News 2003                         


Updated 31/12/03

On this page will be placed interesting information on activities that occur at Hotham Valley Railway

November & December 2003

Hope Everybody has had a great Christmas and New Year. Once again the year has just zoomed by. Here is the last News Installment for 2003.

All trains during the end of the year have seen reasonably good patronage.

The New Years Eve train sold out two weeks in advance. Coming Murder Trains are also selling well.

Patronage at Dwellingup on  the Etmilyn Forest Train has been good as has the Diner service. Bookings for Januarys Diners are going well with these services expected to sell out.

The new computerised ticketing system  being developed for HVTR is currently being  trialed in the City office and is working well with recent tours having been ticketed using the new system. The new system is intended to replace HVTR's older computer system which has been in use since 1984 on an old MS Dos version  2.11 using Microsoft Basic version 1.0.  The most recent version #4 was last updated in 1991. The current system runs on Windows 2000 with a web base using open source software Php and Apache. As well as allowing for more versatile use in the ticketing of services, the program also assists in the uploading of information to the WestNet Rail, Rail Access Management System which requires information about train consists before the trains are permitted on the rail network.

The replacement generator armature and componentry for Diesel G 50, arrived in Perth on the 22nd of Dec and work will commence with the necessary engineering changes to adapt the substitute armature early in the new year.

C1701 was dragged out of the back road of the Pinjarra Loco Depot (where it had languished looking rather forlorn and unloved for a long time) and given a new coat of paint and then shunted into a storage road at the northern end of the yard very close to South Western Highway where it makes for a very attractive entry statement. This work was carried out by Mission Australia's Work for the Dole team at Pinjarra. Class leader C1701 has been out of service for many years as a supply for spare parts to keep 1702 and 1703 operational.

C1701 Standing at the South Western Highway entrance to HVTR's Pinjarra depot.

Mainline diesels C1702, C1703 and XA1401 are all currently operating satisfactorily with only minor maintenance requirements which are being attended to as they come along.

V4 returned to Dwellingup in early November to replace SEC 1 which failed with gearbox problems in late October. V4 has been operating quite reliably on Etmilyn services with sister locomotive V5 during SEC 1's absence.

SEC 1 had the necessary repairs carried out to its gear box during December and has recently been test run in Pinjarra yard on 30/12/03. A sterling job was carried out by the team at Pinjarra in achieving this and the locomotive has been found to be operating fine. SEC 1 will return to Dwellingup as soon as is practically possible.

The oldest operating WAGR diesel - Z1152 is still currently in use at the new Nowergup Railcar depot which is on the new extension of the Northern Suburbs Railway. Tamping and ballasting should be finished in early January and it is expected that Z1152 will return to Pinjarra during January. The PTCo shunters float returned to Pemberton on Monday 29th December. The LA Ballast Wagons will return upon completion of the ballasting work.

PM706 was returned to service in early October after repairs were carried out to the damaged right hand cylinder cover and piston, in time to operate the scheduled Wizard Trains. No further mechanical problems were encountered during these tours.

PM706, W 945 and W903 have had the necessary fittings removed for the summer maintenance period and  repairs should be carried out as required prior to the commencement of steam season 2004.

Re-tubing of  W920 was recently finished in November and all super heaters have also been refitted. It is hopeful that W920 will be able to join W945 and W903 for next years Forest Ranger services

PM706 is also requiring some major repairs on the tender to the water tank space with approximately the first bottom meter of both tank sides requiring replacement.

The HVTR sleeping car fleet is currently having some conservation work carried out at Dwellingup. This is consisting of some basic repairs along with an overall paint job of the car sides in brunswick green. So far 2 have been completed with a further  7 cars to go.

AH class car 316 in new livery. Photo by R Vanderputten

2 of the AH cars have been repainted into the new livery with commencement on some of the first class cars intended when funds and resources permit. This project is also being assisted by Mission Australia's Work for the Dole team at Pinjarra

July, August, September, October 2003

In June 2003 a request was made of Hotham Valley Railway and the Pemberton Tramway Company from  Works Infrastructure (E.D.I) for use of equipment to assist in the construction of the new Urban Rail Car Depot at Nowergup on the new extension of the Northern Suburbs Railway

In Late August HVTR's ex WAGR. "Z" class 0-6-0 diesel mechanical, shunter Z1152 was transferred to Nowergup by road (Nowergup was not connected by rail at time of movement).  The  Pemberton Tramway Company despatched 2 Trucks from Pemberton with 3 LA Ballast Hoppers - LA's 23725, 23752 & 23852 and 1  Shunters Float - NS4524, to Nowergup.

