Fam­ily’s all aboard life in the rail­way

Peter Perger joins fight to pre­serve train line

Central and North Burnett Times - - OVER 50S -

WORK­ING on the rail­way must be a rite of pas­sage in for­mer Monto-Glad­stone train guard Peter Perger’s fam­ily.

“My dad was in the rail­way for 42 years, my grand­fa­ther was in it for 44 years, my brother was in it for 36 years and I was in it for 49 years and four months,” the mem­ber of the Monto-based Bur­nett Boyne Rail Line Preser­va­tion Group said.

“My grandma was even a sta­tion mis­tress at Lit­tle­more.”

Mr Perger re­mem­bered play­ing on the coal steam en­gines in his home­town of Quilpie ev­ery Sun­day while his fa­ther worked.

“Mum would come and col­lect us for church, but we had al­ways turned black with coal by that time. That meant I al­ways got to miss out,” he said with a laugh.

After start­ing work at 15 as a “nip­per”, boil­ing bil­lies and col­lect­ing odds and ends for the other men, Mr Perger moved up to the job of en­gine cleaner at 17.

He sat his guard exam in Rock­hamp­ton 1972 and worked all over the state be­fore mov­ing to Glad­stone in 1975.

But the Glad­stone to Monto line was his favourite and he worked the route up un­til about 12 years ago.

“We never got a rail­way tele­phone be­tween Cal­liope and Monto, so no one knew what you were up to over there,” he quipped.

“But the worst thing was the cold.

“We some­times used to leave the train run­ning all night, so we could sleep in it and keep warm!”

PHOTO: EMILY SMITH

RAIL LOVE: Peter Perger spent many year­swork­ing on the Monto rail line, be­fore driv­ing coal trains with other mem­bers of the Monto-based Bur­nett Boyne Rail Line Preser­va­tion Group.

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