Last Steam?

 
  ogigacz Junior Train Controller

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Does anyone know what the last ever steam passenger service was on the Victorian Railways? If someone has the last goods steam service as well that would be great. I think I read somewhere that it was K162 in 1979, but I could be wrong.

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  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
I'm fairly confident that any steam in the late 1970's was just workshop shunters that were occasionally fired up, but never went out on to any proper line. I think any running of freight services had finished years before then.

I understand that until the mid or late 1960's, seasonal wheat services used steam engines pulled out of storage for a few weeks, but these had become exceptionally rare by about 1970. I've seen photos of "big wheel" R class locos leaking steam and looking pretty neglected at the head of a wheatie, a rather sad end for these wonderful express passenger locomotives when most were under 15 years old.

One of the last passenger services that was regularly scheduled to be run by steam (rather than a steam engine relieving a failed diesel) was the bendigo to Swan Hill run, usually headed by an R class.
  Highrailer Assistant Commissioner

Location: Somewhere out on the track......anywhere around the country
I remember a steam hauled goods going past my place from Ballarat to Ararat somewhere between 1970 & 1972 but I was too young at the time to think of any purpose to take note of the class of loco used although im leaning towards the thought that it might have been a D3.

As far as passenger trains go I do believe that the "Peanut" changed loco's from diesel to steam (mainly an R class) at either Ararat or Horsham for a good many years after diesel loco's arrived but up until when I don't know.

Also I remember (but only just) when I was living at Korong Vale it wasn't unusual to see a steam loco being the motive power hauling a failed DERM from time to time on the Bendigo Pass back in the mid to late 60's.

According to my late father it was usually a K or J doing the job.
  712M Chief Commissioner

I read somewhere that West Coast Railway regularly  ran a return service to Warrnambool on Saturdays using a steam loco in the late 90s. Can anyone shed some light onto this?
  G41 Chief Commissioner

Location: Footplate of any K class
You being serious here?
WCR ran a regular Saturday Warrnambool service using modified R711 and, later using R766.
They also ran a monthly trip to Echuca.
I'm sure if you type in West Coast Rail into that wonderful thing called Google, you will get your answers..
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
G41, I also recall the R class on passenger services. I also recall the dinning car WCR attached to their down Friday evening service.



(caption: R711 leads a steam-hauled West Coast Railway service out of Warrnambool station in 2001 via wikipedia)


WCR were running steam into the 2000's
  G41 Chief Commissioner

Location: Footplate of any K class
Yes, steam hauled on the Saturdays. Often assisted by a diesel, or two.
The were also running the Heritage main line sector prior to that being taken over by the RTBU.
  VN18 Junior Train Controller

Location: Central Highlands
Does anyone know what the last ever steam passenger service was on the Victorian Railways? If someone has the last goods steam service as well that would be great. I think I read somewhere that it was K162 in 1979, but I could be wrong.
"ogigacz"


Yes I think you are correct, the Ballarat workshops pilot locomotive being K162 I think K157 was also at ballarat at the time. As far as the last freight workings I'd say Weston region Ballarat - Ararat - Maryborough - Dimboola, with Ks Js and maybe even the oil fire Rs (719, 748 ) but then I'm a 1990 kidd Wink
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
There was an A4 size hardback photo book published circa 1982? by a train fan club (possibly the ARHS?) that had lots of B&W photos of the last years of steam trains as well as a few pages of text. It had lots of pics around Maryborough including a few of C class 2-8-0's.

I can't remember the name of the book or even the author, so googling for it on so little information didn't yield any useful results. But it's a great book for people interested in that sort of thing. Can someone recall the name, or the author, or better still provide a cover photo?
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

My memory tells me that the last steam hauled goods train (in regular service, not the driver training workings to Dandenong) was a Queenscliff goods. There were a number of K classes being used as shunting locos at North Geelong during 1969, and one of them worked the last goods.
  gippslander Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland, Vic
My memory tells me that the last steam hauled goods train (in regular service, not the driver training workings to Dandenong) was a Queenscliff goods. There were a number of K classes being used as shunting locos at North Geelong during 1969, and one of them worked the last goods.
"duttonbay"


I think a K class ran the last VR goods service to Queenscliff in 1970, after that they were diesel hauled till Lakers Siding closed in 1973, ending the regular freight service. After that the line was only used for regular Summer excursions till it closed in 1976.
My interest in trains started in the late 60s when my father used to point out a couple of grimy steam locos in use at North Geelong.
  mickamious Junior Train Controller

There's a steam train that gets up and running in the newport depot area that ive seen move around a few times whilst working in the depot.
  G41 Chief Commissioner

Location: Footplate of any K class
That would be Steamrail Victoria. A private, not for profit group aimed to run steam/diesel hauled heritage main line services over the Victorian Network.
You can visit there website at http://www.steamrail.com.au
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
I read somewhere that West Coast Railway regularly ran a return service to Warrnambool on Saturdays using a steam loco in the late 90s. Can anyone shed some light onto this?
712M

In 2000 on a Saturday morning down Warrnambool I was privileged to ride on the R Class footplate with my mate, the whole distance from Spencer Street to Geelong. I seem to remember the train ran express the whole way except for slowing a bit at Laverton to allow a cross with an up spark.

