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     A Look Back at Enthusiast News from our website in 2014

To look at other years click on the dates above                          


These extracts were deleted from the official SHR website as time progressed during the year
and the information reported may have been overtaken by subsequent events
Extracts are not necessarily arranged in strict calendar order
The information below may however give readers looking back a general insight into events during the year


Awards to Volunteers

At the September and October ARHS meeting and at other appropriate venues a number of awards were presented to volunteers who had reached milestones of service to SHR

These can be viewed CLICK HERE

Recent Special Events

  • South Coast Express - Sunday 30th November

    As mentioned in our "Mechanical Services" section below, the dream to see steam loco 520 back in operation is to become a reality, largely thanks to the kind and substantial donation made by founding ARHS Member, and former Tours Director, Dean Harvey.

    However, we still need to raise further funds to complete the loco’s restoration and in order to assist this project, a special charter train was organised to depart Mt Barker behind former South Australian Railways 930 class diesel locomotive 958, heading south for Victor Harbor. Over 150 passengers signed up with the option of leaving the train for a sumptuous three-course meal at the Middleton Tavern or continuing on to Victor Harbor as "rail only" passengers. A "profit" of some $5000 has been added to the 520 restoration fund.

    Recently appointed SHR Marketing Manager Peter Michalak was a busy member of the train crew but managed to snap a shot of the train ready to depart from Mt Barker and at specially arranged run past photo shoot at Finniss.


  • New Years Eve - Goolwa to Victor

    As we traditionally do a special evening round trip was run with a 3 car RedHen railcar set on NYE, returning from Victor around 12.30am. THe train attracted a full car load of advance bookings and quite a few "walk up" passengers. Many thanks to the SHR crew who assisted in providing this service!

    The four car Redhen set heads off into the sunset                   Photo: Domenic Quartuccio

An unfortunately lost asset

Railcar Trailer 820
This SHR purchased car that remained at Mt Gambier was virtually totally destroyed following a fire attack on the Mt Gambier Roundhouse at 8.00am on the 19th October 2014, described by police as "suspicious". SHR Mechanical Services Manager, Craig Dunstan, told the local ABC News that the car, which had been less seriously vandalised in the past, was "irreplacable" and that it would cost hundreds and thousands of dollars to rebuild such a car from scratch.

These photos taken by SE residents Robyn Hollands (L) and Wayne Morris (R) show the intensity of the fire and the remaining skeleton of car 820

CLICK HERE to see a collection of photos of the fire and its consequences.

Generous Donation to SHR by Bradley Turner

Last month HR Manager Andrew McDonough was delighted to receive advice from one of our more recent volunters, Bradley Turner, that he had been recognised by his employer, Coles Supermarkets, as a recipient of one of the company's awards for volunteer work in the community. The award allowed him 16 hours of his paid hours to work as a volunteer and a $100 gift card which he has generously donated to SteamRanger.

We warmly thank Bradley for this donation and for his commitment to working, initially on the Cockle Train as a passenger attendant. Our photo shows Bradley passing over the donation to Andrew.


Ray Green reported in late October that significant track work is continuing between Strathalbyn and Finniss. 98 Sleepers have been replaced and the team are still working on the loose rail areas. 480 "A" Grade Sleepers provided by DPTI were most appreciated.

Foster Place crossing at Goolwa was rebuilt from 15th to 19th September 2014 . 13 concrete sleepers were inserted in addition to 7 "A" Grade Sleepers, 1 x 40ft length of rail and 1 x 30ft length of rail. The Earth Works were carried out by contractors Sand and Civil with some assistance from the track team. The Cockle Train line was closed over this period and the service to Finniss (above) ran in its place

These photos show SHR volunteers Steve Stratford, Bill Lewis and Ray Green (not breaking out of jail) but installing some safety fencing and then three stages of the contractors work in excavating the roadway, laying sleepers and reinstating the tarmac. A good job all round!



