ROLL 70. Bendigo, 6th January 1969.
All photos © Les Brown. Not to be used
70-1. B71 & T348. Bendigo.
70-2. J516. Bendigo.
70-3. K167. Bendigo.
70-4. J532. Bendigo.
70-5. J546. Bendigo.
70-6. R766. Bendigo.
This locomotive was restored to service a few years later. In 2007 it was moved to the Hunter Valley Railway Trust, North Rothbury, New South Wales for conversion to standard gauge, the first broad gauge locomotive to be done. The mechanical work has been completed and is awaiting trials that will mark the beginning of a very lengthy and complicated accreditation process. Despite being originally designed for conversion to standard gauge, the modifications have been so extensive that it is regarded as a new class of locomotive. This has made the accreditation process way more complicated than usual.
70-7. J531. Bendigo. On one memorable trip two years previously, I joined a local goods train behind this locomotive between Serviceton and Dimboola. One particular feature of this engine at that time was rust, which was everywhere. We thought then it had not much more to go before being scrapped and yet here it is, two years later, still working. That was typical of a steam engine, just as you thought you had seen the last of a particular locomotive, it would reappear again.
70-8. J558. Bendigo.
70-9. J525. Bendigo.
70-10. J548. Bendigo.
70-11. J548. Bendigo.
70-13. J550. Bendigo. By this time, with steam locomotive activity receding ever further. To keep the few remaining oil burning locomotives operational during the short time they would be used, diesel fuel was substituted. Apart from the novelty of a Diesel-Steam engine, they produced very little smoke and on a hot day there was little discernible emission at all from the chimney.
J550 was the last steam locomotive in service with the Victorian Railways, and as it so happened, in Bendigo on pilot duties on 25th May 1972. The Victorian Railways still continued using steam locomotives for another 7 years, but they were confined to shunting around railway workshops,
Apart from those engines retained and related to preserved railways and rail enthusiast special train working, steam locomotives finished their service to Victoria after 125 years.
70-14. T384, T353 & Y120. Bendigo.
70-15. J531. Bendigo. Too see what it looks like exactly fifty years later click or tap on the photo.
70-16. J531. Bendigo.
70-17. T384, T353 & Y120. Bendigo.
70-18. J531. Bendigo. Even more than 100 years after the line was opened, there was still some of the original bull-head rail to be found. The rails in front of the J-class were the original track built in the early 1860’s. A steel tyre on rail is a lot harder wearing than a rubber tyre on tar.
70-19. B64. Bendigo. I got these “funny” looks
quite often. I was usually ignored once I made it known I didn’t actually work
for the railways.
Some railway staff were worried I might be a “spy” from Head Office. This locomotive still exists, at Bendigo, but its fate is unknown.
70-20. l-r; J532, J546 & J507. Bendigo Locomotive Depot.
70-21. Bendigo. Steam locos stored
awaiting scrapping at the nearby North Bendigo Workshops can be seen at the
centre of the picture. They were everywhere around the depot.
The Victorian Railways encouraged pleasant gardens around stations and depots, and even beside railway lines in some locations.