Z1152 &  NS4524 dispensing overhead wire

LA Ballast Hoppers

New Nowergup Urban Rail Car Depot Under Construction for the Northern Suburbs Railway extension

These Pictures of HVTR's Z1152 and PTCo's LA's & NS supplied by Tom Blinco

Early in October diesel mechanical 0-6-0 locomotive SEC 1 suffered a main gear box failure and was hauled to Pinjarra on 15/10/03 for inspection and repair. V4 which has been out of service for some time now, has seen repairs being carried out that will enable it to return to service on the Dwellingup Forest Railway soon. V5 and G123 are currently the motive power being used at Dwellingup and it is hoped to have V4 back on the Forest Railway in time for the end of steam season when G123 will cease operation for the summer due to the commencement of Fire Ban/Risk requirements.

Wednesday 17th September saw G123  return to steam and work double headed with W903 on the regular Steam Ranger service from Pinjarra to Dwellingup.

A big thank you to Gary Merrin & Sunday Times Newspapers for supplying this picture.

Click here for more Photo's

This working enables commencement of steam services on the Forest Railway to Etmilyn to begin on Sat 20th September

G123 and W 903 ready to depart Pinjarra for Dwellingup on the Wednesday Steam Ranger

G123 has been Steam tested and will return to Dwellingup services Very Soon

(Watch this Site for more Details on G123)

Carriage AH316 is currently being painted into a new livery of deep brunswick green with yellow lining and Ochre coloured roof

In conjunction with the cleaning up of Pinjarra, XA1411 (unserviceable) which has stood unloved for many years in the back road at Pinjarra loco, has been painted into a deep brunswick green livery with black roof. 2004 will mark the 50th Anniversary of the introduction of the X Class locomotives and as such it is appropriate for XA1411 to be repainted into this colour scheme.

XA1411 repainted. Photo by R Vanderputten

2 of the 4 Pinjarra depot, servicing pits have been cleaned and painted light grey

Unfortunately on Sat 6th Sept, PM706 suffered a failure of the rear right hand cylinder cover and Piston. Necessary repairs will be undertaken as soon as possible to enable a return to service

June 2003

The tour to Collie saw around 150 passengers enjoy a great day out with steam haulage to this south west coal mining town. W945 and PM706 took charge of the train at Pinjarra for the run down the south west main to Brunswick Junction and thence the climb up through the beautiful Lunenburg Valley. Arrival in Collie saw a great turnout of towns people for the journey out to the  Ewington Loop and return with approx 192 locals taking advantage of this extension to the Tour.

Monday 2nd of June was Northam Foundation Day Races.  263 passengers traveled on this tour enjoying a day of train travel & Racing.

May 2003

May has come and gone with most tours seeing average bookings

The Gin Gin tour had rather poor passenger numbers for what has been in the past a very popular day out. Consideration is to be given as to whether this tour is available next year .

W903 and W945 have been operating reasonably well on the regular Dwellingup Forest and Steam Ranger trains which have been operating on Sundays and Wednesdays.

PM706 has seen little service this month due to being limited to main line operations however it is having a well deserved break after working hard on the recent fully booked Wizards Express trains during the April school holiday period.

The Mainline Diesel fleet (C's &Xa) continues to give good service with only minor jobs occurring periodically. G50 is still out of service requiring major components for reactivation. Acquisition of these parts is however moving forward and G50 will once again be a useful part of the HVTR diesel fleet.

Changes in positioning of carriage storage at Pinjarra yard combined with use of block train sets has seen more efficient and workable shunting movements making these operations less time consuming.

Dwellingup Forest Railway services to Etmilyn continue to carry good numbers of passengers with this season being one of the best so far in the operation of these services despite being diesel hauled.

Work is progressing with repair works to G123 which is hoped to be returned to Steam around the end of July. Donations to assist with restoration of this wonderful little locomotive can be made to the HVTR office.

Etmilyn Restaurant/Diner trains also continue to see full loadings with extra Friday nights being added when necessary. Extra services will operate every Friday night during July as "Christmas in July" services with a Xmas type menu.

