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

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I wish a big Merry Christmas and an awesome new year to all readers of my blog sites and members/contributers to my numerous Yahoogroups.
Thank you for your contributions, comments and friendship during 2008 and I look forward to another great year.

To keep up with all the Xmas mayhem - check out MANILA DOWNUNDER

Stay Safe - Have Fun

But not to much fun :-)

Balancing Trains and Family!

The Semi-Retired Foamer cannot be unique in the gunzel community when it comes to struggling to balance family and train duties. Rare, even more rare than a gunzel actually pairing with a member of the opposite sex, is the occasion where ones partner is actually into those strange train things as well.

Indeed many a railfan has solved the problem by choosing to, ahhmmm, mate with each other. However for those of us looking for a relationship more in line with everyday society outside of the hobby, we find that much give and take is needed, especially when traveling to locations once frequented for railway purposes.

So it was that I found myself heading towards Young for a weekend of Cherry poppin, ahhmmm, picking fun with the family and close Filo friends.

Cherry picking is an unusual activity really, one has to question the sanity of driving hundreds of kilometres to pick cherries for the farmer and then pay him for the privilege of doing such, especially when you can pay up to $5.50 a kilogram for them (we paid $4) and get them for $4.80 in Sydney.

Of course the ones off the tree taste so much better than that we finally get here in Sydney, while some of the cost can be offset in free samples while picking. Lets also not overlook the great fun of 'Cherry Skirmish', a lot cheaper than the paintball version and utilizing half rotten cherries from off the ground. AWESOME!!!!

OK, I suppose some of my more hardened foamer readers are probably wondering when I am going to stop rabbiting on about cherries and get into the good stuff. Theres no need to get the frangers in a twist, we are headed that way now.

The following is a look at the pathetic foamer effort made over the weekend.

Saturday December 6th

Two hours sleep and one is on the road at the pathetic hour of 3am. Who needs half a bottle of rum when one can obtain the same effect from dispensing with sleep, it is far cheaper and one is not likely to attract negative feedback from 'she who must be obeyed' while she attempts to Britex the carrot chunks out of the shag pile.

The first sighting of the day was not far from home, being two Bulldogs leading a container train from Port Botany past the airport. Twas a yellow one up front with a Northern Rivers liveried 421 behind it. A long way yet to go and a rather tired wife ensured there was to be no turning back for a look.
The bum end of a rake of containers was seen as we were arriving at Goulburn, the interesting end being out of sight. Following brekkie in the usual MOBIL Roadhouse, you know, the one with the massive sheep with equally massive nick knacks, we headed on towards Yass noting in the distance waht seemed to be a southbound 44 and EL on a rake of flats.
This sign is located just north of Yass and has become a tourist attraction in its own right. The bit on the bottom about kids was digitally added (badly I may add) for another website, but the rest is how it appears in real life. It is great to see huge companies like McDonalds embracing
the new SMUT revolution.

The Yass Town branch has been closed since the late 80s, however it has become quite customary to stop by and check out the museum there. On arrival it was closed, so all inspecting had to be done from behind the fence.
No noticable work had been done to the collection since my last visit, but since my observations were limited to an external nature from a distance, I am unable to comment on any internal restoration progress.

Dutton Street in Yass carries a rare example (for New South Wales) of street running of trains. The condition of the track has suffered over the years since closure due to both the idiocy of drivers and a disinterest in it.
The future of it has been under a cloud of late with proposals put forward for its removal so the street can be upgraded. Another suggestion is to relay it into the road, like a tramway.
Latest reports indicate that rail will remain in the street one way or another and will not be all ripped out. Certainly a positive outcome for those of us interested in railway history.
Whether or not tourist trains will ever run on this line remains to be seen, but I for one am not holding my breath.

At one end of Dutton Street you will find the entrance to the Yass Town station yard, while at the other still exists this beautiful old bridge. It has suffered from quite a bit of deterioration since the line closed and may be the biggest stumbling block for anyone wanting to run trains again.

The line was followed through Bowning, Binalong, Cunningar, Harden, Nubba and Jindalee but nothing was seen the whole way through to Cootamundra, a location I used to once regularly haunt and our camp for the one night we had away from Sydney.

Poor old 833 has been stored at Cootamundra for as long as I can remember.

