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

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I know for some it is hard to believe, but the railfan hobby is there for fun and isn't actually a life and death situation.
NOW COME ON GUYS, get up off the floor, surely it can't have been that great a shock for you. I mean you don't get paid for it, you do it in your spare time, you get enjoyment from it - so it isn't something you have to begrudgingly do to make some money to feed your sorry mouthes.

I long ago all but gave up on dry, serious and somewhat stale railfan forums because of this and just thought I would promote what I have found around the net in recent times.
All the groups would certainly welcome new members and I would love the chance to talk to other people.
Perhaps you to may have a sense of humour (they are very easy going groups) and like to join them.

I should point out that they aren't my groups, I just enjoy them as a member and don't need more stresses of moderation and group running :-)

Sort of like RailPage but with a sense of humour.
Great train discussions, a tram section and most importantly, a hornbag photography section.

Apparently a railfan forum about railfans - they claim it to be a world first - possibly is.
Quite funny so far and, following bulk whinging, also a hornbag section.

If buses, especially older types and ones now extinct, are what floats your boat, then you will certainly enjoy this forum.
Covering mostly Australia, it does have sections on other countries and also a latest bus news department.


I am not entirely sure of the content there, but it's supposed to be good and coimes with a money back guarantee! NOT!

Hope some of these may be of interest.


Has ol Spadge finally lost the plot?

Well what does one do on a boring Friday night at home?
Much has changed in my life during recent months and the 'Semi-Retired Foamer' is slowly finding his old interest in railways dribbling its way back into him. Indeed it is dribbling back so much that, excepting my accidently running in to too many weirdos, I may again be regularly seen lineside after so many years.

So it was that the 'Semi-Retired Foamer' headed out to Heathcote to meet up with his old mate Terry for a spot of evening gunzelling.
The night gunzel was once a fortnightly event for me, I would head off to Menangle, usually with David Henderson (man whatever happened to him) to watch the passing parade of trains. This was back in the days of 44s, 45s, Gs, 422s, 80s etc etc, not to mention the milk siding shunt which occasionally added some interest.

Often enough, for a change, we would head to Cowan to watch spark locos grinding their way through. Hmmm yeah, to think we used to groan at the sight of 86s on a freight. They were considered almost as boring as a S set.
Oh how priorities change, the 86 class are gone, along with the 46s and 85s, while now the final months of the old S and R sets have put them in a completely new light.
Brought me back to thinking of the days when the single decks were on their last legs. The time spent chasing them around the system, getting as many photos and videos as possible, where once again I previously would never have looked at them.
Yes gunzels - one day we will be going mental over Millenium shots. Well probably not me, I will be pushing up daisies by then I would imagine.

Well firstly lets peruse the dribbly foamer report on passing freight trains before heading into the all important wanki, ahhmmm, photography part.

8218 8209 8239 8211 - up mt coal - 19.20
8234 8208 8129 8256 - up mt coal 20.15
8206 8244 8231 - dn coal - 20.33
8131 8109 48159 - dn ore - 20.58
8245 8258 8216 - dn coal - 22.01
8203 DL42 DL40 DL38 - up mt coal - 22.08

We were lucky to see this last one, having already walked to the cars, we ended up talking for a few minutes and saw the headlight approaching from Waterfall.

OK now, hope you have plenty of burn cream on hand,
here comes the photos!

Tangara departs Heathcote for Bondi Junction.
WOW, things that dreams are made of.

Same Tangara awaiting passengers to get off their sad backsides and on to the train.

Finally, oneof the sets I came here for turns up with a service to Waterfall.

Hmmmmmm Set S - this vehicle is unique to all the others due to, ahhhmmmm, hmmmm, well I suppose it's number. Apart from that its pretty much the same as any other one, well, except for graffiti pattern.

A bridge!
Yes it had got a little quiet.

The platforms view of an S set.

Hornbags love S Sets and so this one was very disappointed to get a Tangara!

Terry tells me it is somewhat unusual for L sets to carry
passengers stopping at Heathcote.

I suppose thusly that I should be aroused by this chance.


Ahhh yes punters, the set you have been waiting for,
Sydney's outstanding pride of the fleet.


Heathcote at night with a spark entering the platform.

Ahhhhhhh how could one resist taking a break from all the horizontal toaster excitment for one minute to photograph a local hornbag.


Seriously though, I had a great night and enjoyed the opportunity to photograph sparks after dark. It is something I haven't done for many years, well perhaps even a couple of decades.
I will no doubt be endeavouring to get more before they leave our rails forever.

Monday, April 20, 2009



** NOTE: As always, high-res copies of all photos are available for any
magazine who may wish to use such **


Ohhh yes, it is the moment you have all been waiting for, the conclusion of one of the greatest foamer stories of all time.
What better a way to achieve this than with a look at out 11th Neath Railfan Night, followed by a last dribbly look around Newcastle.
For those who don't know, the 'Neath Railfan Nights' have become quite the institution. Usually attended by societies more normal gunzel types, we gather around for dinner/drinks and endless babble about railways (regualr operations and preservation), all the while, remaining safe in the comforting thought that our bottom virginity will remain intact.
If your, shall we say, regular, feel free to email us for details of upcoming events. It is always great to welcome new people.

