Sunday, 29 April 2018

Train 6678

Train 6678 would run Monday to Friday between Brisbane and Toowoomba. In the early eighties the State Government had contract freight rates to keep trucks off our roads. Many Transport Companies had sidings and trains allocated to convey their wagons. Most were mainly to North Queensland.

Hiles Transport shared a siding at Countess Street Roma Street, they loaded wagons for Toowoomba and Dalby. In the late 1980’s Roma Street moved to Acacia Ridge and QR offered customers door to door freight, parcel traffic carried on passenger trains became part of this traffic. This move closed all the suburban goods stations around Brisbane. Rocklea still had the traffic to and from Commonwealth Engineering and GEC.  

Hiles Transport was moved to Rocklea. The goods shed on the Back Road was moved up near the front gate were demountable offices were erected. An open steel shed 100 feet by 200 feet was erected over the Refuse, Middle and Back Roads. A concrete pad were poured from the front gate to outside the shed on the Brisbane end.

6678 on a Train Safety Test before departing for Toowoomba. Warwick HWO behind the engine. Empty hold back wagons (HWO/QLX) in the Middle Road.
At first the freight was mainly loaded into QLX wagons, 6 HWO’s were allocated to the traffic, 3 for each day. One was used for Dalby loading and the other two for Toowoomba. One of the Toowoomba HWO’s carried ruff/cranky freight/loading like bundles of steel. Three QLX’s on the Brisbane of the Middle Road were allocated to parcels/small freight, taxi truck type freight. This didn’t work with to many trucks in the shed after 4:00pm in the afternoon. These wagons were moved to the Salisbury end of the yard. Three (3) QLXP’s were allowed the traffic, these wagons left Rocklea early/mid afternoon for the Car Shed Mayne to go on the front of the Dirranbandi Mail (3H14) Monday and Thursdays. QLXP wagons (red diamond) used on passenger trains were ultrasonic tested ever three months. You were always cutting out wagons to be tested at Normanby, and then replacing them with wagons from traffic. The test date was shown on the roller bearing/axle box on both sides. Wagons out of date could be used as express freight wagons (red circle).  

Late 1980’s the company opened a depot at Warwick. By this time 14 HWO’s were captive to the traffic, 7 per day each way. One Dalby, One Warwick, and five (5) for Toowoomba. This did away with the need to pallet jack freight into the ends of QLX wagon. HWO’s were loaded by forklifts with loads coming directly off the trucks. At the end of the day or as wagon were filled, QR traps covered the wagons. At time there was extra QLX’s and HWO in the yard. If wagons were in short supply, HSA/HWA were used.
1620 shunting Brisbane end of shed. At times when the loading was heavy, a shunt was required to reset the loading roads mid-afternoon.

 Train 6678 was worked by Mayne traincrew, a driver and a driver assistance (DA). The train engine arrived at Rocklea at 7:00 pm. After shunting, train test, it departed Rocklea at 20:30, Laidley 10:04 / 27 for a meal stop, and arrived Toowoomba at 12:54. As the number suggest it was an Express Freight service conveying red diamond and circle wagons only. Around 1985 the status of QLX wagons was downgraded to red circle wagons status. (New requirements for passenger train vehicles, non- welded wheels. Maybe this was the reason for the end of spoked wheels ?? ). If the loading was handed over at 19:30 and a few things fell into place, on time departure was achievable, the train safety test look around 15/20 minutes.

 The train came in for special instruction in the Working Time Table, the 1990 WTT shows the following.

Marshalling of 6678.

 This train must as far as practicable be restricted to a maximum of 75 units and will convey loading for stations Toowoomba and beyond to and include Roma, and non-perishable loading for stations beyond Roma, and also loading for stations south of Toowoomba. It will also convey contract wagons account Hiles Transport for Toowoomba, Dalby and Warwick. Any Dalby contract wagons will go forward from Toowoomba not later than 7D78 (depart Toowoomba 1:40, arrive Dalby 4:15 am) Tuesday to Fridays and 6R12 (1:55 am) on Saturday. Any Warwick contract wagons will go forward from Toowoomba on 7E44 (departs Toowoomba 2:15 Tues to Fri. arrive Warwick at 5:55am) (2:30 Sat). The Dalby contracts and/or parcel wagons will be marshalled at the rear of the train. The Warwick contract wagons will be marshalled immediately behind the locomotive followed by the Toowoomba contract wagons. Loading for stations west of Toowoomba is to be marshalled in reverse order as the train is admitted “Head on” to the Toowoomba Station Yard. In other words, DEL, Warwick, Toowoomba contract, other Toowoomba loading, South West loading in reverse order and Dalby on the rear. This was the last train out of Brisbane each evening with connections to the south and west.  

