Sunday, February 19, 2012

My 'Red Rattler'

Coal Creek at Korumburra was full of lovely rusty peeling machinery and historic objects. When I returned some years after my reference photos were taken, it had all been taken away. The place was pristine and not nearly so interesting.

'The Tait trains, also referred to as the "Red Rattlers", were a wooden bodied Electric Multiple Unit train that operated on the suburban railway network of Melbourne. They were introduced in 1910 by the Victoria Railways as steam locomotive hauled cars, and converted to electric traction from 1919 when the Melbourne electrification project was underway. The trains derived their name from Sir Thomas Tait, the chairman of commissioners of the Victorian Railways from 1903 to 1910. The first cars were built during 1909 with the last entering service in 1951.

 A Red Rattler in 1983 at St. Kilda station

The trains were initially known as "Sliding Door" trains, as opposed to the Swing Door then in service. They were later known as "Red Rattlers" or "Reds" until the 1950s when the blue painted trains were introduced." (Thanks to Wikipedia for that info).

I remember as a young woman, going to work at Ripponlea and other trips, riding these trains and feeling a great affection for them even then. They did rattle!

I recently read a book 'Strange Country' by Mark Dapin. He wandered around Australia documenting odd pastimes by Aussie people. In it, he talked about 'gunzels', dedicated train spotters and collectors of all things train. There were even collectors of train timetables and other oddities.

I did paint the K190 steam engine years ago and got a 'highly commended' for my trouble. I still have that in my collection. It's quite large, so maybe not so saleable. I probably would give it away to the group that take care of that engine.

Train spotting is very interesting if you like machinery as I do. I went to see the Flying Scotsman when it was out here, and have hung over bridges with the camera poised as a steam train roars underneath. Once, I rushed back to the car as one passed by and raced to get to the next vantage point for another shot.

Puffing Billy has not passed my gaze and I have painted two paintings, both of which sold to a train collector.

It was sad, seeing this old carriage peeling and rusting, but it's shapes, colours and history really inspired me to do it justice. There is not a single stroke that I would change, I like it so much.

It is in oils on canvas with gallery wrapped edges, measuring 610 X 915 mm and is available for sale at the 'studio price' of $1500.

There will be more train paintings to come.


Andrew said...

I didn't know you were interested in trains. Cool. Lucky you didn't fall out those open doors on the trains on the Sandringham line. An open door now causes great panic.

BlissHill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BlissHill said...

We grew up in Beaumaris, so I know the Sandringham line very well. I love trains! I remember all the lovely timber lining inside the rattlers. No graffiti!

Anonymous said...

I'd suggest the photo is Platform 11 at Flinders St (note the river on the right). Photo would be early 1980's (blue destination monitors for City Loop, Telecom public phone, train guard in VicRail uniform, Arts Centre complete, aluminium/orange/glass sheltered seating on platform).

Robyn Rinehart Art said...

Wow, Anonymous! Are you a 'gunzel'?
You've got all the details.