~ 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.