Last Update for 2004 News was added 14/1/2005
The year of 2004, as all years, presented a number of challenges for HVTR.
Once again members and others have worked hard to ensure the continuing growth and improvement of the organisation. Thank you to all who have made this possible.
A big Thank You also goes out to those of you who have assisted making the HVTR website news pages interesting by supplying photo's in relation to the various trains we have operated. You guys know who you are. From the webmasters chair in Pemberton it would be difficult to provide interesting news pages without your assistance. I look forward to catching up at some stage and also to seeing more great pictures of HVTR in 2005. Thank You All.
The tours of December went well and would have gone very well operationally had it not been for a fire in the Avon Valley on the evening of December 18 which forced the re-directing of our train to Gingin with unfortunate delays due to other train schedules. The New Years Eve train was a fantastic success with 314 passengers all having a wonderful time and everything running smoothly. This train was double headed and had all of the new colour schemes of the fleet, blue diner, yellow activity cars, green passenger cars and red café cars.
(Sorry - No Pictures as Yet Available)
All services at Dwellingup have shown growth and this will hopefully continue throughout 2005.
A great deal of general maintenance has been undertaken during 2004 which is another thing for members and the organisation to be proud of. The most significant or at least major items being the repainting of the AH cars and Sleeping cars, the re-profile machining of all wheels on 8 AH cars and DE Loco C1702. All of which sees HVTR progress to a brighter future.
HVTR is looking forward to another busy and fruitful year in 2005
11th December 2004
November has been a mostly quiet month for HVTR trains. This of course being due to the end of the steam season.
The 31st of October saw G123 return to Pinjarra for the summer months. A leisurely journey being made down the hill after returning from the afternoon service to Etmilyn. G123 then joined her W class stable mates on shed at Pinjarra loco where the fire was dropped for the last time for 2004
Early November saw the last Forest rangers for 2004 departing on the 3rd and 7th for Dwellingup with W's 920 and 903 handling the duties. The last 2 Wednesday Steam Ranger services for the season were double headed to enable the sleeping car fleet to be returned up to Dwellingup for storage in the carriage shed. XA1401 having performed so well during the 2004 season hauling the City legs of the Sunday forest rangers disgraced itself on the last Sunday service by setting ablaze bush around the Mundijong area in the morning and so the afternoon leg of the city service was hauled by C1703
Early November also saw another rail train operated by HVTR from Midland to Dowerin and then dropping rail between Ejanding and Kirwan.
The repainting of the AH passenger fleet is almost complete. This has brought a much improved image to services. With minimal trains operating during November it has been possible to get the AHB cars into the paint shop where the "Dollies" have made a tremendous effort to get these cars painted into their new colour scheme. The November 11th Murder Mystery train will be the first HVTR train to run with a complete set of painted cars including the buffets. All other maintenance activities are going very well with the steam loco summer maintenance program already well advanced. The mainline diesel locos are in good shape and the majority of rolling stock general maintenance is up to date. Unfortunately we have several significant diesel loco repairs required at Dwellingup which is perhaps to be expected given the number of services now being operated and the age of the locos, however only one loco, V4, is actually out of service.
The webmaster recently uploaded the core tour program for 2005 on the Proposed Tours page. There may be a few other tours introduced at a later date. Book Now for your next HVTR journey
29th October 2004
Here we are at the end of October and almost at the end of another steam season. We all look forward to the start of the steam season and the end seems so far away and then all of a sudden it is finished almost as quickly as it began.
Another busy month for HVTR saw Wizard Express Trains originating from Midland and travelling via the freight lines through Forrestfield and then onto the Armadale mainline at Kenwick and on to Pinjarra, during the school holiday period due to line maintenance taking place on the Mundijong - Kwinana section preventing use of Fremantle Station as a departure point.. Once again these services were well patronised by the public. It also provided a variation for the enthusiast photographers as there were also some unusual workings to allow access and departure from the Midland main platform. As there is no narrow gauge cross over from the main platform at Midland to the freight lines via Forrestfield this required our trains to use 2 locomotives to shunt in and out of the platform via the flash butt sidings at Bellevue.
