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, July 24, 2010


Back when we had ones of interest, the Semi-Retired Foamer also
photographed the ferries and hydrofoils around Sydney Harbour.
As always, just a random selection!

Hydrofoil Curl Curl between runs to Manly.

Lady Wakehurst with a very full load departs Circular Quay.

Ferries around Mosman Bay

The historic ferry Karrabee which spent many decades on Sydney Harbour before sinking at Circular Quay wharf following a Ferrython race.

She was later sold and become a floating restaurant at Gosford, where she is seen above.

After a number of years she was regretfully scrapped at this location, despite her heritage importance.

Monday, July 19, 2010


4480 at Chullora

4483 at Chullora and Broadmeadow

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Last Day Of Passenger Trains

A few days back we looked at some shots of the now closed Toronto line to the south of Newcastle
On the other side of Lake Macquarie laid a completely different line, this ones life dependant solely on coal by this time.
Though still refered to as the Belmont line, by the time I first visited the section from Jewels to Belmont was well overgrown (we did make the very hard walk on one occasion) and disconnected. The track from Jewels, now taking the former branch into John Darling Colliery, was not to last much longer itself.
The line hung on for a while longer, at least as far as Redhead, to serve the Lambton B Colliery.

Before the line to Jewels was lifted the opportnity was had to use CPH1 and 7 of the Railmotor Society for a number of final shuttle trips from Broadmeadow.
Thankfully, the Semi-Retired Foamer acknowledged his gunzel duty to go up there and cover the event.

Apologies for the quality of photos at the moment. Scanner is on the fritz,
so I am photographing original prints.

The above two shots show the second last train approaching Redhead station from Jewels, the Redhead station building still existing at this time.

History being made with the last train taking the branch at Adamstown and heading towards Fernleigh tunnel, enroute to Jewels
The last train arrives at Jewels station, or the grassy platform
that existed of it by then.

A few minutes to let people unload for their final photos before reboarding and returning to Broadmeadow. We made this last journey back, although to date those photos have been rather elusive to find.

~~ Some Random Lambton Coalie Shots ~~

Grrrr what a stupid place to leave the car :-(
4877 and 4705 loading at Lambton B colliery.
This whole area is a housing estate now, with only one structure preserved to give any clue to the areas former use. Standing on this exact spot now would reveal a lengthy colourbond wall.
The formation on which I am standing recently converted to a bike and walking track as part of the Fernleigh Trail project.
The Belmont line had a few curiosities that dictated its operations and also lead to the continued use of 47 class on the coal roads and use of CPHs on a local system usually dependant on 620/720 and 660/760 sets.
I believe it was the pointwork at the entrance to Lambton B that required the use of either double 47 class, or a 47 class leading a 48. It was often said that double 48 class would tend to derail here on a frequent basis.
The Fernleigh tunnel, near the start of the line, was actually to narrow for usage by the 620/720 type railcars, thus requiring the usage of the narrower CPH railmotors until the end of passenger operations. This did not stop them being a small part of the lines history, with at least one set stabled away from the mainline, on the section between the junction and the tunnel.

Time was fast running out for the line when these shots were taken of 4877 and 4705, seen above passing through Kahibah enroute back to Port Waratah.

For more information on the line and some fascinating pictures of mainliners and even interstate locomotive usage, I really recommend Ed Tonk's book 'Adamstown via Fernleigh' should you be able to locate a copy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


This is one of those photos you occasionally come across where very little still exists today.

The station platform to the right of the train, Hardies, has long now been removed. Regular passenger services had ceased even by the time of this photograph.
The large buildings behind are now just a huge vacant lot, while the semaphore signals have gone to god, having long been replaced by those coloured light things.
Of course fences now exist, at least on the left hand side of the track.
The locomotives have fared a bit better, with 4821 preserved in the same livery at Goulburn and 4904 now running around as KL80 for CFCLA.
For what its worth, I think that building to the far right of the shot remains unaltered, but I am open to correction on that.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Random older shots of the Toronto branch from the
mid 80s until closure!

Monday, July 5, 2010


Double Shot

These two locations bear no real relationship, even had differing owners, to each other and are miles apart.

Can anyone guess one or both of them?

