Family’s all aboard life in the railway
Peter Perger joins fight to preserve train line
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!”
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.