The Neath Bus!

MrNathan suffering from excessive Snickers consumption!

Live band every Saturday night!

Twas time to get a room for some :-)

A first time Neath night attendee was Mr Stuart Ellis.
It was great to see you there mate and hope to see you at future ones.
His car gave the Holden fans a throsby :-)

Oh dear!

Two more new attendes were Matt (in red) and a rather concerned looking Ted Rose sitting between Stuart and a, ahhmmm, busy looking Mr Nathan :-)
It transpires that Ted also has a big interest in things Philippines.

Another random hornbag shot - this time at Warabrook!

BL27 and PL5+PL2 bludge around Morandoo Yard during the Easter weekend.

Dang - when did we loose the ability to make interesting locomotive designs.
ARG's AC4301 at Goninan's, or whatever they are called this week.

Same again, but with 5010.

M/O 1409 on route 104 passes through a rather quiet Wickham!


Just for all the Bunzels in your family, here be a surprise showing a week after Newcastle in King Street Mascot.

I sincerely hope part three was everything you had hoped for.
If not - Then remember how much you actually paid to get it.

Tally ho

Saturday, April 18, 2009


It has been years since we went to the Powerhouse Museum, but the Start Wars exhibition currently showing ensured the kids would not allow me to get away with it for much longer.

Not sure how long this has been there, but it certainly encouraged many kids to play trains.

Thursday, April 16, 2009



** NOTE: As always, high-res copies of all photos are available for any
magazine who may wish to use such **


Welcome back to Part 2 of what is 'now' a three part series.

The reason for the sudden increase in size is due to an awesome Neath night and an extra morning lineside that was not expected. Now, you tell me of any railfan who dosen't have an increase in size when lineside!!!

In part one of story, our heros had just finished at Pitnacree Bridge and were off to meet the world famous John Hourigan at Victoria Street.

But first, a quick last look at the Pitnacree Bridge location.

9024 8217 8254 8241 down empty coal at Pitnacree Bridge 12.34

Could this be the bridge to replace 'Gunzel Bridge' at Maitland?
It already seems to be marked for its most famous regular attendee.

Before to long we were being greated by the man himself, local identity and long-term friend Johnno Hourigan.

BL26 BL33 4836 603 on a down ore goes flying through Victoria Street as a sea of foam coats the locomotives in question!

Oh my god - that was bloody awesome!
What a sight - Wheres the Kleenex?
My god - what could be better than that?

Hmmmm yeah your right - this is marginally better!
The seat I mean, shame that rather developed woman got in the way.

Yes - well anyway, soon enough and there was more train action to be had as 9207 G529 G519 8205 come through with another loaded coalie at 14.46.

2753 2703 - down pass - 15.32

9005 9020 9010 - up coal - 15.51

9018 9004 9025 down empty coal at Victoria Street.

Rear shot of these interesting seats.

8243 9031 G543 9214 pass an up Exploder just to the east of Victoria Street.

8111 hauled the strangest movement of the day, if you don't count MrNathans rather odourous death cloud after three Snickers Bars (apparently had to give em up for Lent).
It was seen here hauling a short rake of coal hoppers of many different varieties, the reason for such is still unknown. All hoppers were empty.

Victoria Street station has not been to diffaced by moderisation!

Victoria Street - Down train arrives.

Two ladies who have possibly caught a train sometime in the life, but don't really have much to do with this post other than their being good to look at.

Stay tuned for PART 3

* Neath Night *

* Morning Around Newie *

Friday, April 10, 2009



** NOTE: As always, high-res copies of all photos are available for any
magazine who may wish to use such **


" We are going to spend the holidays with my family"

My god, it's the statement from one's wife that causes deep sighing amongst men universally. Oh god, sitting around talking crap, not being able to sprawl semi-naked across the lounge to watch television and trying to rein in the SMUTTY comments and regular bad language that invests our vocabularies now days.
But one second, her family is in Newcastle, location of NSWs busiest section of railway line (freight wise anyway), the new 92 class, many railfan friends and only a short skip away to the beloved Neath Hotel (the states premier gunzel hangout).

Hmmmmmm yes, but how am I to turn "your not going out for trains" into "oh OK, you can have a day out".
Again I refer to the universal man behaviour code book and start mopping around very bored and depressed :-)
Wala - instant day out. Plus a night at the Neath Hotel to boot.

Last weekends brief flirt with trains in the region did not go according to plan. As can be seen from my earlier panty raising post I spent most of my available time along the SMR again, instead of the planned coal road assault on things 92 and G class.
While new loco designs hold all the interest of a stinky decayed sausage found underneath the BBQ from two birthdays ago, I thought it may be beneficial to get them before they are repainted Pacific National coal and exhaust black.