October the 3rd saw another Double Headed Steam Hauled Forest Ranger originating from Armadale Station due to maintenance works being carried out on the section between City Station and Armadale.
We ran a train with our largest number of passengers for some time, on Sunday 24 Oct with 609 passengers on the Northam race train. On the same day we also took 328 passengers to Dwellingup and operated the ARHS locomotive S549 to Midland from their Bassendean museum for the Midland Workshops open day.
ARHS requested of HVTR to operate locomotive S549 "Greenmount" from the museum in Bassendean to Midland workshops and return for their open day. Beautifully turned out in a newly painted larch green livery the mighty S was well received at Midland by those visiting. The magnificent weather on the day was also well received by the local photographers.
The Northam Races Train and the Dwellingup Forest Ranger train on this day were combined from Pinjarra to Armadale en-route to the city. This meant that a train Departed from Pinjarra with XA1401 leading the 6 AH cars for Dwellingup followed by diesel locomotive C1703 and a further 14 coaches for Northam. Thanks to Stuart Jackson for the photo's below of this large train.
It is also likely that the Forest Train at Dwellingup will have its highest October passenger numbers for many years with last years number exceed in the first two weeks of the month. We currently look like closing October very near to our forecast budget which would be a terrific result. All maintenance would seem well in hand with no faults noted on any of the 19 coaches operated on October 24 which is a great testimonial to those persons beavering away at Pinjarra.
1st October 2004
September was a busy month for HVTR crews
The Dwellingup Forest Ranger train on Fathers day 5/9/04 saw XA1401 suffer an electrical traction fault shortly after departing empty from Pinjarra heading to pick up the passengers from the City. This necessitated a relief locomotive and crew to be organized and dispatched. Thanks to prompt communication of the situation, together with the quick sound thinking, actions and assistance of all concerned, the resulting delay to the service was only it being 35min late into Dwellingup. This was an outstanding result when this failure could have resulted in cancellation of the train. Special thanks must go to the WestNet & PTA train controllers, also PTA management & staff for arranging extra railcars on the 9-31am suburban train to Armadale enabling all our Perth passengers to meet our train there. Repairs have now been carried out to #3 traction motor and XA1401 worked the DFR on Sunday 26/9/04. Thanks to Stuart Jackson for his photo below.
The Albany Whaler tour departed on the 5th of September with a stay over in Albany for 4 nights returning on Thursday 9th September. C1703 was on the pointy end for this tour, handling the 10 car train well. This tour was primarily a charter by a private girls school for 180 young ladies who were going to Albany for a Camp although there was a Fully Packaged Extended Tour provided for the general public which included accommodation and tours of the area. This however was poorly patronised.
Departure was slightly delayed from Perth, but arrival at Midland was on time, then up through the Avon Valley to Avon Yard and then onto the Great Southern Railway. Arrival was on time at Narrogin where a stop was made to change crews before proceeding to Albany. Due to the many speed restrictions south of Narrogin arrival in Albany was approximately a 1/2 hour late.
On Tuesday 7th of September a Local tour was operated from Albany to Mt Barker and return. Due to a lack of facilities at Mt Barker the train was required to continue on to Kendenup to enable the run around to take place. Thanks to Don Copley and Stew Winston for the Albany Whaler Photo's.
Saturday the 11th saw the second Collie tour for this year, heading south to Pinjarra where diesel locomotive C1702 was exchanged for two steam locomotives - W920 and PM706 for the run down the South West Main before attacking the climb up through the beautiful Lunenburg Valley and into Collie. The local tour from Collie to Ewington mine again proved very popular with approx 300 passengers travelling on this leg of the journey.
The Dwellingup Forest Ranger on September 19th was run as double headed steam, from Armadale to Dwellingup, creating quite a deal of interest for our passengers and photographers, as well as being a great day for those involved in working the train. This is to be repeated on Sunday October 3.
