4th December, 2011
With summer on its way but rain still present, grasses along and around the Railway have been in abundance this year. On Sunday 4th December Stef 'The Mangler' got busy mowing down much of the grass around the HVR Dwellingup facilities to minimise risk of fire over summer. Once finished, the areas looked much neater and the local rabbit population had been reduced. Unfortunately at least one Goanna was also accidently traumatised.
1st November, 2011
On Tuesday 1st November whilst most people were thinking about the Melbourne Cup, communications along the HVR lines took a big step forwards with the installation of antennas for our internal radio system Repeater. HVR has leased space on the Teasdale Hill radio mast owned by Western Power which hosts other users such as DEC and the WA Police. The HVR antennas are the two lower Yagi units on the right photo. The one pointing left is directed towards Etmilyn and the one to the right, towards Isandra. It is hoped to commission the system by mid January.
9th October, 2011
Due to heavy advance bookings for Sunday 9th October, the morning Steam Ranger service was increased to 5 coaches and assisted by DE Loco F40 for the return trip to Dwellingup.
For operational convenience, F40 was attached to the rear of the train for the outbound journey to Isandra. Photos below show the 'up' (outbound) service approaching Isandra on the left and the returning 'down' service on the right, with W920 and F40 'double heading'.
10th August, 2011
On Wednesday 10th August, the third of four AH coaches sold to Pacific National for conversion to crew relay vans, was loaded for its journey to Blue-Bird in South Australia where the conversions are being carried out. The coach being loaded is AHF 316.
At the very same time, at the Blue-Bird works in South Australia, the first completed conversion was receiving its final touches and being rolled out ready for road transport to Townsville.
30th July, 2011
On Saturday 30th July, several small areas of track maintenance were attended to, including lifting and packing over a culvert at the 12.490km. The morning was a pleasant sunny winters day but unfortunately it didn't stay that way for the afternoon as can be seen in the two photos below.
25th July, 2011
As a follow up process following the Steam Ranger derailment the previous week and in order to determine there were no other unidentified potential weaknesses that had slipped thru our track inspection processes without correction, the WestNet Rail 'Matisa' Track Recorder Car was run over our lines on Monday 25 July, courtesy of WestNet Rail. Contractors for WestNet Rail, MRX Technologies, rallied very quickly for us in organising the machine and transport by John Holland. The track recorder car was run over the whole of the HVR, from Alumina Junction to Etmilyn. The "Matisa" showed it was still going strong for its age and very at home on our light branch line, the likes of which it would have 'cut its teeth' when new some 50 years ago.
23rd July, 2011
Having been run light engine to Isandra for stabling following the derailment of its carriages the previous weekend, W 920 was returned to Dwellingup on Saturday 23rd July and is seen below passing over the derailment site where repairs were in progress.
The final track repairs were completed over the weekend of 23rd & 24th July.
20th July, 2011
On Wednesday morning 20th July, the two derailed Steam Ranger coaches were re-railed easily & safely by a very proficient team utilising modern jacking & traversing equipment. Temporary track repairs were then carried out enabling the train to be returned to Dwellingup on Friday morning by DE loco F40.
17th July, 2011
The afternoon Steam Ranger service on Sunday 17th July, failed due to two cars derailing. There were no injuries nor actual damage. The de-railment occurred 7km west of Dwellingup, half way into the outbound journey to Isandra. Investigations indicate the cause to be a combination of track factors which were adversely affected by recent significant rainfall, weakening the track over a very small localised area but just enough for one wheel to force its way between the rails, to then be followed by several others before the train was safely stopped in just 51 metres.
All Passengers were very understanding and were returned to Dwellingup by a relief train utilising the Forest Train consist which was worked by DE loco F40. Many passengers later telephoned and/or emailed with complementary comments on HVTR's handling of the unfortunate event, to wish us well and to offer their fares as donations, rather than take a refund, with some also sending in additional donations to help out. Many have also since returned to take the journey again (all the way this time) and brought other friends with them. The support HVR received to recover from this event has been truly wonderful and very humbling. Thank you All.