In mid 1980’s, the Australian Dangerous Goods Code came into practice. Hiles Transport had the contract for CIG gas for SWQ. This generally consisted of Classes 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 gas, some of these should not be on the engine or be the last wagon. Other classes conveyed included class 3, 6.1 and 8. At one point they had a Shell Oil contract for lubricants for Roma, Charleville and Quilpie, QLX’s were used for this traffic. At times we had 1.4 and 5.1. I regularly received a visit or phone call from the DG Officer the next day.  The company had another contract with Toowoomba Foundry for scrap steel from BHP Acacia Ridge in half high open containers. This order could very from 1 to 3 containers per day. QFC, PYC and BR wagons were used. Side loader would bring the containers to the yard and load the wagons.    
Scrap steel for Toowoomba Foundry.  

Mostly 90 ton DEL’s were rostered on the train, 1250, 1450, 1460 and 1502 classes. The through load was 630 tones, the leading wagon must have D1 (auto) drawgear. At times we would give a 90 DEL 690 tons and arrange for a banker at Murphy Creek. Later 2100 class DEL’s were given 720 tons as a through load. Other times a 90 and a 60 toner would be allocated to the train. Wagons fitted with D3 and D2 hook drawgear must be marshalled in the trailing 620 tonnes, thankfully where was no D4 hook drawgear for the train.   

1510 shunting his train before departure. Not my shift, looks like Warwick on the engine and then Dalby. Train in the Middle Road.
At the start of a new month when customers had a 30 day account, contract wagons would make a full train. Towards the end of the month the contract loading would drop off, top up loading would be arrange from other stations. Mostly it was empty containers from Acacia Ridge for Wallangarra, Toowoomba, Oakey or Dalby, often single slot wagons with hook drawgear (D3) were in the mix. This made a long train, I recall 90 units one night, the maximum length for a train in this era, and the Refuse was just 60 units long. Other times it was tanks from Ampol.

At the start, Rocklea had a staff of 10, Station Master (3rd Class), Two Assistant Station Master 4th class (ASM), 3 Parcels Clerks, a Checker, and 3 Lad Porters. Shunting of trains fell back onto the ASM and the train Guard or later the Driver’s Assistance (DA). Lad Porters over 18 years of age were allowed to shunt and did most of the Commonwealth Engineering work bring DELS in and out. By 1990 it was two ASM’s and one Porter/Shunter. The ASM’s would work 5:00 am to 1:00 to set up the yard with wagons from the west. The other shift was 12:45 pm to 8:45 pm or finish for the afternoon shunts and 6678.

 The ASM’s would work out the forecast load (which change hourly), work out the marshalling, compiled the Train Wire, rated invoices, train documentation with dangerous goods etc., status change wagons, rollingstock book entries, shunt and operated signals and fight the Train Examiners when they would mark off wagons after all the loader had gone home.

 The yard consisted of a Refuse Siding (approx. 60 units), Middle Road (45 unit), Back Road (32  units), this was a dead end siding with the stop blocks on the Brisbane end. Ramp Road, a dead end towards Salisbury off the Back Road, and ComEng straight. If the train was over 60 units the train was made up in two roads. The rear of the train would be in the refuse, and the front of the train in the Middle Road. Given the fall of the sidings the train was made up with the engine on the rear. 60 unit was the maximum length you could run around on the main line due to signal track circuit’s locations. This move occurred between passengers trains, lucky for us the sparky’s crossed at Rocklea.  After running around, the engine would pick up the middle road and run out towards Brisbane and set back onto the rear of the train in the refuse. Then you would push the lot back towards Salisbury up the Com-eng straight. The main line was required for this move. There was a Limit of Shunt board toward Moorooka limiting the length that could be added in this move.  Towards the end of the month some time you had loading in the Refuse and the Com-eng straight plus the two loading roads.
Middle of the yard looking towards the city.
The loading sidings were set up to suit the Contractor, not the requirement for train marshalling, in fact it was the reverse. Middle Road was all Toowoomba, HWO on the Brisbane end in the shed and the QLX’s on the Salisbury end, on the train the QLX’s had to lead (that’s a double shunt). The Back Road had Dalby on the block (rear on the train), then Warwick (front of the train) and then Toowoomba over flow, Roma and containers which trailed the Toowoomba HWO’s. At times a wagon planned to be loaded didn’t get loaded, if Dalby and Warwick loading blow out during the day, the two wagons would not be together. All in all, every shift was different.  I did the train for about 8 years, not two trains were the same. During this time where was not one derailment or any safe working breaches recorded on my shift. However, one night I did knocked over the stop blocks on the Back Road. The driver was playing games setting back slower than walking pace. They were making a billy of tea, and it was the last move of the shunt running empties back into the Back Road. We tried to keep the Middle Road clear for the morning. So I started playing games, oops, the radio didn’t work and I was out of sight for a light signal, into the stop block they went. We pulled then back into place the next day with the shunt.  My shift was called the “A” team. The other ASM was Garry Brown, the “B” team, he would say the “Best” Team. I can’t tell you what he called the “A” Team, I think you can guess. The first night I had a Traffic Inspector drop in for about one hour and never saw another one.

