Another of those railway lines that has held my interest for many decades is that to Wongawilli, branching off the Illawarra line at Brownsville (Kembla Grange-Dapto), and primarily used for coal haulage.
My initial intention with this post was to cover what I managed to see over many years of visiting the line. However, due to the generosity of Chris Stratton, I've been able to extend this to show operations, and variety of locomotives used, from the early 80s through to suspension of services.
The line was opened in October 1916, by mine owners G & C Hoskins, with coal being railed direct to their steelworks in Lithgow from late the next year.
Over the years it would go through a number of different ownership changes, 'Australian Iron and Steel', then 'Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP)', railing coal to the their steelworks in Port Kembla.
BHP Billiton eventually sold the line to 'Gujarat NRE Resources', a company based in India.
Today the line is not in use, although I was recently told this may be changing in the future. I guess time will tell if the story is not yet finished.
The yard in Wongawilli Village is a depressing sight nowadays, rusty rails and weeds showing the disuse of recent times.
D44 is in her unique 'Hawks Steelers Wolves'.
A collision would see the career of D50 cut short.
Both are now scrapped.
This was during one of those periods when a loco remained here to shunt, releasing other locos to shuttle back and forth from the steelworks.
1995 saw the start of change for the Elouera (Wongawilli) line, with three ALCo locomotives leased from Austrac for use on coal runs.
101 was 44229, later rebuilt as GL109
They can still be found on the western line to Lithgow, and on weekdays north to Newcastle.
Before i get some whinging, yes I know this isn't on the branch, but I am having trouble locating the pictures of it out there.
This consisted of all three together, in numerical order, from the steelworks to Elouera and return. Quite a magnificent sight, although I have always thought the Jumbos would have looked better had their livery been treated the same as 103.
It was very late and the only real light was from the headlight of the Jumbo we were on. As we approached this curve, we suddenly seen something all over the track, a split second that is quite frightening when you have no idea what is ahead.
I believe 8018 also went there at the time as a source of parts.
However, it did happen in the early days of their use, Chris Stratton having photographic proof of this.
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