Hotham Valley Railway - Comments, Q & A

 
  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

Dear Railpagers,

Firstly, thankyou for all the positive comments and support on the Pinjarra Bushfires thread, it has been greatly appreciated.

As most of you would know, we have been a bit busy for the last couple of years getting things back in order and whilst we probably should have shared more details with you via Railpage during that time, keeping the HVR website current was hard enough. The website is a bit behind the times at the moment but we will be updating it soon. I hope those that have been following the HVR newspages have found the photos interesting and informing.

Now, to the main reason for this new thread.

I don't get much time to take a look on Railpage however when I have, I have read threads such as "Is WA Boring", "In Need of Steam" "Pinjarra Bushfires" and others with great interest. Also, there are often comments made or questions asked on various threads which deserve exploring, explaining or answering in the best possible way.
Some examples would be references to HVR colour schemes, views on HVR's apparent "tourist only" focus, dislike of the SAR coaches and several operational questions which were responded to well by 1213 and 903.

What I am keen to try, is creating an opportunity for all comments (positive and negative) to be posted where they can be tossed around, talked over, give HVR an opportunity to respond and hopefully help HVR to deliver on some of the things Railfans consider as important.

Belive it or not, HVR has a strong desire to provide a much greater "heritage" side to its activities and has been working on this for some time now, slowly but surely. I would be interested to know if anyone has noticed any of the things we have done. They are in the main not big things, but they are there and some have involved significant expense/investment.

Anyway, it's over to you and I look forward to your posts. I will endeavor to follow this thread every day or two for the first couple of weeks and at least weekly thereafter.

Best Regards,
Ian Willis.

Sponsored advertisement

  wn514 Chief Commissioner

Location: at a skyhooks concert living in the 70's
firstly congragulations to yourself ian and the whole hvr organisation on getting the trains up and running again it is a credit to you and your team. i would like to ask one question. is there any chance that hotham valley will ever run any mainline tours to various parts of the state(albany, geraldton etc)again or has government policy, privitisation and insurance costs made this to hard to do these days?
regards,
wn514.
  Southwest Locomotive Fireman

Would be fantastic if HVR could hey. You would certainly get my patronage Wink
  1213girl Station Staff

Would be fantastic if HVR could hey. You would certainly get my patronage Wink
"Southwest"


And mine! Smile
  tuckerbox Junior Train Controller

Location: Collie
First of all, well done HVR. One can appreciate the many hours of hard work in adverse weather conditions to get to this point.
SOME SUGGESTIONS-

1--A night steam run to Dwelingup. If possible under current operating  
RULES.

2--Conduct basic weekend Workshops in the off season. Charge a fee,     cover the basic principles of a steam locomotive, Shed operations and safety.
Boiler Washout, light up procedures and basic safeworking.
If these workshops are succsefull, offer a more advanced one, covering full Safeworking, Firemans duties and exam to follow, with further view to full drivers ticket if it is economically feasible to do so.

3--Run More specials- Diesel if necessary--Mothers Day, New years eve ect.

4--Conduct an Annual Marathon, similar to what Puffing Billy does over east.

5-- PUBLICITY-- Get the name out there. Liaise more closely with Bennet Brook to share advertising etc. One could help promote the other on all ocasions.

6-- And I know You are all going to hate this one.
A GRAFFITI DAY-- Get a coach, mask the windows up and let the Lads go for it. Some of their work is amazing and I am not talking about the TAG Tossers. We need to get the Young ones interested and their hands off their PLAYSTATIONS![/i][/b]
  jayrail Assistant Commissioner

Location: te Anau Southern Alps NZ
Great to hear personally from Ian,no doubt the saviour of Hotham Valley Org who was able to  to see the big picture of what we as founders set out to achieve in March 1974. it was Preservation of the Hills Railway and steam on the rails.
Everyone in the game then  said "you will never do it "The Rail Gov  bureaucrats will block you."
Over the years there have been so many enthusiasts who have shared this vision ,but I remember Ian as a young fired -up character to be watched . Glad to have had you stay the distance, Ian.
Some things in life will change,but the Hills Railway ,our Steamers and Rolling stock and new generations of enthusiasts are there to keep the dream fullfilled.  To see the recent Ws on the track again was a joy.Love you all on behalf of my old team of Glen,Colin ,and me.THANKS>
  Jarroo Chief Commissioner

Have to echo all the previous comments of congratulations to have a working railway again - against all odds.
I think the primary aim of a railway like HVTR is tourists first. Most people wouldnt know what original WAGR livery is. Most wouldnt even know that the coaches are South African - except for the Springbok on the window.
Most people would just feel grateful they are able to travel through magnificant countryside pulled by steam locomotives.

