A2 986 roars uphill towards Heathcote Junction. The plan for the day included a spirited climb up the Great Dividing Range, stopping at Heathcote Junction to inspect the loco. As the A2 rapidily approached Heathcote Junction, it quickly became clear the scheduled stop had been cancelled.
The project to restore the A2 to mainline service began in April 1986, when it was towed from Warragul back to Steamrail's depot at Newport. Over the intervening years a small band of volunteers have worked with limited time and resources, but in May 2015 it finally moved under its own power for the first time in over 50 years.
Out of every dark cloud comes a silver lining; the devastating collision between K183 and a semi-trailer in October 2002, which took the lives of the loco crew and a visitor, resulted in K183 being written off as a serviceable asset. Accordingly, the insurance policy on the locomotive was paid out in full, which provided some much-needed funds to accelerate the A2's restoration.
It's hoped that July's successful run up the mainline to Seymour, running at the maximum speed permitted by the wooden-bodied carriages, will instill enough confidence within Steamrail to permit an official return-to-service train to be run by the end of 2016.