Steamboat Trains

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Steamboat Trains
Posted by Miningman on Thursday, February 01, 2018 7:02 PM

It's somewhat remarkable that these Train to Steamship connections lasted as long as they did.

I have written about and detailed the homecoming of the 'Keewatin' back to Port McNicoll, Ontario here on Classic Trains Forum,  but alas now things have changed. A new owner has taken over the development and the Keewatin is no longer wanted. Fate unknown.

Boat train with G5 class steam engine and buffet-solarium cars Bermuda (hidden) and Antigua 
Note the imaculate grounds. Canadian Pacific/James A. Brown Collection

Assiniboia and Keewatin were both similar size lake boats. Canadian Pacific photo.

Passengers walk short distance from Steamboat train (with one-of-a-kind buffet-observation-parlor car 6630) to the S.S. Assiniboia. Port Mc.Nicoll, August 15, 1964. Two views. Ted Wickson 

 

#703 "Steamboat" engine 1271, northbound at Bolton on Saturday, June 15th, 1957. Dick George

By the late 1950's the last boat trains operated anywhere in North America were those of the C.P.R's service between Toronto and Port Mc.Nicoll, which had become a twice-weekly service that was still hauled by steam. The sight of G5 class Pacific 1271 hauling its spotless train of modern lightweight air-conditioned coaches with a heavyweight buffet-parlor on the end was something special! The train left Toronto Union Station on Wednesdays and Saturdays, at Noon and took just three hours for its run to Port. Because the ships arrived back in Port Mc.Nicoll at 8 AM on Mondays and Thursdays, the passenger equipment for the southbound boat train laid over at Port, but not the engine and crew. They returned to Lambton in extra freight service! Then, a northbound extra freight would be ordered at Lambton, with the passenger engine, to haul whatever few cars of freight there was to Port and then return in passenger service with the boat train! 

An MLW FPA2 A unit replaced the steam engine and it too looked special. 

Steam Boat at West Toronto Depot. 4094 with 305x combine, two 2200 coaches, buffet-parlour. Notice the people's reflections in the spotless paint. Box cars in background are on interchange track. R.L.Kennedy

Weeds, shortened train #303 hauled by a road switcher, RS10 8481, are all indications the end is near.
SS Assiniboia is at dockside this Saturday September 12, 1964, the last day of the season except for 
Monday's southbound #304. Next season would be the last. John Freyseng


 


Latest happening is the pending move from Port McNicoll as a new developer has acquired the property and wants it gone. 
Possible new locations are Midland and Owen Sound. Historically Owen Sound fits best since that is where the ship first steamed from. Additionally, the Owen Sound Marine and Rail Museum at the old CNR station still on its original site along with its newly acquired dining car would add to the theme and attract more visitors. They will draw from each other.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, February 01, 2018 7:39 PM

Did the boat go to Port Arthur?

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, February 01, 2018 7:48 PM

Midland Mike--Yes indeed Port Arthur, now known as Thunder Bay.

It was built in 1907 and in the Edwardian style and is the last surviving ship built in the style of the Titanic. 

This is disturbing news and I hope it finds a new home in Owen Sound. I took this once on a bicycle journey. Once under way I found out that I could get a bed overnite in my own little room for 10 bucks. Had the round windows and the whole schtick. I remember them vividly coaling her up while I was on shore. 

Civilization is dead my man, dead. 

Should I expire one day hoping I wake up in that bed in that room that morning with my John Players Navy Cut pack on the side table. 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Friday, February 02, 2018 8:21 PM

Class, pure class, just what you'd expect from the CPR in the old days.

Amazing, Keewatin is five years older than the Titanic, and it's in a hell of a lot better shape.  Please God I hope it stays that way!  What a gorgeous ship!

A wonderful representative of maybe a saner day and time.

And for all those "Yes, but..." sourpusses who want to pile on about all the faults of the Edwardian Era let me say  "Certainly, but it wasn't all bad."

