The Semi-Retired Foamer has been a railfan since he was around 5 years old, a very young age when one really should avoid being involved with the gunzel community to any great extent.
After a few decades of train chasing, one decided to break with protocol and get married, thus leading to a severe cut in railfan activity.
Subsequent dealings with social misfits, lunatics, mental defectives and self-appointed experts lead to an even greater decrease in my hobby participation.
However things have changed thanks to our small group of trusted mate, interest has returned, and now I have become a bit more involved yet again. Having learned to laugh, with others, at all the more 'Moronic Foamers'.
.Oh the irony that lays behind that group name and the person who set it up..
We occasionally publish information on the locomotives, and rollingstock, from railways in Australia and the Philippines.
All are available for

Sunday, December 30, 2007

See you next year!

Have a great NYE, look forward to sharing more train discussion next year.


Where Are They Now!

Given I have been photographing since the early 80s, it is inevitable that many of the sights I once knew to be common are now long gone.

Quite possibly one of my largest regrets, other than not going to asia before I was married, is ignoring the use of double 73 class on metro goods trains around Sydney.

Yep, those things were everywhere, I mean, who needs to go out of their way to get photos of this dreary everyday operation that, no doubt, everyone else is covering? Besides the 73 class would not be got rid of, they were here to stay.

Hmmmmmmmm, yes well time was to prove otherwise and thus I found myself outside the, then, ANL terminal at Port Botany on the 16th of December, 1989, waiting for what was to be my last sighting of double 73 class on container trains, well at least for 17 or so more years.

Standing next to each other were 7341+7343 (both resplendant in clean red terror livery), while next to them, at the other end of the livery scale, were 7350+7306.

The crossing lights are activated and out they come, both trains close behind each other, with the featured pair above being second.

Well time marches on and the 73s became useless in this day and age of heavier trains requiring heavier locomotives. Yet 18 years on both locomotives have managed to survive being scrapped or conversion to sugarfield locomotives.

7306 was eventually purchased by Mackay Sugar and remains stored at North Eton (outside Mackay in Queensland). Many of her sisters have been converted for cane haulage work on 2ft gauge, however further conversions are not considered viable at the moment.

7350 now resides at Rothbury in the care of the 'Hunter Valley Railway Trust'. It is not currently know if it is in an operational condition or not. Talk is that this museum will be moving to East Greta Junction in the near future and it would be expected that 7350 will follow them, the first 73 there since 7307 was sold to Patrick Rail.

Ahhhh yes, speaking of 7307. Both her and 7321, another locomotive previously stored at North Eton (even more earlier preserved at Goulburn) were purchased by Patrick Rail and were restored to service in that companies lovely red livery.

Ironically they are now based at Port Botany again and yep, shunting container trains around the wharves.

Last thing I would have ever guessed when taking this shot.

For more information on 73 class check the FORUM or LocoPage!


Friday, December 28, 2007

NSW 48 class Forum!


The NSW 48 class locomotive was amazing both in the amount of units built (165) and also the huge variety of uses they have seen over the years.

The first rolled out in 1959 thus making the class 48 years old.

Despite a small locomotive designed for branchlines, these little workhorses, often regarded as the backbone of the NSW railways, have developed a large base of fans who like to research their past and follow what they are up to today.

The last decade has not been kind to the class with many withdrawn and/or scrapped. An unusual number of them have also gone up in flames.

The 48 Class forum is for discussing all aspects of these locomotives, as well as their relatives in South Australia, Broken Hill (Silverton) and similar types overseas. It is directly related to the 44 class forum mentioned in an earlier blog post.
A similar 45 class one is also planned. Same URL with the 48 obviously replaced with a 45.

PHOTO: 4848 waits permission to cross Ocean Street and onto the Botany mainline before pushing back to the yard of the same name. This is the now closed branch into former AMPOL fuel terminal at Port Botany. Photographer:Brad Peadon

The 'Semi-Retired Foamer' will be covering this branch a bit more in coming weeks, while I hope to also list the current situation of all 48 class along with photos.

PHOTO: ST28 and ST29 shut down for the night at the 'then' Silverton Tramway Co depot at Broken Hill. 1999. Photographer: Brad Peadon

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cockle Creek (Follow Up)

It was reported on LocoShed today that the points into the old Sulphide Works at Cockle Creek have been removed, along with a short distance of track.
We recently featured a ticket for the Sulphide Works on this blog site.

Original report from Kimbo!


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cadney Park (South Australia) Train Orders!


I have said in earlier blog entries that you can find souveniers in the strangest of places.

