Junee Roundhouse Media Information

4401 – Leader of the Revolution

The return of 4401 to the Junee Roundhouse has had a few people asking why this locomotive is significant. Many people remember seeing locomotives just like it in this area and, after all, there were a hundred of them made and they ran on just about all major lines going north, south and west across NSW. They were quite a common sight on the southern line. Four class members are still based at Junee.

Well, perhaps it is the fact that the 44 Class locomotives were produced in such large numbers that gives them a place in our history. No other class of main-line Diesel Electric for NSW has ever had so many. Or maybe it is because this class of locomotives revolutionised the NSW Government Railways operations.

The first 60 of these Goodwin ALCO 1800 H.P. Diesel Electric Locomotives with their streamlined body were ordered in January 1957 and 4401 came into service in July of that year. A further 40 followed a few years later. This locomotive could travel at a top speed of 70 M.P.H. and haul 520 tons at a speed of 13.7 M.P.H up a grade of 1 in 40. (Source: NSW Government Railways Publication 1354/1).

Unlike steam locomotives which took hours from cold, the 44 class engines could be started immediately. But probably their most useful feature was their cab at each end which enabled the locomotives to be driven from either end when hauling a load. A train could be taken from Sydney to Albury and the locomotive uncoupled, driven around the train on a loop and coupled to the other end of the train without need of a turntable or needing to pull a train while in reverse.  It was also fitted with a multiple unit control system which enabled four locomotives to be operated from the one cabin. And the automatic staff exchangers at each end could be operated from the cab allowing the exchange to be made at 70 M.P.H. which was a great time saver on the single tracks travelled south of Junee.

The 44s were a favourite with crews to operate. Their smooth riding capability and robust reliability set them apart. In Junee double headed and even triple headed 44s, coupled like caterpillars, were a common sight on the heaviest of grain trains. Their mournful horn blast which heralded the arrival of another hard working 44 could be heard some distance away.

Many liveries adorned this class of engine while in Departmental service. It was the last of the class, 44100 which was the first engine to be painted in the new State Rail Authority’s corporate colours in August 1982. This livery has become known as the “candy colour scheme” and is a favourite of rail enthusiasts today. In March 1988, 4469 was the first to be given the “Red Terror” livery.

So what is the significance of this locomotive to Junee? 4401 represents the class of main line locomotive that, more than any other, replaced steam traction in NSW.  Engines in this class hauled the crack expresses through Junee, such as The Southern Aurora, Australia’s most prestigious train in its day. They greatly increased efficiency in all rail operations, both passenger and goods workings. 4401 is preserved in fully operational condition in the livery of Tuscan and Chrome as delivered in 1957.

The NSW Coat of Arms proudly displayed on the nose of 4401 is a reminder of the importance of rail in providing much needed passenger and freight services to country people (as well as employment) at a time when state owned and operated trains were the only rail option. And many women of Junee certainly appreciated the new cleaner engines which didn’t leave soot spots all over their freshly hung-out washing!

N. K. Milliken and I.W. Gray

Technical advice R. Ison

 

 

 

Cleaning up the MUSS Pile

Published as ‘Treasures of the MUSS Pile’ in Junee Southern Cross on 13 August 2018 - our text is reproduced below.

It’s amazing what you find when you clean up the MUSS Pile. The “Maybe Useful Someday Stuff” accumulates over the years until one day someone says: “Enough, time for a clean up!”

The MUSS Pile is often tucked away in an obscure corner of an establishment and is added to at random by all who work there. The bits and pieces that just ‘might come in handy’ because you ‘never know what you might need’ and ‘you can’t throw that out, we might need it’ reflects the thrifty thinking of a bygone era. A time when a latch, a piece of timber, or a particular type of bolt would be needed to keep essential pieces of equipment operating.

Volunteers at the Roundhouse Museum, Vince, Jonathon and Trevor have been busy for several weeks tidying up the storage area and putting things to rights. In doing so they made two exciting discoveries. Fortunately Jonathon (son of a Perway worker) and Trevor (ex breakdown train crew) recognised the bits and pieces of steel and very soon had the fettlers’ rail cutting tool assembled. It is now on display in the museum. Such a clever implement that could be carried easily on a trike to an area of broken rail, assembled and within minutes (so we are told) have a new piece of rail cut to size and ready to be dog spiked into place.