And if, God forbid, Keewatin isn't wanted anymore, by anyone, hoist the old Canadian "Red Ensign" to every masthead, tow her out to the deepest part of Lake Huron, and scuttle her.  Scrapping her would be an abomination, let her sleep out eternity in the depths of the lake. 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Friday, February 02, 2018 9:36 PM

How long did the trip to Port Arthur take, and what was the turn around time?

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, February 02, 2018 10:25 PM

Two and a half days one way. Half a day was spent going through the Sault Locks. 

When the last piece of the Trans-Canada Hwy was completed through the incredible tough and rugged Shield north of Sault Ste. Marie in 1965 that was the end for the Passenger ships. The Keewatin and Assiniboia continued on in freight service for 2 more years and then that ended as well. 

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, February 03, 2018 1:39 PM

Firelock--Hard to believe this incredible asset has become such a hot potato...if Midland, Ont. or Owen Sound, Ont. do not want it the talk is to bring it back to Scotland. The Mayors of both towns are not enthusiastic at all. 

1965, the last year of it's passenger run was also the last year the Red Ensign was our flag. I don't mind your suggestion. It's romantic and who knows what kind of shenanigans are going on. Unfortunately things like what you suggest 'happen' to collect on an insurance policy...just saying I have a bad feeling about all of this. Going back to Scotland would seem a viable option. They could even run a steam boat train again and the Scots know well what they are doing.

Port McNicholl was once called the Chicago of the North. The railroads, grain elevators and Great Lakes ships were vastly important. Now all of it has disappeared and it is virtually a Ghost Town. Unimaginable.

The Red Ensign was a beautiful classy flag. They say it was too complicated and people confused it with other flags...nonsense. The new flag, after much debate, was supposed to have blue bars on either end representing the Pacific and Atlantic but the ruling Liberal government snuck in an under the radar Friday midnight long weekend switcheroo and put in the red bars instead ( the colours of their party) and that is what we have today. What a world. 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, February 03, 2018 3:54 PM

Bringing the ship home to Scotland wouldn't be a bad idea either, over in the UK not only are they showing the world how steam locomotive preservation's done they're doing a damn good job with ships as well. 

Flags and flag histories are a hobby of mine, pretty fascinating when you get into it, so I know about the proposed blue bars on the new Canadian flag, "Pearson's Pennant"  I believe it was called.  Honestly, I think it looks better with the red bars anyway, but not as classy and dramatic as the old Red Ensign was.  I own several of them by the way, found them at antique shows here, and usually display them on World War One and Two anniversary days.  I even scored an old Newfoundland Red Ensign on a trip there in 1997!  Looks like this...

www.crwflags.com/FOTW/images/c/ca_nfre2.gif

I remember when Canada changed it's flag in the 1960's.  Many of us here in the US said "Huh?  What for?"  But then, it wasn't our call.

On the trips I've made to Canada over the years I can tell who the conservatives are, they're the ones with the old Red Ensign on their houses.  The really hard-core conservatives fly the Union Jack!

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, February 03, 2018 8:47 PM

Did the ships carry autos?

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, February 03, 2018 9:29 PM

It was not a car ferry per se, but they shipped a lot of freight and cars could be taken. 

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Posted by M636C on Sunday, February 04, 2018 4:26 AM

Firelock76

Bringing the ship home to Scotland wouldn't be a bad idea either, over in the UK not only are they showing the world how steam locomotive preservation's done they're doing a damn good job with ships as well. 

Flags and flag histories are a hobby of mine, pretty fascinating when you get into it, so I know about the proposed blue bars on the new Canadian flag, "Pearson's Pennant"  I believe it was called.  Honestly, I think it looks better with the red bars anyway, but not as classy and dramatic as the old Red Ensign was.  I own several of them by the way, found them at antique shows here, and usually display them on World War One and Two anniversary days.  I even scored an old Newfoundland Red Ensign on a trip there in 1997!  Looks like this...

www.crwflags.com/FOTW/images/c/ca_nfre2.gif

I remember when Canada changed it's flag in the 1960's.  Many of us here in the US said "Huh?  What for?"  But then, it wasn't our call.