HVTR also undertook some hook and pull, maintenance train, work for WestNet Rail from Monday 20th to Wednesday 22nd of September. These trains were worked by Diesel Electric locomotive C1703. Monday 20th saw a light engine movement from Pinjarra to Three Springs. Tuesday C1703 progressed to Dongara to pick up the rail fleet and continued to Narngulu stopping to pick up rail en route. After spending the night at Narngulu the train worked south on Wednesday to Coorow where the rail was unloaded before continuing to Midland where the wagons were stabled at the Flash butt sidings. C1703 then continued back to the HVTR depot in Pinjarra. A note of some interest is that DE Loco C1703 visited the southern and northern extremities of the WA narrow gauge network in September whilst working trains to Albany and Narngulu.
Then there was the Murder Train on the 25th to Toodyay for a night of "Rock & Roll" which was well patronised, followed up the next day - Sun 26th by a tour to York for the races. Unfortunately the day was marred when louts at Sherwood on the Armadale line threw projectiles at the train, smashing carriage and loco windows.
Thanks to the merry band of helpers and doers at Pinjarra and Dwellingup, Maintenance matters have been rolling along nicely. There is always a good list of jobs needed to be done at Pinjarra and Dwellingup which these guys just keep on keeping on top of.
The Pm is on the sick list again with a broken packing follower on the LHS valve spindle, suffered on her run to Collie. Thankfully this was a relatively minor failure. A new follower has been made and will be fitted in time for the Wizards Express trains scheduled to operate from Midland during the October School Hols.
W's 903, 920 and 945 continue to behave well as does G123 at Dwellingup.
7th September 2004
August has come and gone as a busy month for HVTR
As well as operating the regular Sunday / Wednesday Forest Ranger Trains and the Dwellingup Forest Railway services, there were a couple of other interesting operations that occurred in August.
W's 903, 920 and 945 have been working on rotation on the Pinjarra to Dwellingup trains whilst PM706 has been having a well earned rest after running Wizard Trains during July.
On Wednesday the 4th of August preparations began for the sleeping car train to the annual Dowerin Field Days, which sees HVTR providing a rake of heritage sleeping cars to provide extra accommodation for one of the biggest country agricultural events in WA. Dwellingup yard would be very busy on this day. W903 was the motive power for the Forest Ranger service from Pinjarra to Dwellingup and hauled the 11 car train back to Pinjarra.
On the 8th August a 7 car train was hauled by C1702 up to Toodyay West and return for the annual Avon Descent. A great day was had by those who travelled.
Saturday 21st of August saw "Casanova" on the Murder Mystery Train to Toodyay.
Monday 23rd was the departure day for the Dowerin Field Days train hauled by XA 1401 from Pinjarra to Dowerin via Forrestfield and Avon Yard.
After much hard work by the maintenance crew at Pinjarra to replace the failed traction motor on C1703, A successful light engine trial run to Coolup was carried out on Thursday 21st
The return working of the Dowerin train on Friday 27th saw XA1401 carrying a "Westland" headboard in honour of the 50th anniversary of the X class locomotives and a tribute to the prestige train of the WAGR which they were extensively used on.
Unfortunately due to a lack of passengers the tour to Balingup for the Medieval and Tulip Festival had to be cancelled for the 28th August. It is unusual that tours which in the past have been well patronised now seem to have difficulty getting passenger quantities onto them. This would be the first tour that HVTR has actually cancelled in the last 3 years.
On Sunday afternoon of the 29th C1703 returned to traffic and worked the afternoon leg of the Forest Ranger up to the city and back to Pinjarra.
Painting of AH cars is continuing enabling some services to now have an almost full consist of painted cars. Vandalism in the form of spray painting taggers is however currently a consistent problem at Pinjarra and in some cases speeds up the process of painting some cars where others which have already been painted see more work carried out.
G123 continues to work weekend trains on the Dwellingup Forest Railway to Etmilyn with SEC1 and the V class diesels handling the midweek services.
19th August 2004
Balingup Tulip and Medieval Festival Tour Cancelled due to lack of passengers.
13th August 2004
Extra Tour Added - "Albany Whaler" - Extended Tour
30th July 2004
Wow !!! Where did July Go ?
