Our News section leads with the news that V/Line is phasing out buffet service on long-distance broad-gauge services, with no buffet facilities being built in the forthcoming batch of VLocity railcars currently under construction. We speak to V/Line, the Public Transport Users Association, and also John Hearsch, the former VicRail and V/Line manager who was responsible for the roll-out of the hugely-successful ‘New Deal for Country Passengers’ in the 1980s, which saw the expansion of buffet services on regional passenger rail services.
Our feature articles are a treat for fans of Victorian Railways steam. We celebrate the centenary of the K Class, a locomotive perhaps best described with the title of a famous children’s book: The little engine that could. Our editor is particularly delighted with our article on building and maintaining the K Class; we interview retired fitter Neil Harris who began his VR apprenticeship in the New Erecting Shop of Newport Workshops in 1946, as the final batch of K Class locomotives were under construction, as well as Warren Hall, who as Steamrail’s Mechanical Manager is responsible for keeping three Ks in peak condition for heritage operations.
Trevor Penn discusses driving and firing the K Class, and we also present a concise history with a few interesting little surprises along the way. Did you know, for example, even though the K Class was built for branch line goods duty, it was designed from the outset to be capable of 55 mph (88 km/h) running? Or that the successor to the K, the J Class, was apparently test-driven at 75 mph (120 km/h) by none other than VR Locomotive Superintendent (and later Chief Commissioner) George Brown?
All our regular columns are there:
- Calendar anniversaries
- General works
- Operations and sightings
- Photos in focus
- PTV service quality
- Where is it?