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Steamrail Victoria (and particularly its ElecRail Division) would like to thank everyone for their condolences and well wishes following the devastating fire at Newport Workshops that destroyed four swing door suburban electric carriages. The oldest dated back to the 1880s. They were undoubtedly the best preserved examples of electric trains in Australia and most likely the world. This is a huge loss to Steamrail and the State of Victoria. Many tens of thousands of hours of volunteer effort had gone into these cars over a 34 year period. Our hearts go out to all involved in the restoration of the cars, especially Kevin and Tom Clark who spearheaded the restoration work. Their dedication to the cause and the standard of restoration work achieved was quite remarkable.
We are hoping the intact cab of 107M can be retained as a tribute to both the swing door cars plus the volunteers involved. The practicality of this is yet to be determined, but it is something we would like to do. There is little left of the remainder of the cars above underframe level (except for the partial cab of 24D).
We are still awaiting the official report as to the cause of the fire. Neither arson, nor volunteer negligence are thought to be the cause. An electrical issue seems the most likely scenario. It is simply an unfortunate accident.
Steamrail is working cooperatively with VicTrack (who manage the workshops site) to make the building safe. It may be weeks or months before the area is again accessible. We shall keep you posted.
The Tait cars in the custody of ElecRail survived the fire. We have not been able to inspect them but we do not believe they sustained any damage. These cars will now become the centrepiece of ElecRail. These vehicles date back to the 1910s and are of national (if not world) significance.
Once again thank you for your condolences and kind words during this very difficult time. This provides great comfort to our volunteers who are grieving.
Photo: ElecRail volunteers, Kevin and Tom Clark with the remaining cab of 107M. 04/03/2015.
Mark Wolverson, Chairman Steamrail Victoria
Lionel Camilleri, Secretary Steamrail Victoria
Scott Bray and Craig Soden, representing ElecRail, Steamrail Victoria
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