The R Class was banked by an S Class diesel. The R Class at speed was a sensation I'll never forget. Obviously the steam, the wind, the noise of the workings in the cab. The yawing and the vibration as the loco roared along and one held on to the rear of the cab directly behind the driver and the fireman and all that kept you from falling out was a slim chain.

The requirement to hang on for dear life as the train raced along made photography impossible, I couldn't take the smile off my face for days afterwards.

That one hour journey was a highlight in my life of my interest in the hobby and utilisation of railways for my transport.

Mike.
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
In 2000 on a Saturday morning down Warrnambool I was privileged to ride on the R Class footplate with my mate, the whole distance from Spencer Street to Geelong. I seem to remember the train ran express the whole way except for slowing a bit at Laverton to allow a cross with an up spark.

The R Class was banked by an S Class diesel. The R Class at speed was a sensation I'll never forget. Obviously the steam, the wind, the noise of the workings in the cab. The yawing and the vibration as the loco roared along and one held on to the rear of the cab directly behind the driver and the fireman and all that kept you from falling out was a slim chain.

The requirement to hang on for dear life as the train raced along made photography impossible, I couldn't take the smile off my face for days afterwards.

That one hour journey was a highlight in my life of my interest in the hobby and utilisation of railways for my transport.

Mike.
The Vinelander

Anyone who has experienced a similar trip, especially on an Express Locomotive at speed, will totally agree with what you have said above. It sticks in your mind, and if you were not 'hooked' before you got on, you were by the time you got off.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I can appreciate The Vinelander's experience only too well.
I had the pleasure of an express cab ride on R707 on an Up Geelong pass. This was one of the regular trains, steam-hauled for the school holidays. The big Hudson rode beautifully at 115 km/h all the way to the suburbs.

As an aside, the other cab ride which sticks in the mind for ever, was again 707, leading R766 and 13 cars on a kindergarten special from Bacchus Marsh to Ballan up the Ingliston Bank. Injectors on, 12 to 15 inches of cut-off, and the big R steaming like a witch.

These experiences ( and others) made all the hours of hard and dirty work maintaining, preparing and lighting-up the loco worthwhile.
  sthyer Deputy Commissioner

There was an A4 size hardback photo book published circa 1982? by a train fan club (possibly the ARHS?) that had lots of B&W photos of the last years of steam trains as well as a few pages of text. It had lots of pics around Maryborough including a few of C class 2-8-0's.

I can't remember the name of the book or even the author, so googling for it on so little information didn't yield any useful results. But it's a great book for people interested in that sort of thing. Can someone recall the name, or the author, or better still provide a cover photo?
Bogong

I suspect you're talking about 'Steam's Last Decade' by Keith Turon, Pub. ARHS (Vic) 1981. It features a great many fantastic images, either from the author but also Keith Buckland, Lindsay Crow and Harry Williams.

In it, he refers to Mon 29 July 1968 as the first day ever in Victoria that no steam was used in the entire VR system.He does note that steam continued on beyond that, running the Queenscliff goods until July 1970. he notes the end being 24 April 1972 (J549 from Ararat to Stawell return for pilot duties), but some workings did survive beyond that in workshops.
  t_woodroffe Assistant Commissioner

The VR Superintendent of Locomotive Maintenance kept "Record of Steam Running Books" and in the 1970-72 volume records that the last Victorian Railways steam working, outside of Workshops Pilots was J 550 on the 6:00 AM Bendigo pass pilot on Thursday 25-5-72. J 549 ran LE Ararat to Stawell on Tuesday 16-5-72 and returned with an unidentified train.

I will see what I can find re the last steam hauled  pass.

TW
  t_woodroffe Assistant Commissioner

On Friday 9-5-69 K 157 was rostered as a pilot at Dimboola but apparently ran No. 34 Pass, normally a 153 HP DRC, to Horsham. This seems to be the last recorded Victorian Railways steam pass working.

TW

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