NSW, Footplate Padre illustrates tensions
NSW, Footplate Padre illustrates tensions

The Footplate Padre, Australian Baptist minister of 31 years Mark Tronson has focused his September article for the 'On Track' E-Railway magazine on the issue of internal 'tensions' between enginemen working different types of jobs, even though the overriding task was a common one.

To illustrate this, M V Tronson describes the nature of train working of various Locomotive Depots and how this created tensions between the locomotive enginemen.

First, he demonstrated that the trains running out of the Eveleigh Locomotive Depot were main line fast passenger expresses, whereas those belonging to Sydney's Enfield Locomotive Depot were freight trains, many of them all-night-sitters.

The Eveleigh enginemen were able to dress accordingly, in civies, while the Enfield crews wore overalls and regularly worked slow freighters or painful shunting trips. There was some animosity between the enginemen from these two Roundhouses, each with very different cultures.

M V Tronson then describes the three Roundhouses in the Illawarra in the 1960's and 1970's when he was an engineman in that region. Thirroul was the original locomotive depot and by the mid 1960's Thirroul crews were working the workers’ trains that ran every fifteen minutes from 6.00am through to 9.00am from Scarborough in the north to Port Kembla in the south. In addition Thirroul crews worked the coal trains to the Wollongong Inner Harbour where the coal loader was located.

Wollongong Depot crews worked the express passenger trains between Sydney and Nowra and the enginemen wore neat civies and some even wore dust-coats. The Port Kembla depot was only opened in the mid 1960s and those crews worked the heavy steel laden freighters up the mountain line to Moss Vale often to barracks, along with light mixed goods trains to Nowra and slow freight trains to Enfield Yard in Sydney.

The tension and rivalry between these depot crews was consistently evident, and it is this subject that M V Tronson took up to illustrate the nature of the constant tension there is within all our daily lives.

As the Footplate Padre, M V Tronson unpacks this illustration to illuminate the spiritual tensions and challenges that come with being a follower of Jesus Christ.

On Track E-Railway Magazine
The Stringybark Express Museum & Heritage Park
PO Box 27 WAHGUNYAH VIC 3687 sbrlr@bigpond.com 02 6033 3937
I have to agree about the comments on inter depot tensions,as a former Eveleigh enginemen it as instilled in to me the Eveleigh was THE depot and all other where a lesser place in this world. In particular Goulburn was unpopular with us at Everleigh than Enfeild due to the fact that Goulburn Crews did not like us at Everleigh .Goulburn Crews where allwayscomplaing about the condition of engines we would hand them.Often refusing the loco
for cab condition (No 1 South in particular)many a time they would create problems for us and we could only get a cab cleaner sent from the running shed into sydney station to clean the cab again for them or the Southern Aurora would not leave Sydney.This happened often I recall
We where ok on Enfeild loco but they where not with usf or what ever reason (passenger running I suspect,they had none and we had all of the cream)Enfeild did a lot of High Wheeler freight on the main south we had only one or two (475 south out of Alexandria,barracks at Goulburn then return on 4South Sprit of Progress I think?)
My Regular 65 Roster Driver was an ex Grafton driver and to him Taree where the evil on the planet.Taree worked through to Sydney and Grafton didn't so those two depot where at war!
And so it went on and on,if one Depot took a particulr working from another they where biggest animals (trying to keep it clean,much harher words where used) on the planet.
It was all quiet silly really but when you picked up your pay a few barrack's jobs in the pay period made a Big difference to me as merely
an appointed fireman awaiting the grade of acting driver.

Welcome Old Everleigh and thanks for your interesting posts.
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