9th July, 2011
On Saturday 9th July, the Isandra viewing platform was fitted with its finished permanent steps at each end. These steps are wide and incline at only 30 degrees making them very easy going and comfortable for passengers of all ages. Below, Will, Steff & Tim pose proudly on their handiwork. The following day, it can be seen being enjoyed by many passengers.
24th May, 2011
Work continuing on DE loco G50 with car body roof section repairs being carried out at Pinjarra Engineering. Significant rusted sections are being cut out and replaced and the hand rails attached more directly to the framework rather than primarily the paneling.
22nd May, 2011
The new operating arrangements for the HVR Steam Ranger services and the Isandra Siding stopover have been an outstanding success and extremely well received by passengers. The loco cab "viewing platform" being extremely popular. Passengers have commented very favourably about "being in the bush", "could be anywhere" and "old time feel" of Isandra. It seems sand, scrub and grass are all part of the experience. HVR staff have commented they have never received so many thank-yous and comments of enjoyment from passengers as they disembark back at Dwellingup. Although Isandra may loose some of its appeal once the wet weather fully kicks in, so far things are looking very good for the altered Steam Ranger service. Passenger numbers are also well up on those for May last year. All in all, a very pleasing start for the new Steam-Ranger.
Below, W920 & Steam Ranger train ready to depart Isandra for the return journey to Dwellingup and crossing Isandra bridge departing Isandra.
13th May, 2011
Maintenance & rebuilding work on the spark arrester of steam loco W920 was completed late on Friday the 13th of May at Dwellingup in readiness for the first 2011 Steam Ranger on Sunday 15th.
4th May, 2011
During the second week of the 1st Term school holidays, the decking of the new short platform at Isandra was progressed significantly with the help of Murray, Amber and Matthew Willis.
1st May, 2011
Each year, special attention is paid to the condition of steam loco spark arresting equipment in the loco smoke boxes and any needed maintenance carried out. This year significant work was undertaken in the smoke box of loco W920. Due to access constraints, HVR contortionists Will Howard and Tim Morling were called upon to reach all the bolts etc, which they did with some creativity. This is especially noticeable in the right hand photo below, as a close look will reveal that those legs are actually going UP the chimney!
10th April, 2011
23rd March, 2011
On Wednesday 23rd March, ex SAR/HVR coach AHD 307, the second of four coaches sold to Pacific National, was loaded to road transport for its journey to South Australia where re-fit and modification work will be carried out prior to use in Queensland as a crew relay van.
21st March, 2011
At approximately 1315hrs Monday 21st March 2011, DE loco F44 made its last journey over the South West Mainline, shown below at Oakley Road crossing near Pinjarra. Loco F44 was saved by Steve Eats of Oakford following its use by Alcoa as a portable gen-set to pump slurry near Kwinana. Loco F44 has been obtained by V1213 P/L as a source of heavy spares for loco F40. As the remains of F44 do not include bogies, it was placed on a QU wagon at Alumina Junction, for portable storage.
16th March, 2011
Following the successful launch of a funding appeal for the acquisition and transport of steam loco W947 purchased from Rail Heritage WA, work commenced on Wednesday 16th March to collect a variety of loose parts and prepare the loco for road transport. The Tender, Cab, Boiler and Engine will each be transported as individual components.
27th February, 2011
On Sunday 27 Feb, six plugged tubes (seen in white below) were removed from the boiler of W903 along with approximately 25 other tubes in the lower section of the boiler. Following further examination, determinations and choices will be made on the repairs to be undertaken, over what time frame and in what order between W903 and W945.
25th February, 2011
HOTHAM VALLEY TOURIST RAILWAY (WA) INC.
