Hotham Valley Railway - Comments, Q & A

 
  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.
"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"
one problem with mainline tours i suppose is the lack of people with road knowledge over these sections of track(geraldton, albany etc) that work/volunteer for your organisation. but in the event that you ever did run some mainline trains could you get arg or another rail operator to supply crews with knowledge of those roads and locomotives , which i presume would be diesel not steam. i am sure that arg would still have some drivers that know the X's, XA's and C's or maybe arg could even supply their own A's or AB's for use on the trains. maybe you could work out a deal where the rail operator gets some sort of free advertising in return for the use of their crews etc.

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  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

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
"HOWARAS"


On the first two ideas, in general terms the answer would be yes however how do we meet the costs? Open to your thoughts.

On the third item, the question of interacting with Rail Heritage WA, I think this is highly possible and do want to work towards such activities and interaction. Getting the equipment to Pinjarra or direct to the HVTR line will be the difficult and costly part. Never the less, we should be working towards this and I feel certain RHWA would be open to this. They have recently sold W947 to HVTR on generous terms and in relation to the pax vehicles we expressed an interest in, suggested we talk about the possible use of better alternate vehicles when we are ready to progress the ideas we had for them. I think this all bodes very well for future possibilities.
  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

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.
"Scrubland"


The proposed extension is still on the drawing board however it is unlikely to materialise in the foreseeable future. There are several reasons and of course the burning down of Tullis Bridge is a bit of a show stopper. The main issues are commercial ones - how do you meet the operating and maint costs, let alone the re-instatement costs. When this was first proposed, there was to be a very large 'free range zoo' along the line near Boddington which would have provided a reason for passengers to use the line. Also, there was to be a gas pipeline installed on a good portion of the rail reserve and the construction would have assisted in the re-instatement of the line. When these were shelved, it really stalled the railway proposal.
  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

To those mentioning The S class or other larger locos, it wont happen. The rail is too light on this line.
"3981"


Actually, it will happen, the line is not too light and is now in quite a sound state.

There are no issues as far as Isandra although some potential geometry issues between Isandra and Marrinup may emerge however probabaly only for V1213. We expect to trial a C class to Dwellingup later this year all going well. (one has already worked a train there several years ago)

You can look forward to PM 706, V1213, HVR's C's, the Xa and maybe even Pmr 735 if I can ever get arround to it.
  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

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!
"Mike_in_the_west"


Thanks for your accolades and thoughts, as well as those of others.

A 'mixed' would seem sensible. I also had someone sugest to me that we could set up a structure like "Rove" parties where interested persons purchased an emailing list registration and they were the only ones advised at reasonably short notice that the demo freight was on.

You too have expressed a keen interest in the 'learning behind the scenes' workshopping concept sugested by others so it is becoming clear we should get some workshopping of our own going internally to get this happening somehow. We should be doing more of it for members anyway.
  burt007 Chief Train Controller

Location: On the Road Somewhere...
A thought........

When G123 is out of action (for whatever reason - mechanical or other) there is no steam equivalent as a back up. Would the option of approaching Rail Heritage to loan/lease G233 be an option?

The option could be to alternate these loco's during the steam season, or if human resources (and financial) are adequate, possibly operate both?
  antiussentiment Locomotive Driver

Location: perth
with regard to..
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


this is a seriously good idea.  HVR needs to ask it's self if it's a service for the elderly to day trip and families with young kids or the whole community.  an anual even where the same coach is resprayed would be a huge boost public awareness wise.  do you think you'd be on all the TV channels?  sure you would.  you'd probably get more mileage out of this than if you lot did a nude calendar. ~smiles~

perth has some totally wonderful graffiti artists that have organized them selves into collectives.  they do commissions and usually govt money is put up to promote it.  the condor in adelaide tce or the retaining wall allong the baywater cycleways are very good examples.  i imagine a bunch of these organised artists coming down from perth and motoring a few pinjarrah locals.  once you have a "piece" in your yard you'll also attract less tagging and mindless vandalism.  these people tend to look after their work so to speak.

i really think you should give is some serious thought.

i/ community embracing.
ii/ mass promotional
iii/ vandalism deterrent
iv/ fund-raising.
v/ fun.
  HOWARAS Deputy Commissioner

Location: Woodanilling
With the rehabilitation of the line to Boddington, I was just thinking of the West Coast Wilderness Railway in Tassie and how they did the rehab/rebuilding of their line in stages, such as, clearing sections of the lines formation to be used as a walk trail initially and then when more money from backers and governments could be attained, they then looked at actually doing the bridges and track work.