On the trips I've made to Canada over the years I can tell who the conservatives are, they're the ones with the old Red Ensign on their houses.  The really hard-core conservatives fly the Union Jack!

I was unaware of the earlier proposal for the Canadian Flag. But with blue bars the flag would resemble the roundels on Canadian military aircraft, which had a blue circle surrounding a red maple leaf on a white ground. I can see that this would appear more familiar to Canadians in general.

I think a major reason for the change would have been to appease the French speaking population who would have been keen to see the Union Flag removed from the left top corner. With either colour of bars, the new flag was reminiscent of the French flag.

I think the new Canadian flag has been quite successful, and is easily recognised. The use of red continues the predominant colour in the old Red Ensign.

Here in Australia we have maintained our original flag, although we used the blue ensign rather than the red ensign, except for merchant ships. I hope that should Australia adopt a new flag, they select a design as good as that in Canada. Were we to follow the air force roundel precedent, we could have two blue bars either side of a red kangaroo, and I could certainly live with that.

The use of the blue ensign rather than the red ensign does not seem to have been settled, or at least not widely known by 1954, and many red ensigns with the five stars of the Southern Cross and the six pointed Federation Star were distributed for the Royal Visit, and I think I ended up with one.

Australia did get one new flag about 1967. The Royal Australian Navy had used the British White Ensign up until that time, and this was replaced with a new white ensign with the six stars in blue.

The flag isn't a big problem right now but Australia's national day, 26 January, clebrates the seetlement at Sydney Cove. Some indigenous citizens say that this is a celebration of genocide and disposession. Our current Federal Government is of conservative persausion and aren't inclined to change the date, but more significantly, changing the date isn't going to help raise the standard of living  of any of the indigenous population, either.

Peter

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, February 04, 2018 11:03 AM

M636C
Australia's national day, 26 January, celebrates the settlement at Sydney Cove.  Some indigenous citizens say that this is a celebration of genocide and dispossession.

Not to mention largely conducted by recognized criminals...

Having spent considerable time in Oz, my comment would be that the name be changed from "National Day" to something slightly more technically accurate (I won't propose any) and then establish some kind of recognition day for the 'older' parts of Australian civilization.  It would be inaccurate and more than a little condescending to note this to be like "Kwanzaa" as an alternative to Christmas, but overloading the sense of memorial remembrance on a particular date (in the computer-language sense) might be a logical approach to consider too.

Just what would the Government propose changing the date to?  There's a sort of parallel in New Zealand in re-establishing Dominion Day as a counterpart to lessen the usual fun surrounding Waitangi Day.  Is there an event, like establishment of the Commonwealth in 1901, that all Australians could rally around better than landing on the fatal shore?

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Posted by M636C on Sunday, February 04, 2018 6:29 PM

Overmod
 
M636C
Australia's national day, 26 January, celebrates the settlement at Sydney Cove.  Some indigenous citizens say that this is a celebration of genocide and dispossession.

 

Not to mention largely conducted by recognized criminals...

Having spent considerable time in Oz, my comment would be that the name be changed from "National Day" to something slightly more technically accurate (I won't propose any) and then establish some kind of recognition day for the 'older' parts of Australian civilization.  It would be inaccurate and more than a little condescending to note this to be like "Kwanzaa" as an alternative to Christmas, but overloading the sense of memorial remembrance on a particular date (in the computer-language sense) might be a logical approach to consider too.

Just what would the Government propose changing the date to?  There's a sort of parallel in New Zealand in re-establishing Dominion Day as a counterpart to lessen the usual fun surrounding Waitangi Day.  Is there an event, like establishment of the Commonwealth in 1901, that all Australians could rally around better than landing on the fatal shore?