In what must be the most amazing examples are the extracts here are from a 1984 train order book originally in Cadney Park (South Australia). Cadney Park is on the current line to Darwin, although Alice Springs was the termination point in these days.

Given the location, you could imagine the surprise of finding it on the long removed Murraymore Siding in Mascot (New South Wales).

It is a full book and more extracts can be put up if the interest is there.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Love Ya World Series????????

My good mate and fellow ALCo obsessive, Dave Porter, has recently set up a chat group based on the New South Wales 44 class and their sisters worldwide (South Australia, Spain, Greece,India, Peru etc).
These great looking locomotives have a huge following around the world, me included, and its a wonder they have not been the subject of a forum earlier.
If you wish to join in some chat about 'World Series' past, present and future, head on over to 'The_NSWGR_44_class_fans' and join up.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

River Depot (Bli Bli, Queensland)

It was during a visit to the ex-fiancees parents in Redcliffe during 1993 that I first ventured north to explore a little of Queensland. Till this time I had never really looked at our northern state as a serious prospect for photography and had often laughed at suggestions.
A quick venture to Petrie station was had on our first night there, good timing providing a cross of two 1460s and a single 3900 on their respective freight trains, lead to an urge to see more that has continued to this day.

Two days later we were to head to Nambour. I had seen maps in the past showing a cane tramway running down the main street, but I wasn't even certain whether or not this was still there. Indeed as QR was my main goal I really didn't care one way or the other.

Coming over the hill on the final approach to Nambour I first saw the chimney of the Moreton Mill, for so long a icon of Nambour and something I was to see yearly from that moment on. It was a sight taken so much for granted, but the greatest blow upon my first return after the demolition of the mill.
It is indeed unfortunate that I cannot remember which loco was coming down Howard Street when I arrived this first time. I would like to think it was my old mate BLI BLI, but this was the first day of a new obsession, an obsession that was to forever link me to this mill even now, four years after closure.

The Moreton Mill system had many wonderful locations, but none more so, for me anyway, that the River Depot. This was a major junction for lines to the north of the Maroochy River, out through Dunethin Rock and also the Horse line which headed in an easterly direction.

The location also had a crossing loop, a balloon (mostly covered in dirt during my time there) and one of two amazing timber lift bridges that graced the system (the other removed some years ago).

Alongside the line, on the banks of the lovely Maroochy River, was a building with two rooms, one was for drying of locomotive sand, the other, until human vermin set fire to it, was often used as a dinner room for crews.

Not surprisingly it is where I chose to base myself a lot of the time and it was also the location of a 'LocoShed' organised farewell BBQ in 2003, the final year of sugarcane crushing in Nambour.
It was a peaceful place and an ideal location to get into deep thought before the next train arrived.

The fact I have returned to Nambour yearly since the closure may seem a little sad, however it has given my opportunity to photograph much of the removal and the process of nature taking back that which was once hers. Making friends with the employees there also helped in saving some unwanted souveniers that would otherwise been destroyed.

So what of River Depot today?

I last visited in 2006 and found all the tracks removed, excepting the section over the bridge and the still mostly covered balloon loop. Apart for these two reminders, a person new to the area could be forgiven for never realising how busy this now overgrown area once was. Like many cane railways, the lack of major earthworks means that hints of their existence fast disappears.

The building, which can be seen in one of the pictures above, had been destroyed and its corpse was laying in a pile nearby.

There was much bitching about responsibility for preservation of the wonderful timber bridge spanning the Maroochy River. Many, especially users of the waterway, wished for it to be demolished and removed.

Thankfully the bridge still stands, however it has had much removed from it after the lifting span fell near swimming kids a couple of years back (there was some reports at the time that a person was acting suspiciously around the top of the bridge just prior to the event). Now the span has been securely tied to the top of the structure, with the concrete counter weights now gone. The deck where the bridge winding gear was located has now been removed, as has the ladders that lead up top to a lovely view.

Some would now argue that at least it is preserved, despite much of it having been removed due to the actions of societies inconsiderate, however knowing what it once was, and what it has become, leaves a rather empty feeling inside. No, actually its more a feeling of disgust in peoples disinterest in such a historic structure.
No doubt one day it will be wiped from the face of the earth.

As time progresses the Moreton Mill topic will return regularly to this blog. Keep checking back.

Cobar - Cockle Creek!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Silverton: How to trash a name!

"Established in 1886 by virtue of the Silverton Tramways Act. The company was registered under the Victorian Companies Act 1890, in 1894."

