Coonabarabran 1966

When I finished the School Certificate at the end of 1966 I had a few months off before I started work with the old Postmaster General’s Department in 1967 so my parents suggested that I head up to Coonabarabran in the north-west of New South Wales to work on my uncle’s farm up there. For a kid who had hardly been out of the city it was an interesting time.

The fact that my uncle’s farm was within easy walking distance of the railway station made it even more interesting. At that time there was a daily (except Sunday) mail train in both directions – an extension of the Mudgee Mail – and a goods train that ran at least three times a week as far as I know.

I took quite a few photos at the railway station while I was there but most of them have either been lost or were of such poor quality I now wonder why I ever kept them. However here are two photos that are worth looking at from interesting summer back in 1966/67.

The first photo shows a C30T shunting the yard.

The second shows a damaged C30T (note the damage to the front of the cylinder) that had collided with a vehicle on the level crossing on the down side of the yard. (Coonabarabran wasn’t the end of the line at that time and most trains continued on to Gwabegar)

The collision happened before I arrived in Coonabarabran and from memory the loco was left stowed on the siding for quite some time. I’m not sure when the loco was finally moved from Coonabarabran but I have a suspicion that it was withdrawn from service after the accident and never steamed again.

And just to try and explain the class coding for these locomotives. The New South Wales Government Railways rebuilt a number of suburban C30 class tank locomotives into branch-line tender locomotives when the Sydney suburban network was electrified. The department decided to keep the basic code for the loco but added a suffix of ‘T’ to signify ‘tender’.