Newcastle Flyer Photos From The 1960’s

I started venturing north to Gosford back in June 1966 at which time I discovered the Newcastle Flyer.

My first trip saw me only get as far as Gosford, as I spied a 32 class on its way to Sydney, something even then rather rare on the short north. This engine had come from far away, possibly Narrabri, and was on transfer. As I recall, I never saw another ‘P’ on this stretch of rail line over the next 7 years.

3233 leaves Cowan towards Sydney on a freight in June 1966

My father lived in Belmont, near Newcastle, the northern terminus for this line. This meant I could go and visit him on school holidays and spend my time photographing and riding in the Newcastle area. While there, I was even fortunate enough to ride on the Belmont Passenger, which ceased operations in 1970. In its later years it was a rail motor, but in my time it was still hauled by a C30Tank

3138 C30 tank nsw steam belmont adamstown
3138 heads a passenger train towards Belmont in 1967

My main interest in steam was riding express passenger trains. My first venture to Campbelltown ended with a high speed run with 3617 on the relief Goulburn Day Train between Campbelltown and Liverpool. I clocked it at over 80 mph and we made the journey at a mile a minute pace. I was only to achieve this twice more in all the time I rode NSW Steam Hauled express trains.

2029 liverpool campbelltown nsw steam train
2029 approaches Liverpool on its way to Campbelltown in 1965

In the early days, 20 class used to operate the line between Campbelltown and Camden. After this finished, an occasional 20 class still shunted Campbelltown yard. Here 2029 approaches Liverpool station on a freight.

For the remainder of my school years, I divided my time between the Short North between Gosford and Newcastle, and the Short South between Sydney and Goulburn. With no vehicle until the very last years of steam, I would often walk the tracks to get photos of trains in action along with many of my mates. It wasn’t easy, but we did get our record of history as steam hasn’t operated in regular service since 1973.

The Flyer Was Special

This is a famous train, perhaps the most famous in NSW and until electrification to Gosford in 1960, travelled non-stop. After this time it was hauled by a 46 class electric to Gosford and then normally a C38 to Newcastle. Interestingly, with the time to change locos at Gosford, the schedule never reached the fastest all steam time. Even today it takes longer for the journey, although the modern electric trains stop a lot more.

I rode this train many times and often recorded it with a stopwatch. There were some very interesting trips, like the one with green 3813 where Jaffas were spilled all over the carriage after I asked the driver for a fast run and he obliged! Jaffas are balls of chocolate with an orange coating and there were many jokes about rolling Jaffas down the aisle at the cinema to cause commotion. The catering staff were not happy and abused the driver at the end of the trip. I compiled some 50 timings of steam hauled flyer trips into a “Fantasy Run” using the fastest section times between each station. Considering the schedule as 60.5 minutes for the fastest trip, these time are pretty good. It was very difficult t pick up time on this run owing to the many hills and curves en route.

  Kms Milage Record
Gosford

80.25

50.16

 
Narara

84.6

52.88

0:03:46

Niagara Park

86.19

53.87

0:01:09

Lisarow

87.73

54.83

0:01:00

Ourimbah

90.61

56.63

0:01:45

Tuggerah

98.54

61.59

0:04:07

Wyong ar      
Wyong dp

101.08

63.18

0:01:19

Warnervale

105.9

66.19

0:02:28

Wyee

114.86

71.79

0:04:53

Morisset Ar      
Morisset Dp

123.33

77.08

0:04:42

Dora Creek

127.23

79.52

0:02:34

Awaba

137.31

85.82

0:07:30

Fassifern Ar      
Fassifern Dp

142.31

88.94

0:03:07

Booragul

146.39

91.49

0:03:03

Teralba

147.57

92.23

0:00:49

Cockle Creek

150.63

94.14

0:01:52

Cardiff

155.08

96.93

0:02:27

Kotara

158.92

99.33

0:02:52

Adamstown

160.2

100.13

0:00:59

Broadmeadow

162

101.25

0:01:38

Total

81.75

51.09

 

 Northern Exposures – Full Cover Coverage Of The Last Days Of Steam In The North OF NSW

Collectors Item

This great new book featuring hundreds of full cover photos of NSW steam in the 1960s and 70s on lines north of Sydney, compacts the work of dozens of rail photographers including yours truly. None of the photos shown here were good enough for selection for the book!

Get your copy at http://northernexposures.com.au

Newcastle Flyer Slide Show

The purpose of this post is to introduce you to some of my pictures from those days. These are of the Flyer taken from my collection. The soundtrack is a 38 accelerating from a standing start on the Flyer back in 1970. I hope you enjoy it. Please leave a comment with your recollections or anecdotes after viewing the clip. It is only about 3 minutes and includes a few wheel slips as the pacific gains speed.

 

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