Steam Action On The Short North

I Found A Great Video Featuring Steam at Hawkmount and Fassifern

Many of us old folks were young once, and photographing steam on the NSW main line between Gosford and Broadmeadow in the late 1960’s and early 1070’s.

There was a tremendous variety of motive power on this short section of track, and hundreds of rail enthusiasts would turn up at various vantage points each weekend to capture the steam action.

One of the best spots was Hawkmount which featured a 1 in 44 grade. Getting there involved traversing the Hawkmount road near Dora Creek and then taking the access track near the summit. This was not easily found and theoretically, we were probably trespassing on railway land. Nowadays the line is enclosed by cyclone fencing, making it very difficult to get photos, and I suspect if you stayed in one place too long, you might get a visit from the local constabulary.

3820 and a 60 class commence the climb up Hawkmount late one Saturday afternoon in 1970

Apart from Garratts working hard up the hill, a 38 operating at maximun horsepower was a sight to behold. They would accelerate through Dora Creek, reaching speeds up to 70 mph by the time they hit the bank. Depending on the skill of the crew, the summit was reached at anything from 25 mph to 40 mph, and that with a full Newcastle Flyer load.

I found a video where you can see and hear a 38 staccato beat climbing the bank on the mid day Flyer,and Double Garrats struggling over the summit with a fully loaded coal train.

Personally, I have developed a fascination for the Fassifern area, which I am now modelling, including the Newstan Colliery and Toronto line.

3827 pulls into Fassifern with the Mid-day Flyer.

Right out of Fassifern was a 1 in 40 grade, and it took some effort to get the Flyer over the hill from a standing start. In fact the coal train would sometimes back up a fair distance before charging at the bank.

Great Video

found a video with some excellent footage of Fassifern and Hawkmount, the other major grade on the section, taken back in those days.

I reckon anyone interested in steam from those days, or those who just love steam action, will find this clip fascinating.

One of my more memorable exploits was a trip with a couple of school mates to Fassifern in the mid 1960’s. After being dropped off up the hill from our 620 rail car, we set up camp with a canvas tent only to have torrential rain all afternoon and evening. We eventually retreated back down the hill and headed home soaking wet with very little to show for it. Mind you these are the memories we treasure as we age!

Enjoy the video.


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