Tag Archives: tramway

Site Update – The end of a work era

Since 1982 I have worked in the Telecommunications and Information Technology industry. I’ve worked as a technician, technical officer, sales representative, Helpdesk staffer, IT Manager and for the last 10 years as a specialist and consultant service delivery manager. That all comes to a close today. I move on to a new career in the public transit industry as a tram driver. In some ways I’m very sad to leave behind the people and the skills I’ve learned and nurtured for the greatest part of my working life.

The IT life is not all that glorious though. I wont miss the constant stress and never-ending drive needed to keep up and get ahead of the game. The incredibly thankless tasks that you get to do all day, and often part of the night. Not for IT staff is overtime, shift penalties, and Rostered Days off. Just that never-ending all hands to the pump work ethic, and hopefully no heart attack.

Today is a point from which to look forward, not backward. Thus begins the next 15 years of my work life. This is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a boy after I rode the footplate of a steam locomotive, my Uncle Col Casbolt in charge, in Sydney’s western suburbs.

NSW 32 Class Locomotive 3325 has just arrived at Richmond (27 January 1968) –
Image courtesy of ARHS NSW – click image for page

My uncle had been a suburban train driver in the Sydney suburban network for a while then. He made the move from steam to the Sparks (EMUs as shown below) not long after this ride in the southern hemisphere’s spring of 1968 as best I can recall. (I was only 4, almost 5, at the time and hadn’t started school yet!)

NSW ‘Red Rattler’ sets F1 and W3 sit quietly in the old sheds at Redfern (image courtesy of Flying_Donkey@Flickr)

While this week has been a time of a lot of last moments, from this Friday forward I begin a life of firsts for the first time in a long time.

A Yarra Trams E Class Tram # 6015 on the Route 96 @ St Kilda – one of the routes I hope to be driving in 2017-18

I’m looking forward to the hard work and study required to be a fully competent tram driver on our network. And looking forward to becoming a part of the fabric of the city’s public transit network.

W8 Class No. 1010 (built 1955) and rebuilt in 2015-16 at Bendigo Tramway Museum on the City Circle route

I am sure you’ve noticed the volume of posts has dropped away over the last 4 months,  fear not. I’ve not been publishing much yet have been busy working away on a number of smaller projects and layout designs and expect to start building a small switching layout for my son in August. So I hope you can join me in the journey for that project.

While I’ll be working odd hours, studying hard and hoping to pass all of my written and driving exams with flying colours, I do expect to have a little more time to post on the HVL. And of course I expect to have a lot more pictures of trams, with views that I’ve never been able to get before. Looking forward to sharing. Thanks for reading a long and sharing the journey.

Andrew

Site update – 20 February – BTM Tram #18 photos

Over November, December and early January I documented some updates to BTM Tram Number 18 as it goes through its rebuild.  The page has a lot of interesting images of the underframe, resistor grids and the motors. Of greater interest, to me at least, was the changing out of an armature. It’s not something I’ve ever seen done before so I thought I’d document it. Head over to #18’s page and view the evolving gallery there.

The armature being lifted out of the motor housing
The armature being lifted out of the motor housing

If you have any information to share please let me know and I’ll be happy to share it.

Andrew

Site Update – 13 November 2016 – Ballarat Tramway #18 Page

During 2016 Ballarat Tramway museum’s number 18 has undergone some major mechanical work to keep her running. Among the works being undertaken are motor rewinds, wheel reprofiling, work on the axles to bring them back into true, work on the Brill truck, journals and bearings. All of this is normally underneath the tram and out of the public view.

During our regular Tramway Tuesday working bee members have been involved in preserving the tram, and thankfully preserving the skills involved in maintaining trams like Grandfather used to. It is only one benefit of volunteering at a working Tramway Museum.

I’ve updated the number 18 page with a gallery for the work being undertaken. I’ll add photos as I take them over our Southern Hemisphere summer as she gets put back together. These photos are a rare and interesting chance to see under the skirts of a tram. I hope that you enjoy them.

Drop me a line or post a comment on the page if you find something you like.