On other fronts the team are starting to plan the replacement of the rail loop at Middleton. We have the 2 Panels donated by DPTI sorted out. We also hired a crane to move the panels around .

Two new Stop Signs and one Give Way sign have been replaced at Native Ave and Tarrawatta as the original ones were stolen. Also an End of Line Sign has been placed at Victor Harbor.

Long time contractor Transfield is no longer inspecting our track following redundancy of their Inspector.
However, he has come onboard with us and recent Inspection has been carried out between Burnside Road and Goolwa Depot. Much appreciated.

The Gemco track machine failed on the 17th September. The secondhand engine has seized because the oil filter seal blew which caused the engine oil to leak out.

Special Trains

  • The Costume Picnic Train - Saturday 4th October

    As part of Mount Barker’s 175th Anniversary, a charter train operated with the title “Costume Picnic Train” from Mount Barker to Strathalbyn return, pulled by SteamRanger’s massive mainline diesel loco "958".

    Passengers were able to dust off their 20’s, 30’s & 40’s wardrobe, for a “Step Back In Time” history train event: THey enjoyed the period costumes, experience historic re-enactors and roaming performers, taste sweets and treats from days past, learn about our diverse history from Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills

  • The Finniss Flyer - - Wednesday 17th September

    For just one Wednesday, regular Cockle Train services did not operate between Goolwa and Victor Harbor on this day due to trackwork just west of Goolwa station - BR>
    Travel was by by heritage Redhen Railcar from the river port of Goolwa, through open farm land, over tall bridges and through Mallee scrub, before arriving at the quaint township of Finniss.

    Passengers were able to take a stroll around the township, or have a bite to eat at the recently renovated Finniss General Store and Cafe, before rejoining the train to return to Goolwa

    We called ahead on each journey to alert the Finniss General Store staff of numbers and details of "Coffee and Cake" or staying for "Lunch" passengers. The staff at the General Store did a great job in ensuring all passengers received their orders in a timely fashion for each return journey which resulted in no late departures.

    There was a good prebooked group on the first train and we carried a total of around 75 passengers for the day. Here are a couple of photos of the event; travellers being escorted off the Finniss platform and then hungry passengers lined up for a bite at the Finniss store

    Photos Alan Potter & Andrew McDonough

  • 150th Anniversary of the Victor Harbor Railway - Sunday August 3rd

    August 2014 marked the 150 year anniversary for the Port Elliot to Victor Harbor Railway Line, the completion of the Victoria Pier (now known as the Causeway) and the Railway Goods Shed which is now occupied by the SA Whale Centre.

    Construction of these three major projects was a catalyst for the early growth and development of Victor Harbor.

    So to mark this significant historical milestone, the City of Victor Harbor teamed up with SteamRanger Heritage Railways to hold a celebratory community event on Sunday, 3 August 2014.


    The day’s formalities included:
    • the laying of a time capsule at the SA Whale Centre
    • a free public afternoon tea and “Telling of the story” ceremony at the Tram Barn
    • unveiling of a commemorative plaque at the Victor Harbor Railway Station
    • children’s activities in the SA Whale Centre
    • A short ceremony took place at Port Elliot en route

    Ivan Marchant's photosabove captured ceremonies at the Whale Centre and the SHR crew (Dale Patyi and Ian Johnston) with the Town Crier

    A comprehensive report on the days activities contributed by SHR stalwart Ivan Marchant has been published in print in the August ARHS "Bulletin" circulated to members.

Steam loco 621 problems

Many readers may be aware that the use of steam loco 621 was terminated early in the second week of autumn "Cockle Train" running due to a worrying crack in the firebox.

Investigating and dealing with this type of problem requires careful analysis and quite a time to allow the boiler to cool down, but due to the dedicated commitment by members of the loco team, it was possible to slowly transfer the loco back to Mt Barker Depot for initial investigation and interim repairs which allowed the loco to be used on the fully booked Southern Encounter train on Sunday 19th October.

