Under the milky way at Werris Creek. . .
Late Evening, Wednesday, April 15: Lance and I dragged Charlie and Paul along to Werris Creek to take some night shots. I'm sure they'd rather be back in the hotel getting some rest, but they were good sports about it, and Charlie even dragged his tripod out.
Werris Creek is the hub of rail operations in the North-West. From here, lines head north to Tamworth and Armidale, and to the north and west through Gunnedah to Narrabri and Moree; a branch extends from Narrabri to Walgett. A secondary line also runs west from Werris through Binnaway to Dubbo. During grain season, especially, this is a busy terminal. Shuttle trips originate from here north to smaller elevators, trains returning with grain for storage in the large Australian Wheat Board "sub-terminal" facility for eventual shipment for export. Coal trains from Gunnedah travel through here, too, and they are pushed over the Liverpool Range by banker engines maintained here. Locomotives are maintained here for Pacific National under contract by Downer/EDI Rail, mostly 48 class Alcos as well as the remaining 80 Class and the 81 Class also engaged in the grain haul.
PN DL531 48150 waits for an outbound crew at the EDI shops. ..
We wanted to photograph the 48 Class at night, and there were a couple of dozen of them, stored as well as alive, at the shops this evening. A Pacific National employee directed us to the shops, where I found the foreman and his assistant working in the machine shop. He gave us permission to photograph on the property as long as we were careful, watched for moving equipment, and didn't get ourselves killed.
We spent around an hour merrily snapping shots (actually, taking lengthy time exposures) before the local Pacific National terminal manager discovered that we were on the property, without his permission. We checked in at his office to clear up any misunderstandings, and while he was sympathetic, he certainly didn't want anyone injured on his shift and have to answer to his supervisors. Fair enough. He advised we check in the next day and we'd probably be allowed to photograph in the daylight.
. . .the 48's will take a grain empty for loading towards Moree. . .
More 48 class are serviced in the shed. . .
Battered and abused, 48135 celebrates its 40th birthday this year.
Jason, left, and Thomas, of Downer/EDI: understanding of guys with cameras from 10,000 miles away. . .
We headed into the deserted main-street (about the only street in town, actually) of Werris, which despite the big cuts in rail employment since privitization, still appears to be a viable little town: a post office, a butcher and grocery store, several clothing stores. One hotel, named for the railway. The grand station has been restored, and a retired 47 Class Goninan-Hitachi diesel is stuffed and mounted nearby.
It was a looong day. We'd be up photographing since before 0700; we got back to our hotel room in Quirindi around 1am and fell fast asleep.