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

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Gunzel Diaries!


What an interesting lot our readers are, never have I had so much feedback both on the site and in private email than when I include shots of railfans in action :-)
Seems every man and his gerbil wants to see railfans plying their seedy little trade around the place.
To prove that I hear you, and due to the fact it is easier than looking for another new subject to enthrall you with, here is another riveting selection of photos to get you blood racing and your skin crawling.
Please - don't mention it. It was the least I could do and, to be honest, I always do the LEAST I can do!

The now deceased Marrickville carpark location, famous for, amongst other things, our beloved Digest editor earning the nickname 'PUDDLES'
Oh yeah - don't ask me why!!

Mascot level crossing!
What ever become of ol Frank? Anyone know!

The world famous Steve Miller at West Dapto!

Queensland's answer to the 'Mainliners'!

A bit of perversion captured in Randwick in the days before
our money was run off with!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

FAREWELL: To A Real Railfan!


At 11am today a group of around 25 friends and family gathered at the South Chaple of Woronora Cemetery to farewell Bruce Cook.
A nice little service followed which included a speech by Bruce's brother Les giving some interesting looks into areas of Bruce's interests that I had no idea of of. This was followed by a railfan friend (name escapes me) who talked of Bruce's rail and bus interests, in a railfan language that likely baffled his family Smile

Following the service much time was spent catching up with some old friends, a couple haven't seen for over a decade and sharing stories about Bruce.
It was so great to see these people again - sadly it took this sort of thing to achieve it.
As expected, many of my own memories were returned, including one in particular where we chased SMR22 to Stockrington in her final months of operation.

Following this, about 15 people proceeded to the 'United Club' opposite Sutherland station for some lunch, a few drinks, and many more stories from back in the days when the hobby was far more enjoyable and friendly than it seems today.
It forced one to sit and reflect on these old days, seeing those faces that were once so regular, all of whom, like myself, have aged over the years. Well except for John Bartlett who never seems to get older (don't know what he drinks). Smile

As if organised by Bruce himself, as we departed the cemetery for the club 8216 8230 G520 8253 rolled by on a loaded coal train. 8216 is my favourite in the class, while I once remember checking out a damaged G520 with Bruce.

If he was able, I am sure Bruce would like to thank all those who attended, including railfans 'Inspector', Glenn Ryan, David Kirkland, Peter Neve, Chris Sim, John Bartlett and Andrew Haviland. Many others there I know by sight, but not by name.


Brad Peadon

Besides trains, buses were his other greatest passion. 18 years ago a much younger Bruce (at the wheel) and Brad (obviously at the right) stand outside M/O3364 just before it departs on the last 303 from Caringbah station to the city.
I wonder if Bruce still had the hand made sign from the front?

Contrary to popular belief and what Bruce used to tell people, 4806 was not named after him. It did seem to unofficially become that way after a while.
Despite numerous attempts, I never got more than a blurred shot of Bruce standing in front of her. Haven't even been able to locate that.

The last of the Bruce organized trips that ever got to travel on. Here it stands at Ben Bullen station during a photo stop. It was soon on its way to its destination of Charbon Colliery.
Those with a keen eye will be able to pick Bruce out in this shot.

Another Bruce tour, though the man himself was next to me
during this shot at Bondi Junction.

The return saw us become the first passenger train to stop at and alight passengers (for photos) at Woollahra station, something I don't think has happened since!

If it wasn't for Bruce's influence I doubt I would have half the photos of old single deck electrics, buses and other passenger transport modes that I've taken.
While going through the endless shots from this period, I came across this one I took at Carlingford station one night. I wasn't going to go, but he insisted that three car single decks would not be around much longer.
He was right!!

Thoughts On A Hobby Long Gone!