8 Old Perth Road Bassendean WA 6054 TELEPHONE : 6278 1111 FAX : 6278 3660
Stakeholder, Interested Party & Media Release - 25 February 2011
Hotham Valley Tourist Railway advises plans & changes for 2011
STEAM-RANGER TRAINS to Depart from DWELLINGUP
All Hotham Valley Tourist Railway Trains, - Forest Train, Restaurant Train and now the Steam Ranger also, - will commence from the Dwellingup Railway Station, which will become the primary operational base for the HVTR.
In recognition increasing resource demands, Hotham Valley Tourist Railway, a volunteer not for profit organisation, has just completed the first stage of a strategic review and is embarking on changes to ensure that this historic and major tourist icon of the Peel region continues to operate sustainably into the future.
In announcing these changes to the organisation’s members, President Vince Baker highlighted the significant human & financial resource costs of operating a railway and the disproportionately high burden of these placed on HVTR in order to operate over the short portion of Main-Line Network between Pinjarra and Alumina Junction. Therefore, he was looking forward to the re-arrangement of the Steam Ranger services, which will instead depart from Dwellingup travelling westward down the Darling Escarpment 14km to Isandra Siding and return, both morning and afternoon, each operating day during the steam season from May to October inclusive. Operating days will include each Sunday and selected days such as most Wednesdays and other days during the school holidays.
These changes will benefit visitors by providing, a choice of two departure times at a reduced Steam-Ranger fare, plus greater time with more flexibility to explore the historic town of Dwellingup and its many attractions. HVTR members will benefit through new challenges and opportunities with more operational flexibility and a less demanding, more interesting volunteering environment in which to participate. In addition, General Manager, Ian Willis said "The progressive development of facilities at Isandra will give patrons a more relaxed opportunity for close hand inspection and exposure to working steam locomotives and other historic railway items of interest".
Although all HVTR trains will now depart from Dwellingup, Hotham Valley Railway will still have a major operational presence in Pinjarra for some time utilising the infrastructure there associated with storing and maintaining HVTR’s locomotives & rolling stock.
As the Railway embarks on another exciting year persons interested in becoming involved on the many and varied tasks (ticket sellers, cleaners, engine persons, customer assistants, maintenance) should contact the HVTR Volunteer Coordinator via the above letterhead addresses.
13th February, 2011
Having started the job on 7th November 2010, Sunday 13th February 2011 was spent removing all of the remaining flue tubes from the boiler of loco W945. Several of the smaller tubes were also removed from the lower portion of the tube nest.
Following removal of several small tubes from W903 in the near future, an assessment will be made on the scope of repairs required and subsequently which loco to work on returning to service first.
5th February, 2011
On a hot Saturday 5th February, a concentrated effort was made on repairing the 3.8km level crossing which had been grader-damaged on 10th November 2010. By mid afternoon the work was completed by HVTR members along with much appreciated help from the grader owner and son "Hooker", operator at the time of the unfortunate incident.
26th January, 2011
As part of HVTR rationalising its fleet of ex South African passenger coaches, several are to be disposed. Following 10 months of engineering reviews, 4 coaches were purchased in January by Pacific National. They will be strengthened and re-fitted out as crew relay vans for use in Queensland. On Wednesday morning 26th January, the first coach (AHB306) was loaded to road transport at Pinjarra for its journey to South Australia where initial fit out works and design will commence.
23rd January, 2011
In preparation for coaching stock
17th January, 2011
As part of coach shunting operations at Pinjarra on Monday 17th January, the opportunity was taken to relocate DE loco G50 into the east yard workshop in preparation for re-installation of its engine and main generator. Initial work which commenced the following day, will focus on general body repairs, miscellaneous attention to mechanical & electrical items and undercoat painting. The main generator repairs were completed in 2010 and in coming months it will be re-attached to the engine. Once this has been undertaken, the engine-generator assembly will be installed into the locomotive.
HVR is a Volunteer Operated, Registered Tax Deductible Gift Recipient
For Hotham Valley Bookings Call : Australia 08 6278 1111
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