Then, following a busy week to get 621 back into service following the firebox crack, it was found on return from Victor Harbor on October 19th that many leaves were found broken in both trailing truck springs, which has unfortunately grounded 621 for another few weeks.

A more substantial report on these problems is provided in the Mechanical Services below. We sincerely thank those volunteers that participated in dealing with these problems.

As a consequence the two Southern Encounter trains from Mt Barker to Victor in November
needed to be diesel hauled

And here is Domenic Quartucio's photo of the final train on November 16th
with loco 958 and three "centenary" cars crossing Watsons Gap bridge between Pt Elliot and Victor

In MS Manager Craig Dunstan's absence the following information on 621's progress has been contributed by Ian Johnston

Firebox Cracks

These photos show (L to R)
What the leak looked like with the firegrates out.
After some vigorous use of the wire wheel
Polished spots all over the place prior to thickness testing

The heartening thing from all this was that dozens of thickness measurements indicated that there is no excessive plate thinning around the corner area. Chats with our consultant boiler inspector confirmed plate thickness is currently not an issue which was a pleasant surprise after we had been expecting something worse.

The 1/2” long horizontal crack is located in a shallow dimple in the weld and the extent of this crack on the water side has yet to be determined. Then the boiler has to pass the mandatory hydro test keeping in mind that historically when welding is carried out on such spots, invariably you fix one leak and create another and so on due to inherent crap and moisture.

The team then had to wait until the boiler was washed out and left empty to do magnetic particle crack tests.

A couple of shots. The first one shows leaking after two days from the original crack top centre then another one or two leaks on LHS of photo – pin holes. The second shows MP test result with texta dots across main crack, two dots above each pin hole and another two dots across a crack like indication of the far left of the photo.

Damaged Spring Leaves

Two leaves were broken in each side with the first shot below showing the LHS spring after some of the loco’s weight was taken off - both broken leaves sagging a bit.

The centre shot shows how the weight transferred from the driving wheels via the large equaliser beam was taken on a brand new 20 tonne jack.

Springs were finally removed using the floor crane and placed on a pallet ready for delivery to the spring man. It is expected both springs will need to be almost totally rebuilt with all new leaves and it is also expected we should have them back in a month or so. Meanwhile 621 sits at the back of the shed partly on jacks and blocks waiting for work on the safety and whistle valves.

The springs were forwarded to Industrial Engineers and Spring Makers whose verdict was the same as ours, springs past their best so they would need to be completely rebuilt. One issue to get around nowadays is that new spring leaf material is only available in metric thicknesses so a bit of jigsaw work is required to produce a new spring with the required dimensions and spring rate.

IE&SM were very supportive and made the new springs in just a couple of weeks and both have been fitted to 621 (shown in this photo). But as expected the new springs, with much more tension in them, have not been able to be simply fitted and then expect the same loads on each axle of the locomotive.

At the time of writing we know the rear of 621 is at least one inch higher and that different thickness saddles have already been fitted just to be able to connect each of the the springs. (The saddles are the component immediately on the top face at each spring end). Over the next couple of weeks a few thinner saddles will need to be fabricated, the boiler refilled with its 8 tonnes of water, axle loads remeasured and compared with previous figures and then it is quite possible more adjustments will be required.

Safety Valves

Many would have noticed 621’s safety valves have been leaking steam anywhere from 100 psi upwards with excessive feathering when near 200 psi. This is a waste of everything (water, coal and firemen's’ effort) so the opportunity has been taken to rebuild the valves back to drawing specs. Unlike 520’s safeties which are flange mounted, 621’s are screwed into a thick mounting pad on top of the boiler. Being a round top boiler, which sits higher than 520s, a screwed fitting was necessary to keep the top of the loco within the loading gauge but while OK in theory, in practice the parallel threads are prone to give trouble and that has again been the case. The threads were deemed to be wasted to the point it was not prudent to reuse them. This has meant Furmanite have been contracted the bore the existing threads out and retap larger holes of the same form. But this then means the diameter of the threads on the valve bases are too small for the new holes which in turn means new bases have to be machined from bronze metal – this part being undertaken by Dinki Di Engineering at a cost of over $3200.