8127 8107 spent the whole day sitting at the head of this rake in Coota yard.

Cootamundra station!

Signaling had changed muchly since my days around Coota yard, gone is the extensive forest of semaphore signals, replaced with these less
than arousing coloured light examples.
Quite a sad feeling - the dogs bollocks really.

Finally there was movement, such as it was, with an up Melbourne XPT
departing Coota station with XP2013 and XP2008.

Twas after the XPT that I decided to do a run to Junee and see what was sitting around the yard so as to pass another couple of hours that I had for foamer time.
I wasn't expecting to see anything during the journey and this seemed likely as empty tracks greeted me at Coota South, Bethungra (spiral and station) and Ilabo.
However less than a kilometre out of Marinna I was happily proved wrong.

EL54 T385 stopped on the up track just outside of Marinna. Seems someone had made a report of something dragging on the train. The crew walked
back for a look and then moved on north.

G542 G530 and 48116 were all sitting in Junee Yard awaiting their next duties when I arrived in town. This shot shows one end of G542.

Driving back to town nothing else was noted. Quite frustratingly, when I got back to the caravan park that night the railway turned into a hive of action with passing trains and horns noted continuously.
Bloody trains!!!!


Not much noted today, we departed early for Young with permission to scoot by Cootamundra yard being denied.
The Lachlan Valley CPHs were noted in beautiful sunshine at Young station doing shuttles for the Cherry Festival. This is something I have promised myself to do next year, assuming the bloody railway morons don't end up shutting this line as well.
The depressing condition of the old Eugowra line greeted our arrival at Cowra, followed by the equally depressing Cowra yard, totally devoid of any rollingstock. This is quite different to my early days here when a weekend meant quite a number of 48s and rollingstock could be found here.
Does anything, besides LVR traffic, go beyond Noonbinna nowdays? Do any Noonbinna wheaties have to continue to Cowra to turn?

The stop block was noted at the north end of Cowra Yard and a rapidly overgrowing section to Blayney seen in a few locations.
We were in a hurry to return to Sydney by now and the only other things of note was a passing blur that was the burnt out 8147 at Lithgow and a down empty coalie at Blackheath, the numbers of which I could not get.

So there you go. Two days of relatively little foamer action. Still I managed to bollock my way into a little.

39 years old and still going strong, this former Australian Army jeep carries cherry pickers from the farm entry to where everyone is picking cherries.

For more, non-train related, photos from the trip.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


With so many new forums and the like popping up nowdays, most are pretty much greeted with a HO-HUM type of attitude.

However if like me you experience a special kind of tingle when you see a bus go by, most especially those older types, then this new RETROBUS group may be of interest to you.

The owner is a personal friend of mine who has a huge interest in the older buses, which 95% of the content will revolve around. A good mixture of serious bus stuff and humour is expected, with an equally good mixture of bus industry and fan types amongst the membership.

So if your in love with Leylands!

If Bedfords drive you bonkers!

If your anal about Atlanteans!

If your fetish is Fords!

Then perhaps RETROBUS is the bus forum for you!

Saturday, December 13, 2008



OK it has been a while since we had one of these.

This is quite an easy one I imagine and no doubt it will be guessed by days end.
The winner gets a free years subscription to this free blogsite and acknowledgment of their superiour knowledge by other blog readers.

OK - Where is it?

Incorrect guesses to date:

That would be out in the scrub somewhere.... :-รพ

Would that be at Weston?
Brad C

Getting Close:

Nobody as yet!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hurlstone Park Brings Back Throbbing Urges!

Morning to anyone who cares,
Well again I have been remiss in my efforts to post here on the blog. I suppose you can attribute it to ol friend 'Railfan Blues'. All as dribblies go through it from time to time, a period when you can't be half buttocked to do anything involved in the hobby.
I suppose the pathetic attitude of many rail staff is a driving factor behind it for me, not to mention the weird nature of many railfans that lead to said attitude. Lets also not forget the constant need to protect ones bott bott from possible invasion by those with, shall we say, different tastes to those what were originally intended for us.

However these 'Railfan Blues' tend to come and go, their departure often helped by some enjoyed involvement in the hobby, preferably lineside and not in public toilets after model rail meets.