Silverton! It is Australia's oldest privately operated railway company. Originally based in Broken Hill to shunt mines and operate a narrow gauge railway through the interesting town of Silverton into South Australia, ending at the township of Cockburn.
The reason for such a remote railway line was interstate rivalry, neith NSW or South Australia would allow the other state to build into their state. Thus the Silverton Tramway Company was born to connect the two.
In 1970 a standard gauge line bypassed this link and the line was closed and nowdays is removed, except for a few interesting relics that have survived.
This was not the end for Silverton, the company continued on shunting the mines around Broken Hill with their DL531 ALCo locomotives.
In more recent times Silverton has spread its wings and become a operator of freight services around New South Wales and into other states.
Even later it was merged with South Spur (a private railway company started in Western Australia) and became 'Southern and Silverton' (often refered to as 'Scumbag & Simpleton' by some more disenchanted employees).
Today the whole lot has been sold to another company called 'Coote Industrial'.

Recent reports from within say that the 'Silverton' name has been so badly tarnished by the recent ownership that it is to be completely removed from public view. Indeed at least one of te recently returned C class has recieved 'South Spur' names on both sides, with no hint of 'Southern and Silverton'.
A shameful end to a once proud and VERY RESPECTED name.
To all involved - Hang your heads!

** Thanks to 'Silverton48s32' for the 80 class photo!
* Thanks to bodgy scanner for cutting nose off 48s!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Early Froth Part 2

This photograph marks the time my parents first came to the horrible realisation that the son was becoming a dribbly foamer. Imagine how hard this would be for any parent to have to accept, their previously quite normal son suddenly looking at trains and rambling irrlevant train info to all.

It sort of makes those parents upset about their kids turning gay or mass murdering seem a tad ridiculous.

This shot of 4427 at Albion Park was reward for a long 30 minute walk from some cattle saleyards at Albion Park where they were with a relo selling, well, not surprisingly, cattle.

At the time I was pretty new to this dribbly stuff and the 44 class were still a few years away from creating any sort of panty located stirrings, however being there in time to see this train arrive from Nowra was a very exciting moment.

Today the line has been electrified and Albion Park now sees an endless procession of double deck intercity electrics and modern type DMUs serving all its needs. 4427 was to later wear the red terror (red with white lining) livery and then in the 90s was scrapped.

Buggar if I know what become of the passenger rollingstock behind, but it is likely preserved somewhere.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007



Yes its the end of yet another year, where we celebrate successfully getting through it by ensuring ourselves a shorter life through the consuming of endless amounts of alcohol and food.
As always we will wish our friends and family a happy 2008, knowing full well that we will all continue to endure then endless hardships that life has offered in 2007, indeed in every past year that we have been faced with being on the planet.
Lets face it, life ain't no picnic!
So while meeting friends over the Xmas break, don't treat them like idiots with the usual guff spurted at Xmas, surprise them with a "I Hope You Get So Blind You Don't Remember Xmas and Hope You Get Through 2008 As Undamaged By Humanity As Possible".
They will love you for it *.

In the meantime I would like to thank the readers of my new blog for taking the time out of their busy life to come and have a read of the latest bollocks I have chosen to rant on about.
I especially would like to thank the special few who have actually taken time to send emails to me regarding the site. It is these emails that make the effort worthwhile and relieve the occasional worry that one is wasting ones own existence.
I look forward to bothering you with railway rubbish in 2008 and please remember, contributions of interest are always welcome.

Now run along and get drunk!

* = This does not come with any guarantee that they will ever talk to you again.

Monday, December 17, 2007

PN's Plans! (A View From Tassie)

Forwarded from the LocoShed forum with permission.

Many thanks for this interesting post.


Tasmania's problem is a history of exceedingly poor management andincompetent operators. No customer service, no marketing, no trafficcultivation or growth (bar a short golden age under the Ed Burkhardt managed ATN) coupled with the usual structural and political biases to road.

Despite politics and public support finally swinging back in favour of rail again with new traffics on the horizon and a State Govt. finally prepared to takesome responsibility, which should make any normal rail operator cheer and say with relief, "About time" - what do PN do? Give up saying it's all too hard (it's not - they just can't be bothered to make an effort).

The Tasmania traffic base would be close to comparable with South Australia's non seasonal domestic (non interstate) base. G&W seem to make S.A. work? I don't hear them saying, "Oh the drought's stuffed it. We are shutting down all of the domestic S.A. network bar the Whyalla iron ore traffic" - yet they have less local capital compared to PN?

