Hotham Valley Railway - Comments, Q & A

 
  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

I know 1701 is out of service, and 1702 is at Dwellingup, but what about 1703?
"andrew1996"


Dear Andrew1996,

DE Loco C1703 currently remains in service at Pinjarra yard for shunting use.

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  HOWARAS Deputy Commissioner

Location: Woodanilling
Hi Ian, in re: to a Sleeper Train... that sounds like a great Idea and I'd definately be interested in paying for a night on that... it would be well worth it, by the sounds of it..

even if it did just run back and fourth from Alumina Junction to Etmilyn?... I think if it was done atleast twice a year, it would sell out...

On another topic, this year, if there is any work trains working the HVR line, would enthusiast be able to be informed of them prior to their running?...

Is there a way to make money from work trains??... like say maybe running a guards van on the back, for any who might be interested in paying for a ride...??

Also... we have the Steam Ranger and Forest Dinner Train... but what about some catchy names, like what Pichi Richi does... for example, if the XA was to haul the Steam Ranger, with the Sleeper consist, it could be called the Hotham Express... i don't know just an example... but then when the W's run the steam Ranger, it could have a different name...

Cheers

Don
  burt007 Chief Train Controller

Location: On the Road Somewhere...
Someone enquired recently on Railpage Australia™ (but I couldn't re-find it today) if HVR would look to operate Loco Driving Experience such as PTCo had done. The answer is YES....
.
"Hotham Valley"


That is something I possibly mentioned on Railpage some months/ if not years ago now....and I also discussed it within HVTR management/operations staff, probably at least 18 months ago.  

A great idea......

I believe this would be a great way to make money for HVTR, and create an opportunity for people to experience what for many would be a child hood dream....working in the cab of a steam locomotive on a revenue earning train.........

These people - after the event - may continue within HVTR as a volunteer and/or member after the exexperience

With two steam locomotives operating the standard steam ranger, two people paying say $500 a head each to ride in the cab down and then back up the hill. They could be involved from the early stages of light up right through to the train operation, to the end of he day.

$1000 per ranger........ ($500 per person)

...... too much/not sufficient enough to cover costs?

However, and being around OH&S, QA etc etc every working day of my working life......I know the hurdles that have to be jumped to put this in place. The risk of injury with so many moving parts, hot fire, steam, and a constantly moving floor/work area, medicals from applicants, a suitable supervisor on board the locomotive - all risks that would need to be analysed carefully and assessed, with strict procedures put in place to minimise any personal injury risk.

Not easy at all from a logistics/management point of view, but if procedures and policies are in place, this could be such a great thing on so many levels....

Hell, I'll put $500 on the table to be the first! Very Happy
  burt007 Chief Train Controller

Location: On the Road Somewhere...
One thing we will try very hard to acheive this year is running a Sleeper Train, primarily for enthusiasts. If anyone would like to suggest an itinary, feel free. The train would need to dodge or work with any other services but could operate to and from anywhere on the HVR branch. Maybe stop for a BBQ & beverage somewhere and stop for the more wee hours somewhere else and then work to somewhere for breakfast. Maybe just run all night!
The train would probably only be good for 40 or so pax. What sort of fare do readers think would be reasonable? Should pax bring their own linen? What else could or should or should not be included?
"Hotham Valley"


Fantastic idea Ian.........
I think keep it as simple as possible....BYO sleeping bags and pillows, etc.

As far as itinary - are we going out to Etmylin or down to Isandra?
W class steam or V class diesel shunter?

So many options..... Very Happy

As far as fare....well if I'm on a steam hauled over night sleeper train with a BBQ, drinks with friends, lots of rail stories to be told over a "night cap"........how does $50 to $70 per person sound?
  crisfitz Chief Commissioner

Location: Enroute somewhere
One thing we will try very hard to acheive this year is running a Speeper Train, primarily for enthusiasts.


Great idea. I'll have a think and throw up some suggestions, but rest assured I'll be on board. Night photo's of steam are awesome !!

The reason for this question though is the pricing of the Steam Ranger trip.
For mine it seems a little steep. To take my family on the trip will cost $102. A fair chunk out of the family budget for a half day run. In comparison we went on Puffing Billy last year to Lakeside return for $88.00. Pichi Richi is around the $100 mark (but uses original SAR stock - or at least a W that looks like the original Silverton W) to Woolshed Flat and return.

I know ( trust me ) that a family outing that costs less than $100 is starting to be pretty rare, but for us with tix, food, fuel (ouch) we won't get much change from $200. Can do lots of things for that kind of money that last longer and are much closer.