Some of my suggestions would be to have an annual or bi-annual Open Day, with maybe the normal train up the hill and in addition a shorter trip from Pinjarra to the first Siding operating for a few dollars.
I guess alot of us remember Steam Fest at Pinjarra.
I know there is alot of organising for such an event, and will the people come?, but its a way to open up Hotham Valley to the public
The second thing is Footplate rides, and drive and fire a locomotive experiences - these are very popular in the UK. (could be a problem with the Westnet piece of track)
Thirdly, we all miss steam/diesel tours on the mainline. Maybe the general public do too.
  NG Sulzers Deputy Commissioner

Location: Quorn
Ian,
congratz on your efforts, and the efforts of HVTR membership in returning the line from Alumina Jctn. to Etmyllan (excuse spelling) back to operational status.
I do look forward to a transfer back to WA in the future where I'd like to resume my involvement with HVTR, and hopefully in a non sea going role so can spend more time with the railway.
(PRRPS must have realised I miss HVTR, putting on W934 leading W933 today on a bursting at the seams train).

Cheers,
  903 Chief Commissioner

Location: Perth WA
First of all, well done HVR. One can appreciate the many hours of hard work in adverse weather conditions to get to this point.
SOME SUGGESTIONS-

1--A night steam run to Dwelingup. If possible under current operating  
RULES.

2--Conduct basic weekend Workshops in the off season. Charge a fee,     cover the basic principles of a steam locomotive, Shed operations and safety.
Boiler Washout, light up procedures and basic safeworking.
If these workshops are succsefull, offer a more advanced one, covering full Safeworking, Firemans duties and exam to follow, with further view to full drivers ticket if it is economically feasible to do so.

3--Run More specials- Diesel if necessary--Mothers Day, New years eve ect.

4--Conduct an Annual Marathon, similar to what Puffing Billy does over east.

5-- PUBLICITY-- Get the name out there. Liaise more closely with Bennet Brook to share advertising etc. One could help promote the other on all ocasions.

6-- And I know You are all going to hate this one.
A GRAFFITI DAY-- Get a coach, mask the windows up and let the Lads go for it. Some of their work is amazing and I am not talking about the TAG Tossers. We need to get the Young ones interested and their hands off their PLAYSTATIONS![/i][/b]
"tuckerbox"


Yes I do like the idea of the Marathon...  Man V Machine..
Cross country to Chesters crossing and then they split to Dwellingup.
  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

firstly congragulations to yourself ian and the whole hvr organisation on getting the trains up and running again it is a credit to you and your team. i would like to ask one question. is there any chance that hotham valley will ever run any mainline tours to various parts of the state(albany, geraldton etc)again or has government policy, privitisation and insurance costs made this to hard to do these days?
regards,
wn514.
"wn514"


Thanks.

In answer to your question, I would see it as extremely unlikely that HVR would ever return to any form of mainline tours, but I guess the wise never say never.

There are certainly no adverse Gov policy or privatisation issues, the main difficulties are resources, human financial and assets. Insurance cost is certainly a significant issue but it is the overall package that makes viability and sustainability such a problem. All rail operations are suprisingly complex and demanding upon resources. Mainline operations are intensely demanding and introduce a great deal of operational and commercial risk.
  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

First of all, well done HVR. One can appreciate the many hours of hard work in adverse weather conditions to get to this point.
SOME SUGGESTIONS-

1--A night steam run to Dwelingup. If possible under current operating  
RULES.

2--Conduct basic weekend Workshops in the off season. Charge a fee,     cover the basic principles of a steam locomotive, Shed operations and safety.
Boiler Washout, light up procedures and basic safeworking.
If these workshops are succsefull, offer a more advanced one, covering full Safeworking, Firemans duties and exam to follow, with further view to full drivers ticket if it is economically feasible to do so.

3--Run More specials- Diesel if necessary--Mothers Day, New years eve ect.

4--Conduct an Annual Marathon, similar to what Puffing Billy does over east.

5-- PUBLICITY-- Get the name out there. Liaise more closely with Bennet Brook to share advertising etc. One could help promote the other on all ocasions.

6-- And I know You are all going to hate this one.
A GRAFFITI DAY-- Get a coach, mask the windows up and let the Lads go for it. Some of their work is amazing and I am not talking about the TAG Tossers. We need to get the Young ones interested and their hands off their PLAYSTATIONS![/i][/b]
"tuckerbox"


Some good ideas here, lets have more of this.

1-- Night Steam to DWL. This is one we will certainly be doing. We were talking about this prior to the fires and the idea was to make it a 'sleeper service'. Expect this on the program next year.