The second equally exciting discovery was the uncovering of an old anvil. Research done by Allan, another volunteer, has revealed a piece of history which has direct links to the old Junee loco depot before the Roundhouse was built. The anvil took a bit of persuading to reveal its origins but Vince scraped and rubbed off accumulated gunk until the original steel shone through and the maker’s name and number could be seen. It seems that this marvellous old item made by Peter Wright at his ‘Railway Wheel, Vice and Anchor Works, Dudley’, began its life in England somewhere between 1880 and 1910 and travelled to Australia (probably as ship’s ballast) before ending up in Junee in the blacksmith’s forge. Manoeuvring the anvil into its display position and onto its table plate required some railway ingenuity as it weighs about 6 cwt (in old measure) and roughly 300kgs in metric. Visitors to the museum will see this unusual piece of Junee railway history now on display as they tour the Roundhouse.

The third item causing some excitement has been the handing over of an original NSW Department of Railways Coat of Arms for locomotive 4401. Museum Curator, Ron Ison, managed to persuade NSW Rail Heritage to part with one of two such items so it could be rightfully put in its place on the nose of the locomotive. It is quite a sight to behold and adds the finishing touch to the original livery of this first generation main line diesel.

The Roundhouse Museum has an impressive display of locomotives and equipment pertinent to Junee railway history and thanks to the dedicated hard work of volunteers the museum exhibits and storage area are spruced up and looking pretty good.

N. K. Milliken and I.W. Gray

                                                       Jonathan Douglas and Trevor Follett with the rail saw

           Neville Hyde, Allan Tucker, Jonathan Douglas and Vince Hollis with the anvil

 

'The life and times of mischievous Fanny', an article by N.K. Milliken and I.W. Gray about the famous shunting tank engine which was in Junee from the late 1940s into the 1960s, was published in the Junee Southern Cross on 16 July 2018 - https://www.juneesoutherncross.com.au/story/5528235/the-life-and-times-of-mischievous-fanny/

 Our text of the story is reproduced below.

'Fanny was a much-loved engine of the Junee railway community. The little 1885 tank engine worked at the Junee Roundhouse for over fifteen years. She shunted engines much bigger than herself around the Roundhouse and tended to their needs for coaling and de-ashing. Fanny’s life as the depot shunter was a busy one. It was mostly spent in the Roundhouse. But on several occasions, Fanny went to town. Each time she was lovingly prepared and dressed in her finery for her big day out by her devoted crew.

Fanny hadn’t had the best of track records before coming to Junee. There was a report that she and her sister engines had been ‘banished’ from the Sydney scene for too much ‘dancing’ off the tracks. Fanny was known to be a bit eager to start at times and, on one notable occasion, had taken a nose dive into the Roundhouse turntable pit. Fanny was also inclined to be somewhat impatient and didn’t always wait for her crew to get on board.

When Fanny went to town she was on her best behaviour. Painted up in her livery of green and black with a dash of gold lining, her brass steam dome polished and her buffer beams forming a cummerbund of red front and back, Fanny proudly displayed her Number 23 on her side and her name plate in front of her chimney.

In 1959 she led Junee engines into Wagga Wagga for the 80th Anniversary Celebration of the opening of the Wagga Wagga railway. Fanny proudly wore the Australian Coat of Arms made especially for her. She travelled under her own steam there and back which was no small feat for a little tank engine. Later she was put on a display at the Junee station and attracted a great deal of interest from many enthusiasts.

Two years later she led the Junee engines again. On this occasion it was into Junee station to meet two vintage engines, 1243 and 1210 which were visiting for the Junee 75 Year Local Government Celebrations. Rumour has it that Fanny engaged in a bit of “sparring”, racing against her colleagues from Sydney. The community certainly turned out to see Fanny and her visitors. One wonders if at the end of the day Fanny introduced the Sydney engines to her usual workplace: the Roundhouse and its turntable.

It was a sad day in Junee when, despite the best efforts of Junee District Historical Society, Fanny was set aside and later sent to Cardiff to be scrapped.

A recent publication ‘Fanny the shunting tank engine’, available at the Junee Roundhouse Museum, tells some of Fanny’s story. It is hoped that this book for children will keep her memory alive. Visitors to the museum are greeted by a model of Fanny built by Brian Whitechurch. It is a tangible reminder, as well as a great talking point, for visitors to the museum.

Many thanks to the Broadway Museum staff for the time and help given in finding out information about Fanny, the shunting tank engine.'

'Junee Roundhouse: Volunteers save town’s famous rail history', an article published in the Weekly Times on 6 July 2017, can be found at https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/country-living/junee-roundhouse-volunteers-save-towns-famous-rail-history/news-story/1d0f7c7c86fb2c909e0bc34ae12d5665.