ROLL 70.  Bendigo, 6th January 1969.

 

All photos © Les Brown. Not to be used for Publication.

 

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70-1. B71 & T348. Bendigo.

 

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70-2. J516. Bendigo.

 

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70-3. K167. Bendigo.

 

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70-4. J532. Bendigo.

 

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70-5. J546. Bendigo.

 

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70-6. R766. Bendigo.

 

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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.

 

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70-8. J558. Bendigo.

 

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70-9. J525. Bendigo.

 

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70-10. J548. Bendigo.

 

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70-11. J548. Bendigo.

 

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70-12. Bendigo.

 

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70-13. J550. Bendigo. By this time, with steam locomotive activity receding ever further, the need for heavy fuel oil for the remaining oil-burning J-classes had almost disappeared. To keep them operational during the short time they would be used, dieseline was substituted. Apart from the novelty of a Diesel-Steam engine, they produced very little smoke and on a hot day there was little discernable emission at all from the chimney.

 

J550 was the last steam locomotive, outside a workshop, in service with the Victorian Railways, and as it so happened, in Bendigo on pilot duties. After 116 years, on 25th May 1972, the VR ran no more steam locomotives apart from those engines retained and related to rail enthusiast special train working.

 

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70-14. T384, T353 & Y120. Bendigo.

 

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70-15. J531. Bendigo. How this scene has changed!
Fifty years later, this is how it looked on 6th January 2019.

 

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70-16. J531. Bendigo.

 

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70-17. T384, T353 & Y120. Bendigo.

 

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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.

 

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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 you might be a “spy” from Head Office.

 

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70-20. l-r; J532,  J546 & J507. Bendigo Loco.

 

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70-21. Bendigo. Steam locos waiting scrapping at the North Bendigo Workshops can be seen at the centre of the picture. They were everywhere around the depot. The gardens around the depot were very pleasant.

 

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