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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, loonatics, mental defectives and self appointed experts lead to an even greater decrease in my hobby participation.
However things have changed thanks our small group of trusted mate, interest has returned, and now I have become a bit more involved yet again. Having learnt to laugh, with others, at all the more 'Moronic Foamers'.
.Oh the irony that lays behind that term.
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Monday, October 16, 2017




A project the Semi-Retired Foamer and S*M*U*T are proud to be part of.











Sunday, October 15, 2017






Howdee, and welcome back to the third installment of our rapidly growing photographic expose on the preservation efforts of S*M*U*T group members. 

What started out as a two part article, has inspired people to send in enough shots to ensure at least one more following this.
All this has lead me to reflect on the group and how lucky we are to have those who are in it. Such a great, hard working and dedicated group of volunteers, giving their all, despite the negativity that a few in the preservation hobby aim their way.

Without you guys we would be much the poorer.











Brad has devoted a large amount of time to promoting railway 
heritage in the Philippines.
After eight years of effort, 2007 saw the first attempt at setting u an official railway preservation group.
This group went on to restore the historic BUDA car above, as well as donating to a heritage railway display at the main passenger terminal of Tutuban.
He is currently working on the early stages of something bigger.

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Zachary Dray dedicating his time to the bus preservation industry as well.


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Sohtaka being a PSM on the State Mine Christmas tour to Tarana.

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Linda Mcfarlane is a regular volunteer at Lithgow's 'State Mine Railway Museum'.



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No, Zane is not sleeping on the job.
This one one SMUTTER the rest of himself as well.


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The CPH 'Dream Team'.
Linda, Zane and Aaron.


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Geoff Riley caught fitting the waugh grate side bearer bars to 3237.

The final (possibly) instalment in the series will be available soon.

Sunday, October 8, 2017


Welcome back to the second part of our look at the great work of the 
"Strange Modelers of Universal Trains' members and the great work they do.
Our group is based on friendship and giving back to the railway hobby. Two things that seem to scare so many people.
The first part of this article inspired many more to send in, even more, shots of SMUTTERs at work in the preservation scene.
Thank you to one and all.


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Lenny Stewart drives the final spike on the restored platform Rd Crookwell.

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Evan Rees was captured here needle gunning the bogies of MAM907.

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Albert Melchert busy deplating (if that is a word) sleepers at Crookwell.

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Zachary Dray is a regular sight on train tours, spending his free time helping passengers enjoy the experience even more.

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Albert is SMUTs trike expert, having restored many over the years and with a great personal collection.

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Though he is behind the camera in this shot, Bradly Coulter was conductor and trainee driver in this historic shot on the wharves at Newcastle.

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Ben Barnes is another familiar sight on railway tours. This time he was the guard on a double headed steam train to Newcastle for THNSW.

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Dodgy Lyons seems no more happier than when up front of the 
restored Red Rattler set.

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Stay tuned for part 3 - Coming soon.



Tuesday, October 3, 2017





  One of the saddest parts of devoting your life to furthering the railway hobby is the hatred it attracts from those who either do nothing or those with some belief that they have competition.
  In recent weeks the 'Strange Modeler of Universal Trains' (SMUT) has been subject to a number of false accusations, along with hints aimed at our honesty in dealing with helping museums.
  The one being dealt with in this article is the accusation that SMUT members do not get their hands dirty in preservation. Given that membership is heavily drawn from museum volunteers, these comments have caused significantly upset and anger.
  Yes, we are not blind to the fact that these attacks were never made to be factual, their sole purpose being to try to stop our efforts to help. Over the years we have witnessed many good people forced out of the hobby, their biggest crime is that that they did something good for the hobby.

  Is that really the hobby we want?
  Do we really want a hobby at all?

  So, in light of all this, I bring forth an interesting selection of images covering the important work done almost weekly by members of our group.
  Yes, I know that this will only provoke further lies and hate, but we are lucky to have so many people dedicated to preservation and I feel it is about time they are all properly recognised.



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Nathan at Neath during a tour of SMR10 and 18.





Paul on his beloved MARJORIE.
Paul is a very regular volunteer at the Richmond Vale Railway Museum.



Aaron getting his hands dirty at Thirlmere.

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Michael and Aaron (Brothers Hobson) caught in a busy moment.