 
26 January is called "Australia Day", which raises the problem that the settlement in 1788 was called "New South Wales" at the time. Australia was used from about 1800 as the name of the island, but only became the name of the country in 1901.
 
I think that day should still be celebrated but with a name more reflective of the reason for the day being celebrated. Perhaps "Settlement Day"?
 
The problem with celebrating Federation is that it occurred on 1 January 1901. While this makes it really easy to remember, nobody wants any sort of celebration on New Year's Day following the celebrations of the night before. And 1 January is a national holiday anyway to allow the sore heads to subside.
 
We have in Australia a very large number of holidays already.
 
ANZAC Day, 25 April, commemorates the landing on Gallipoli.
I live just next to the Australian War Memorial and the celebration there, with veteran's marches gets bigger every year. This has been one of the suggestions for a day that everyone can agree with. There were a number of indigenous soldiers (mainly) in WWI and a substantial number in WWII although they were technically not citizens until 1967.
 
Perhaps we should look for the date of the first Federation Conference or something like that which would be in some way similar to the USA Declaration of Independence. As long as it wasn't 1 January....
 
A vaguely humorous suugestion was "May 8", because it sounds a bit like the extended pronunciation of that favoured expression "Maaate"....
 
Peter
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Posted by wanswheel on Monday, February 05, 2018 1:19 PM

https://archive.org/stream/georgianbaythirt00unse#page/n33/mode/2up

 https://archive.org/stream/canprinterpublish1916toro#page/n433/mode/2up/

https://archive.org/stream/cihm_16953#page/n127/mode/2up

http://www.timetableimages.com/maritime/images/cpr58.pdf

Coast Seamen’s Journal, Oct. 2, 1907 - CANADIAN PACIFIC LINERS. The Buffalo Drydock Company has secured the contract for putting together the two big Canadian Pacific steamers which will be towed to that port from Quebec in sections. The steamers, which were built abroad, will be operated on the Upper Lakes by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The steamer Assiniboia, the first ship to come over, has been cut in two at Quebec, 105 feet being taken off her bow. Edward N. Smith, superintendent of the Buffalo Drydock Company was at Quebec when the operation was performed and he will have charge of the work of joining the sections. The steamer Keewatin, which is a sister ship to the Assiniboia, arrived at Montreal recently with 1,000 tons of cargo. The Keewatin will go to Quebec, where about one third of the forward portion will be cut off and the two sections will be towed to Buffalo.

Coast Seamen’s Journal, Nov. 13, 1907 - LAKES NOTES. The stern portion of the Canadian Pacific line steamer Assiniboia arrived at Buffalo November 1 from Scotland. The steamer was cut in two at Quebec in order to get her through the Canals, and the remaining section will reach Buffalo in a few days. The two halves will be reunited at the Buffalo drydock.

 

Coast Seamen’s Journal, Dec. 18, 1907 - LAKES NOTES. On her way to Owen Sound to be fitted out, the new steamer Assiniboia, of the Canadian Pacific line, made a brief stop at Windsor. The two sections of her sister ship, the Keewatin, are at the Buffalo drydock to be reunited.

 

Coast Seamen’s Journal, Jan. 22, 1908 - CREW SAIL FOR HOME. The crew which brought the new Canadian Pacific passenger steamer Keewatin from the shipyards in Scotland to finally place her in winter quarters at Owen Sound, on Christmas Day, have embarked for their homes on the Clyde after a trip replete with novelty. They not only broke all records in bringing the steamer, built for Lake service, across the ocean, but they shattered all Lake records as well when they took the passenger steamer the length of the Lakes in midwinter. The men had expected to be home for Christmas, but the experience which they will be able to relate to their highland brethren will more than make up for their disappointment in this regard. The vessel was brought across the ocean, cut in two at Quebec and towed through the narrow passes of the St. Lawrence, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie to Buffalo in two sections. There the ship was reunited, but so much time was consumed in the work that it was well past the middle of December before she was ready to sail for Owen Sound to join the remainder of the Canadian Pacific fleet. Chief Officer Johnston, who navigated the ship to Buffalo, was unfamiliar with the Upper Lake channels, but every officer in the C.P.R. fleet was anxious to sacrifice his Christmas dinner at home to accompany the vessel on her trip. The command, of course, fell to Commodore E. B. Anderson, but the other captains even then were not satisfied to be left behind, and they were allowed to fill the minor berths for the trip. The Scotch crew embarked at St. John, N.B., very much pleased with themselves and the hospitality which had been accorded them by the American inland sailors.