2-- Weekend Workshops. This one sounds good and may be doable into the future, I just wonder if it can be made viable. I would be interested to hear what readers think a reasonable fee would be.

3-- More Specials. We will be doing this and hopefully very soon. We are currently exploring what we can do for this New Year's eve. Sugestions are welcome.

4-- Marathon. OK, I know the Puffing Billy "Great train Race" is hugely sucessful. I am unclear on what we could do and how the comercial side would work. I see 903 has some ideas, anyone else??

5-- Publicity. I think we do fairly well getting our name "out there" with our regular "West" adds, our Bill Boards and brochures which are professionally distributed however perhaps we do need to broaden our marketing mix. I am not sure what synergys would exist with BBR but would be open to sugestions.

6-- I think you answered this one yourself however lets keep on the list for now.
  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

Have to echo all the previous comments of congratulations to have a working railway again - against all odds.
I think the primary aim of a railway like HVTR is tourists first. Most people wouldnt know what original WAGR livery is. Most wouldnt even know that the coaches are South African - except for the Springbok on the window.
Most people would just feel grateful they are able to travel through magnificant countryside pulled by steam locomotives.

Some of my suggestions would be to have an annual or bi-annual Open Day, with maybe the normal train up the hill and in addition a shorter trip from Pinjarra to the first Siding operating for a few dollars.
I guess alot of us remember Steam Fest at Pinjarra.
I know there is alot of organising for such an event, and will the people come?, but its a way to open up Hotham Valley to the public
The second thing is Footplate rides, and drive and fire a locomotive experiences - these are very popular in the UK. (could be a problem with the Westnet piece of track)
Thirdly, we all miss steam/diesel tours on the mainline. Maybe the general public do too.
"Jarroo"


The orientation towards "tourists" is an unfortunate commercial necessity. Similarly, anything we do or want to, has commercial implications and if HVR is to remain the sustainable organization it has been in recent years, the commercial aspects must always be addressed.

In relation to the suggestions here, HVR is developing facilities at Alumina Jcn and Isandra which will provide oportunities for things such as these. There are plans for additional train workings of various locos to Isndra and Driver Experience activities, probably hauling demonstration freights.
  tuckerbox Junior Train Controller

Location: Collie
I like the idea of demonstration freights.
I see on another site that Photographers pay good money for nostalgic photo shoots and night pics on shed, set up to look like the old days.
As far as the workshop idea goes, an old sleeper coach could be set up for that true rail experience. Make them bring their own crib, like We had too.
Boil the billy etc. Would light ups be permissable in summer in the shed-- obviously not on days of High/Extreme fire danger though.
Oh and a Mother In Laws Special-- make them walk the last 10km up the hill.
  Elidir Beginner

Some great ideas...... The train race defiantly would be a good idea.


One thing i think that might be popular would be steam hauled murder mysteries.
  Bulbous Assistant Commissioner

Great to hear about the return of steam, and i am sure the tireless work of all involved, congratulations to you all! Hopefully i will be getting the family down there next weekend to ride up the hill.

I love the idea of the workshop open days though, it is fantastic to be able to see behind the scenes. We used to run workshop days for motorcycle repairs, and even people who had no desire to work on their own bikes still filled the seats, as they were simply keen to see what the machines look like when they are being worked on. People love to see how things work, even without getting their hands on the machines.

Good luck with everything you are planning, and i am sure that, like everyone else, we would love to see a return to the good old days of weekenders and mainline steam and diesel running. I always managed to miss trips out to Hyden and up to Geraldton, and i would give my left leg to be able to make a trip like that in the future.

Cheers,

Matt
  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

I like the idea of demonstration freights.
I see on another site that Photographers pay good money for nostalgic photo shoots and night pics on shed, set up to look like the old days.
As far as the workshop idea goes, an old sleeper coach could be set up for that true rail experience. Make them bring their own crib, like We had too.
Boil the billy etc. Would light ups be permissable in summer in the shed-- obviously not on days of High/Extreme fire danger though.
Oh and a Mother In Laws Special-- make them walk the last 10km up the hill.
"tuckerbox"


The idea of running demonstration freights with Driver Experience courses was that this would be a way to fund the freights because we wondered how the photo charter trains could be made to work where general access for anyone was so available. Charter freights are aparently popular overseas, particularly USA. Does anyone know how they are made to work primarily for the charterer only? Would or could this be made to work in WA?

What do those who particularly enjoy photographing trains think??

From the comments so far, the "workshops" idea is popular, we will give this thought. Further sugestions on this would be most welcome. Yes we could light up and operate steam during summer at a depot or any other properly controlled environment comensurate with the risks.
  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

Some great ideas...... The train race defiantly would be a good idea.


