of a problem, especially at Molong. Exchanging the hoops carrying the ETS metal rod tokens on the fly required some dexterity. But, the rules required a maximum train speed of 25 kmph to perform such tasks and even slower during darkness. Quite often a top fireman would relate his bruises and injuries attempting to take the peg on the fly at Molong with this particular driver who would hit Molong patform well in excess of the speed. Not this little black duck. When it was my turn to suffer this fate, I resorted to the ploy of dropping the incoming hoop at the ASM's (assistant station master) feet, and then retract my arm and miss the outgoing hoop. A suitable comment; "Oops, I missed it", would require this rev head to slam on the train brakes, as the brake dust swirled he could be heard cursing, and stop while the asm trudged up the track to hand up the hoop containing the outgoing staff.
We didn't call him Hurricane for nothing. Train orders, no fun in them what so ever. Ha!

Aussie Alco.
Excellent Pix and story!!! Any world class left in regular service? I understand that there's a few preserved...
 
Yep Pete, there would be probably no more than 10 in total left of the world series DL500B aussie alcos still rattling along the rails today. A handful have been preserved, plus some are in active service used by small private companies.
I have posted somewhere in here, a shot of two of such beasts that I took one day while working a coalie down through smog hollow Sydney. Two 44 class can be regularly seen in trip (transfer) train operations around the Sydney metrop.

Aussie Alco.
 

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