So it was that I arranged to meet the world famous Colonel (very occasionally know as David A Phillips) at Hurlstone Park for a good steamy session of gunzeldom and hornbag photography.

The Colonel has become an icon of the railfan community and a legend to the Fijian drinking one. Show me a man who can take a better photo after two bottle of port and a 6 -pack and I will be duly impressed. Indeed show me any man who could stand after skulling same and I will buy him a Ferrari.
Actually - no I wont. Just forget that.

The Colonel is a pillar of society, to such an extent that he even has his own church of devotees. Pacific National would be wise to throw whatever money it takes to obtain his services.
Anyway, before Colonel gets a throsby no hornbag could fix, I think we should move on to the story at hand.
At least while I can still type, sitting here swigging on a lovely mix of rum and coke. Ahhhh yes, the nectar of gods.

It was last week that our fine ol mate The Colonel rung with the suggestion of a day around Hurlstone Park. The instant tingling urges indicating that I was in full agreement and that we would meet, along with Tezza, at the station around 9am.

One wrong turn, resulting in the missing of my 452nd photo of 4903 and 4906, resulted in a slightly late arrival of 09.10. The Colonel, who was strangely sober at the time, was eagerly awaiting my arrival from the up platform. Actually I think he was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the office hornbags and I was just a convenient thing to talk to between their showing up.

So what delectable delights were we treated to while I was there?
Take full control of your groin as we journey through a session at Hurlstone Park.

Twas not long after one dragged ones furry butt down onto the platform
that a noise was heard to the west.
In aged old gunzel tradition one heads to the chosen location in
preparation for photographing the oncoming train.
Upon first seeing the ARG 22 class we were taken back to the past weeks when efforts were made, not incredible efforts mind you, to get the last runs of the Manildra services. Brief pantal stirrings were soon quietened down when it was realised that this was actually the Yennora service utilizing 2208 and
a forever sexy 42105. The time was now 09.23.

4850 later passed light engine on its way to pick up an
XT car.

Neither of us are sure what the heck this train was doing. It headed past at 10.18 on the up with a load of derelict flats that, I am pretty sure,
were used on the Manildra services.
GL103 was hauling the train, obviously, but where it was off to is a mystery. Anyone know?

Hmmmm ALCo - Rumour has it that they can cause pregnancy in woman. 4461 push/pull 4708 containers to Botany from Minto. 10.22

Less than an hour after I had one of those railfan type whinges about not having seen one of these FUGLY MZ class in a while. 1431 1435 1443 up containers 11.03

The 4850 comes back with the earlier mentioned XT carriage. No idea what carriage it was and have not lost sleep over not knowing.

Anyway thats it for this posting. I am still suffering from a lack of a scanner, so older stuff and rail related documents are still impossible. If you have something that may be of interest, please feel free to email me. Plans are afoot for a day down around Wingello - so don't be surprised if I ramble on with endless bollocks about it here on the blogsite.

Thanks for your interest, or lack of it, as the case may be.
I leave you with a random hornbag!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Return To Programming!

Hi all,
So you were probably thinking this site is dead, well certainly is has been as useful a a K-Set sightings book at a bus meet in recent times, but as things slow down on the approach to Christmas I do hope to be able to include some more reading for your tingling pleasure.

So whats been happening?

Well firstly the scanner met with an unfortunate end via a rather pissed off wife who could not entirely get the ants nest out that had appeared within. These were persistent little buggars, stuck to the inside like foamers to a 38, although perhaps marginally less irritating than that.
A lack of scanner, which is still the case, has made things a tad hard in the, well, scanning department. Given the bulk of what appears here is scanned, then I am up bowel movement creek without a paddle.
So for now one will have to make do with updates of a more current nature, through the wonders of that digital crap that passes for a camera nowdays.

Of course those who know me realize the main reason for my lengthy disappearance.


I shouldn't have to explain myself here.
I mean every bloke has a choice he can make - some just don't make it wisely.
Just in case you have trouble understanding the choice and why anyone would need to make it, I have outlined the essential differences below as a rough guide for all my fellow foamers.

Now lets take a look shall we.

This is a train!
Sure, being an ALCo, its a little sexy, certainly more so than one of those EMD things.
But in the end, what are you getting?

