Richmond Vale Fire

Topic moved from News by dthead on 20 Nov 2017 13:04
  SydneyCider Junior Train Controller

Very bad news. Those volunteers work very hard to keep places like that going for everyone to enjoy and it gets destroyed just like that. The Australian summer can be brutal. I recall reading in the Railway Digest earlier this year that fires came very close to the Rothbury Collection during some of those days where there were temps of 40+.

7 news reports from the location

Some tweets showing the damage. Looks like the fires got so hot they not only gutted the u-boat cars but even warped them

(Brodie Owen)

(David Threlfo)

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  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
  Gaz170 Junior Train Controller

Location: Gold Coast
I suppose one useful thing we could all do is petition the government to allow for fire fighting resources to be included in THNSW grants.  That might help prevent further things like this.  

Ironically, they are now probably eligible for a grant to rebuild/replace the damaged items.  Better to close the gate BEFORE the horse bolts.
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia

After locking the thread, it has been reopened.

I expect to see information and posts re the  devastation and distruction, distress and condolances of a  issue nothing could be really done about, unless you are Bill Gates perhaps. Let's talk about recovery of the remains, how the people there can cope.  And the question was that fire  arson....
  mikado5910 Chief Train Controller

Location: Kurri Kurri NSW
The Board wishes to thank emergency services for their efforts in fighting the Richmond Vale fire, which has caused significant damage to the museum collection despite their work.
The museum site is now off-limits and under the control of Fire and Rescue NSW, due to the presence of hazardous materials, and will not reopen until that control is relinquished.

Museum members and members of the public are advised that security has been posted at the museum’s access road to control admission, and that police will be patrolling the area. Please stay away.

Losses include:
• 3 stainless steel passenger cars
• 10 of 16 restored non-air coal hoppers and almost all non-restored wagons
• All of the unrestored general freight vehicles
• Approximately 2.5 kilometres of track
• Damage to number 1 bridge on the link line to Pelaw Main.

These losses mean that the museum’s rail operations will be suspended pending gradual track rehabilitation. An announcement about other aspects of the museum’s activities will be made as soon as access issues are resolved.

We thank the many members of the public, kindred societies, rail industry organisations and community leaders who have expressed their sympathy and support in this devastating event. The Board is developing a fundraising program which will assist the museum to restore the railway to a serviceable state. This will be shared via Facebook and media release as soon as details are finalized.
  SydneyCider Junior Train Controller

News segment on the fire

  woodford Chief Commissioner

The only real way to handle something like this is fuel reduction, before all fire season clean up all areas particularly on the North and Western boundries (Note 1), DO NOT ALLOW ANY LONG DRY GRASS on the property. IN the long term it would be worth removing all eucalyps and replace them with trees that will not burn easily. If one has a decent water supply green grass on the north and western boundries would be a major help.

Note 1: This is advice for Victoria, on bad fire days, winds always change from northerlies to Westerlies, Richmond Vale is in northern NSW, one would need to check local weather patterns.

Note 2: Cleaning up fuel DOES make a difference even on real bad days, it gives owners and fire fighters somewhere to fight the fire from, this is of CRITCAL importance, if one has a safe area to fight a fire from one chances of saving the place go way up.

A volunteer fire fighter for over thirty years.

Note 3: Puffing billy as well as having a fire patrol follow each train during the summer period regularly works with local brigades to make sure they have done the best they can for fire prevention.
  mikado5910 Chief Train Controller

Location: Kurri Kurri NSW
In answer to woodford, the site has been regularly slashed and mowed, which while it might not seem so at first glance, prevented further serious damage. There was also an asset protection zone outside the fence. As the site has the remains of the colliery buildings scattered across, some areas are difficult to maintain. No buildings were lost, the wooden passenger stock and locomotives survived, along with some steel-bodied freight and industrial rollingstock.

The other issue affecting the site is that it is surrounded by an Endangered Environmental Community, namely the Lower Hunter Spotted Gum/Ironbark Forest, which places heavy restrictions on any tree-felling or other actions.

The stainless steel cars which were destroyed were not in a heavily vegetated area, but on the entry road to the carriage shed when they came under ember attack. The carriage shed was barely saved, as it came under ember attack, with upholstery fabric ignited by embers penetrating the eaves. Fortunately the Secretary was on site, in refuge in the mining museum, with keys to allow entry so the firies could extinguish that blaze before it destroyed the shed and contents.

On Tuesday evening, the firies were confident they had things in hand. Come Wednesday, the high winds and extremely low humidity made the task of fighting the fire extremely difficult, as it flared and ran so quickly. Board members who were only 3-4 kilometres away were unable to reach the site, as the speed of the fire meant that Leggetts Drive was quickly closed to all traffic except fire vehicles.

The museum board has been heartened by the expressions of support and offers of assistance from other groups and the rail industry. The major hurdle is ensuring that members and the public can enter the site confident that there is no risk from hazardous materials. Once that risk can be managed, in conjunction with the city council who are site landlords, the board can look to rehabilitation and reopening.
  Clyde Goodwin2 Chief Train Controller

Late arriving in this thread but here are some thoughts.

Simstrain please go and read up on bushfire behaviour in Australia and the speeds that fire travels at over terain before you shoot your thoughts off.

Yes the fire was the result of a sort of Arson attack as a couple of lowlifes set alight a car they had stolen on a total fire ban day sparking this sad event.

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