This months Murder Train was thoroughly enjoyed by those passengers traveling to Toodyay for the "School Reunion" Theme. This train saw some interesting operational variations on return to the City. Due to works on Fremantle and Armadale lines the empty working to Pinjarra saw the train travel via Woodbridge through Forrestfield to Kenwick and thence on to Pinjarra.

Work continues at Pinjarra to clean up the site with many members helping out where possible. An amazing transformation occurred when many loads of road base were spread around the yard to fill any holes and undulations etc, giving a whole new appearance to Pinjarra yard. The Ash Pits in the loco depot area have been cleaned out as has much of the debris that has accumulated throughout the sheds over many years . The former Westrail Barracks is also currently receiving some much needed attention as this is to once again become the main area of accommodation and socialising for members when staying over at Pinjarra. A big thank you to Frank Carr and his assistants who are cleaning up and refurbishing the Barracks facility. Carriage Cleaning is also currently a big part of HVTR's operations and any members who wish to help out can contact Murray Rowe through the HVTR office. A visit to Pinjarra will find a pleasant change of atmosphere.

Work also continues at Dwellingup with much cleaning up of the area along with the recently acquired Railway Houses. Thanks to the regular band of members who attend to operate trains and make Dwellingup a growing attraction.

Thank you to all Members who are helping out and to those who are not, we hope to see you in the future. Many Hands Make Light Work and any assistance will be greatly appreciated. If you would like to help out at Pinjarra or Dwellingup please contact Depot Manager - Gus Matheson at Pinjarra or if you would like to help out in the Travel Centre in Perth please contact Office Manager - Mary Phatorous

April 2003

Steam Season Commenced early this year from Easter Sunday with W945 and W903 heading towards Dwellingup following a delay caused by a small fire just south of Pinjarra. Unfortunately due to a failure of signalling equipment in the Alumina Junction Area, more than an hour was spent trying to open the switch lock to enable access to the Dwellingup Branch. Due to the delays it was decided to terminate the journey at Isandra siding and return to Pinjarra to enable an on time departure for the return to the City. This provided for an unusual working with the train working back from Isandra with a locomotive at each end of the train as it is not possible to run around at Isandra due to wagons that are stored in the loop there.

Wizards Trains also recommenced during this period with services operating on Tuesdays and Thursdays of the school holiday period. These got off to a slow start with average numbers on the first tour but the 3 others were sold out. Book Now for the next school holiday period for this popular train.

Wednesday Steam Rangers also recommenced for the year with W945 taking charge of most services with good numbers of passengers traveling.

Etmilyn Services are continuing to increase in patronage with a 113% increase on last Aprils figures.

Etmilyn Diner services continue to be very popular and those wishing to travel on these services are recommended to book well in advance.

Members ongoing efforts at Pinjarra to improve the appearance of the area are beginning to show good results with improved cleanliness and organisation around work, storage and barracks areas.

In recent weeks there has been a spate of break ins at both Pinjarra and Dwellingup resulting in damage and loss as well as some graffiti. Alarm systems are in the process of being installed in an effort to deter this.

March 2003

Well another month has come and gone

Over 250 passengers travelled on Saturday 8th March

to The Leeuwin Concert Starring k.d. lang but unfortunately less than 50 traveled with us on the Sunday train. This event was enjoyed by all with the artist being very well received.

Harvey Harvest festival was a successful train with over 160 passengers enjoying the day out to this lovely south west  township in the heart of Dairy Country. The timetabling of this tour was used to trial the timetable pathing for our regular Dwellingup Steam Rangers which will commence from Easter Sunday 20th April. As this timing sees our trains depart ahead of the Australind it was extremely important to ensure that we could keep to the timings given and keep out of the way of the Australind. To their credit our crews kept to the timetable given and the trial was a success.

This months Murder Mystery was also a bit low on passenger numbers with only 130 participating in "Rocky Horror". This figure was a little disappointing however industry enquiries seem to show that sales are depressed in all areas of Tourism and Merchandising as a result of peoples state of mind in relation to the War in Iraq.

Repairs to G123 are continuing. It has been decided that a full re-tube will be carried out following very satisfactory repairs to the inner firebox. Whilst the boiler has been of the frames and at Willis Light Engineering in Rivervale for repairs, opportunity has been taken to shim and adjust excessive axle box clearances that have developed through wear.

Work has been progressing at Pinjarra on the Steam Locomotive fleet.

