Puffing Billy Boxing Day 2012

It is a Christmas tradition that I spend at least part of a day in the Christmas week to take a look at the various locos being run. The timetable in this period has a lot going on, so it makes an interesting day trying to catch a glimpse of each train. At this Christmas 14A was painted black with the red lining as these locos all were when I was working on them in the seventies.

Menzies Creek, performing the two engine juggle to make two trains.
A classic spot on the Gembrook main road. 7A on the downhill roll toward the Cockatoo Creek bridge, marking the beginning of the climb to Gembrook.
14A rolling past Nobelius Packing Shed.
14A approaching Cockatoo Station.
At Gembrook the platform and ‘modern’ station is a few hundred metres past the ‘original’ station and yard. After unloading the passengers, the train is pushed back to the yard where the crew and guard perform a simple ‘run-around’ shunt before pushing the empty cars back into the ‘modern’ platform. If ever you want a location to remind you of the ‘old days’ of regular trains and a single loco shunt, just find a spot in the yard, stop and listen…
Ahh the serenity… just the birds in the trees, the Westinghouse Brake pump and the crunching and clunking of the NA wheels on the rails.
Specialised crew arrangement.
With the shunt over, the loco runs down the short ‘ski-jump’ to service area. Comprising a large water tank, pit and black ash carpet over the grey stones, this is again, a replica of the original configuration of the Gembrook yard.
Baldwin in the USA made many variations of narrow gauge tank engines, but when they designed and built the two original ‘A’ class narrow gauge locos for the Victorian Railways of Australia there must have been a little ‘divine inspiration’. They are magnificent looking locomotives.
The driver of 14A is giving a good blast on the whistle as he carefully watches the Main Road level crossing before steaming up the short grade to the highest point on the line.