In April 1997 R766 and K183 paralelled eachother part of the way back from Seymour to Melbourne. R766 was hauling one of the first carriage sets to be repainted into the V/Line Passenger Mk1 livery, with K183 hauling some freshly-repainted carriages allocated to Seymour Railway Heritage Centre.
This is a scene that won't be repeated for a number of reasons: Firstly, R766 has been out of service in NSW for several years. Secondly, K183 was severely damaged in a collision with a road vehicle outside Yarrawonga in 2002, and has not been returned to service. Thirdly, SRHC have almost ceased to run tours, and the condition of their allocated rollingstock is deplorable. And lastly, the VLP Mk1 livery has been superseded with the Mk2 and finally Mk3 liveries, with almost all carriages repainted into the red and grey Mk3 livery.
Retrieved from static display outside Bendigo railway station in the early 1980s, R766 was restored to service to haul the Melbourne Limited, a prestigious train with a heavy tour programme across Victoria. Ahead of its time, the Melbourne Limited project collapsed after a few short years of operation, and R766 was bought by a group interested in keeping it running for Victorian main line steam. This group became known as 766 Syndicate.
During the 1990s it was repainted into an LMS Crimson Lake-inspired livery. This period in time also featured K183 in blue with yellow lining, and K190 in apple green with yellow lining. It was then leased to West Coast Railway and converted to a "Super R" in the style of R711, which took the place of R766 when it was retrieved from the plinth in Bendio. After WCR collapsed in the mid 2000s and it came time to put it through a thorough overhaul, it was decided to convert it from 5'3" broad guage to 4'8 1/2" standard gauge, to operate across the national network. The bulk of the actual conversion work was handled at Newport Workshops, including reverting the changes made by WCR, before it was sent north to Rothbury in NSW.
We are still waiting to see it return to the rails, with updates on its progress non-existant.