Our cover story for August 2020 Newsrail concerns the recently announced decision by Steamrail to conduct a condition assessment on K183, the locomotive involved in the Benalla level crossing tragedy of October 2002, with a view to potentially restoring the locomotive to operating condition. We speak to Steamrail’s Mechanical Manager, Warren Hall, who discusses why K183 is being considered for restoration, and why K class locos are such a good loco for heritage rail operations. Warren discusses what work will be involved in the condition assessment, and how the difficult task of a major steam locomotive overhaul is made easier by the growing level of cooperation and information-sharing between heritage rail groups both locally and internationally.
We have another of Andrew Blair’s wonderful photo essays of a journey along a VR branch line in the 1950s; this time we’re headed for Yarrawonga on a 153hp Walker Railcar. Andrew also retraces his steps 62 years later and finds that while passenger services to Yarrawonga are now a distant memory, silo art has transformed the Devenish and Goorambat station sites with murals of striking beauty and poignancy.
Mark Cauchi presents us with a something of a riddle as he sifts through documentation concerning the installation (and then removal only a few years later) of the turntable at Lal Lal on the Geelong to Ballarat line. Mark discusses the various potential purposes it could have served, noting the various agricultural, industrial and recreational purposes the railway served in that district.
Greg Michael follows up his recent article on distance measurement on the VR with a visit to the former Ben Nevis to Navarre branch, part of which has now been turned into a roadway where VR concrete mileposts still mark the distance from Melbourne.
Our News section deals with exciting news of the extension of funding for the Overland to 2023, allowing the service to resume once COVID border restrictions allow.
And all your favourite columns are there
- Rail works (with extensive detail on the infrastructure changes at Mentone/Cheltenham and West Footscray/Tottenham)
- PTV service quality
- Operations and sightings
- Preservation (as well as K183 news, there is an update on an 1874 carriage body restoration project underway at Ballarat)
- Where is it?
Our cover photo was taken by Matt Oaten.