Awards to Volunteers

At the September ARHS meeting Volunteer Awards were presented to a number of our valued contributors

These photos show various recipients receiving their awards

Stuart Schilling and Dylan Badenoch (Signals maintenance)
Jarrod Baker (Mt Barker Depot), Rosemary Kelly and Alan Potter (Operations)

Shaun Cassidy (Mt Barker Depot) (with Ian Johnston) ,
Steve Stratford (Operations and Track) (with Ray Green) and
Peter Michalak (Operations) received their certificates elsewhere

And further awards were made in October;
  • Track and Depot Workers
    Kym Goodsell, Christopher Jones, Malcolm Merritt, Peter McAuliffe, Ray Radestock and Grahame Molloy

  • Operations
    Bill Lewis (Track and Loco Engineman), Malcolm Richards (Passenger Attendant) , Steve Richardson (Guard and SM), & Peter Kokegi (Passenger Attendant) (pictured)


    and Loreto Barton (Passenger Attendant) and John Elliot (Passenger Attendant and Shop)


To return to our Latest Info page CLICK HERE

Recent Special Trains and Events

  • Rail History Day

    As part of the statewide South Australian History Month celebrations, SteamRanger operated the 'Finniss Flyer' from Goolwa to Finniss and return on Sunday 25th May. A rail history display was setup at Victor Harbor station, where soup, cake and coffee were served between 10am and 4pm

    Two special 'Redhen' railcar trains departed Goolwa at 11.45am and 1.15pm heading to Finniss on the way to Strathalbyn, with some passengers on the earlier train alighting to visit the Finniss General Store for a cuppa and a bite to eat before returning on the latter train. Connections were provided to and from Pt Elliot and Victor on our regular Cockle Train

  • Rhythm and Rail Open Day - Mt Barker

    A succesful celebration of Mt Barker's 175th Anniversary, visiting our historic station on
    Queens Birthday Monday 9th June was well attended and featured the following attractions.
    • Bluesy tunes from Mick Kidd, updeat classics, soul jazzy blues from the group
      "Innuendo" and vocalist Felicity O'Brien
    • Section car rides from the station
    • RedHen railcar trips down to Bugle Ranges
    • Wine tasting, home style soup, cakes, light refreshments and hot drinks all day
    • Lots of things for the kids to do!

  • Xmas in July - Saturday 26th July 2014

    A capacity crowd of passengers joined an evening steam hauled movement from Mt Barker to Strathalbyn and back to celebrate "Christmas in July"

    Loco 621 "The Duke of Edinburgh" with long term engineman Brenton Job in charge and Matthew Job firing headed off from Mt Barker at 6.30pm.

    Passengers had a short amble from Strath station across to the Victoria Hotel where they celebrated with a three course meal, washed down appropriately, arriving back at Mt Barker around 11.00pm.

    This photo from Peter Michalak captured the scene at Strath station.

    Future SteamRanger enginemen achieve a training milestone!

    Congratulations are in order for both Matthew Job and Oliver Lukins who recently successfully completed their High Risk Workplace Assessments for their Basic Boiler High Risk Licence. With now only a few internal formalities Matt will be qualified as a Steam Fireman with SteamRanger and soon after with Oliver to undertake his internal Fireman’s Assessment they will both become the first SR qualified fireman for some years.

    Ollie (left below), one of our fulltime employees, works mainly in the Mt Barker workshops during the week and Matt (right) (son of one of our longest serving volunteer enginemen, Brenton) has been an active volunteer for many years.

    Well done guys for this great effort and persistence with the increased difficulty for this type of qualification these days. Congratulations to you both.

    Xmas / New Year Holiday Services 2013/14

    Daily Cockle Train services commenced on the 18th December, initially three trains a day with railcars

    Passenger loads with the railcars pre Christmas built up slowly, but were well patronised by school groups on several days as they prepared for end-of-year festivities.

