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A dedicated group of train buffs wants to put the romance back in rail travel.
The Derwent Valley lies to the west of Hobart. It's a gateway for some of Tasmania's biggest tourist drawcards, such as the West Coast and Mount Field National Park.
For many years, a journey through the valley could be made by train.
Derwent Valley Railway, a non-profit volunteer organisation, operated a passenger service from 1990 until the line was closed by Pacific National in 2005.
A piece of train machinery being restored by hand by Derwent Valley Railway volunteers.(ABC News)Now, volunteers in the small town of New Norfolk are committed to getting the engines rolling again.
About 140 members have been maintaining and restoring locomotives and carriages in the expectation that one day soon, the public will be able to experience a train trip around the Derwent Valley.
Volunteer John McDevitt grew up in the area and has always had a close relationship with the railyard.
"My interest in trains has always been with me as I grew up in New Norfolk in this actual railway yard," he said.
"It was my playground. So passion for trains has been in my blood all my life. It's in me and it's always going to be in me."
Derwent Valley Railway volunteer John McDevitt says a passion for trains has always been in his blood.(ABC News)Mr McDevitt has had many roles over the years, shunting trains and taking care of passengers, but now he is focused on restoration.
"[The carriages are] all a part of history and they're something that if we don't keep them operating and in a serviceable condition, they'll just deteriorate and we won't have anything," he said.
Fellow volunteer and former train driver Craig Farrell said his love of trains also started early.
"Driving a train is a really great experience because you're working a big machine and pulling a lot of people on behind you," he said.
"Your aim is to give the smoothest and most comfortable ride.
"And I think that's what we really want to create here is that living museum that people can experience, and feel part of what's been a really important part of the history of Tasmania and the railways that have served the state so well for so long."
'Magical' experience for volunteersEvery Wednesday and Saturday, the old New Norfolk railway yard is bustling with activity.
Artist and architect Tina Curtis is among those to be found tinkering away.
Tina Curtis started out sorting hardware in the nuts and bolts van.(ABC News)"One of the things I really like about coming out here is things being made," she said.
"Lots of sort-of magical things that you don't see so much these days.
"I started out sorting hardware in the nuts and bolts van, which hadn't really been looked at for a while.
"I'd find lots of little pieces that I would go 'oh, I wonder what this does' or 'what's this sort of dome-shaped thing?'
"Then I started looking at the gardens around the station and stuff because they haven't had much attention for a while. And I found that very rewarding."
Dream that keeps volunteers coming backThe volunteers aren't all local — some of them travel for hours to work on the trains.
Ages range from 13 to 85, and there is a focus on passing knowledge on to the next generation.
As the locomotives and carriages are slowly brought back to life, the dream that keeps everyone coming back is that the railway will one day be able to function again.
Volunteer and former train driver Craig Farrell says his love of trains started early.(ABC News)"I would love to see this railway up and running on a regular basis, I'd love to see it employing people full time," Mr Farrell said.
"I would also like to retire one day and drive trains, you know, from a purely selfish point of view."
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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