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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..
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

~~ A CHERRY PICKING GUNZEL TRIP ~~

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!!!!

7-12-2008

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.
MANILA DOWNUNDER

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