Some of them get sold interstate to another company, whereas others are being sold overseas, and others still to railway companies who give them a make-over and run them as leased locomotives within the Australian system.
In the recent Motive Power magazine the editor has provided numerous photographs of the original Queensland Railway diesel locomotives in their traditional blue and white livery, and then another set of photographs after their make-over in an entirely different livery, and in some instances, a lower hood nose design.
The QR diesels were full hood designed locomotives with a full height nose section in front of the cabin and the locomotive crew's 'view was along the footplate', much like a steam engine. When these same QR diesels were made-over for Tasmania, the full height nose had been removed with a window height nose, as the NSW 48 Classes were converted into P classes.
Many of the original Victorian diesels, the A, B and S Classes, all GMs, as an example, are now private railway company locomotives that have been given a full make-over along with new fresh 'company' liveries.
Metallurgists are also involved in this to ensure that steel components such as the bodies don't have stress fractures and the like. These sections can be replaced if necessary. I dare say it might be like my late father's mythical axe, the best axe in Crediton (on the Great Dividing range near Mackay, Qld) which had numerous new axe heads and axe handles – so what was left of the original axe?
These huge diesel locomotives are not being sent to some locomotive's graveyard: they are not part of our modern throw-away culture.
As I pondered upon this, it seemed to me there are so many things in our society that are designed to be 'throw-away'. A washing machine or dishwasher is sometimes cheaper to replace than to pay the expense of calling out a repair-man. Motor cars too are in this situation. After, say, five years, your economic calculations may indicated that buying a new car or a more recent second-hand model has more financial benefit than fixing the old one.
Computers too are in this category. By the time you get your new computer home and set up, it has been superceded. This is not always the case though. I recently was told that 'someone in mission' would be delighted to have an old laptop that my wife once used. It worked still, a little slow on the internet, but ideal for word processing. And we were able to give it a good and welcome second home.
Many people with a bit of a 'handyman' ability buy older houses and do them up and find that they can increase the capital value, and make the house safe and comfortable for people to live in for many more years to come.
Then there is the world of the antique furniture market where old is valuable and very good. Visiting the 1940s Darwin WWII 'Burnett House' which is now a tourism venue, it is as though you are walking back into a different time with the style of beds, furniture, gramophones, radios, lounge, tables, chairs, kitchen and everything else preserved as it was in those days.
Although this is not re-using the house in the normal sense, it is certainly giving this house a new, if 'different' life and saving it – and the preserved furnishings – from demolition.
Now we read that a red gum (tree) died in the Sydney Botanic Gardens about 10 years ago, and is already home to a flock of cockatoos, is being made into an sculpture instead of being cut down and removed – in the manner of what the Aborigines have been doing since time immemorial. Maybe there are winds of change in our 'throw-away' society, after all.
Missions are constantly chasing Churches for their congregations' old spectacles, hearing aids, walking sticks and any other health aid and recycle them for those in the third world, who have no other resource to custom-made items, and are grateful for any such means to improve their health and productivity.
I really feel that the example of these huge diesel locomotives being given make-overs and put back into service is an important reminder that not everything in our society is easy to 'throw away'.