Friday, July 22, 2011

Allan Stevenson retire's


This post is a tribute to a fellow Locomotive Driver Allan ( ACEY ) Stevenson. I have never worked with Acey but have relieved him when we have brought trains in to Broken Hill and along the track. Ace would always speak first not matter what time of the day or night, he would have a cheerful G'day how are you? Ace would crack a funny or two and you would leave feeling happy.

Ace 1965

Ace cracking a funny on the loco.

A.B.C Broken Hill Interview

Whilst I listened to Acey's interview, I thought to myself, this day for me will come and I started to feeling kinda emotional for Acey. Like Acey says this is not a job its a way of life. I wish I had of had the chance to work on the loco with Acey. I will make sure that I keep in contact with Ace, and when we pass through Broken Hill, He can shout me a beer or two......

Ace is a 1 eyed Carlton supporter, so here is their web page. They need all the support they can get....LOL.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Favorite Bosses

Over my railway career I have had quite a few Station Masters, now Managers. These two gentleman below are far by the two best bosses I have ever worked under. Both these blokes had a very good understanding and respect for their workers. They would always take 10 minutes of their time to have a cuppa and a yak with you. I haven't spoken to either for awhile but I will endeavour to touch base and let them know they are now famous.

Simo was the Station Master at Thevenard for the last half of my time at Thevenard as a Shunter Class 2. 

Steve Simpson Ex Station Master Thevenard

Robert was a Locomotive Driver with Australian National. I vaguely remember working with Robert in A.N days. When National Rail was formed Robert was a Driver Trainer, then a Driver Specialist and finished as our Depot Manager with Pacific National.  Robert always had time in his day,no matter what time it was, he would stop and have a yak. I will say Robert has one down side, he barracks for that other South Australian AFL team and its not the Crows. 

Robert Grantham Ex Depot Manager Port Augusta

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Ghan 4AD8

Useful info

Breakfast on the Ghan 06/07/2011, Loco driver's style.

Several photo's of our trip from Spencer Junction to Roe Creek.

4DA8 entering the crossing loop at Roe Creek.

Over pass at the 977 km Stuart Highway

Sunrise just past Marla heading north to Alice Springs

Another sunrise shot.

Sorry for the side ways shots Blogger Grrrrr

The ghans crossing at roe creek

My mate Graeme Swansson......

Longest Ghan 2004

Friday, July 15, 2011



 Geologists say that this is the oldest river in the world. It is considered a major river of the Red Centre, but is also generally described as “intermittent.” That is, it’s only sometimes a river. The 400-mile-long river rises in the MacDonnell Ranges and winds down through Palm Valley on its way to South Australia to the Simpson dessert.

Link below with more info.

 Finke River Bridge looking north, on this occasion there was a small amount of water laying around after rain.

 Finke River Bridge looking south

Ghan stopped on the Finke Bridge. We always stop the Ghan on the bridge to allow the passengers to take photos from aboard the train. This day the Ghan was almost 1 hour ahead of schedule. So it was a great opportunity for several pictures for me.

On this day we weren’t lucky enough to have one of the red painted Ghan locomotives. My mate was Geoff Nayda. Geoff and I started on the locomotives in 1993 as Trainee Engineman. Hopefully with Geoff dad's permission, I will do a post on Mr Nayda Snr who also was a locomotive driver.

Looking west in the middle of the Finke river. As I stood there I imagined the river completely full and flowing. I wondered to myself what force and power so much water could do. Yet no sooner does this river flood and its dry again, Good ole mother nature.

Finke with water left over.

Finke River looking west from the driver’s seat.

These photos’s where taken by Mr Jim Dawson, Finke was in flood this trip. I haven’t been lucky enough to see this great sight as yet. As I added these photos’s I found myself scrolling backwards and forwards to the opposite photo. My dry river shots and Jimmy’s flood pictures.

Thank you for following and viewing my photos. I hope you enjoy my latest post. I am hoping to use as many photos of my own. But on occasions like this I have used Jimmy’s wonderful photos. If I happen to be lucky enough to see the Finke in flood I will certainly do another post on this magnificent wonder of our great wide land we live in.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Boys with  big railway toys.!

 Wonder what the men that first worked on the railroad, would think.

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Mentor

My Mentor and long time friend Mr Malcolm Withers or just Mal.

Mal was a railway man for a long time and now enjoying life in retirement. He worked for the PMG before joining the railways.In 1993 I was lucky enough to get a job back at Port Augusta as a Trainee Locomotive Engine-man. My first regular mate on the foot plate was Mr Malcolm Withers.
Mal was a (VERY) hard task master, he always rode me. Although for me this was a good thing because I am not the sharpest chisel in the shed. Mal was an excellent teacher, he made you think and re think again. He would pose a question to me knowing the answers. What I mean by this, is he would ask you something you knew would be right. But after answering the question tell you,you where wrong, so off to the Rule Book or the Consolidated Manual I would go. Mal challenged me, I will always have the greatest respect and admiration for Mal.

NR115 Whyalla Shunter

Malcolm's pay rise

Mal receives a pay rise after a practical assessment in 1970. So back in 1970 his flat rate was $27,742. How times have changed, this year 2011 I think I  almost paid that in tax. 

Mud Maps

These are my mud maps of the track between Spencer Junction and Cook. Every trip Mal would go through each section we drove. We would discuss each section in both ways, like I previously said "Mal was hard task master". I have never told Mal, but My Dad and Mal are probably the 2 greatest influences in my life. I will always remember the things my dad showed me and those trips on the foot plate with you Mal.................

Sunday, July 3, 2011


 I have been uploading photo's to Panoramio, which is linked to Google Earth. Hope you enjoy.

Kind Regards

Phil Hodgins
Tribute to my Dad
My Dad was a typical Australian hard knock story. He gave everything a go throughout his short life. I actually know very little of my Dad’s child hood because he never spoke much on that subject. Knowing that my Dad was fireman (Locomotive driver) with SAR South Australian Railways didn’t become knowledge to me until I put in for a job with AN Australian National in 1986. I came home from my job that I had at local hardware store and said: that I had got into the railways as a junior porter at the Port Augusta Railway Station. Dad’s first response was “what the bloody hell do you want to work for the railways” I asked why and he then proceeds to tell me that he was Fireman (Driver) at Port Lincoln then transferred to Thevenard. My Dad’s first mate on the foot plate at Port Lincoln was Jack Street who finished his railway career as a locomotive inspector. Dad’s stories and accounts of what went on back in the “OLD “days was very interesting to say the least. Like today what happens on the Loco stays on the loco..

This photo was taken in the THEVENARD barracks circ 1960. From the left is My Dad, Trevor Harris, Not sure on the other two blokes. But as you can see they are enjoying a long neck whilst playing monopoly.

A couple Locomotive from Dad’s era at Port Lincoln and Thevenard

Dad at 10 years of age. Photo was taken at Little Swamp at Port Lincoln.

Dad with his guitar

My proud Dad with his invention

Dad and Friend came up with a new electronic ignition system. Dad spent many weeks down Adelaide trying to get it off the ground, but it never come to fruition because Dad took it all with him.  Although now Holden’s have a very similar Sdi system today..

To everyone out there reading  my first post, get up go hug your husband, wife or kids. Then get on the phone and ring your mum or dad. Get in the car and go visit them  because one day they won’t be there and you will miss them. My dad was still alive for the first 4 years whilst I started my career as a Locomotive Driver with Australian National, then the beginning of National Rail.

I have been on the foot plate for 18 years now, I love every minute of my job. I will endeavour to post as regular as possible. I have many photo's of my journeys in my short journey of  life as a railway man.