I'm sure HVTR have already thought of this method of rebuilding the line, but was wondering if the walk trail idea was achievable in the near future to say, Inglehope or Chadoora?

Could any assistance be gained by Trailswest, or would that put restrictions on future uses of the rail formation?

Cheers

Don
  murray Assistant Commissioner

what happenedto  were the gold mine was going to use the rail reserve to run the gas line to the cold mine and relay the perway over it?h
  tuckerbox Junior Train Controller

Location: Collie
This thread is really firing up. Some good ideas. AHH, how easy it is for us all to sit in our cosy computer rooms and give advice, while Ian and Co. do all the hard yards.
Some further thoughts--
I think the best asset HVR have is that magnificant stretch of track up the hill.
The trick is to use it to its full potential.
Market Days- Does Dwelingup have them? If not, create them. I am sure that the area has a lot of local produce, food etc, and local craftsmen.
Run the train on Market Days, diesel or steam. the Perth People would go for it in a big way.
Create a big Annual event like the Bull And Barrel Festival and run trains acordingly-- diesel from Perth--Steam from Pinjarra.
Corporate sponsorship would be needed for something like this.
Find an Events Organizer to set it all up--
That big gold mine- I think its BHP.Billiton-- surly a source of sponsorship, they employ local People etc. And whats wrong with having Corporate advertising placed suitably on some of the rear coaches.
Perhaps a HVR Open Day could be organised- Displays etc.
Vintage and Classic Car Club events at Dwellingup on Train days.
There is even a Classic and Retro Caravan Club.  
All share a common interest. the love of steam and the days when real cars were made without plastic.
  HOWARAS Deputy Commissioner

Location: Woodanilling
What i heard with the gas pipe line was... in the end the mine went for the option of running high tension power lines from collie, rather than the gas pipe line along the perway.

cheers

Don
  Westrail_Q_301 Junior Train Controller

I'm still curious as to what is to become of PM706 as it is too heavy to operate over the Pinjarra-Dwellingup line. I would like to see her back in steam again but not in that horrid RED! bring back the larch green!
  murray Assistant Commissioner

mine is ownend by newmont
  murray Assistant Commissioner

I'm still curious as to what is to become of PM706 as it is too heavy to operate over the Pinjarra-Dwellingup line. I would like to see her back in steam again but not in that horrid RED! bring back the larch green!
"Westrail_Q_301"

pemberton?
  burt007 Chief Train Controller

Location: On the Road Somewhere...
To those mentioning The S class or other larger locos, it wont happen. The rail is too light on this line.
"3981"


Actually, it will happen, the line is not too light and is now in quite a sound state.

There are no issues as far as Isandra although some potential geometry issues between Isandra and Marrinup may emerge however probabaly only for V1213. We expect to trial a C class to Dwellingup later this year all going well. (one has already worked a train there several years ago)

You can look forward to PM 706, V1213, HVR's C's, the Xa and maybe even Pmr 735 if I can ever get arround to it.
"Hotham Valley"


For those re-asking the Pm706 question................Ian mentioned this earlier.
  d1565 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Perth
If a C class can go thru to dwellingup there shouldnt be any reason why the Pm and indeed other large steam going up the hill save for track geometry reasons as already highlited by Ian.
  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

A thought........

When G123 is out of action (for whatever reason - mechanical or other) there is no steam equivalent as a back up. Would the option of approaching Rail Heritage to loan/lease G233 be an option?

