After a 2 year sabbatical, our group of steam train book publishers are back at it. Following a dinner with a collective of compatriots, most of whom we have known for up to 60 years, it was decided to produce one more book of superb NSW steam train photos.

We have high standards to live up to. Our previous books sold out quickly with “Superheat”, sold less than 2 weeks after delivery. This book didn’t even get to retail stores beyond a few copies.

The search began to find outstanding photos which led us to some interesting places. By opening up much of the book to Black and White, we were able to tap into some photos from the 1930s of unrebuilt 35 and 36 class, 32 class on the “Northern Commercial Limited”, and 57s in Western Sydney and the mountains without overhead wires or suburbia. We also tapped into large format photos from master photographers, Graham Cotterall and Laurie Anderson, both of whom you will be familiar with if you have our other publications, “Northern Exposures”, “Lenses South”, and “Shooting The West”.

5713 on Toongabbie Bank – Stan Foulkes

In fact, I used to run into these gentlemen and most of the other contributors walking up and down the tracks north of Gosford back in the mid 1960s.

With the volume of brilliant shots, and the ability to do crystal clear full page spreads, we dived into shot selection. We gained access to the Buck family collection, the late Stan Foulkes, and Dennis O’Brien’s extensive library. There is even a shot of 1210 on the Inverell line, dieselised long ago.

The 32 page colour section covers various locations from all over NSW. Most of the photos have not been seen in print before. Then there are the stories.

Murrurrundi to Pangela to Ardglen steam train

Standard goods climbs Ardglen. Photo Stephen Buck

For this volume a half dozen of us penned our adventures chasing steam trains. No fences, full access to loco depots, including Enfield, and a wide variety of steam action. Imagine arriving at Gosford on an interurban, climbing down onto the tracks at the northern end of Gosford Station and heading past the 35, 36, 38 and 59 class in loco to the chargeman’s office where we obtained full information on loco rosters for the day.

We then walked up the tracks on foot reaching as far as Ourimbah, recording the many steam movements along the way. That’s where I met many people I am still in touch with.

3501 on Narara curve 1967 – John Gaydon

The hospitality even extended to Train Control at Sydney station, where all train movements were monitored. On Friday afternoon I would wander in without security to find out what was rostered for the weekend. They were different times.

Smoke captures some of this, and will take you back in time. Once I viewed the black and white sections, I was converted. They are every bit as good as our earlier colour shots and in some cases more impacting. We are in predelivery mode as the book is now ready for the printers and getting final touches to meet our high standards.

Having rejoined the ‘Main West’ at Wallerawang, 5158 and 3294 keep up the pace as No. 256 goods from Mudgee trundles downhill from Marrangaroo tunnel. – DENNIS O’BRIEN, 11 SEPTEMBER 1964

You can pre-order your copies for just $70 plus postage in a protective cover by clicking on “shop” in the top menu bar.

We know  you will enjoy it as it brings the good old days on the NSWGR back to life.