My 2c.
  jayrailnz Chief Train Controller

Location: Cromwell Otago NZ
I guess a rail experience in todays times mean different things to different people.In the 60s rail heritage had a generation with funds to have  steam journey experiences and wished to capture nostalgic moments and revisit former rail lines not yet closed.
50 years on the rail scene is vastly different to those times.
Heritage rails have to see what market to tap ?
open discussion.
  andrew1996 Train Controller

Location: Fremantle
Has this rain confirmed the date for the first Steam Ranger? Or is that still undecided?
  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

Has this rain confirmed the date for the first Steam Ranger? Or is that still undecided?
"andrew1996"


Dear Andrew1996,

The recent rain fall has been inadequate so far.

At present, we would expect to be operating steam by around mid May.

Traditionally the HVR "steam season" would commence from the first weekend in May and run thru to the last weekend in October. This period was linked to the Bush Fires Act and requirements for portable steam powerd equipment. These reqirements linked with controlled burning periods known as Restricted Burning and Prohibited Burning periods which are set by each individual Local Shire.

Currently, the Shire of Murray remains in Prohibted Burning following I beleive two extentions. When Prohibited ends, Restricted commences and usually runs for 6 weeks or so. Normally, by May we would be in the unrestricted part of the year. However, since the Victorian fires and the changing nature of our weather paterns, more stringent and/or cautious fire risk management practices have come into place.

Permits can be provided by the local shire during Restricted Burning periods. HVR can and has operated during Restricted Burning periods with such permits and my again do so this year.
  WAGR Chief Commissioner

Has this rain confirmed the date for the first Steam Ranger? Or is that still undecided?
"andrew1996"


Well "andrew1996" I can recall back in time in the late '70's when the opening of the HVR steam season was defered because of the extended fire ban. Now HVR were required to have all their requirements settled with the traffic branch the Monday prior to the following Sundays trip to Dwellingup.  This being for crew,coaching requirements and loco utilisation

At that time there was a fire ban imposed for that Sunday, so the trip was to be

(1) cancelled, monies refunded etc, however the policy at the time was that HVR would not ensure that the train would be steam hauled. due to operational requirements
(2) In the event of steam locomotives being resticted in their movements ,the train will run utilising diesel electric locomotives in this case ex Midland Railway "F" class.

Now can you imagine what it was like for officials of HVR and on train crew trying to explain to passengers while standing in ankle deep  water, that steam power wasn't available due to the dry conditions and a fire ban in place.

Yes mother nature came sweeping through on Saturday and Sunday with buckets of water. So yeah there ya go

**it happens, and i bet many of the HVR old school remember the incident

Cheers
  GrassyNoel Junior Train Controller

What on Earth did people do before they had a choice - i.e. when all power was by steam?
  dw54 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Devonport, Tas
Seeing a small rake of restored rollingstock (frieght) while possibly not high on the priority list currently, would i think get more of the railfan community there. When was the last time a steam hauled freight ran?? ideal thing for things luke steamfests/enthusiast day type events...

Out of curiosity Ian, does the restoration G71 figure into the scheme currently? i understand $$ and time issues, but just curious is all..
"d1565"

And there are ways of making such operations revenue-generating. It's something the photo- and video-gunzels particularly enjoy: exclusive locations, private information about running times, etc.

It's something I hope to float in Tassie while the main line is accredited for freight only.

DW in Devonport
  dw54 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Devonport, Tas
What on Earth did people do before they had a choice - i.e. when all power was by steam?
"GrassyNoel"

AIUI, fires were a problem. To mitigate the risk, much more effort was expended than today on clearing vegetation susceptible to sparks. But perhaps the venerable gentlemen here can expand on this.

Cheers

DW in Devonport
  jayrailnz Chief Train Controller

Location: Cromwell Otago NZ
WAGR,yes the panic for HVTR managers to satisfy the patrons pushed a few of the gang to go to Colins office ,punch out voucher on Gaestenners for  future steam trips. Today this enthusiasm to perform would be absent..
Boy we were naive,still because of the will to perform kept the organisation survive, to live, to keep  up the dream.
  andrew1996 Train Controller

Location: Fremantle
I just read on the website - forgive me I am incorrect - that the Etmylin train will not run on the same day as the Steam Ranger. Why is this?
  jayrailnz Chief Train Controller

Location: Cromwell Otago NZ
WAGR might recall,when the tenders were topped-up at Pinjarra,other WA locations when on mainline tours,was tannin always added?
especially when being topped by the local fire-boys .
  903 Chief Commissioner

Location: Perth WA
I just read on the website - forgive me I am incorrect - that the Etmylin train will not run on the same day as the Steam Ranger. Why is this?
"andrew1996"

As the steam ranger will do two trips a day, there wouldnt be a need for both.
  Jarroo Chief Commissioner

Why no need?

