There really are a lot of good ideas, thoughts and comments being posted which I think is great and I thank you all.
Please keep them coming, positive or negative, because your views will help us to improve.
On this occasion, rather than respond to several post individually I will try to cover several here.
Working together in various forms with Rail Heritage WA is something that we all should look to progress. As has been pointed out, it makes very good sense. Personally speaking, I feel any "ice breaking" has already been done by Rail Heritage WA with their sale of W947 on terms to HVR (something RHWA offered rather than being asked for) together with their comments about discussing other rollingstock usage when we are ready to do some other things we proposed. I think it is up to HVR now and in due course I know we will eventually "chew the fat" with RHWA and see what we each think may be possible. Unfortunately, the question "what's in it for me" is a very realistic one and one that simply must be asked and answered satisfactorily by all parties. This is quite normal, healthy, acceptable and responsible.
One of the things I hope to achieve with this thread is to bring some greater understanding about why things "are the way they are" etc, at HVTR to Railpage readers. Things are not often as they seem and are regularly not as many belive, perceive or speculate.
HVR utilises the SAR coaches because it it what we have, simple as that. When these were purchased, most would not now know that there was a general and very strong push right across australia to dispense with timber bodied passenger rollingstock on state railway networks. At the time, HVR was and intended to continue as a significant main line operator. Following the Cowan Disaster (3801 Ltd), vehicles in NSW with timber bodies had to be equipped with "bull bars" above the headstocks to prevent inter-car-body shear. The end was considered in sight for such rollingstock and given there was nothing else available in WA, HVR went overseas. As things turned out, the "phobias" about timber bodied stock subsided and their use has continued. Had these phobias not subsided, HVR could now easily be one of the few tourist rail operators able to run services and certainly the only one in WA. The choices made at the time to obtain SAR rollingstock rather than WAGR stock, were the right ones, at the time, given the circumstances.
Heritage Equipment & Operations;
Each group around Australia does the best it can within its means and circumstances, to retain and operate "heritage". This might be particular items of heritage like 'coffee pot' at PRRR, complete railways like Puffing Billy or just a steam train.
To imply that every heritage/tourist railway in Australia except HVR manages to do without foreign rollingstock or liveries is very untrue.
In our Australian rail "heritage" how may WAGR W's ran at Quorn, how many QR rail motors, steam locos etc ran on the NSWGR Zig Zag, how often was the Gahn hauled by a W, how about WAGR V's or passenger cars ran on the Queenscliffe line - the list goes on and is just as broad in terms of liveries. What about WAGR rollingstock at BBR -WAGR liveries?? and lets not forget the SA locos.
There is no doubt about the fact that for rail enthusiasts it is so nice/best to see authentic examples of rail equipment and operations. Sadly though, there is little money in this and like it or not, trains cost bucket loads of money to have & run. If painting and engine bright red sells tickets, we have to get the red paint out.
Those operating in the T & H sector know and understand that whilst strictly prototype Heritage equipment and operations might be desirable, they are not easily achievable, either practically or commercially.
HVTR is trying to do better on 'authenticity'.
Has anyone noticed the following;
W's painted more correctly this year, no white wall tyres, red stripes or orange ends on plain bearing axles?
New W tenders cut down to more correct height & proportions etc.
Water Column at Dwellingup correctly painted, specially so that enthusiasts taking photos would have a more authentic scene.
I know these are very small things but we are thinking the right way and trying. There is cost with probably little if any return, but HVR is moving this way. It will take time, and money and I am pleased to be able to say that two very well known "gunzells" have made cash donations to me personally for HVR recognizing the fact that they take lots of photos, enjoy the trains but don't buy tickets to ride. You cannot imagine how much this has been appreciated.
Yes, I know, its all about money again. The thing is, it really is.