Its metal with an engine inside. True it can't nag you, never tells
you to be home at a certain time, is incapable of telling you that you have drunk to much, won't tell you not to sleep with other woman (or men if you so desire) and
almost certainly never gets a headache.
I am lead to believe some railfans even manage to gratify themselves with photos of such things as ALCo videos and blow up EE toys, while surely there must be a market for a vibrating XPT on weekend train tours to Mo

now hands out of your durps for a moment while we explore the alternative!

This is a hornbag


I'll be back next week with more enthralling gunzel tales!
Stay Tuned!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wingello September 18th - A Virtual Railfanning Experience

Wingello, in the beautiful Southern Highlands region of New South Wales, was once a prime locale of attendance by the 'Semi-Retired Foamer'.
Our almost monthly pilgrimage to Cootamundra would not be complete without a stopover at Wingello to photograph (or watch if in the middle of night) trains, speak bollocks to the friendly station master that once resided there, or generally rabbit on with those endless amounts of useless trivial bits of information that us railfans tend to spurt forth.

Last week I found myself spending significant amounts of time in throbbing metropolis of Canberra, the capital of fun, excitement and the pornography industry in Australia.
While it is almost impossible to detect any grundy (Aussie slang for ones under garments, specifically underpants. See also Underdurps and Bogcatchers) type stirrings at the thought of spending time in our Nations capital, it is at least out of Sydney and the trip is usually much enjoyed.

It was on my second run during the week I found myself able to have a sleep in and still have a very easy schedule for getting down there.
So it was to be that I decided to dump the highway for a leisurely drive through the nipple hardening rural towns of Exeter, Penrose and Bundanoon (home of yet another model railway club of some name) as I made my way to a much changed Wingello.
Gone was the lovely semaphore signals, as was the friendly station master, replaced by an unmanned station, a selection of those less than inspiring coloured light signals and a selection of track workers with dirty glances to offer every few moments or so.

After brief consideration as to location, I decided to park under a tree where I used to sit so many times before. Not a good view to the north, the sun was the dogs poop in that direction anyway, but a nice shot to be had for trains approaching from the south.

First thing one noticed was the disappearance of the old signal which would have been to the right of the above photo, come to think of it, the siding it once protected also looks to have buggared off with it.
The wait commences with the occasional noise making me look up in anticipation.

Track work was occuring just south of Wingello so trains in both directions were using the up line. The appearance of flagmen before each train certainly making it easier to be well prepared for any southbound movements.
Finally, after just over 20 minutes, there is movement, with a Melbourne bound XPT passing by slowly with XP2001 and 2003 in charge.

With that excitement over, one grabs ones issue of Model Rail, sits back in the seat and awaits the next installment of train action.

40 minutes later a loud noise to the south causes me to stir. Magazine down and I prick the old ears listening for further noise to help identify what gem of rail action may be coming.
I didn't have to wait long, the noise growing louder as it slowly climbs up over the hill into Wingello, a road based grader returning from some of the work.


The day was warming up and I had been sitting near the crossing for well over an hour since the XPT.
Finally the flagmen walk across the platform and over to the level crossing again.
Frothing excitement builds as one groans (or swear words regarding the wait) in pleasure as these two less than happy gents walk down the ramp and on to the level crossing, before moving onwards to the store across the road for some lunch.


Another 30 minutes pass with the heat, lack of activity and a now severe bum cramp (sitting in Commodore seats for too long is a pain) becoming to much to take.
As I go to start the car, an unmistakeable NR horn is hear in the distance and soon we find our old mates walking quickly back to the the crossing with their full bellies, flags and suspicious stares.
It takes a while with the up steel train moving slowly through the worksite, but soon enough the engine noise is clearly heard and NR55 BL28 NR1 make a very colourful site as round the corner and slowly approach my location.

As the train passes I start to consider whether or not to stay here for the extra hour I still had remaining before departure was needed.


Headed off to Goulburn soon after to check what loco delights would be slumming it up around the yard. I mean Goulburn always had something to look at hey.
Hmmm apart from some of those things locos pull around the state, there was little else to look at besides a platform devoid of passengers and something dead on the tracks which may have been a cat, or some other feral creature that had wandered into town from the bush on its hapless last journey.