One thing i think that might be popular would be steam hauled murder mysteries.
"Elidir"


We are looking at Murder Mystery trains between Pinjarra & Dwellingup.
The idea so far is to use sleeping cars, make the train themes very much in the vein of Agata Christie like stories and upon return, letting passengers 'sleep it off' onboard so they don't have to worry about driving. We hadn't considered steam poer on these but it could be done.
  HOWARAS Deputy Commissioner

Location: Woodanilling
How about,

1. On Saturdays, on top of running the Etmilyn Forest Train, do a run down the hill to Isandra... with the V's or G123 and the etmilyn consist.

2. Can Z1152 be used in conjunction with SEC1 or one of the V's to do the Etmilyn run... this would add a bit more variety to the workings... maybe a top and tail consist..

Would we ever see anything from Rail Heritage WA, on the line to dwellingup, for example... maybe HVTR's XA and one of RHWA's XA's, doing a special to Isandra... or beyond?... or how about S549 running to Isandra... just thinking off the top of my head with those two ideas...

Cheers

Don
  Scrubland Chief Train Controller

Location: Perth
Drove cross country from Crossman through to Pinjarra and Mandurah last week. Now, this little town of Boddington appears to be all the go, with the gold and bauxite mining activity in the area.

Is the proposed extension of the line out from Dwellingup (Etmylin) to Boddington, still on the drawing board? Would make a real adventure of a trip, from Pinjarra.
  Kafoopsy Chief Commissioner

Location: Perth, WA
Now that would be a sight to see!  An S class with a rake of bauxite wagons going up the hill and then through the bush to Etnilyn!
  burt007 Chief Train Controller

Location: On the Road Somewhere...
This thread is certainly an interesting read......

I too echo all the coments above and thank Ian for his hard work in re-instating the HVTR line. Fantastic job Ian - Thank you.

My idea to involve "railfans" more is to offer cab rides either from Alumina Junction to Isandra, or ideally - all the way to Dwellingup. These could be sold for a nominal fee to be determined ($300??) and of course the person would have to comply with any compliances imposed by HVTR - ie - medical etc?

Could this be extended to actual hands on operation of the locomotive at the easier stages in the journey?

With the line restored - is it possible to operate heavier locomotives to Isandra or further? Certainly would open up options of using the Pm, Xa and C's to add variety. What about the S? Would ARHS be interested in joining forces with HVTR to run mixed trains to Isandra? Differing motive power with a mixed consist?

Just thinking aloud - Cheers.
  sthyer Deputy Commissioner


2--Conduct basic weekend Workshops in the off season. Charge a fee,     cover the basic principles of a steam locomotive, Shed operations and safety.
Boiler Washout, light up procedures and basic safeworking.
"tuckerbox"


That's a big weekend of learning, you'd need a month of weekends to cover the absics of all of that.
If you're really keen, you can do it in NZ and get a recognised qualification at the end of it!
http://tppweb.ac.nz/pdf/press/09-08-26%20All%20aboard%20new%20steam%20school%20V2_1.pdf
  3981 Assistant Commissioner

To those mentioning The S class or other larger locos, it wont happen. The rail is too light on this line.
  Mike_in_the_west Chief Commissioner

Location: Perth, WA
Ian,  Firstly I would like to offer my sincere thanks to you and ALL the team at Hotham Valley.   I was out there on the 27th seeing the train in action.   Sounded great going up Scarp Road.

I look forward to actually riding it next time!

As for some tips:  The freight trains can be modeled like Strasburg Railroad in Pennsylvania.   They string together a heap of freight wagons with 2 or 3 passenger coaches at the back of the train.   This serves a dual purpose.  It increases the revenue of the run and it also models a mixed train which were popular in the steam era, both in the USA and in Australia.

Certainly being a photographer (no way for profession though!  Razz ) I would be more than happy to see this.

Also, perhaps a day working with the steam locos, understanding how they work and what not.   These courses are very popular around the world.   I don't know how insurance would fit into the equation for this one though.    If that does get off the ground or something similar, I personally would be very interested in doing it!

Thanks again for your efforts!
  tuckerbox Junior Train Controller

Location: Collie
That's a big weekend of learning, you'd need a month of weekends to cover the absics of all of that.
If you're really keen, you can do it in NZ and get a recognised qualification at the end of it!
http://tppweb.ac.nz/pdf/press/09-08-26%20All%20aboard%20new%20steam%20school%20V2_1.pdf[/quote]
The idea of a basic workshop would tale many weekends. It would be impossible to cover the basics in 2 days. I am positive that there would be many keen applicants willing to learn all about Steam and Railway operating procedures.

Sponsored advertisement

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.