It was a fast Spadge that woke up on Good Friday and made for the front door, foregoing the usual trip to the 'Little Bus Drivers Room' for fear of waking anyone up and being allocated duties to do before I leave!


Where to go to first, out on the mainline in search of the elusive 92 and G class, or around the yards.
Decided on doing the usual rounds around Gonads (bound to see a 92 class with their reputation for reliability being up there with the Datto 120Y), Carrington and Morandoo.

Goninan 08.45
5010, AC4301 (Undercoat), 9208 (test area)
4833 was out the front entrance to Goninan.

08.59 - 8242 8207 - Up Coal - Georgetown

With no other action appearing to be on the cars save for a Hunter set one decided to head to Carrington and Morandoo forthwith.
Two seconds further down Clyde Street and one is confronted by the sight of a bus that would certainly sizzle the sausage of the most hardened of bunzel.
Bus was in the Clyde Street Spare Parts place - looked more of a garbage dump.

Rapid rise in blood temperature as one approaches this sexy set of locomotives.
PL5 48137 PL2 48134 stabled on a Pelton rake!

Morandoo Yard 09.16
8011, 8033, 8013, BL27, 8106, 4836, 603
8120 OneSteel shunt
PL5 48137 PL2 48134 on stabled coalie as above.
One pain in the arse Chubb Security automaton.
BHP32 preserved and doing buggar all.

Slightly more pleasant than the security guard was this LARGE local walked into while photographing 4836.

A last minute decision to drive under Industrial Highway and up to the, rather saucily named, Hump, resulted in a desperate last minute snatch and grab of my first 92 on an actual train.
Spadge moved with a level of excitement unmatched since 8219 was found in a rather undignified position at Beresfield (My condolences to CM over that tragic event - which I am told he has never quite recovered from).

09.37 - 9209 9202 9023 - Coal arriving at Port Waratah.

Enough security guard bollocks for one day, it was time to set forth west in an effort to meet up with my ol mate Johnno Hourigan at Victoria Street at 13.00.
A headlight seen while passing over the line at Tarro had me heading into the suburb proper for a short session of watering the weeds with quality foam.


2703 2753 - up pass - 10.07
9001 9013 9029 - dn mt coal -10.14

2754 2704 - dn pass - 10.22

Then it was time to set the tone for a day full of bloody awesome coal line combinations and interesting movements.
For the first time ever (for me anyway and I am told it is significantly rare), my colon was set a tremble to the passing of quad 90 class on an up coal.

9035 9011 9016 9021 - up coal - 10.41

8252 8237 - up coal - 11.04
2704 2754 - up pass - 11.09 (Taken through the flowers)

8251 G538 9204 9210 - down empty coal - 11.11

In classic gunzel style it was all things packed and a mad sprint down to the car to give chase to, off all bloody things, an 82 class on the front of a coal train.
I can't remember the last time I chased a mainline coalie, but it would be way back when the 81s were having CCO and the 442 and 45 class were showing up on the coal roads again. Ahhhhhhhh memories!

the train stopped at Maitland and I was able to do the rather roundabout trip to get up to Elizabeth Street at Telarah for another shot.

UNLUCKILY a flamin train with 9205 9211 9022 passed under the same bridge at the exact same flamin time.
The botty end of the train is seen passing a worksite.

A phone call from Brad 'Cooties' Coulter (or is it Coultar) saw me heading back east to the king of all hack spots, Pitnacree Bridge at East Maitland.
By now the day was really hotting up and the small amount of shadow in this spot was very welcome.

Actually I may use this time to express my sadness at the report that the gunzel bridge at Maitland is to be replaced as part of the project to rebuild the recently demolished section over the New England Highway.
This footbridge has become quite the railfan icon during the last two decades where one, while bored waiting for a train, could read all the in depth news on the sex lives, or lack of such, of many a prominent railfan.
Also shared are views on various railway publications, strange religious ideals and who sticks what strange object in orifices best not having things inserted in the first place.
It does seem however that the Pitnacree Bridge is beginning to become the replacement for the famous bridge.
If anyone has photos of said jottings I would be interested in hearing from them.


8213 8220 8248 - up coal - 12.05
9215 G526 8232 9015 - dn mt coal - 12.10
Huge thanks to John Hourigan for later getting me the G class number.
Grrrrr put bloody side numbers on it PN!!!!!

Foamers - head to this shop - they may be able to help you on lonely gunzel
nights while railfanning around Bombay.

5002 5011 - up coal - 12.21

Cooties turns up in his 'Love Bus'!

9024 8217 8254 8241 - dn mt coal - 12.34
2502 etc 2523 - dn Exploder - 12.40

Time was running out for our plan to meet with Johnno at Victoria Street around 13.00,so offeast again, via the servo and on to the personal location of one of railfandoms most known members.

Many more interesting sightings were had during the afternoon here and these will be covered in PART 2!
Have a spare couple of tissues ready.