Hope you all enjoyed you 'Virtual Railfanning of Wingello' adventure.


Wingelo September 18th - A Virtual Railfanning Experience


A typical three hours railfanning at Wingelo.

Experience the excitment!

Experience the thrills!

Immerse yourself in the experience!

Virtual railfanning with the Semi-Retired Foamer


WARNING: Actual content may not actually contain any excitment, thrills, you may feel somewhat let down by the immersion of ones self in the experience.

Monday, September 15, 2008

East Botany - September 12th

Spent an all to rare day lineside with Chris Miller last week.
The trains, while irregular, were certainly worth the wait.

4463 was first cab off the rank with 4717 pushing up the rear with containers from the port.

Pride of the fleet - a very respectable looking 4463 powers away from the Page Street overbridge making a beautiful ALCo sound as it heads towards Mascot.


Yep the rest of the time spent there was a Bulldogfest-but please don't let that deter you from looking at the rest of the shots.

GM22 and GM27 with yet another rake of containers slowly make their way out of the yard and up towards Page Street.
Kelloggs is the large building in the background.

Last but not least was the passing of S300 and B76 on, yep, more containers. The train came up shortly before my due departure to pick up
'she who must be obeyed'.

Thanks be to Chris for filling in the gaps between trains with some good conversation.

Will ferret through my stuff for some more historical stuff to post shortly.


Yeah Yeah Yeah! I know I have been bleedin quiet for a while.

It isn't because of a lack of interest, just a lack of time doing many other things, most notably my work setting up an Australian division of the 'Railways and Industrial Heritage Society Phils Inc' and also building a new website called Philippine-Fleetlist, devoted to, hardly surprisingly, the rollingstock used in the Philippines.

Yes the bulk of my interest is aimed at the Philippines nowdays, but that is not to say I can't get a dribble up lineside over Aussie trains, or a full on foam when rooting through the archives in search of some railway tidbit or another.
The ol 'Semi-Retired Foamer' still likes nothing more than a day out bush and lineside with the mates, swapping smutty stories, telling stupid jokes and, well, I suppose watch some trains scream by with their endless array boring flat cabbed locos up front.
Indeed just the other day I was out around the Botany line with my good mate Chris Miller and that report forms my next post.
" Surely but Spadge - Philippine trains can't have kept you THAT busy for so many weeks!"

Yes you are right, they didn't.


Oh heck, it was that milestone very few of us wishes to achieve. It marks the exact moment we go from being alive, to just awaiting death.
Old mate Grim Reaper appears to be lurking around all corners, just waiting for us to make that wrong turn. You see mates who have made that wrong turn leave forever and now start to consider when will it be my time.
I have heard time and time and time again that "Life begins at 40".


It it the pinnacle of a mountain and now it is time to come back down.
I look back on my life as a foamer and see so many times that have changed, railway things that were once daily and now spoken about like ancient history.
Once I used to admire people who had seen so many diesels that have long gone, been able to share photos of stuff I would have been able to get myself had I been a bit older. But now I am bleeding one of them myself.
So what has one got to show for all those years of time, effort and money collecting such a monumental collection?
Well the wife feels its the worlds largest collection of garbage, while many of the young railfans of today really don't give a hamsters butt hairs about it all.
Still while I am on this downward slope I shall continue to convey bollocks here within, for any of you who do care less about what the railways were like over the last couple of decades.
Welcome aboard - enjoy the ride.

If there is one positive side to your 40th birthday you get to spend it
with all your friends in the one place.

These three lovely ladies are dearest best friends whom most of the
'Semi-Retired Foamers' life is spent with nowdays.

L-R: My sister Maria, second wife Anabelle and third wife Gina.

Part of the railfan contingent at the party was my good mate James Chuang.
Seen here devouring some of the many Filipino dishes.

Steve Miller came fully prepared for any eventuality dressed
in his OH&S approved outfit.

The safety clothes were considered appropriate in case of any accidents that may see him accidentally crash into any drunken hornbags.

Also attending were gunzels Nathan Chapple, Alec, David Xuereb and the late David 'The Colonel' Phillips.
Sadly the vast majority of my foamer mates never showed, many didn't
even reply to the invitation.

More birthday bollocks at MANILA DOWNUNDER!