    Andrew Gramp was the loco observer on December 11th when the school group was so large that a head end train with DE507 was needed.

    His photo shows the group joining at Port Elliot with guard for the day Alan Potter appropriately dressed as Santa!

    A six-train-a-day service with three steam round trips using loco 621 and three intervening railcar services featuring Brill 60 or Redhens ran from Friday December 27th until Friday 3rd January and was very well patronised with daily passenger loads approaching 300 return passenger trips on the busiest days. Although the steam loco was undoubtably a feature many of the passengers equally enthusiastically appreciated travelling on Brill and Redhen railcars.

    Providing on-train and station volunteers was a challenge for newly inducted operations Roster Officer Sarah Michalak (guided by retiring RO Bev Sawyer) many volunteers volunteered to work virtually every second day - many thanks to you all!

    From the January 4th until the 23rd the service reverted to the usual three train a day timetable using steam loco 621 as far as possible (subject to maintenance requirements and summer fire restrictions - railcars or a diesel loco when necessary)

    The service was significantly affected by extreme temperatures in the Victor Harbor area in the third week of January when steam locomotives were banned on many catastrophic fire risk days and services ceased entirely when local temperatures reached 35C.

    Actual measured temperatures reached were 41C (Jan 13th), 45C (14th), 43C (15th), 44C (16th) and 37C (17th)!
    Coincidentally, most of these days corresponded to planned loco washout days, so less steam "downtime"
    was experienced than may have occurred in any case.

    And a busy end to Holiday Services

    Services on the Australia Day holiday weekend - Friday 24th to Monday 27th January - allowed SHR summer services to go out with a bang! On Friday 24th the 4th stage of the internationally recognised Santos Tour Down Under bike race terminated at Victor mid afternoon and the local roads and urban areas were crowded. To assist visitors to travel to Victor easily six return Cockle Trains to and from Goolwa operated during the day, one commencing and returning to Strathalbyn. Both steam and railcar motive power were used.

    On Sunday 26th the programmed Strathlink service from Victor to Strathalbyn was varied to carry vintage car enthusiasts to a major display at the Strath showgrounds - just a quick walk from the station.

    From Monday 27th to Wednesday 29th we wrapped up our summer daily running with three return services
    with diesel CTs , the originally planned farewell for steam loco 621 on the Monday not being possible due to fire restrictions. All services were eventually cancelled on the Tuesday due to high temperatures.

    Overall, Goolwa and Victor Harbor recorded twelve days with actual maximum temperatures over 25degrees
    as the chart below for Victor shows.

    The effect of this unseasonable weather had a variable effect on our running and passenger loads.

    This chart below shows how passenger numbers essentially tracked the maximum temperatures.
    It shows the the relative number of return ticket sales made at Goolwa each day over the period,
    expressed in equivalent adult return journeys (allowing for one way trips and group, senior and child travellers)
    Higher figures to the same profile were achieved for passengers from Victor Harbor

    As mentioned above six services a day were operated from December 27th to January 3rd
    with lesser services on most other days.

    Brand SA Regional Awards

    SteamRanger was a finalist (in the top 3) of the Tourism category for the Hills & Coasts Region of the 2013 SA Regional awards.

    South Coast stalwarts Val & Ray Green (right) attended the awards function to accept the finalist award and the HOOT Jazz Festival (with which we are also involved) was the other finalist. The top prize was won by the Hahndorf Farm Barn.

    This is a public recognition that all of our volunteer work has a value, of which we should be proud.

    Longserving ARHS(SA) President and long term SHR volunteer retires from safeworking roles

    Well known preserved railway volunteer Malcolm Thompson joined the ARHS in 1962, when there was still steam to be seen along the lines in South Australia.