June ended with a Murder in the Moulin Rouge, attended by 114 passengers and July will end with a Murder in Chicago with 211 passengers booked for the tour on Sat 31st July. This tour has been sold out for some weeks now.
The school holidays of July this year were pretty much right in the middle of the month.
For the regular service trains, these periods are always a busy time for HVTR with regular Forest Ranger trains to Dwellingup on Wednesdays and Sundays swelling to 5 car trains requiring double heading up the hill. These services have seen the 3 operational W's being used on a rotational basis. XA1401 is still being used for the city leg of these tours as can be seen from the picture below taken by Don Copley. Thanks Don.
Dwellingup Forest Railway services are also increased during school holidays to 7 days a week. Steam locomotive G123 was used on all Forest Railway services operated to Etmilyn. The Forest Railway looks set to break a 12 yr record for July carrying more passengers than the best year yet which was in 1994. Passenger numbers on the Forest Railway this July, also exceeded last years numbers by the middle of the month.
10 Etmilyn Diner Trains also operated to capacity during July
Wizard Express Trains
Once again the Minister for Magical Transport has weaved his magic with Four Wizard Express services from Fremantle to Pinjarra were being operated on Tuesdays and Thursdays of the July school holiday period with all trains operating at capacity loadings. These 4 tours had sold out in advance of the school holiday period with many intending passengers having to be turned away. Bookings are already going well for the October school holidays, which may see the Wizard Express departing from Midland via Armadale due to works being carried out near Fremantle during that period. BOOK NOW !!!! for October.
Another 3 AH cars have been painted during July by the Mission Australia Work for the Dole program.
Due to most of HVTRs Rolling stock being in service during the July period there is no information about equipment maintenance this report, as it has all been working well, with little or no problems encountered
28th June 2004
June commenced for HVTR, with members attending and manning HVTR's stand at the annual Australian Model Railway Association Exhibition at the Silver Jubilee Pavilion in the Claremont showgrounds over the long weekend. The race train to Northam on 7th June was very successful with 340 passengers having a day at the races. The first of this years trips to Collie on June 12th saw 140 passengers travel behind W 920 and W 903 for what is always a great day out with steam. A spirited run was made through the Lunenburg Valley arriving on time in Collie. This train was the first steam train to visit the newly rebuilt Collie Station building.
The Forest Train at Dwellingup has had some extraordinarily good weekends and the Diner is doing very well on Saturdays with the Friday night services steadily growing. Sunday Forest Ranger trains are now seeing good passenger numbers. Wizard Express trains are selling very well for the forthcoming July school holidays.
The maintenance side of things is going well with all necessary work being kept on top of. Unfortunately C1703 suffered a traction motor failure on the returning race train from Northam and requires this traction motor to be replaced with a serviced unit from stock. The painting of the AH fleet is progressing very well and most trains now sport more repainted than un-repainted cars.
XA 1401 has been performing well on the Sunday Forest Rangers hauling the train on the Pinjarra - City - Pinjarra sections morning and afternoon. It was not so long ago that we wondered if we would ever see an X class diesel in city station again, and now it occurs every weekend. Enthusiasts are obviously taking this for granted as the HVTR webmaster has not yet seen any photo's of these movements on other W.A. Rail websites.
Recently an enquiry was made regarding W908. The condition it is in and if it will run again?
W908 requires boiler repairs and tubes as well as some mechanical work on the running gear.
It will be out of service for some time yet.
The photo on left above shows W 908 inside the original Pinjarra Loco shed on 9/06/04 .
The tender is out in the yard.
The photo on right shows W908 with Pm 706 in the early 90's at Pinjarra
27th May 2004
Sunday 2nd of May saw W920 and W903 resplendent in a new coat of Green haul the first steam service to Dwellingup for 2004. The locomotives not only looked magnificent, they performed magnificently as well. Their looks and performance eliciting highly favourable comments from passengers, crew and public alike. A tribute to the long hours of hard dedicated work performed by the team of members at Pinjarra.