The option could be to alternate these loco's during the steam season, or if human resources (and financial) are adequate, possibly operate both?
"burt007"


This may be possible however once again it gets back to the commercial issues. It would be difficult to justify the cost of such an arrangement given the limited benefits.
Maybe there is potential for an arrangement where Rail Heritage WA operate some services on the HVR line/s using some of their equipment. Maybe these could be HVR services or services of their own.
Any Thoughts?
  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

with regard to..
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


this is a seriously good idea.  HVR needs to ask it's self if it's a service for the elderly to day trip and families with young kids or the whole community.  an anual even where the same coach is resprayed would be a huge boost public awareness wise.  do you think you'd be on all the TV channels?  sure you would.  you'd probably get more mileage out of this than if you lot did a nude calendar. ~smiles~

perth has some totally wonderful graffiti artists that have organized them selves into collectives.  they do commissions and usually govt money is put up to promote it.  the condor in adelaide tce or the retaining wall allong the baywater cycleways are very good examples.  i imagine a bunch of these organised artists coming down from perth and motoring a few pinjarrah locals.  once you have a "piece" in your yard you'll also attract less tagging and mindless vandalism.  these people tend to look after their work so to speak.

i really think you should give is some serious thought.

i/ community embracing.
ii/ mass promotional
iii/ vandalism deterrent
iv/ fund-raising.
v/ fun.
"antiussentiment"


I don't agree that HVR needs to ask the suggested question as it is self evident the organisation is very 'whole of community' focused.

Although I and others may find the 'graphitti a coach' suggestion a bit hard to take on board, you should note that I did respond with "lets leave it on the list".

In due course I think this is something we should review. I am not convinced it would be as well received by the greater community as has been suggested, but who knows. Some research is needed before actually doing something like this.
  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

With the rehabilitation of the line to Boddington, I was just thinking of the West Coast Wilderness Railway in Tassie and how they did the rehab/rebuilding of their line in stages, such as, clearing sections of the lines formation to be used as a walk trail initially and then when more money from backers and governments could be attained, they then looked at actually doing the bridges and track work.

I'm sure HVTR have already thought of this method of rebuilding the line, but was wondering if the walk trail idea was achievable in the near future to say, Inglehope or Chadoora?

Could any assistance be gained by Trailswest, or would that put restrictions on future uses of the rail formation?

Cheers

Don
"HOWARAS"


My appologies, I should have mentioned that this way forward is being worked on from the Boddington end.

I also think there is value in looking to extend from Etmilyn to Inglehope where it would be easy for bus groups to connect with the train for one-way travel.
  Hotham Valley Junior Train Controller

What i heard with the gas pipe line was... in the end the mine went for the option of running high tension power lines from collie, rather than the gas pipe line along the perway.

cheers

Don
"HOWARAS"


This is Correct.
  burt007 Chief Train Controller

Location: On the Road Somewhere...
A thought........

When G123 is out of action (for whatever reason - mechanical or other) there is no steam equivalent as a back up. Would the option of approaching Rail Heritage to loan/lease G233 be an option?

The option could be to alternate these loco's during the steam season, or if human resources (and financial) are adequate, possibly operate both?
"burt007"


This may be possible however once again it gets back to the commercial issues. It would be difficult to justify the cost of such an arrangement given the limited benefits.
Maybe there is potential for an arrangement where Rail Heritage WA operate some services on the HVR line/s using some of their equipment. Maybe these could be HVR services or services of their own.
Any Thoughts?
"Hotham Valley"


An approach from HVTR to Rail Heritage WA to "break the ice" over this subject could be beneficial to the long term of both organizations.

An idea - Rail Heritage lease/lend G233 to operate along side HVTR's G123 working with HVTR rolling stock - Rail Heritage maintain and operates G233 and covers it's costs. HVTR benefits - an additional steam loco to work alternatively with G123 or together - attraction for railfans to see both together after 25 odd years. RH WA benefits - they run an operational locomotive on a weekly basis - great for there own members to contribute to, and an income source for RH WA.

A further idea - The next step? - Rail Heritage maintain and operate G233 with there own consist of rollingstock between Dwell and Etmylin, working in with existing timetable. They cover the cost of there own Insurance and storage at Dwell - is there room!?! - possibly pocket all revenue from there own train. An amount I assume would have to be paid to HVTR? Line rental? Insurance?

Could this one day be progressed to operations out of Pinjarra........?

The possible joint operations of these two organizations (or others - BBR for instance have a large volunteer base) can only be a positive step forward.

Yet again - I'm simply thinking aloud and keeping this thread alive with positive comments.

Your thoughts everyone?
  jayrail Assistant Commissioner

Location: te Anau Southern Alps NZ
Brett,good thinking,did this 30 years ago to keep ARHS/HVTR as synergistic operators wi-win both..Always barriers put up,However,do this lateral think.
now.
  burt007 Chief Train Controller

Location: On the Road Somewhere...
Brett,good thinking,did this 30 years ago to keep ARHS/HVTR as synergistic operators wi-win both..Always barriers put up,However,do this lateral think.
now.
"jayrail"


Enough water has travelled under the bridge and times have changed......