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 1 Guesses: Thirlmere (Peter Hower)

Photo One Winner:

Photo 2 Guesses: None

Photo 2 Winner: Mutama (Stephen Preston)


Sunday, July 4, 2010

~ 80s Railfanning ~

Stop - Stop - Stop

Now before one of the Railpage crowd see this and go off their rocker about where I am standing without a 'Track Awareness Certificate', or demanding I show proof of one of those train deflecting safety vests that seems to have become the fashion statement of the average foamer, please let me point out that this is back in the early 80s.

Ahhh yes, the 80s. It is a time I am giving more and more thought to in recent times. Especially now as a small flicker of Australian railway interest is again developing, after a few turbulent years of the railfan dictatorship that is the 'Railways and Industrial Heritage Society Phils Inc'.

You know, while this may be hard to believe, but selected railfans in the Philippines are equal to the biggest tools we have here. Go figure, it must be a global thing.

Railfanning in the 80s, perhaps even the early 90s, was a far more fun affair. You could be more a part of the action without being arrested, as well as less (but not totally) likely to be molested by a fan you met in a railfan chat room.

There were far more old lines of interest and one had to make an effort to go somewhere to see different things, the Hunter for the 47s and the west for the 49s. Heck knows, one wold have to actually go to Victoria to see an X and South Australia to see a GM.

I'm sorry, but the current sterile, caged in, system of any loco almost anywhere is just not the same. However that is just a personal view.

Tours were also a far more enjoyable event, with photo shoots in locations that would have rail managers nowdays running to Targets underwear department in fear.
Possibly the most fondly remembered of these is those operated by 'ET Tours', the tour organising company of the now departed Bruce Cook. Bruce had a knack for organising interesting tours and getting into locations that would just not be on now days.

The Rozelle wheat and coal terminals, patrons actually climbing up on the buildings to get shots, the never completed station on the Eastern Suburbs line, hopping of the first red rattler to make it south of Helensburgh, Glenlee colliery, prowling around the Homebush Saleyards (now part of that intensely boring Olympic Park) and even Port Kembla Outer Harbour on a U-Boat.

You were always assured of familiar faces back in those days, David 'Wombat' Henderson and Peter Bubb (whatever happened to those two?), the late Bruce Cook and Bob Potts, good ol John Bartlett, Andrew Haviland and Roy Howarth. Then there were the 80s specials, the guy who always went on tour with a boom box, the guy who always talked to his umbrella, and of course the ever famous C.A Lewis.

As I fondle my way through these old photos, remembering all these times, it sort of makes one terribly sad that the railfan hobby has changed so much and that we perhaps all didn't appreciate it as much back then as we should have.

Photo: Menangle Park station with railfan Peter Bubb looking out for any trains.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hello and welcome back to the latest mixed selection from the bowels of my photographic archives - celebrating what is now 37 years of foaming around Australia, along with Fiji and the Philippines.

A more recent shot, taken in 2009, shows FCD-8, the caboose used for clearance duties around Manila (Philippines).
Removing squatters, or the more politically correct 'Informal Settlers', can be a hard task, with many really not wishing to leave their illegal abodes. Thus the railway police are always close at hand to utilize their trungeons, or at least accept a bribe.

Bless those beautiful 10 Class, with priority given to SMR22.
Here be two more shots, recently found, of the final weeks
of the Richmond Vale Railway.
Here SMR22 is seen shunting the Hexham washery after
returning from her one mine run of the day.
Not long after this all railway staff were given the royal rogering and sent on their way. Despite tourist railway plans, the railway lays abandoned 20 years later and the one busy Stockrington yard now just a field of grass that
gives little indication of its past.
Today SMR22 rests out of use at the 'Richmond Vale Railway Museum' with Buckleys chance of ever seeing steam again.
Another of those kettle things, 5112 (often refered to as Ben Chifley's loco) is seen behind ALCo 4484 back in the 80s.
The location is Bathust, the loco now being under restoration and either far from, or closed to finish, depending which railfan gossip you choose to believe.

And finally, the last day of operations to Toronto, strangely enough
utilising a less common, for this branch, 660/760 set.
It was still quite early in the day and the ever growing crowds had yet to form in numbers that would have seen the line still open. It was a fun, albeit sad occasion, being part of rail history, but also witnessing the end of
something you had spent so many years around.
We all enjoyed it our own way, one guy climbing on the front to stop it leaving and others continually hitting the emergency stop along
the final trip to Fassifern.
The night ended with a four gun urine salute as the train returned to Broadmeadow to stable.
Ahhhhh those were the days!