Subscribe via RSS

Steamrail – 50 Years Of The Vintage Train

Steamrail Victoria is a heritage train preservation group that runs out of the Newport workshops, Victoria. They have a large selection of operational vehicles and they run a lot of tours throughout the year in Victoria.

This past weekend they ran a 50th anniversary for their "The Vintage Train" service that commemorates 50 years of running preserved steam locomotives in Victoria. They outdid themselves by having two consists running from Melbourne to Geelong, in parallel where possible!

Getting the consists to Southern Cross

As that there is no turn-around facilities at Southern Cross Station, both locomotives had to run tender-first with their consists from Newport to Southern Cross.


R761 was up first, basking in the morning sunlight through Spotswood.



D3-693 came through a few minutes later, letting a spark run first.

Southern Cross to Geelong

Both consists left Southern cross just after 10am. Initially it was stated that one was to run via Werribee and the other via the Regional Rail Link. I'm still not sure why, but both ended up running via the RRL. I caught R761 at Tarneit on the curve I previously mentioned. The train perfectly ploughed into the sunlight just as it approached Tarneit.

DSC07042 DSC07067 DSC07072


Following Google Maps, I then proceeded to Manor Loop. There was an intention to beat R761 to this location, but that wasn't an option obeying traffic rules. Instead, D3693 came bolting down the RRL as it joined back onto the Western Line. This was an unexpected delight, as it was actually meant to have run via Werribee?


From here, I joined the cavalcade. Turns out there were a lot of enthusiasts on the road. Of course, these were back roads and one or two of them were dirt. Unfortunately, the enthusiasts have passion and had no regard for road rules. Rocks were flying, dangerous overtaking was being practised and the poor locals really had no idea what was going on as an army of bad drivers plundered their way from Little River to Lara.

I attempted a few shots along the way, but the trains were, for the most part, well ahead of me. The sun was also in a bad spot. To make things harder, the trains were also leap-frogging for front place and my timing sucked. There was also a serious amount of contention for 'being in front' when a good photo spot was popular.

DSC07123 DSC07125 DSC07127

I then took my time, there were no more locations to get the trains before Geelong.

Geelong Station

Both trains were already on the platforms and one loco had already started the run-around. There was also a crowd who must have heard the trains arrive as they didn't seem to know what the trains were actually doing.

DSC07133 DSC07136 DSC07137 DSC07143 DSC07149

Both trains ran around. I assume they then went off to the V/Line depot and turned on the turntable. The goal was to then bring them back into the station and attach them to the opposite train that they came in with.

Returning via the RRL

I was about to head back to Melbourne. The weather was turning crap and there weren't too many good photo locations (that weren't smothered with enthusiasts) along the return route. I then realised I hadn't gotten a proper shot of the trains side-by-side, so I stuck around (a book helped) and decided on Little River to get the shot I'd actually spent the day for.

DSC07155 DSC07161 DSC07163

DSC07165 DSC07166 DSC07172


DSC07182 DSC07185 DSC07188

Of course, I chose the end of the 'parallel run' area and the trains weren't going to actually be side-by-side at this point. They did get very close... R761 was ahead on the approach and slowed right down to allow D3693 to catch up, but then bolted ahead a little too early and made its way back to Melbourne first.

As D3693 approached the platform, the level crossing activated. It seems to have then faulted, as the lights were flashing but the gates didn't come down. Cars built up and then started crossing. A V/Locity crawled its way from the other direction on caution as the light must've also been red from the other side. After a 20 minute wait, the gates came down properly and the steamer was given a proceed back to Melbourne.

I returned to Melbourne also. Really great day out!


Trains… a backlog.

I'm sure I should've posted these events as they happened... but one thing lead to another and... I didn't. The folders were starting to cover my desktop so badly that I've now decided to just cull 95% of the photos and keep the only very best... or are required for story-telling.

Below are the happenings since some time around October last year.

Cs on the North-East

The C class is a good-looking locomotive. Delegated to freight, they never get their chances on express passenger services. One train buff in Australia happened to gather enough support to fund a passenger tour hauled by a C class locomotive. This tour ran from Melbourne through to Albury and return.


DSC01329 DSC01346 DSC01415

I caught it at Wandong, just north of Melbourne. Happened to be a nice sweeping curved and I totally fluked it. There were a few other trains in the vicinity also.

Steamrail Kaniva Loop Tour

This tour was run on both gauges. We had V/Line use it's P-Class locomotives first, which got us to Ararat. We then transfered over to the Standard Guage and had a TL pull us all the way out to Kaniva. I'm sure this town used to have ... people ... but not much happens nowadays!

DSC03017 DSC03037 DSC03045

The highlight? The roof panel split off on the way back... must've been fiberglass debris everywhere.

Hunter Valley Steamfest

This is a huge annual event centered on Maitland, NSW. All heritage groups get together and bring their shiniest locomotives to the event. There's always a "Great Train Race" and this year the 6029 Garratt appeared. Canberra actually entered 2 of the 4 trains in the race. Fortunately, there's also 100s of other trains in the area; it's the backbone of the Hunter Valley coal train network.

DSC03058 DSC03066 DSC03067

DSC03084 DSC03103 DSC03120

DSC03131 DSC03132 DSC03137 DSC03139 DSC03142

The steamers, prior to the race, were running shuttles left-right-and-center. Most had a diesel on the rear to prevent any repercussions if a breakdown were to occur.

DSC03168 DSC03241 DSC03274

Then, it happened.


DSC03548 DSC03556 DSC03557

A damn cool sight... and supposedly a world-record! The rest was just coal trains and more freight.

DSC03291 DSC03292 DSC03300

DSC03402 DSC03476 DSC03480

DSC03420 DSC03440 DSC03452

..and now I'm somewhere up-to-date. Enjoy.