 

What I’ve been up to this week

It’s the middle of the month already, and I’ve been busy. Since October 2015 I’ve been a member of the Ballarat Tramway Museum here in town. Over the last few months I’ve worked to provide help (by training I’m a Telecoms and IT guy) and doing whatever else comes up and needs doing. In December I began training to become a Tram conductor. Having finished my training I became an Assistant Conductor, but could not work alone. I needed to pass a Railway Category 3 medical to step up from Assistant conductor to full conductor. This is the same medical needed to work on any railway or tramway here in Australia; essentially the medical for everything not a driver. Today I passed that medical, which means that as of this weekend I can go out with a driver as a fully fledged tramway conductor for the museum. Hooray for me – one item struck off my bucket list. Later this year or early next year I’ll be looking to begin training to become a tram driver.

This week I’ve done other things for the museum (which has given me much enjoyment). With upcoming beautification work we needed to upgrade the original 1972 trackwork on the museum roads. So this week two and three roads (the ones closest to the right hand side (if looking at the museum) had work done to lift rails, replace sleepers, relay trackand then back fill for safety. While a lot of it was done with the help of equipment, there’s only so much that a machine can do before you need to have a body. I was gladly one of those bodies.

I was only able to help out on Tuesday and Wednesday but boy did I learn a lot about laying track. This all thanks to our blokes and the track crew from Maldon (Victorian Goldfields Railway) for their track laying ability. Here’s a visual update of what happened on our full size layout, instead of the model, this week.

April 12

April 13

Site Update – March 16 – Ballarat Tramways Gallery

I’ve begun uploading images to the Ballarat tramway page, spurred on by working as an assistant conductor this weekend.

Zip over to the page to take a look at the growing gallery.

Like this post and comment if you find it useful or would like further information; if you’ve not already subscribed to keep up to date you can do so now using the link at the top of the post.

Site seeing – March 13 – the Under the Wire, but not over the hump edition

I am big time into electric traction. Having grown up in Sydney’s west during the reign of the famous (or infamous depending on your point of view) Red-Rattlers it was a privilege to witness the double-deck trailer introduction and the total takeover of the network by Double-Deck Suburban and Interurban sets. Of course having an uncle who drove on the Sydney passenger network helped in this love of ‘sparks’.

Recently I realised a dream when I became a member of our local tramway museum (the Ballarat Tramway Museum). I’d love to be able to drive for the museum, before that happens however I have to become a conductor and be passed medically fit. I’ve finished my conductor training. This means that I’m an assistant Conductor, able to work under another conductor’s supervision. I did that during this weekend’s annual Ballarat Begonia festival.

A couple of photos from the day I’ve posted below:

#616 heading for Gardens Loop on an outbound run on Sunday 13/03/2016
#616 heading for Gardens Loop on an outbound run on Sunday 13/03/2016
Depot roads 2 and 3 with #13 on the right and restaurant tram # 939 on 13/03/2016
Depot roads 2 and 3 with #13 on the right and restaurant tram # 939 on 13/03/2016
My good self as Assistant Conductor 13 March 2016 - Ballarat Tramway
My good self as Assistant Conductor 13 March 2016 – Ballarat Tramway

You can visit the Ballarat Tramway gallery page for more from the Begonia weekend and I’ll be adding more over time as I find them in my archives.

Like this post and comment if you find it useful or would like further information; if you’ve not already subscribed to keep up to date you can do so now using the link at the top of the post.

One step closer to a dream – Saturday 27 February 2016

Since late last year I’ve been a member of the Ballarat Tramway Museum. I became involved for several reasons primarily because I love trams and trains obviously, and that for the first time in my working life I had an oversupply of time and an under supply of work.

This weekend I completed and passed my initial Conductor training at the museum. Right now that means I am an assistant Conductor. I still have a couple of steps including a medical to pass before becoming a fully fledged ‘Conny’. And then hopefully I’ll be up for a slot in the driver training program starting later in 2016. I just wanted to say a big thanks go out to my Conductor trainer and the museum drivers and all the volunteers who started and have kept the museum going since the 1970s.

I’m looking forward to helping out for many years to come.