    His first involvement with the ARHS tours was when he was allocated the duty of Carriage Attendant for the Wallaroo - Gladstone - Wilmington ARHS tour in 1962, his first year of membership. We can see that Malcolm fell into volunteering for the ARHS very rapidly. After his marriage in 1966 to Merridee he assisted her with her duties as a Booking Officer for steam-hauled tours throughout the state. During this time the tours operating division of the ARHS adopted the much more recognisable name of "SteamRanger". But times were changing, and with the end of regular steam operations on the SAR the ARHS acquired four locomotives, the basis of the current SteamRanger fleet, and began operating them on the broad gauge lines of South Australia.

    Over the years Malcolm's involvement deepened to include being Secretary for a number of years, and then President of the ARHS for 9 years, 1992 to 1999, which included the tumultuous years when SteamRanger was forced to move out of its Dry Creek Adelaide home and re-establish at Mt Barker. He has also authored the book "Rails Through Sand and Swamp", a history of the Port Adelaide line. Malcolm volunteers at the National Railway Museum where he helps in the running of the little trains at Semaphore and works in the archives section, his true love. His interests are not just confined to railways as he also enjoys light opera, especially Gilbert and Sullivan, and local repertory theatre productions, and is an active member of his local church.

    Malcolm's train operating duties with SteamRanger began in 1990 when he qualified as a Station Master, and broadened three years later with his qualifying as a Guard. Malcolm is also a Passenger Attendant, Shop Assistant and Ticket Officer and will continue with these duties. These qualities have made him a dream volunteer for the Roster Clerk as there are very few volunteers who can carry out all of the duties of Operations Branch. But time marches on, and Malcolm recently made the decision to step down from so-called 'safe working' positions, namely Station Master and Guard, whilst continuing his other involvement with SteamRanger.

    In noting Malcolm's change of roles, SHR HR Manager Andrew McDonough thanked him and wished him well with his continued volunteer hours for SteamRanger. He welcomed Malcolm continuing in the roles not requiring Safe Working duties that he has so diligently contributed over the years. Andrew stressed that we are actively encouraging South Coast residents to follow in Malcolm's footsteps, with qualified SteamRanger personnel conducting "in-house" the training courses required. (Photo above of Malcolm giving the guard's green flag "right of way" at Victor Station on his "last day" by Roger Currie)

    STEAMRANGER PERSONALITIES - An occasional pen picture of some of our longer serving volunteers

    GRAEME STRUDWICK - Graeme retired to Victor Harbor a little over 20 years ago,after a long career at Salisbury supporting the Woomera Rocket Range.

    After working as a ticket oficer and shop assistant he progressed to working as a passenger attendant and then worked the weekly Track Patrol with John Kramer, then with Allan Kitto and Geoff Pearson.

    Later he qualified as a Station Master and Guard, and also began accompanying Bill Lewis in the Section Car on a weekly Track Patrol between Goolwa Depot and Victor Harbor.

    He recognised significant challenges working as a guard. Working a steam-hauled train requires the most physical effort and concentration, whilst the Red Hen is the easiest.Outside his SHR activities Graeme is interested in model trains.

    A highlight of a recent visit to Queensland was travelling on the Mary River Rattler from Gympie to Imbul. On the down trip there was a stop at a small farmers market. On the up, a stop at another small town for cheese and wine. Lunch at Imbul was in either the Pub or a small eatery. A very good trip.

    His major SHR aim in the future? To get every SHR volunteer into uniform. Compared to other similar operations Graeme feels we look second rate. And a major SHR challenge? Finding people with the practical skills to maintain our rolling stock is a challenge.

    IAN JOHNSTON At a very brief ceremony at Victor station on the 23rd January, a small group including (L to R) Ray Green Don Snow and Bill Simpson celebrated Ian Johnston's 70th with a ritual cake cutting.

    This photo coutesy of our Human Resources Manager Andrew Mac who explains the dubious quality of his photo by explaining he was only a washing machine salesmen is his earlier life!

    Ian, previously our long serving Loco Manager and ARHS President remains a valuable member of our four man steam loco engineman team which are working hard to get a few more days off with a number of other volunteers progressing up the fireman ranks.

    Signals and Telegraphs

    Troy Barker lists below the more significant tasks undertaken since April 2013. Full details werre included in an extensively illustrated report published in the October Newsletter mailed to members.