While attending Bruce's funeral the other day, I got to thinking about the hobby today and the hobby it once was.
Seeing so many familiar faces from my earliest days of being a foamer brought back so many memories of fun times chasing trains around the state. Everyone seemed to have fun - certainly most people got along.
In recent years many of the 'old' crowd have been very quiet, most totally dropping from the scene and perhaps only ever heard of as a reference in an article. Some of the guys that I would once catch up with quite regularly, now have not been seen for over a decade.
The 70s (so I am told), 80s and early 90s were a great period and one from which I retain many memories. Any railway trip resulted in meeting new friends, many of whom remained so for many years to come, even to this day. Most would help, while the need to be 'Lord Railfan' , while existing, wasn't half as prevalent as it is today.
Sure there was the odd arrogant tool who thought themselves god and would not share info, but they were in the minority and were not subjected to hundreds of new fans every day like the internet is able to do.

Indeed the famous 'Colonel Chunder' may be right in saying that "there was far more stuff of interest and that everyone could get something special to share with their mates". Whereas in todays boring railway scene, there is so very little, to be covered by so many newcomers to the hobby.
This obviously leading to an extreme competition to get the most before anyone else, regardless of what it takes.
Certainly there is far less of interest, especially if your not open to looking at railway overseas, but should this not be a reason to endeavor to make more from the hobby?


Ahhhh yes, she be a fine tool to be sure.
But the whinging and bickering that goes on as each person tries to out do another.
One need not look beyond Railpage (the owner of which puts a lot of effort into) to see examples of the hate and bitterness that surrounds the hobby nowdays. Working our way down, we come to the anus of the internet, aus.rail where every railfan in creation is accused of gay activity or being a retard.
If we are not attacking each other, its because we are attacking a museums efforts, a magazines content or some politicians gerbil fetish.
All this takes a lot of time and effort, effort that, if spent promoting the hobby, would have us all in a far better position today. Indeed the hobby as a whole could have only benefited greatly.
The internet has been a huge boon to the hobby, with research and information sharing never being so easy. However it has certainly come at a cost.


Who knows, but like most of the 'old crowd' we will thankfully not be around to see what is left if the current direction continues.
Sure it may be fun to get on the net, big note ones self, cause upset for the fellow dribblers, but eventually they, and you, will loose interest. The train hobby will become a chore and there will be BUGGAR ALL left for anyone in the future.
What a sad and selfish thing to do.
Oh, and while I am sitting her sipping on my fifth Bundy and thus have an excuse to say whatever the bollocks comes into my mind, IF YOU NEVER CONTRIBUTE ANYTHING TO THE HOBBY - PLEASE DON'T BE UNDER THE MISTAKEN IDEA THAT YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO COMMENT ABOUT THOSE WHO DO!
Go work at a museum, go write for a magazine, help out at an archive - then feel free to share an opinion and be less at risk of looking like an ungrateful puff!


To the railfans of old who made it an honour to be a part of this once great hobby and to those who have bothered to read this far into my rant without heading back to aus.rail to discuss doodle waving!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lubricated Flange No4 is Available Now


The latest issue of the 'Lubricated Flange (Australasian Railway Ezine)' is now available for downloading.
More of the latest photos, news and articles from around the Australasia region lie within.


The magazine if distributed free to those with an interest in our regions railways. Contributions are always needed to ensure its survival.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Where Is It #2 (Revisited)

One of the people to guess the last 'Where Is It' was John Shoebridge. He has kindly shared this old photo of the same location many years prior.

Bellbird, Bundy and Bollocks! Another SMR Adventure. Finale

While wishing to chase the train back, we didn't really hope for much.
The weather was turning nasty again over Maitland, the clouds were getting thick and you could just feel that they wish to let loose a torrent of fluid that would blitz anything the Colonel had to offer in that department.

It is sort of customary to photograph the handing over of the staff. I mean heck, how many opportunities like that do you get.
It was rather dark by now, but still within camera tolerances, if not those of the developing place I go to. Useless mongrels.

Staff handed over, thick plumes of beautiful ALCo smoke spew forth on their ozone destroying path and the train heads up towards Mt Dee, while we head forthwith, ultimately to Neath.
The express trip to Neath put us well in front of the train and we had a good half hour to wait. However the massive expanse of blue sky here made the wait worth it.

Neath station looking from the south!

