In December, Newsrail completes its first 50 years of publication by celebrating another 50th anniversary that also falls this month, that of Melbourne’s iconic Hitachi trains.
On 24 December 1972, Melbourne commuters got an early Christmas present with the introduction into service of the first of the ‘Silver’ sets, as they were then known. That day, 1M-901T-902T-2M conveyed VIP passengers on a high-speed run to Pakenham, before taking up regular operations on the St Kilda Line. It was the start of an era in Melbourne’s suburban rail transport that would last for over forty years. To commemorate the anniversary, we present an article about their design and introduction, as well as a separate piece by Ross Jepson, who drove Hitachi trains for around 30 years and shares his thoughts about them.
Our main feature article is from Nick Anchen, author of many books that capture the essence of the former Victorian Railways through the stories of its people. This month, Nick takes us back to the former Birregurra to Forrest railway, through interviews with Frank Bawden and his daughter Shirley Jones. Frank was an operating porter on the railway in the 1930s, when the line was plied by AEC rail motors, the famous “Tiger” (a railcar converted from a standard Dodge light truck, fitted with a sedan-style car body), as well as steam-hauled mixed and goods services.
Our Preservation section reports on Newport Railway Museum’s recent evening opening to host ‘Cabaret amongst the carriages’, and our News and announcements section looks at recent key reports from ATSB and Infrastructure Australia.
And all our other regular sections are there:
- Calendar anniversaries
- General works
- PTV service quality
- Photos in focus
- Operations and sightings
- Where is it?