November/December are traditionally quiet months for HVTR with the only operating trains being those on the Forest Railway at Dwellingup and the Murder Mystery tours on the main line network.
5 Murder Mystery services were operated in this period with 2 heading up the Avon Valley to Toodyay and the other 3 running south to Pinjarra. All of these trains were well patronised with most running at capacity numbers. Those who dressed appropriately for the themes of "Frocky Horror", "Superheroes" and "Santa's Christmas", were undoubtedly looked at sideways, by passers by at City & Midland Station whilst awaiting arrival of their trains.
With G123 having retired to Pinjarra for the summer fire restriction period has seen the regular return to services of the Forest Railway Diesel fleet. SEC1 & V5 being the main diesels in use.
Well the fires have now cooled as steam season for HVTR came to a close on Sunday the 30th of October.
HVTR managed to once again maintain 5 steam locomotives to operate its services throughout the 2005 season. G123 was to be found operating the Dwellingup Forest Railway services to Etmilyn siding. W's 903, 920 & 945 were regularly climbing the steep grades of the line up to Dwellingup on Wednesdays and Sundays as well as the odd mainline journey to Collie and Fremantle. PM706 saw a little less use this year starting out the season with some teething problems, but seeing service on mainly on Wizard Express trains. The Pm was also to be the first steam locomotive to enter City station for many years, to enable haulage of the 175th Anniversary of Kelmscott train. This was a free service provided by the PTA, picking up passengers at Cannington & Gosnells stations en route to the event at Kelmscott.
Another unusual working during October was the return of Buffet Car AQL290 to city station, as a buffet car, on the Dwellingup Forest Ranger service on the 23/10/05. A full trip via Fremantle to City Station, then to Armadale, Pinjarra, Dwellingup and return was made that day. The reason for the use of the Mullewa Car on the Forest ranger was due to the 2 AHB Steel cars being required for a Race train to Northam. All trains on this day operated at capacity loadings. (Sorry no pics as yet available).
A late extra Forest Ranger service was added to the program for the 29th of October which saw 2 W's adorned with the Wizards Express headboard, head off up the hill mid afternoon for the service sold as "The Cinema Express" which was operated to coincide with a cinema under the stars screening of Harry Potter.
This movement was also used by HVTR to return the sleeping car fleet back to the shed at Dwellingup for covered storage. Leaving Pinjarra was a consist made up of 2W's 4 Ex South African AH cars & Ex WAGR 4 AZ sleepers, AQZ 420, ARM 347 and Z9 Guardsman. On arrival at Issandra the sleeping cars making up the rear section of the train were cut off and the special continued to Dwellingup. On arrival in Dwellingup the passengers went off for an evening of Harry Potter fun whilst the 2 W's wandered back down the hill to pick up the sleeping cars which were then hauled up to Dwellingup and stored. The Cinema Express then returned to Pinjarra late in the evening.
Thanks to Stuart Jackson for these photos. Visit his website Perth Trains
September & early October has been a busy time for HVTR
Apart from the usual regular services consisting of Dwellingup Forest (Sundays) & Steam (Wednesday) Rangers, Dwellingup Forest Railway operations to Etmilyn (Daytime services & evening Diner Trains), there has also been, A run to Collie for the Griffin Festival on the 10th Sept, A "Fancy Dress Ball" Murder Mystery in Pinjarra on 17th Sept, York Cup Races on 25th Oct, Wizard Express Trains from Fremantle to Pinjarra on 29th Sept, 4th & 6th Oct, Toodyay Show on 8th Oct & in amongst that lot there has also been 2 rail trains operated by HVTR on 18th - 23rd Sept & 27th - 30th Sept to Narngulu and out to Mullewa.
Pictures Available are here below
The Murder Mystery service to Toodyay on the 27th was again booked well in advance for what was another great night out. The King is Alive - The King is Alive - in Toodyay?? Elvis was the theme for this Murder, hence the many sightings of the great man of music in City Station and Toodyay. Cloning is alive and well.
August also saw the Albany Whaler train head out from City station on the 28th to the great southern town of Albany.
C1702 was in charge of this years 10 car train. This tour was once again, primarily a charter by a private girls school for 180 young ladies who were going to Albany for a Camp. A Fully Packaged Extended Tour was also once again available for the general public which included accommodation and tours of the area.
A local tour for the people of Albany to Mt Barker was also operated on Tuesday 30th August.
HVTRs vintage stock of sleeping cars headed by C1703 left Pinjarra early on Mon 29th of August heading for the wheat belt town of Dowerin to provide extra accommodation for the Annual Dowerin Field Days, one of the biggest agricultural events in WA. It will return to Pinjarra on Friday 2nd of September.
July saw HVTR services operating as scheduled.
These services included the Forest Railway, Dwellingup Forest Rangers, Wizard Express and a Murder Mystery
Wizard Express services for the July school holidays, operating from Fremantle to Pinjarra were hauled by W920. The first time a W has operated these services due to PM706 being unavailable due to some mechanical issues. All 3 trains operated at capacity passenger numbers, being sold out in advance.
The Murder Mystery service to Toodyay on the 23rd was booked well in advance for what was a great night out. A lot of Nonsense went on with the theme being "Sister Act". Coming Murder Trains for August & September are already "Sold Out"
Sunday the 25th of July saw W945 as the second locomotive on the Dwellingup Forest Ranger. This was the first train for W945 this season.
June started out for HVTR with a visit to the model railway show at Claremont showgrounds over the long weekend. With approx 13000 persons attending this years show, HVTR did quite well for the weekend with lots of souvenirs being sold to young and old, along with many flyers being given out.
