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On Thursday 25th June we hosted the very recently appointed Transport Minister Ben Carroll. We had been expecting his predecessor and following the changes on Monday were anticipating the visit to be cancelled.
It was part of whistle stop tour of parts of the area and meetings in Bendigo. Our President John Crofts showed the minister around concentrating on recently received A60 and a selection of our classic wooden bodied E carriages.
Also visiting was Campbell Rose CEO of VicTrack in his capacity of owner of the said vehicles. Cam had a couple of his senior staff along to see what it was all about.
The last visitors were Andrew and his cameraman from the Nine Network who was filming a presentation of the 9 evening news on Saturday or Sunday coming.
At the conclusion of Minister Carroll's inspection he did an interview for the news presentation commenting very favorably on our activities and the importance of railway heritage and specifically to the area.
With the minister off to other commitments our president John also did an interview and made sure the crew got plenty of good coverage of the A and the carriages. Don't forget to watch the 9 news on the weekend to see the story!
We begin with the clouds just thinking of parting and ceasing to sprinkle. The Nine News cameraman is getting a few preliminary shots.
Water is still pooled on the ground and we are thinking that mud will be traipsed everywhere. The A has been decorated by having its number boards fitted, name plates and number plates bolted on._______________________________________________________________
The Minister has arrived, is being escorted around by President Crofts who is obviously in fine form while Vice President Max is following up and perhaps trying to keep up!
It is now time to inspect A60. As the Minister ascends the steps, various others watch. At the bottom is the Treasurer, then clockwise is Campbell Rose of VicTrack, Bruce is in the background, then Vice Pres max, The Pres himself and finally, the Engineering Manager._________________________________________________________________
Mr Minister - please meet Sir Harold Clapp aka B60 then A60. During discussions Ben Carroll revealed that although new to the job by a few days he had done his research and indeed knew who Harold W Clap was and why he was honoured on the side of Victoria's first main line diesel electric locomotive.______________________________________________________________
The minister was very relaxed and frequently taking a moment or two to chat to various members who were about. He seemed to be genuinely interested in what we are about has some appreciation of the passion that drives organisations such as ours.______________________________________________________________
At the conclusion of the visit there was a discussion amongst SRHC, ministerial persons and VicTrack.
Then there was the television interview. With everybody striving to observe social distances, the Q & A with reporter Andrew in about to start.
Answers are given with delight felt by the audience as Minister Carroll commented on the importance of railway preservation, the value of these things to the wider community and the need to ensure that these activities continue.___________________________________________________________
Now, to go back a little and deal with the days leading up to the ministerial visit.
A60 sits in 13 track in the carriage shed beginning the drying out process. Of relevance also in the track upon which the photographer stands. Deterioration of sleepers has been monitored here for a while and with the availability of a little excavator for a few hours. the following day the wooden sleepers were ripped out.______________________________________________________________
It is a bit hard to see here but the track behind which is 12 has had the wooden sleepers replaced by steel types. Kevin and Kevin are working on a similar task also undertaken at the same time on 11 track. Sleepers are being packed by shovel in the traditional way._________________________________________________________________
In the repair shed, preparations for the repainting of 2AE are well in hand. Sanding and filling are the main activities. Some sections of the gutter moulding are terminally ill so will be replaced by new materials from stocks.________________________________________________________________
We don't know what is being said in this exchange between Eugene entering 26BE and David already inside. Perhaps it was "permission to come aboard?" with what response???__________________________________________________________________
The response must have been positive. Eugene and David are concentrating on fitting the compartment doors in this car. Well Eugene certainly, but David, just not sure there!_________________________________________________________________
A compartment in 26BE with lino in place, arm rests fitted and seat backs also in. Once the doors are on and a few other little bits attended to. the seat bases will be almost the last thing to tackle._________________________________________________________________
On to Tuesday 23rd as preparations for the visit the following day are being advanced. The bare end of A60 is beside State Car 4 enjoying the winter sun.____________________________________________________________
But on the other end the whistle is being fitted and the number board outer Perspex 'glazing' is being placed. Robbie above, Dean at mid height and Jason at the lower.
That's it for the moment.
Don't forget to check out the 9 news on Saturday and Sunday. We don't know which day so you will just have to watch both!!_________________________
This article first appeared on srhcblog.blogspot.com
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