There are new people in both organisations too.........

The future looks bright......
  crisfitz Chief Commissioner

Location: Enroute somewhere
Some very good ideas are coming out here Very Happy

In an ideal world, HVTR and RHWA would work together towards a common goal - preservation of WAGR rolling stock / infrastructure. The benefits would be endless. Both groups have their strengths and weaknesses, and its seems to be that ones good points are mirrored by the others bad.

ie.

Locomotives - HVTR operates a small collection of stock ( 3 classes of steam, 4 of diesel, most which currently do not run on the Dwellingup line ), RHWA has a large collection but none operate ( Throwing a fire in the S once a year doesn't count! )

Rollingstock - HVTR doesn't operate WAGR stock other than the AV diner, RHWA has a large collection of stock perfect for operation, but again goes nowhere.

Infrastructure - HVTR has their own branch for operation, but doesn't run any authentic trains. RHWA has authentic rolling stock, but has nowhere to run it.

Yes, I have been quite vocal of my , er... ,  dislike of HVTR operations. Its a shame that it appears necessary to run the Dwellingup branch purely as a tourist train, by a group of people who want to play trains. No other group in Australia seem to find it necessary to use non authentic liveries / rolling stock / stations / etc.

HVTR could be every bit as good as groups such as Castlemaine / Maldon, SGRPS, BPR to name a few of the smaller groups. But do HVTR want to go down this path ??

If HVTR and RHWA could work together for a common cause, then maybe. But whilst both seem set on different paths I feel this is highly unlikely. Both groups would need to get beyond " whats in it for me " thinking for this to happen.

I wish HVTR the best, but I find it hard to support them in their current guise.
Sad
  burt007 Chief Train Controller

Location: On the Road Somewhere...
Some very good ideas are coming out here Very Happy

In an ideal world, HVTR and RHWA would work together towards a common goal - preservation of WAGR rolling stock / infrastructure. The benefits would be endless. Both groups have their strengths and weaknesses, and its seems to be that ones good points are mirrored by the others bad.

ie.

Locomotives - HVTR operates a small collection of stock ( 3 classes of steam, 4 of diesel, most which currently do not run on the Dwellingup line ), RHWA has a large collection but none operate ( Throwing a fire in the S once a year doesn't count! )

Rollingstock - HVTR doesn't operate WAGR stock other than the AV diner, RHWA has a large collection of stock perfect for operation, but again goes nowhere.

Infrastructure - HVTR has their own branch for operation, but doesn't run any authentic trains. RHWA has authentic rolling stock, but has nowhere to run it.

Yes, I have been quite vocal of my , er... ,  dislike of HVTR operations. Its a shame that it appears necessary to run the Dwellingup branch purely as a tourist train, by a group of people who want to play trains. No other group in Australia seem to find it necessary to use non authentic liveries / rolling stock / stations / etc.

HVTR could be every bit as good as groups such as Castlemaine / Maldon, SGRPS, BPR to name a few of the smaller groups. But do HVTR want to go down this path ??

If HVTR and RHWA could work together for a common cause, then maybe. But whilst both seem set on different paths I feel this is highly unlikely. Both groups would need to get beyond " whats in it for me " thinking for this to happen.

I wish HVTR the best, but I find it hard to support them in their current guise.
Sad
"crisfitz"


I do agree with some of your comments Cris - but the question I ask - would HVTR survive commercially operating strictly historically acurate consists/trains (and not using the SA fleet) to appease hard core railfans? I'm talking about insurance - risk - maintenance costs etc etc.

My personal view is that HVTR should (and has been as Ian stated) move slightly away from being strictly a tourist operation - and find a compromise between "Tourist Railway" and "WA Rail Heritage Operator".

For the hard core rail fan- perhaps "Historical Days" could be an option - running original Australind fleet - Car clubs could be invited to pace the train up the hill with a car/bike display in Dwellingup - like minded clubs to HVTR could be offered discounted fares for these trains - a way of getting like minded people together........

It is easy to come up with an idea on a forum - just slightly harder to impletment in real life........

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