On the Monday of the Long Weekend HVTR travels to the annual Northam Foundation Day Races. Approx 270 passengers travelled on this day to Northam behind diesel locomotive C1703 for what was a great day at the Races
The following Saturday saw approx 170 passengers travel to Collie on the Coalfields Explorer. As per usual this train was diesel powered by C1702 to Pinjarra and changed for two steam locomotives - W's 920 & 903 for the run down the south west main to Brunswick for the climb up the scenic Lunenberg valley into the coal mining town of Collie. A local tour was then operated from Collie out to the Ewington mine site siding and return. This was well patronised by the locals.
There have of course been the regular Steam & Forest Ranger trains operating to Dwellingup as well as Etmilyn Forest Railway services.
G123 was unavailable for a couple of weekends during June on the Forest Railway for maintenance needs but has now returned to weekend Etmilyn services.
Murder tours are doing well at the moment. June and July having sold out in advance of the service. June's theme was "Chicago" and was well received by those who participated in the evening. Book Now for "Elvis" in August.
The revised membership application form has brought in a span of new members, all of whom have skills which will be of immense value to HVTR. During the past few months we have been working diligently to re-establish and improve our training methods and courses. All new members now go thru a three part induction so they gain a superior understanding of HVTR’s operations. This is followed by a combination of knowledge and ‘on train’ skills training and everyone is being given the opportunity to really learn about every facet of HVTR’s operations before deciding on the ‘specialist’ training path that will provide them with maximum satisfaction and HVTR with skilled volunteers.
Inductions and training are the only way to ensure that everyone fully understands their part in the operation so even members of long standing will also be participating in the courses. In this way HVTR’s high professional standards will not only be maintained but raised.
April and early May has been a very busy time for HVTR with a number of tasks requiring completion for the commencement of the steam season or just simply needed to be done to keep things moving along. The major works on repairing the 13.35km bridge went very well . Unfortunately a few things didn’t go our way creating an amount of pressure with a truck wiping out a set of level crossing lights at 13km and a fire burning out a culvert at the 12.25km - 3 days prior to the first 2005 steam service to Dwellingup. Between the bridge work, culvert and lights, over $40,000 was expensed on 1.1km of track in 3 weeks!
G123, W903 & 920 were returned to service in the last week of April. W945 is now ready and PM706 will be available shortly following repairs to its regulator valve. The coaches are in good shape with a great deal of attention being paid to the electrical & lighting systems. The Diner has also received some loving attention to electrical matters and a heater has been fitted to the Club Car. The Mullewa café car is performing very well on the Wednesday Steam Ranger with its new power generator, floor coverings and body repairs all undertaken at Pinjarra with the floor coverings generously donated and installed free of charge by Bateman’s Floor coverings.
A new leach drain has been installed at the Pinjarra Barracks along with some additional plumbing and lighting at the steam depot workshop all once again thanks to the Peel Development Commission.
Patronage on the Forest Train at Dwellingup is continuing to do very well and other services are starting to pick up. The May 28 Murder Mystery sold out by May 12 and if that wasn’t good enough news, the June Murder sold out recently on May 16, almost 6 weeks ahead of departure.
The financial position of the organisation is steadily improving through reasonable sales and strong cost control. All in all, the hard work is starting to pay off with HVTR improving all areas of its operation and business. Well done to all .
First Dwellingup Steam Ranger tour for 2005.
Sunday 1st May has rolled around bringing with it the Steam season and the first Dwellingup Steam Ranger tour for HVTR.
Just for a change, this year, G123 double headed with W920 on the climb up the steep grades of the Dwellingup Branch. This working brings G123 back up the hill to Dwellingup where she is based for the winter period to work the Forest Railway services out to Etmilyn on Weekends and School Holidays.
Membership renewals fell due on January 1st, 2005 for all members. If you are a HVTR member and have not already done so, please complete and return your membership renewal ASAP.
On Australia Day HVTR President Justin Smith, had the privilege of accepting, on behalf of the Railway, one of the 2004 Australia Awards presented by the Shire of Murray. Each year the shire presents two awards, one to an individual and one to a society, recognizing the contributions made by that individual or society towards the betterment of the local community. To all of the HVTR members who contributed towards the winning of the award, the HVTR Board says “thank you”.
On the operational side of things, there have been few mainline trains operated by HVTR during the summer period with only 3 Wizard Trains and the Seaside Express to Koombana Bay being run. January's Murder Train was cancelled due to a lack of interest. Charter train enquiries are increasing for HVTR possibly due to last years repainting of locos & rolling stock together with improved, clean, neat, tidy, organised operations and facilities.
Another operational initiative this year will be the inclusion of the Galley Car and repainted Dining Car (now green, red and yellow stripe diner rather than blue ribbon) on all Dwellingup Forest Ranger services providing a yet to be finalised ‘Premium Class’ option for our passengers.
Trains at the Dwellingup Forest Railway operated everyday to Etmilyn Siding during the school holiday period and then returned to operating on Tues, Wed, Thurs, Sat & Sun in February with good numbers of passengers being carried. The Forest Restaurant Train continues to operate with capacity bookings on most nights.
The maintenance and overhaul of equipment is continuing quite well. New ash pans are under construction for three of the W class steam locos and W945 was recently hydro tested following another boiler flue tube replacement from re-useable stock. This loco will soon require all new flue tubes, possibly next year. DM loco V5 at Dwellingup has recently had new front gearbox seal fitted and V4 will soon be lifted for removal and repair of the leading wheel set. The mainline diesels are all performing well. The maintenance team and cleaning teams at Pinjarra have been doing a fantastic job with so many things attended to they are just too numerous to mention.
Our goal this year is to ensure that 2005 is HVTR’s year of advancement.
For Hotham Valley Bookings Call : Australia 08 6278 1111
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