Patronage on the Steam Ranger services to Dwellingup has been slow, however with the exception of the Mothers Day train, the Sunday services have been above last year’s numbers. Other mainline services are improving with the Murder Mystery trains selling well and although the numbers for the Gin Gin British Car Rally were low, they were up some 40% on last year.
This years Gin Gin train was hauled by Diesel Electric Locomotive XA 1401 also resplendent in new paint work. Congratulations are in order for the crew at Pinjarra for the Authentic Livery applied to the XA. 2004 marks the 50th Anniversary of these ubiquitous diesel locomotives since their introduction to the WAGR in 1954.
Services at Dwellingup continue to do well . The Etmilyn Diner is performing well with the Friday services slowly growing in patronage. Saturday nights of course continue to sell very well, often selling out well in advance. G123 is once again operational at Dwellingup handling the weekend services to Etmilyn. Patronage is going well.
The overall equipment maintenance has been going along very well with steam locos W 945 & Pm 706 as well as Diesel Mechanical loco V5 all now back in running order. DE loco Xa 1401 has also been fitted with a new set of batteries and will be used regularly on the Sunday DFR services out of Perth. Sunday May 23 saw all 5 of HVTR’s operational steam locos ‘in steam’ with W’s 920 & 903 operating from Pinjarra to Dwellingup, G 123 operating the Etmilyn Forest Train services and W 945 & Pm 706 in steam at Pinjarra for testing and running across to the Eastern yard for work pit access in the carriage maintenance facility. It was pointed out that there would be few tourist railways in Australia, if any outside of Puffing Billy, that could field five operating steam locomotives, let alone them being mainline locos, as well as a fleet of seven diesels plus an extensive fleet of rollingstock. This is a credit to the dedication and hard work of all those who make this possible.
3rd May 2004
April, as with every year, was a busy month for the HVTR workforce.
With the coming of the commencement of steam season on the 2nd of May much activity took place with maintenance of the steam locomotive fleet.
A much higher standard of maintenance than in previous years has been carried out by the team at our Pinjarra depot to ensure that our steam locomotives are in a reliable state and good general order.
2004 will see 5 Steam Locomotives available for traffic with the return to service of W920. Locomotives available are Pm 706 and G123, W 903, 920 & 945. It has been some years since HVTR has had this many steam loco's in serviceable condition.
W's 903, 920 & G123 were steamed and certified by the boiler inspectors in mid April in readiness for May. W 945 and Pm 706 are due to be completed and steamed during May.
A new W class tender tank was fitted during the summer to 903 and delivered to the depot. Due to being unloaded the wrong way round an unusual movement took place around the triangle at Pinjarra. These photo's taken by Andrew Bremner show C 1702 and tender during this unusual movement.
Steam Services recommenced on the 2nd of May with the first Forest Ranger to Dwellingup. C 1702 arrived on time with the train from the city and was changed for steam. W920 lead W903 with 5 AH cars (including some of the newly painted ones) up the hill to Dwellingup. The New Brunswick Green liveries of the locomotives complete with lettering on the tender (as per PM 706's tender) looked great with the newly painted coaches. W 920 performed faultlessly for its first return to service run and is intended to be used on future Wednesday trains also.
The facilities at HVTR have also continued to be improved with works continuing in many areas.
A concrete floor was poured in the steam depot workshop at Pinjarra. This has made a vast difference to the working environment. Thanks to the Peel Development Commission for their assistance with this project.
A small mobile crane donated to HVTR by Alcoa was recommissioned. This unit replaces the old fowler crane which had suffered a gearbox failure.
Painting of the AH cars continues with several now having either been painted in full or in part in some new colour schemes.
During April the Water Column at Dwellingup was also serviced and an extension fitted to enable easier use by the larger locomotives. These extension fittings were added to water columns by the WAGR after the introduction of locomotives such as W and V classes with high tenders.
7th April 04
It's less than a month before Steam Services Recommence. Are YOU ready?
The 15th of March 2004 marked the 30th anniversary for HVTR since its formation in 1974. Who, a generation ago could have foreseen the success that HVTR was to become. Although having had high and low points during this period the organisation has continued to survive. Who can foresee where HVTR will be in 30 years time?