https://archive.org/stream/coastseajour21unse#page/n293/mode/2up/

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Posted by Firelock76 on Monday, February 05, 2018 3:35 PM

Speaking of Australia, these folks have got to be one of Australia's greatest gifts to the world.

Do you remember?  I do!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmactMIhrRM

I could watch that over and over...

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, February 05, 2018 11:31 PM

Thank you thank you Wanswheel...Have archived all of the above information.  

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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 12:28 AM

The photo above shows the steamboat train after steam had been replaced with Alco/MLW FP2A's. One thing that is noticeable is the high standards they kept up on this service. Look at the reflections of those people in the heaveyweight buffet parlour. 

To me the New York Central and the Canadian Pacific Railway understood each other very well and had similiar high standards of service. They cooperated on these services especially with sleeping car service.

So here's a nice little trip for us Classic dudes---let us take the NYC from Chicago to New York, doesn't have to be the Century but something fast and comfortable, good food, enjoyable. We arrive at GCT and check into the Central's own Commodore Hotel, marvel at the architecture and the huge rooms. More fine dining. Then we book a sleeper to Toronto in a heavyweight CPR car on the New York Central, arrive Union Station Toronto and walk through to the connecting tunnel to the Royal York Hotel. A pleasant evening in the Royal Yorks Blue Note Jazz Club with Lena Horne. Then we take the steamboat train to Port McNicoll were the Keewatin awaits us and we journey 2 1/2 days to the Lakehead at Port Arthur/Fort William. We find Stompin' Tom Connors on the deck. 

Someone please explain to me why this is not possible any longer. 

I simply do not understand how something so perfect and functional , so important and a core of our society and who we are has just vanished. 

( ok Lena Horne and Stompin' Tom are no longer with us, I get that, added that in for fun)

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Posted by M636C on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 3:39 AM

Firelock76

Speaking of Australia, these folks have got to be one of Australia's greatest gifts to the world.

Do you remember?  I do!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmactMIhrRM

I could watch that over and over...

 
Given the forum, have you tried
 
 
If I've got it right, that should be "Morningtown Ride"
 
The seekers came from Melbourne, Victoria. There was line that ran down the east side of Port Phillip Bay to Frankston and continues on to Crib Point on Westernport Bay. There was a branch from Baxter to Mornington on Port Phillip Bay. There was an interesting operation where a pair of elderly suburban electric power cars hauled four conventional coaches to Frankston (the end of the electrification) where steam locomotives hauled the train onward to Mornington. This line closed about the time the song came out. But it seemed to me at the time that the references to "around the bay" came from that line.
 
I was quite taken aback by the videos. Australia didn't get colour television until 1975 so any of the coverage of the "Seekers" was monochrome. I was impressed by the scenes in Abbey Road, although they were almost certainly not recording sessions.
 
Peter
  
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Posted by Firelock76 on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 9:25 AM

How's about a little "Morningtown Ride" with a steam train?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1UXSdFlVOs

Everyone sure seems to be enjoying themselves!

A sweet little song, but I don't remember it getting any air time here.  The big hits for The Seekers here in the US were "I'll Never Find Another You," "World Of Our Own,"  and "Georgy Girl." 

And wasn't their lead singer Judith Durham a real honey?

I was surprised to see those Seeker color films from the 60's myself, I can't think of why they were done unless it was promotion purposes or release as theatrical shorts.  I'm sure glad they exist though!