Quite possibly the nicest guy to exist in the railway hobby, Zane does a huge amount for the railway preservation and modelling scenes.
State Mine is one of his more frequent haunts and it is where he is seen above.



Zane at it again. State Mine.

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Hunter legend Ray on the Goodwin ALCo owned 4833,


The SMUT team who made the Naradhan tour possible.
Left to right.
David X - Tour help.
Brad - Organiser: seating, ticketing, promoting, magazine and PR.
Greg - Organiser: Train, sales, LVR liason.
David H - Tour jack of all trades.
Hendo: Buffet car manager.
Rodney: Barbeque Cookerer and road support.
Sean: Tour help.



Rodney attending to the cooking needs of the pre-Naradhan tour party at Cootamundra West (not on ARTC property).

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Lenny, one of the hard working volunteers at the Crookwell museum.

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Ben, another volunteer worker at the Richmond Vale Railway Museum.

Thanks to everyone who sent in photos for this article and thanks to all those S*M*U*T members who go above and beyond for the preservation scene.

 









Sunday, October 1, 2017



SAVE THE GLENREAGH RAILWAY STATION PRECINCT

One of New South Wale's leading preservationists, Brian Leedham, is spearheading a new campaign to save the historic station, and associated structures, in the north coast town of Glenreagh.
In more recent years, the area has been under the control of the 'Glenreagh Mountain Railway' ( a spin-off of the larger Dorrigo group), however, a lack of interested volunteers has seen the place deteriorate to the sad state it is today.
Brian, who has been travelling widely covering the railway heritage in a number of states, and who was instrumental in getting the 'Merriwa Railway Society' up and going, has now decided to use his talents to try and save this important part of history.
Not happy with the initial dismissive attitude of the 'Australian Rail Track Corporation' (ARTC), Brian has since gained the attention of the media, council and other bodies. He has also set up a group on Facebook that is approaching 400 members and growing constantly.

CLICK HERE: To freely join the group and support this effort.

While Brian works wonders in preservation, he can only do it with the help of all of us. It is a big task, made no easier by the constant attacks on his character, however he wants to give back to the hobby and deserves all the help he can get.
As railfans, I have to believe that none of us wishes to see even more railway history be destroyed. This is why the 'Semi-Retired Foamer', as well as the preservation supporting 'Strange Modelers of Universal Trains', support this great project.

Are you willing to do something for preservation also?

Join in!

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Above photos were taken by the photographic legend that is Wayne Eade, and used with permission.

Sign the petition at Change.org.

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Thursday, September 28, 2017





Sometimes you just decide to let the troublemakers of the hobby 
have their way and look for different ways to contribute to the hobby.
Destroying those who help preservation is cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Food for thought me thinks.
But 44 years of dealing with that sort of person, the lies, the death threats, and the hate, has only ever continued to fail in the attempt to make me stop helping others.
Hmmmm, 44 years, what a truly appropriate number.

Now lets get back to the hobby.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017





FORBES STATION (Stockinbingal-Parkes)

Opened: 1893
Not currently served by any regular passenger service.

Saturday, September 23, 2017





Gwabegar Line
Opened as Candos in 1914, then renamed Kandos in 1915.

Stay tuned for more exciting NSW heritage infrastructure photos from an era when our fellow railfans all worked together to make for a better hobby.









Friday, September 22, 2017


As far as random photos go, I guess they do not come more random than this.
I do not normally put many of my old Instamatic shots on the blog, however every now and then I make an exception.


I know little of this operation, where it ran, or how long it did so. I have only been to Manly once or twice since this shot was taken, but am almost certain it does not operate anymore.
Perhaps one new regulation, or a massive insurance increase, put an end to it all. Like so many other good things that we once enjoyed.


Best and Less have outlasted the Leyland Leopards around Mascot, however, it too is due to shortly be gone.
Too many Sydney icons have disappeared since I carried this bodgy little camera.




Golden West Tours.
Our ride from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves, having caught a V set up from Sydney.



LADY McKELL opposite the Opera House as she prepares for the
Australia Day 'Ferrython'.
Alas, she was not to win. That honour went to LADY WOODWARD, a regular
winner at these events.

The final four shots are taken around the BHP Steelworks system in Port Kembla.
The big K class were subsequently sold and later scrapped.
Pacific National has been ignoring the desperate pleas of museums who want to preserve the smaller units here, many having already been scrapped, NEEDLESSLY, during 2017.