SteamRail Victoria (Australia)

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Lead Service Attendant
Jan 29, 2018
SteamRail Victoria is the volunteer-run railway preservation organisation in the Australian state of Victoria, the smallest mainland state of the country. Every now and then it gets the locos and carriages out of the sheds and puts on a run.

Last weekend, there were shuttle-trips organised in my neighbourhood as part of Ballarat Heritage weekend. Ballarat provided much of the early wealth for the then colony of Victoria through gold. It's still a gold-producing city, but the wild-west days are gone, and it's now a modern regional city of about 150,000 - it's the state's most populous inland city, situated about an hour west of the state's capital, Melbourne.

SteamRail Victoria brought up two steam locos for the weekend, and about eight or ten passenger carriages. On the way out of Ballarat station, there's quite a steady climb on the way east for several kilometres, meaning both locos were used in the effort. As they were running shuttles to the once thriving Lal Lal station, they had a loco at both ends, oriented for forward returns when in the lead.

This clip (not taken by me) shows them at various stages, and starts with the steady climb out of Ballarat up Woodman's Hill. I caught similar footage from a position a bit earlier in the climb, but can't add it (and this one's better, anyway).

The black loco is a K Class (2-8-0) which was built from the early 1920s to the mid 40s and remained in service until the end of steam here in the late 1970s as the major branchline workhorse for goods and passenger services. The green loco is a Y class (0-6-0) built in the mid to late 1880s, and mainly used for Melbourne suburban passenger duty.

Victorian Railways runs on broad gauge (1600mm [5'3"]) rather than standard gauge (1435mm [4'8 1/2"]) and the design of some of Victorian Railways' steam locos meant that some classes couldn't be converted for standard gauge operation when standard gauge was being brought in as national transport policy after WWII.

Steamrail Victoria has an incredible collection of preserved engines, rolling stock, and they even have a running electric train. The Tait trains only recently will start doing tours. The first tour with the Taits is on the 13th of this month.
I have been on a few excellent SteamRail Tours throughout Victoria and one in Tasmania but I'll draw the line on the Red Rattler Tour given that in the 1970's I had no choice but to catch the packed Red Rattlers from the outer suburbs to Flinders Street and return which was not fun on a cold winters morning.

Good to see the Yarra Glen Line is progressing,
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