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Posted by wanswheel on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 2:35 AM
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Posted by M636C on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 4:39 AM

Firelock76

How's about a little "Morningtown Ride" with a steam train?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1UXSdFlVOs

Everyone sure seems to be enjoying themselves!

A sweet little song, but I don't remember it getting any air time here.  The big hits for The Seekers here in the US were "I'll Never Find Another You," "World Of Our Own,"  and "Georgy Girl." 

And wasn't their lead singer Judith Durham a real honey?

I was surprised to see those Seeker color films from the 60's myself, I can't think of why they were done unless it was promotion purposes or release as theatrical shorts.  I'm sure glad they exist though!

 
The train involved in that clip was the 2'6" gauge "Puffing Billy" line on the eastern edge of suburban Melbourne. The locomotive used was a copy of A Baldwin built locally. The band were riding in an NQR type steel gondola, coupled ahead of an ex Tasmanian Mt Lyell rack railway coach (converted from 3'6" gauge).
 
I was struck by the Golden Retriever calmly watching the scenery go by...
 
I rode the train last month in the guard's compartment, since a good friend was volunteering as guard (combining duties of USA conductor and rear end brakeman). I think the loco in the video was 7A, lead loco on my train.
 
The service is very popular and is reaching the limits of the "staff and ticket" safeworking system. I found the radio communication virtually unintelligible when the train was under way.
 
Incidentally, passengers waving to bystanders is completely standard practice and most wave back.
 
I made a mental note to visit the location of the final scene for photographs.
 
The three songs you quoted made No 1 in Australia. Morningtown Ride made No 4 in Australia but only No 44 in the USA.
 
The group broke up in 1969 but reformed later.
 
In 1968, to relate back to my earlier posts, the Seekers were jointly named as "Australians of the Year" on 26 January, the only group of people ever to share this award.
 
So I guess the Australian Government shared your opinion...
 
Peter
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Posted by wanswheel on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 2:32 PM

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 3:18 PM

Engines for the Turbotrain were Canadian.  A distant second to the Orenda but far more influential over the years...

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 5:56 PM

wanswheel

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by M636C on Thursday, February 08, 2018 5:03 AM

I guess I should say that I travelled on the VIA Turbotrain from Toronto nearly to Montreal. I was in the leading coach class dome when there was an indication of an engine fire in that car. We stopped near Dorval Airport. I discovered that the seating in the dome was upholstery held in place by velcro on aluminium bases and it was all removed to avoid it catching fire (and thrown down the steps).

The Rapido we had overtaken pulled alongside and we finished the journey standing in the vestibule. Even when it was running as intended, there were warnings about not standing as the train ran over the crossovers leaving Toronto, but I hadn't found my assigned seat in time so I took the roughness as it came.

The Seekers seem to have had more rail songs than I remember....

The three men in the Seekers were classmates at Melbourne Grammar school (one of the most exclusive schools in the country) and this might have been one reason that their songs were rather more upbeat than the average folk group of the period -  not much experience of hard times.

It was indicated that a TV special of 1968 was filmed in colour and released as a cinema trailer. This may have been the source of some of the better clips.

Peter

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Posted by Firelock76 on Thursday, February 08, 2018 5:59 PM

M636, if anyone knew where the Seekers filmed that "Morningtown Ride" movie I KNEW it would be you!

And you've even ridden it!  Lucky guy!

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Posted by M636C on Friday, February 09, 2018 3:03 PM

Firelock76

M636, if anyone knew where the Seekers filmed that "Morningtown Ride" movie I KNEW it would be you!

And you've even ridden it!  Lucky guy!

 

Here is a reference to the locomotives on the "Puffing Billy" line.

http://www.victorianrailways.net/motive%20power/na/na.html

The broad gauge steam and diesel locomotives and most major items of rolling stock are covered, with drawings. Individual locomotive record cars are included.

This system has been most affected by standardisation of gauge (happening now, maybe 70 years too late) and privatisation.

Peter

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