PM706, W903, W945 will be available for traffic prior to Easter

Toilet facilities at Pinjarra built into a FD goods van by the Peel Development Commission and Mission Australia Work for the Dole team is almost ready for its inaugural "Royal Flush" and will be operational for the commencement of Dwellingup Steam Rangers from Pinjarra

General body and fitting repairs are also being carried out by members attending at Pinjarra during weekdays on the sleeping car fleet.

February 2003

February is traditionally a quiet month for train operation at HVTR but there has been plenty of other activity going on

The Etmilyn Diner continues to have good loadings with the Forest Railway services also doing reasonably well. Wednesday operations were also introduced for the Etmilyn Forest Railway services. The Leeuwin Concert Starring James Taylor was also enjoyed by those who traveled with us

On Sunday 16th February XA1401 "Pedong" broke the dry spell with a visit into City Station for the first time in quite a few years. The XA arrived via the Armadale line thence running around and heading out onto the Midland line for the tour to the Avon Valley Vintage and Classic Fair before returning in the afternoon to once again run around in the city and head back to Pinjarra via Armadale. Always popular with the enthusiasts XA1401 is being used wherever possible as it is actually more efficient to operate than the C class diesels. There will be more outings for this Loco over the coming months.

On 16/02/03 XA 1401 after a long absence was once again permitted to venture into City station. It is seen here at the western end of City station whilst running around

Apologies to those who may have experienced problems with accessing the website recently. This was due to changing service provider from Vianet to Westnet. Member Justin Von Perger has been steadily upgrading the HVTR office bookings system to enable online booking of tours which will also be interactive with the website. Although not up and running yet this new system should come online soon.

G123 has had its boiler removed and has been sent to the city to have repairs made with the intention of having this popular little loco back in service at Dwellingup for the forthcoming Steam Season.

Donations of assistance for the restoration repairs of G123 can be made to the HVTR City Office


The W's and Pm are also having their annual summer maintenance carried out as is required each year



The Murray Shire has assisted the operation of Wizards Trains by presenting the Pinjarra Tourist Centre Manager Jim Williams with a donation to assist with running of Wizards activities at Edenvale House where all sorts of unusual characters lurk in the dungeons.

The Minister for Magical Transport - Casimus Jones was on hand with his favourite locomotive for the presentation



On the 17th of February Hon J McGinty with Shire President - Dennis Veitch opened the Boddington to Pinjarra railway reconstruction project with the handing over of $1 million assistance. This is part of the Peel Development Commission project to reopen the railway from Etmilyn through to Boddington. A sculpture featuring 4 track workers was designed and erected on a flatcar in the Boddington town site to mark the event. Work will begin at the Boddington end with a new station approximately 500meters from the old station and head towards Etmilyn.  Tullis bridge will receive necessary repairs to enable operation of trains once again . Works will also commence from Etmilyn towards Inglehope with eventual connection to the Boddington trackage. At Pinjarra a new station will be built as a replica of the original.

Design work for the installation of the old Claisebrook footbridge is also underway

28th January 2003

Passenger numbers have continued to be good on the Etmilyn Tramway however recent main line tours have been average performers.

One of these such tours was the Sky show tour from Bunbury to Perth and return for the annual Lotto Sky works. This is possibly due to the Bunbury shire putting on a fireworks display over Koombana Bay. Even so 80 passengers traveled on this train  with a enjoyable time being had by all.

15 January 2003

As is usually the case with the Christmas period, we have only been operating a few services.

The Christmas diners and New Years Eve trains were very popular with most passengers enjoying their journey on these services

During the January period the Etmilyn Tramway has been operating everyday at 11am and 2pm with reasonably good passenger loadings being experienced each day. This may have been helped by good advertising in the West newspaper along with a new brochure produced and distributed specifically advertising the Tramway. The every day running has been successful enough that HVTR are looking at the possibility and costs of continuing to operate everyday after the school holiday period

The first Witches Express have been operated and although the loadings could be considered to be average, the Witches Express services hauled by Diesel Locomotive XA "Pedong" have been well received by the passengers.

The Witches Express is the summer equivalent to our Wizards Express. Due to the Fire restrictions in place that prevent operation of our steam locomotives, all summer trains must be diesel hauled and so our XA diesel has been called upon for its antique looks to operate these trains. It is good to see this locomotive out on the mainline again on its own

Although it is common for first generation X class diesels to smoke heavily when accelerated after standing for long periods of idling, is interesting to note that the office has had comments such as "Our diesel even looks like a steam engine" and "where did we find that relic from" and "it looks just great"




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