Why wouldn't people want to go for another ride into the forrest after doing a trip down the hill and up again, especially if there is nothing to do when they get to Isandra, although its getting a bit pricey to do both, I guess after
driving to Dwellingup, if there were two trains available, some would probably choose the cheaper option if both services were available.
  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

Why no need?

Why wouldn't people want to go for another ride into the forrest after doing a trip down the hill and up again, especially if there is nothing to do when they get to Isandra, although its getting a bit pricey to do both, I guess after
driving to Dwellingup, if there were two trains available, some would probably choose the cheaper option if both services were available.
"Jarroo"


Dear Jarroo,

You have posed two questions and part of the answers. Thanks for raising this.

There will undoubtably be some people that would have wanted to take both services, this has been evident in the past from persons commenting on their dissapointment that the Forest Train timetable did not allow for 'connections' with the Steamranger. The reality is that there would be potential patronage but there would only be a "need" if there was enough actual demand/patronage.

At present, Isandra isn't going to be any 'highlight' of the day but we don't think this is going to be too much of a negative. It has more to offer than Eastbrook Siding did at the PTCo and that was never an issue.

We think HVR should not try to 'hog' visitors, their time or disposable $. Rather, if people have time to enjoy a good time of diverse experiences when visiting Dwellingup, it will be good for everyone. This will hopefully result in everyone promoting everyone to visitors, safe in the knowledge that in doing so they will not be loosing any buisness, in fact quite the opposite because word will get around as visitors speak of the great and varied day they had at Dwellingup.

In terms of costs, we realise the fares we have set are at the upper end of similar attractions/bencemarks across WA and interstate. However they are not outside the ranges of similar services/attractions. The financial modeling we have been able to run reveal that these fares are both necessary, realistic and that further increases, annual or longer, based on CPI, should keep pace with costs etc and continue to meet market expectations.

What we are doing is a big shift and we don't know if we have it right. We do however know that we could not continue as we were. We have put a lot of thought into what we are doing and beleive we have it as right as we can get it based on the information and experience to hand.

Time will tell I guess.
  WAGR Chief Commissioner

WAGR might recall,when the tenders were topped-up at Pinjarra,other WA locations when on mainline tours,was tannin always added?
especially when being topped by the local fire-boys .
"jayrailnz"


Yes the correct dosage of Tannin (french chestnut) and soda ash was packaged per instuctions from the CME chemist at Midland, based on the point of water supply, each water point having a different PH factor.

So yes the water was dosed correctly as per CME requirments.
  wn514 Chief Commissioner

Location: at a skyhooks concert living in the 70's
a question from someone who has not been down to pinjarra for many years. does hotham valley have any ex wagr/westrail brakevans? if they do does anyone know the wagon codes and are they used on the hotham valley tourist trains?
thanks,
wal.
  wn514 Chief Commissioner

Location: at a skyhooks concert living in the 70's
answered my own question above by having a look on the web. it looks like they have at least 2, being Z9 and ZJ367. my other question still remains though are they used on their trains.
wal.
  burt007 Chief Train Controller

Location: On the Road Somewhere...
FYI HVTR web site is updated with pics from first Steam Ranger for the year.....

http://www.hothamvalleyrailway.com.au/news.htm
  Jarroo Chief Commissioner

How many coaches were on the train?

Its a bit sad the "thrill of the chase" up the hill won't be the same again like the old days with 7 or 8 coaches and "not one, but two Mountain type W class locomotives", as the weekly newspaper adverts used to say.
  HOWARAS Deputy Commissioner

Location: Woodanilling
Ian, how long before we see the F or the XA doing a run up and down the hill?

Cheers

Don
  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

How many coaches were on the train?

Its a bit sad the "thrill of the chase" up the hill won't be the same again like the old days with 7 or 8 coaches and "not one, but two Mountain type W class locomotives", as the weekly newspaper adverts used to say.
"Jarroo"


Dear Jarroo,

I guess that "original thrill" has been a memory for some years really, however don't dispair completely, be patient, good things come to those that don't give up, even if it takes seemingly an eternity we are working on it.

What some may be interested in is that the lighting is so completely different for the returning afternoon train and with good access now I think those that give it a go will get some great and different shots not previously possible.

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