Colonel uttered something about toilets and headed off to the Neath Hotel, while I joined Tezza in a search for relics and signs of the proposed new crossing loop in this location. We also took advantage of the recently clearing to inspect for remains of the long since removed goods siding.
We were surprised to find an arrow indicating the likely location of the northern turnout, as well as other notes regarding work needed should the new loop go ahead. Presumably a second arrow likely exists some distance past the Neath Hotel.

Is this the location of the new point?

Much is left to see if your willing to have a good look. The goods siding is certainly visible now, as is the old abutments over a creek to the south of the Kearsley Road crossing.
While checking out sleepers remaining from the old crossover to the Abermain coliery lines I heard the sound of ALCos in the distance and turned to find PL5 48143 48129 PL3 trundling down the grade from Abermain.

A quick dash to the last patch of sunlight for the last shot of the day, nearly made more exciting by a Toyota Coaster that hit the brakes hard at the last moment.

All to soon the final empty wagon sways its way past and the train disappears off into the distance, leaving us to wonder where the good Colonel has got to.

Oh no, he has been at the Neath Hotel for half an hour. This indeed can not be good.

On arrival at the hotel we find an extremely happy Colonel not realising the train even went through and busy sipping on another schooner.
Another 30 minutes is spent convincing him we can't stay overnight, we can't leave in an hour, we must get going home before being in trouble and that doing certain things to the hotels dog with frozen vegetables could get him in trouble with the RSPCA!

It was to be a long drive home with rest stops needed at regular intervals, an extended one on the moonlite banks of the lovely Hawksbury River.

Ultimately it was another successful (and not just a little entertaining) day on the SMR. Numerous shots in the bag and quite some success with the train we had originally set out to get.

Thanks be to Terry and The Colonel for the company, Peter Cousins for persevering with us (great to meet you) and Bob Emson for not calling the police.

Colonel becomes a bit emotional after missing the last train!


Been ferreting through the bowels of my photo collection and come across another Australian railway location for everyone to guess.


Wrong guesses and clues will be gradually added below until we have a winner.

Correct answer already recieved.
1st: Jeff Mullier
2nd: John Shoebridge

Answer will be given after it closes on another forum.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bellbird, Bundy and Bollocks! Another SMR Adventure. Pt2

With the end of the line fast approaching we followed another car into a location between Bellbird and Pelton for one last shot, a trailing one given the train was tailing us closer than a randy sheep in Wellington.
Again we found ourselves awaiting the departure of the South Spur coalie headed back to port, the whole reason we were in attendance during the day.
Colonel went on to discuss trains with the railfan in the other car, who, it turned out, was Peter Cousins. Peter is a local railfan who, despite many many Hunter sojourns, I had never met in the past.
Indeed given the many tales told, perhaps he wishes he had chosen another location to set up for the train. Sadly the unusual tales of disgraceful behaviour at Neath railfan nights has probably turned him off altogether, I mean even the local bull ants were seen running for cover from the fountain of smutty phrases being spurted forth.

Thankfully the sound of 48 class horns were heard from the Pelton direction and the train chugged its way towards us before any arrests were made.

4816 48s33 - up containerised coal

The panic again sets in. Where to next? Where will the sun be? Will we make Bee Siding and also East Greta? Did I take the cat out of the microwave?
For many years I have used what is commonly referred to as the usual SMR hack spots. Any fan knows them, Weston footbridge, Neath station, East Greta road bridge, just to name a few. Seems all the shots are taken in these places, myself being very guilty of this in the late 80s and through the 90s.

4816 48s33 departs Austar!

We decided to follow Peter to a new spot just out of Cessnock where the sun was stunning, then up to near Bellbird Junction which is one I have only began using more recently. Twas this later location where one set the camera wrong and ballsed up the shot to mammoth proportions.
While my fault, it gave me yet another convenient reason to swear profanities at the digital technology we are having rammed down our throats nowdays.
Give me my good ol film cameras any day. Rarely a hassle and results I continue to be more happy with. Digital however remains the camera type of choice for excessive hornbag photography where one must take many to get that special hornbag shot.