Acacia Ridge shunt dropping off a HWO just out of shops. The white door stops and steps look very nice ??  (As build doors).

Circular Memo 38/92 dated 16/09/92

Wagons allocated as at 11th September 1992.

Hiles, Rocklea.

HWO 39542, 39543, 39545, 39546, 39547, 39548, 39549, 39550, 39552, 39553, 39554, 39555, 39556, 39557. (During my time, all wagons were of the original design).

HWO with one end gate in place. This gives some idea of the loading gauge.

QLX 37004, 37005, 37007, 37009, 37010, 37014, 37015, 37017, 37018, 37019, 37021, 37022, 37023, 37027, 37030, QLXM 37002, 37006, 37008, 37011, 37012, 37013, 37016, 37025, 37026, 37028. (“M” wagons were fitted with a diaphragm type triple with accelerated release, accelerated release reservoir, slack adjusted, smaller auxiliary reservoir. This was to reduce incidents of skidded wheels. QLX wagons fitted with “WF” type triple valves were reclassified QLXW, later to become QLW).Weekly Notice 33/87 29th April 1987. It is preferred that in all express freight trains in North Coast Traffic in excess of 109 units in length, that the last 10 wagons of each train be wagons with “WF” diaphragm triples. Over time, all QLXP wagons were fitted with “M” brake gear.   

In later years, label holders were add to the sides between the doors for dangerous goods labels, these were larger than the standard QR label and did not fit on the headstock. On most wagons a red circle plate was also added above number board. Some Workshops took a few short cuts when painting, no blackboards or logo, grey headstock/underframe. 

First contract QLX wagons did not have securing bars in the loading area, after 30 years of service the class was changed to CLX. By this time most QLX securing bars were laying around good yards not in use. Storage space was provided in the wagon above the doors. In some cases this reduced the loading area and they were tossed out. With pallet loading the bars were not used.
One workshop was adding larger numbers in bright colours. 

In 2013, QLX 37010 was back in Toowoomba. (Store wagon)

The wagon still had its original brake equipment except the AF Triple valve has been replaced with a WF diaphragm triple valve.
6678 Wagons on Westgate
HWO Dalby. In later years the Dalby wagon was fitted with side and end gates. These gates are to the loading gauge outline. This allowed for double staging of pallet loads, plus long loads could go across the top. The standard QR tarp was too small to cover the load. Two long traps were used along the side gates, these were company traps. They were clipped to the top of the gates and tied off under the doors. Three QR tarps were used for the roof. Later on the Warwick wagon was also fitted with gates. These wagons remained captive to their destinations (more shunting??).
Dalby wagon on “Westgate”

HWO Toowoomba HWO’s,

Ruff loading. The load is all loose and can be removed. The load consists of gas bottles, gates, wire netting, coils of wire, mesh, steel, star pickets, H beam, wooden crates, 200 lt drums, poly pipe. The various bundles are separated with dunnage and pallets.
HWO Toowoomba, Spam ham tins for KR Darling Downs. Ever now and then, the boys managed to bust open a pallet, tins everywhere. Great for screws in the workshop. ???
HWO Warwick before gates were used as per the first photo.

Marshalled Train 6678 on "Westgate"

6678 on “Westgate” with Ampol tanks as top up loading. Load approx..600 tons. 
On the lead is the Warwick HWO and a Warwick overflow QLX.
The QLXP is the start of the Toowoomba loading.

Toowoomba QLX’s leading the Toowoomba loading.

Rear of train, Toowoomba HWO’s, Ampol Tanks (in this location they could be Toowoomba or Dalby) and on the rear is a Dalby QLX overflow and the Dalby HWO with gates.

QLXP is a Wuiske Model repainted.
Ampol tanks on the front for Warwick.

The models are a mix of manufactures;

Hauling Loco DEL 1256 – Black Diamond Models.
QLX’s - Wuiske Models (RTR)
OLE - (Black) Wuiske Models Kit, OL - (Silver) Scratch build made into AMRA Mould (1974)
HWO – CGL Models. (RTR). Loads have been added.

All up a great location to model, all rollingstock required is now available RTR. Not all that much track work is required, Main Line, Refuse, Middle Road and a dead end Back Road, about seven sets of points. If trains were kept to under the length of the Refuse, only five sets of points are required. A shelf layout would do it nicely.  

Train Wire of train 6857 (Mon 08/02/1993) from the rear showing wagons being returned to Rocklea.  The Dalby and Warwick wagons are in the correct place for an easy shunt.

49 vehicles includes containers loaded on wagons, there was 30 wagons on the train and vehicle DEL 1526.  Near a full load and maximum length for 2415.

There is a lot more I could say about the shunting of the train. Maybe later??

Trust the information is helpful and assists you in your modelling.

Until next time, happy modelling.

Arthur Hayes.


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