Dwellingup services (Tramway and Diner) are doing quite well, although the Diner had been a little slow for March, it also continues to show growth on last year.
The only major mainline services operated in March was the Harvey Harvest Festival and the Murder Mystery to Toodyay.
The Harvey Harvest Festival tour was well patronised with 332 passengers travelling to Harvey for the day. All went well, although it turned out to be a very hot day. Despite the heat the passengers all seemed to have a good time at the event. Wine tastings of "Harvey River Bridge Estate" wines were available on board the train as well as free showbags etc.
The Murder Mystery tour was a little quiet with only 130 passengers on the tour (including the webmaster) . The theme was "St Patrick". Arrival at Midland station found lots of very Green folk ready to board the train. With Passengers and the Cast on board we left Midland and zoomed up the valley with much merriment as the cast of the evenings murder set about acting out the lead up to a Murder. The ensuing dinner and show on arrival at Toodyay Town hall was well received and before you knew it the Murder was committed and solved, some dancing was had and we were back on the train heading back to the city complete with some more partying with our onboard entertainer "Joe" in the Party Car. "A great evening out"
The maintenance program and preparations for the commencement of the 2004 steam season are moving along very well. All major work has been completed and locos W 903, 920, 945, Pm706 and G123 should be ready for steaming by Easter. The painting of locos and rollingstock is continuing at an astonishing rate which is sure to be some kind of HVTR record, that will have been set over the last several months. Items which have recently received a coat of paint include : all operational locomotives, 11 items of rollingstock, two trucks, one forklift and one house have been painted . If you are visiting Pinjarra be careful where you park or you may be driving home in a green car with an orange roof sporting yellow and red trim!
The concrete base for the water tank stand at Pinjarra has been completed and the stand with tank erected . The hardstand at Dwellingup has been completed throughout the carriage shed, the compound and also along the station tracks. This work, courtesy of the Peel Development Commission, has made an enormous improvement to the facilities at Dwellingup and looks splendid. A major clean up has been undertaken around the two HVTR houses at Dwellingup inclusive of removing the very large pine tree that was threatening and making a mess of house one.
23rd March 04
Re- arrangement of the HVTR Equipment pages to a Home page access button.
16th March 04
3 New Pages added to site
1st March 04
As we are still in a quiet period of the year there is not a lot of running trains to report on. That is not to say that there is nothing happening around the railway.
All the Etmilyn Forest Diners have been operating at mostly full capacity on both the Friday and Saturday nights during January and February, with March looking set to be well patronised. Only 2 main line tours operated in February. These were the Murder Mystery to Toodyay and the Pinjarra Sundowner. The Murder train went out on the 14th Feb, with not an empty seat in sight for the Valentines Day theme. This tour selling out approx a week and a half prior to the day meant that some missed out on what was I am told was a great night with a lot of canoodling going on . The Pinjarra Sundowner was not quite as well patronised, with approx 100 passengers taking advantage of the meal and evening out at the Pinjarra Premier Hotel. All reports indicate that a good time was had by all.
Jeff Austin and his team of workers have finished repainting the heritage car fleet. That is, all of the operational sleeping cars and Z9 in Brunswick Green and the Mullewa Buffet/Cafe car AQL 290 has been painted in "Wizard" Red which looks quite good. The two AHB Mainline buffets will also be painted in the new red livery in due time. Another AH car is currently being painted by the Mission Australia "Doleies". Great Job done well everybody.
The "All Over" brunswick green has been chosen as this style of livery has not been seen carried by these cars for some time. This livery was carried by WAGR passenger cars from 1951 through to the early 60's
All operational W's have been getting a repaint during the summer hiatus. Sec 1 also received a lick "o" paint whilst in Pinjarra for overhaul during December, before returning to Dwellingup in January..
Work continues at Pinjarra with the annual maintenance and inspection requirements to the locomotive and coach fleet.
