Ahhhh Toronto, the terminus station of a closed branchline which opened in 1891 and connected with the main Sydney to Newcastle at Fassifern.
The Hunter region once had 'MANY' interesting branchlines that have been raped and pillaged over the years. It was always the place of choice to head when this little foamer had a day to spare and much film to trash.
Toronto was usually the first port of call on a Hunter day trip. It not only provided a virtually guaranteed shot of a railcar (on this occasion the now withdrawn 669/769), it was also convenient to a morning worth of coal train chasing along the, also now closed, line to the Lambton and John Darling collieries on the former line to Belmont.
Alas another of lifes joys was destroyed due to the usual arrogant disinterest of the New South Wales government when the line was closed during 1990, the usual bollocks and crying about their not being able to afford to upkeep a line that our taxes pay for anyway.
Arrival at Toronto station on the last night found quite a party atmosphere taking place as people came out to say goodbye to their bloved train and to express their unhappiness with the decision.
While the transport minister was probably curled up in bed dreaming of other branchlines to violate, a four car set turned up to cover the huge amount of passengers now expected to ride the last service. A decision which proved to be a wise one as the night continued and more people ventured on down to their station
With the final train about to depart a local who had fought hard to save the line clambered up on to front of the rear car and started screaming out to all the attendees. It took an extended amount of time to convince him to remove himself and come aboard for the sad last run.
The run back to Fassifern was a very strange mixture of fun and sadness. It was to be the last time I would ever have such a chance, each time the wheels turned it brought me ever closer to a closing chapter in my life, yet how could you not have fun with the party going on? This wasn't a dribbly special, this was a party that would not be forgetten as long as I have breath in me.
The trip was thankfully lengthened by the regular activation of the emergency brakes (not by myself I should point out).
The end came when passengers left the train at Fassifern. It was all over, there would never be the chance to ride back to Toronto.
It was indeed fitting in many minds, if not in expected social standards, that as the train left many lined the platform and urinated on the side as the train headed for Broadmeadow.
There were plans to operate the line as a tourist ype railway but this seems to have fallen through and a cycleway has now been layed along the ROW, in most cases to the side of the rails in case it should ever reopen (surely a pipe dream).
The photo here shows 669/769 after arrival at Toronto in the lines final year. The station building still exists as a museum.