Now these few times the train past I did note the driver yelling out things. I thought he was being friendly until it was mentioned that it was actually abuse we were receiving.
It was quality abuse too, the words getting more fruity as time passed and more shots got. We had even reached 'F' words by the time Neath came around.
Perhaps at this point in time I should offer an apology for my years of hating FC and later PN train crews. Their attitudes had always been pathetic at best, the worst I had ever encountered, or it it then seemed.
South Spur crew attitudes make the worst of the old FC people seem like priests in comparison. While many a good people, it does seem that the vast majority do have pond scum type qualities.
The crew on this day were certainly from the more offensive end of humanity and probably as good a example as any as to why I dislike most dealings with them, indeed I dislike breathing the same air, living in the same country, existing on the same planet.
Oh what a pitiful life these blokes must lead outside work. Perhaps they should consider topping themselves! PLEASE!
Still, while leading the pack in rudeness, they do have competitors in Cityrail (Hunter region) who think nothing of sticking up the finger, or even screaming swear words at you in front of their customers.
It should be said though, that I can't recall one negative memory regarding the Pacific National Hunter Coal division. Nine times out of ten one will be exchanging friendly waves with passing crews.

4816 48s33 passes the location of Bee Siding!
Plus the crew member with the colourful array of words!

Christ, where was I?

Despite very inconvenient roadwork being conducted at Abermain, we managed further shots at Swamp Creek, Neath, Bee Siding (which MrNathan so kindly guided us to) and at East Greta, after a quick sprint over the old mine area.

4816 48s33 approaching East Greta station.

The distance from the car, and Colonel's urgent need to download 'Bundy Bottle #1' meant a slow departure from this final location and an inability to reach the junction in time to receive would final serving of good ol Scumbag's obscenities.

Oh what to do now? The choices came forth.
1) Chase it onwards to port and get it unloading.
2) Go to Warabrook - not many trains but plenty of hornbags.
3) Get lunch.
4) Head to the nearby road bridge over the main north for some coalies.

While negotiations took place, our now very jovial Colonel asked for permission to have a look inside the signal box, something I have long held a desire to do.

Signalman Terry at the ready!

Thankfully permission was gained and we all headed in just before a customary Maitland rain storm past overhead. Many photos were taken, most of which I am donating to John's SMR Website for anyone desiring a intimate look.

The signal box itself is chock full of interest, from the frame, to the old photos, diagrams and even timetables that are on display.
Standing in a manned signal box, controlling semaphore signals, old timber crossing gates and seeing the signalman hand over the staff. It reminds one of times past, times spent around rural Australia, back in the days when the railways were far more enjoyable, back when one didn't have to look to Asia for a genuinely fun and friendly railway experience.
It is an awesome mixture of feelings, feeling that one is back in time again to the railways I once knew, yet also sadness at what we have become, what the railways have become, what the attitudes of some like Mr South Spur have become.

After our brief trip back in time, it was on to more modern things. 90 class on the coal roads, those god awful Huntercars arriving and subsequently racking off from Telarah, and examples of human vermin driving past at high speed trying to impress us all with their supreme tosser abilities.

PL5 48143 48129 PL3 - down empty coal - Arrive East Greta Junction.
Waits at EGJ for the arrival of the now loaded triple chased earlier in the day.

PL5 48143 48129 PL3 wait at East Greta Junction for PL2 48134 48137 to arrive
with a loaded rake from Austar.

Here we bumped into one Bob Emson who was there with his wife to get some shots of the SMR coalies at East Greta Junction. Again a lasting impression was likely made.

It was getting late in the afternoon, MrNathan had prior engagements which saw him need to leave, Terry and myself were becoming increasingly worried about the spousal reception we were to recieve given our expected late arrival home, while Colonel was trying to keep standing up.
So it was thus decided that we shall follow the empty train back towards Cessnock and then cut across to the freeway for the journey home.

Alas you will have to wait for Part 3 of this spine tingling tale!
*** Coming In PART 3 *** # New Neath work and possible future developments! # Colonel gets a little help from his tree friends. # Final coalie shot in lovely Neath late afternoon sunshine! # Colonel's romantic midnight stroll along the Hawksbury River.