Steam Locomotives - Major repairs to the tender of Pm 706 is well advanced. The cleaning out of W 945's tender is almost complete and the new tender for W 903 is soon to be connected to the locomotive. The Big End bearings of Pm 706 have been renewed and maintenance is being carried out on all main side rod bearings of W 903 and 945. In addition to this work all of the steam locomotives at Pinjarra have received their annual boiler inspection. W 920 is receiving minor finishing works and is almost ready to be steamed.
Diesel Locomotives - V5 whilst in Pinjarra for a major service, has had its gearbox removed to correct problems which have existed for some years. SEC1 & V4 are performing well at Dwellingup however V4 will have repairs carried out to a leaky drive line seal once V5 returns to service. Both C's 1702 & 1703 are currently in good working order although with the quiet period are not doing much anyway. G50 has had very little further progress although the engine and the engine compartment has been painted. XA 1401 has seen little use.
Work at Dwellingup commenced recently on the placing of roadbase hardstand throughout the compound and carriage shed. The finished result has provided for a cleaner and safer working environment in these areas.
A lot of work has also been carried out on the 2 ex Railway Houses which HVTR owns at Dwellingup with much general maintenance and upkeep being done by the team of members at Dwellingup.
Keep up the good work everyone.
17th February 04
Found these two links whilst do'in some surfin the other day
I think you'll find them to be a little amusing.
6th February 04
Tuesday 3rd Feb saw Z 1152 return from the northern suburbs at Nowergup to Pinjarra
28th January 04
Well already we are at the end of January and although this is a quieter time of the year for Hotham Valley there as still been a few trains operating which have been reasonably well patronised.
The New Years Eve Train to Yarloop was fully booked with all those travelling having a thoroughly enjoyable evening. It seems our regular on board entertainer Joe is becoming quite popular, with some of passengers enquiring as to whether Joe would be on this train when booking their tickets. It would seem that Joe WOWed them again this year with some enquiries already being made for the next New Years Train. A different destination is being looked at for 2004.
The Wizard Express Summer services went well also during the first 2 weeks of January. 5 services were operated from Fremantle to Pinjarra. 4 of these were open to the general public with the 5th train being a charter for the Girl Guides Association as part of their Jamboree which was being held at Woodman Point. Unfortunately due to mechanical difficulties XA 1401 had to be substituted for the C's for these services with 1702 & 1703 working alternate trains.
The January Murder Mystery Train was also well patronised and set out from City on time bound for Pinjarra. Arrival at Mundijong found that the locomotive of a North bound freight train had failed a short distance south of Mundijong which delayed HVTR's train by 90 minutes whilst the failed locomotive was attended to. Although getting to Pinjarra late the show went on and the train arrived back in City around 1 hour late at 0105hrs.
Sunday 25th saw the "Seaside Express" venture south to the beach at Koombana Bay Bunbury. A great day was had by our passengers with a beautiful summers day being good for swimming and other beach activities. Some passengers took the short stroll into Bunbury town or took the bus tour around town and also visited the dolphin discovery centre. A lovely day out was had by all until arrival back in Armadale found stones and bricks being hurled at the train by lineside hooligans. Some windows were smashed on the AH coaches as well as a cab window on C 1703. Minor injuries were reported to HVTR crews, although most of the projectiles failed to do much damage. It is sad that today's society has nothing better to do than cause willful and un-necessary damage to other members of the community.
The Dwellingup to Etmilyn Forest Railway has been operating 7 days a week during the month of January with services carrying a good number of passengers for each journey. V4 and V5 have been the main locomotives in use with SEC1 recently re entering service allowing V5 to head to Pinjarra for overhaul.
The never ending maintenance work is being kept up with at Pinjarra. Diesel Mechanical Locomotive SEC1 has been returned to Dwellingup and DM Loco V5 has been transferred to Pinjarra for a major service. Work on replacing the lower sidesheets on Pm 706 tender, cleaning out of W 945 tender and fitting a new tender tank to W 903 is well advanced. We have encountered more compatibility issues than expected with the spare parts obtained for repairs to G50 however work is progressing on this loco. Z 1152 has finished ballasting duties at Nowergup and will return to Pinjarra as soon as the transporter truck is available. The painting of rollingstock is also continuing with most of the heritage cars already finished.
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