CURRENT NEWS ITEMS
October 2022 - Grant for Restoration of 602/707.
The Society has received a $50,000 grant from Transport Heritage NSW towards the restoration of our 600 Class set - 602 and 707. The grant was made under the 2022-2023 Transport Heritage Grants Scheme. See the award announcement here.
October 2022 - 7344 Assists Newcastle Flyer.
7344 was used to assist Transport Heritage NSW's Newcastle Flyer service on the weekend of 15-16 October. Loco 3801 worked six cars single-handed to Newcastle Interchange each day. In the absence of an engine release road at the Interchage, 7344 hauled 3801's cars to Broadmeadow Maintenance Center while 3801 was turned on the Islington Triangle. 3801 then coupled to the back of its cars and 7344 hauled the whole consist back to Newcastle Interchange for an afternoon departure.
October 2022 - CPHs at Transport Heritage Expo 2022.
Our three CPH's travelled to Sydney on the October long weekend to participate in the Transport Heritage NSW Transport Expo 2022. The three CPH's worked three round trips each day from Sydney Terminal covering the Metropolitan Goods Lines from Meeks Road through Enfield and Chullora to Sefton Park Junction and then returning via the main line through Lidcombe and Strathfield. All nine trips were at full capacity.
August 2022 - No Entry to South Australia.
Our second planned excursion into South Australia for Cruise Express was curtailed by ARTC bureaucratic interference. This meant we were limited to operating in NSW and we took the Cruise Express passengers as far as Broken Hill, where thay travelled on by coach. We ran some local trips from Broken Hill before returning to Parkes where we operated a local lunch trip to the Rusty Horse Hotel at Bribbaree. After a day off we journeyed to Albury where we ran a number of local trips to Henty and Culcairn and a luncheon trip to Wagga Wagga. Cruise Express passengers were collected from Albury with an overnight stop on the way back to Sydney.
May 2022 - First Operation into South Australia.
The Society's first operation into South Australia took place on 22-31 May. Starting from Paterson, some 65 passengers boarded 621/721 for the first leg of the run to Parkes. The next stop was Broken Hill where a lay day was taken for our passengers to undertake local sightseeing. Crossing the border into South Australia on 24 May saw the imposition of a number of operating restrictions by ARTC in relation to level crossings. These restrictions presented a number of challenges and following further negotiations, the restrictions were partially reduced for the journey after Adelaide. Two nights were spent in the SA capital before heading for Melbourne. On the run to our overnight stop at Horsham, a stop was made at Murray Bridge for a lunch cruise on the Murray River. The 620 arrived in Melbourne on 27 May to a platform full of enthusiastic photographers. Another lay day was provided for passengers to enjoy the Melbourne sights including an option for a visit to Puffing Billy. The return run home from Melbourne included and overnight stop in Wagga Wagga. The train arrived home late on the afternoon of 31 May. Our first incursion into SA proved remarkably successful, however, a later planned tour had to be curtailed due to further ARTC bureaucratic interference. This is currently being worked on with additional track circuit testing being needed to satisfy the ARTC hierarchy.
May 2022 - Annual General Meeting.
The Society's Annual General Meeting was held on Saturday, 7 May 2022. In order to maintain appropriate social distancing, the meeting was again held in the rail motor shed at Paterson Depot with 20 members in attendance, 2 apologies and 2 visitors. Five Board members retired in rotation and were eligible for re-election. Five nominations were received for the vacant positions and those Board members were declared re-elected. Following the AGM, the new Board met and elected the Office-bearers for the ensuing year. The Board for 2022-2023 is:
February-March 2022 - Heavy Rains Impact Tour Operations.
The heavy rainfall experienced along the East Coast impacted a number of our tour operations. CPH 1 and 7 operating a Captain's Circle western tour were terminated at Lithgow due to track damage on the Blue Mountains. The units returned to Paterson via Dubbo and Gulgong. 621/721, operating a Cruise Express Southern Branches Tour was stranded at Moss Vale due to wash ways on the Main South Line. 621/721 were later worked into Sydney to take up a Cruise Express Canberra tour.
February 2022 - Sydney Trains Overhead Wiring Inspection Project.
Following successful negotiations in late 2021, HPC 402 carried out a six-week operation in Sydney carrying out overhead wiring inspections. Despite continuing wet weather and Sydney Trains ongoing industrial action, the testing went ahead and was completed on schedule.
February 2022 - 7344 Assists With Testing Of R766.
7344 assisted Sydney Rail Services with testing operations of their gauge converted steam locomotive R766. The assistant loco was required by ARTC to ensure the train could be recovered in the event of a failure. R766 performed well and should received approval to operate on the main line in the near future. Our congratulations go to Sydney Rail Services on the completion of this major project. R766 will feature at the 2022 Hunter Valley Steamfest 35th Anniversary activities as part of a four-way parallel run between Waratah and Maitland.
January 2022 - North Coast Operations.
COVID-19 restrictions impacted planned North Coast tourist operations. 621/721 travelled to Kyogle for the Giant Pumpkin and Watermelon Festival on 15-16 January. This was followed by a successful 2-week Rail Forest Rattler trips, based on Coffs Harbour.
December 2021 - Christmas at Paterson.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions on entertainment venues, the Society held its Annual Christmas Party at Paterson on Wednesday, 15 December (the first day of no masks). Over 50 members were in attendance.
November 2021 - Safeworking Recertification Training.
Two Safeworking Recertification Training courses were held in late November and early December. 17 crew members attended for this all important part of retaining our skill sets. Thank you to GoTrain Industry for conducting the classes.
November 2021 - NPF 621 Repairs Completed.
Accident repairs to NPF 621 have been completed, with the unit receiving a complete repaint at the hands of our resident painter, Peter Macfarlane. The unit looks resplendent in the new paintwork and lettering.
October 2021 - Tourist Services Resumed.
28 October saw the resumption of our tourist services with a Stroud Road run for Tuncurry Coaches. This was followed by a second Stroud Road tour for Southern Cross Coaches on 2 December.
October 2021 - Sydney Trains Contract Renewed.
Our 2019 contract with Sydney Trains for Overhead Wiring Inspection services using HPC 402 was renewed for 5 years, with 3 additional 1-year options.
October 2021 - 7344 Assists Testing of R766.
At the request of Sydney Rail Services, 7344 was used to assist restored Victorian steam locomotive R766 on two test runs between Branxton and Singleton. 7344 led R766 running tender first to Singleton, while the R Class led back to Branxton on each run. The testing proved successful and we look forward to seeing R766 on tourist trains in the near future.
September 2021 - COVID-19 Restrictions Eased.
The second round of NSW Health COVID-19 restrictions were eased in September and the Society cautiously resumed its work days under our strict COVID-19 Safety Plan. Volunteer numbers gradually grew until we reached our regular complement of workers.
June 2021 - COVID-19 Restrictions Hit.
As the second round of NSW Health COVID-19 restrictions were applied, the Society's work days were curtailed, with only limited work being undertaken to progress important projects.
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