David Johnson wrote in message <373AFF65.208A8152@ozemail.com.au>...
>Derick Cullen wrote:
>> Newbie to group seeks info on etymology and usage of term gunzel.
>For your next term, why not ask about the humble "Hogaphone"?
>David Johnson
>CityRail Guard

I may be a relative newbie to this group but I am not a newbie to rail enthusiasm (useless, pointless or otherwise). I am thus quite familiar with the hogaphone and the gentleman who operated same. I agree that hogaphone deserves a place in any dictionary of railway enthusiast terms. But the hogaphone was never humble!

Eldon was a delight to see in operation, and was unfailingly courteous and helpful to us out-of-staters who did not quite know the way things were done in Victoria. The man to see about stuff when in Melbourne.....

I never did work out how most (?) of the announcements made on said hogaphone about train movements in the immediate vicinity usually came to pass...... was Eldon really told all this detail in advance, or did the ever-alert train crews, signalmen and yard shunters listen intently to what he had to say and then carry it out diligently?

Either way, anyone who has tried to convince (a) mechanical branch and (b) traffic branch and (c) your fellow tour organisers to carry out some planned and agreed manoeuvre in some coordinated fashion just had to look on in awe at how Eldon seemingly orchestrated things.

My favourite piece of Hogania goes back to 1973 (!). The great Easter steam tour of that year had 3801+3820 on the SG, R707 parallel running on the BG plus all sorts of side trips to odd corners of Melbourne, Ballarat, Geelong, PBS etc. all subject to the blare of the hogaphone.

After some days at this we were finally belting home through the gathering darkness somewhere north of Seymour. At that point my fellow lounge-car occupants and I were engaged in constructing an accelerometer which was designed to test the vertical and horizontal components of the oscillations of the lounge car. The accelerometer was being constructed from available materials, viz MT VB cans. A copious supply of VB had been taken on board, but most of them were full at this stage. After rendering every assistance I could to converting the fulls to MT's, I had to visit the blow-down pit errrr gents. As I lurched down the swaying corridor (or was that sway down the lurching corridor) to the gents in the next car, I became aware of Eldon in the vestibule.

I politely enquired as to the reason for his presence on the train. Had he forgotten to get off? How was he going to get home? He said there was no way he was going to miss being behind double 38's going flat chat across Victoria. And besides, there was a pass he could catch from Albury. After sharing the stack-talk and soot from the open windows with him for a while, and reliving the highlight of the last couple of days, I performed the blow-down and returned to the serious engineering task at hand.

My fellow VB guzzlers errr engineering students also chatted away with him on their way to and from the blow-down facility. The accelerometer was achieving suitable pyramidal proportions by the time Albury came, but while coaling and watering took place there, more VB was brought on board to ensure adequate testing of the ride on NSW metals. As Albury fell behind we noticed Eldon was still in the vestibule. He mumbled (or did we hear indistinctly) that he was not without influence on the railways north of the border, and that he would hop on the Spirit at Junee or Wagga or wherever our special was due to cross.

By the time we reached Goulburn it had become clear that more parts were needed to achieve the now-evident optimum dimensions of the accelerometer. We had decided that it had to be at least 7 feet high, on a suitably broad base to test the riding qualities of the lounge car properly. The "very small" prototypes we had been testing thus far were either too senstitive if tall enough or not sensitive enough if on a wide base. Thus preoccupied, we were startled to find, as we manhandled the new VB errrr accelerometer parts through the vestibule door that a very soot-stained and cold Eldon was still with us. He explained that he didn't have a ticket for the Spirit, he was a bit dirty and seeing that he had come this far he might as well clean up at Central.

The last I recall of Eldon on this trip was seeing him wander off to the Gents at Central, no doubt to clean up, after we had all witnessed the "ritual of the uncoupling" and the "ceremony of the final runaround", and made sure the 38's were indeed on their way back to Enfield.

Oh, yes.... the accelerometer. The special entered Sydney via the "main south" i.e. via Granville, and not the short cut via Regent's Park. The 38's were putting on quite a good show over this stretch and somewhere in the vicinity of the original Parramatta terminus, the lounge car lunged to one side under the influence of curve and imperfect alignment as we crossed some interlocking. The accelerometer did its stuff by recording the event with a mighty crash and a shower of MT's all over the car. I don't recall whether we were incapable of reconstructing it, but eventually we carefully placed all the parts in the green garbage bags provided for the use of passengers.

And if you aren't careful, I'll tell you about the combination airconditioner - drinks cooler we built in a TAM compartment from available materials whilst on tour on a very hot day....

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