The situation in Tasmania is similar to the Eastern provinces of Canada, where CP pulled out altogether and CN only do long haul (interprovincial).

The big entities don't work. A smaller localised "Regional" (in American parlance) operator is needed.

Cheers,Steve Z

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Random Tid-Bits!

Tickets with some now none existent stations and a strange lineside find at Blackalls Park, that being a fire extinguisher card from loco 4708 then with her first owner.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Early Froth! Part 1

Come on admit it, we all have some particularly sorry looking photos from the earliest days of our foamer existence. Photos of a quality that are the absolute dogs bollocks compared to what you may be taking today.

Still these photos hold a special significance. They were your first, this is where your endless existence as a gunzel began and all hold some special memories for you.

While diving through the mess that is the 'Semi-Retired Foamers' archive I came across many of these old derelict photos, some of which I shall gradually share on the site. All are not worthy of publication, many not worthy of existence, but nowdays they are sights you cannot see outside your own dribbly wet dreams.

So grab an intoxicating beverage and some scones, sit back and, well, do whatever it is you like to do while looking at railway photos.

Our first shot is taken in the early 80s at a relatively new Port Botany and on what was then the CTAL siding. It is one of four shots I took of this train in different directions and showing the port in a time when we were able to think for ourselves when it came to personal safety.

If I was to stand in the same place today and try to get the exact same shot I may encounter a few problems.

Firstly a photographer friendly fence and line of trees stand between the tracks and the road I was on. This fence now heads down to the docks and surrounds the CTAL (now DPW) terminal. A seperate shot actually shows the wharfs totally open with no fencing near this entrance of any sort.

The train is particularly interesting. 48112, such as she is, is now sitting in Chullora hoping for an act of god to restore her to service. Of course brake vans on freight trains are certainly a thing of the past, while fixed wheelbase container wagons (I didn't even notice it was one until typing this) have also gone into the history books.

Never discard your first photographic disasters, they all become treasured records of times long gone eventually.


Here we go again!

Seems Pacific National are wishing to offload some 'less profitable' services from their railway operations again, or at least are on the prowl for more government money to fund their 'privately owned' operations.

Have we yet reached the decision that selling the railways may not have been the best idea?

Where many countries are building new railways, or reconstructing ones closed many years ago in an enlightened effort to solve some of the worlds problems, we now seem to be witnessing a very dull future for many wheat branch lines in rural areas.

So many lines have already disappeared over the years in an effort to cut back operating costs and make the railways more profitable. Why don't we join the countries who see the railways as a vital public service that must be expanded, despte the fact they may not always turn a healthy dollar.

Many await the 'Rudd' government to say SORRY to the indiginous people of Australia.

Perhaps the NSW state government should then say SORRY for the way the railways have raped and violated here in NSW and perhaps return the rural railway operations to the 'public service' they were supposed to be.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Snapshot: Cootamundra 28-3-1968

The 90s saw me spend bulk amounts of time harrasing the good folk around Cootamundra, most especially the wonderful employees of the now closed Cootamundra North box. Most of whom were always welcoming and helpful.

Each month we would head south west to this lovely town and photograph whatever the railways put on that week. Much of this was concentrated around the soon to disappear ALCos and the signalling that managed to last until just recently.

The attached files shows a glimpse of what was happening around Cootamundra on the 26th of March 1968, just under 6 months prior to the birth of the 'Semi-Retired Foamer'. These were rescued, with thanks to a local employee, just before the old railmotor shed was demolished and form part of an interesting pile of similar which turned up recently.
While I still occasionally venture to the 'Wattle City', it is now just a shadow of what it was back then and it is usually just a stopover on a run to other locations.

Hope they are of interest.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

WoS Neath Weekend!

The NSW division of 'Wheels On Steel' held their first get together.

The historic Neath Hotel in our lovely Hunter Valley was the location for the nights gossip and drinkies session with a few members showing up. Sadly work got in the way of attendence for some group stalwarts.

For those who don't know, the Neath Hotel sits between the South Maitland Railway and Maitland-Cessnock Road. The South Maitland carried steam locomotive hauled coal trains until the early 80s. From this date government trains traversed the still privately owned railway, while today operations are in the hands of Pacific National, while the line still remains owned by the SMR.

The photos here were taken around East Greta Junction and both show the former SMR workshops in the background. These workshop have reportedly been sold to Chris Richards of Rothbury fame and his collection is expected to move there early in the new year.

What this means for the current operations in the workshops and SMR10 and 18 is still unknown. Earlier plans of the new owner to run to run tours on the SMR have thus far come to nothing.