    • Strathalbyn
      A significant amount of pre-emptive maintenance has been attacked - repairs to broken crossarms, insulators, repair of swinging wires and removal of obstructing trees. Problems with the Milnes Road level crossing were investigated with the fault traced to a faulty underground wire. The team has undertaken the first of four upgrades on the flashing lights at the crossing - the old units were the originals, dating back over 35 years and were well past their serviceable age. All eight signal lamp assemblies were renewed with good quality second hand units. These were able to be obtained from the Barossa Valley due to a kind donation from Genesse & Wyoming Australia.

      Shown below are Troy Barker and Peter Charlson investigating cable faults and Damien Brown, Dylan Badenoch and Stuart Schilling showing the results of their work.


    • Bugle Ranges
      Once again due to the age of our equipment, a serious underground cable fault was detected at the Wistow Road level crossing which required the final solution being that all underground cables had to be dug up and fully renewed. The SteamRanger team of Peter Charlson, Daryl Simon and Steve Stratford put in a brilliant effort in laying out new conduits and cables which should give us trouble free service for a good number of years.

    • Goolwa
      Platform lighting is being upgraded. At the Hutchinson St level crossing - poor condition batteries and cabinet were refurbished Once this was ready, the signals team removed the old site installation, treated rust and repainted the existing posts, repaired and upgraded cabling as necessary and finally installed the new cabinet and batteries. We suspect that it is probably the best looking fibreglass signals cabinet in the state!

    Volunteer and HR News

    • Long Service Awards

      HR Manager, Andrew McDoough has announced that Long Service Awards for 2013 have been made as follows;

      Gold Certificate - Kevin Marzahn and Ray Green
      Silver Certificates - Bill Bebbington, David Groves, Sue Slade and Ron Norrell
      Certicate of Appreciation - Stuart Rees.

      Ray who serves on the Board of Management and as a Guard, SM and Track Manager was presented with his Gold Certificate by President Barrie Hawes at a recent Management Meeting and Kevin Marzahn, worker at Mt Barker Depot and as an on-train Observer / Fireman (third from the right received his from Andrew on a day he was rostered as a loco fireman.


      Click HERE to see the full list of awardees since the scheme was set up in 2004

    • Safe Working Course

      Volunteers engaged in various "on-track" roles are required by regulation to have completed formal rail safety courses, followed by supervised on-the-job traning.

      Loco Engineman Peter Brown, holder of a Certificate 1V "Workplace Trainers" course recently convened a training course (first time for him) The attendees included Richard Cook (Goolwa Depot), Rex Jaensch, Michael Stokes, Mark Heinrich and Brenton Jones (Strathalbyn team), Dale Patyi, Maria Smith, Don Wegener and Sturat Schilling (Mt Barker Depot), and John Cutts, Carey Ackers, James Emmett and Ashley Bennett (Train Operations).

      HR Manager, Andrew McDonough snapped Peter and the the participants hard at work and thanked Peter (right)and the attendees who have given up their time to assist SHR in keepng our Railway operating. Good luck to all for a successful completion of the course!

    • Track Machines

      All the Track Machines are in the workshop for repairs. The Gemco has had a second hand swivel head replaced, the Hydraulic Ram on the Grab has been overhauled, the cylinder head has been removed and sent out for testing and the scouring paddles are still in the process of being re-welded. The Air Compressor oil was contaminated, so the tank was drained, filter cleaned out and new oil was put in. Two new air hoses were purchased and the Spike Driver has been overhauled.The Tractor Tamper engine oil and filter have been changed and lights repaired. On the Switch Tamper the pin that holds the head has been replaced, the brakes adjusted and the headlight switch has been repaired. The Section Car has had its oil and oil filter changed and a new set of ignition points were installed. New hinges have been fitted to the engine cover.

    • Track Gangs

      The Community Services have been out slashing grass beside the track and pulling weeds . The Strathalbyn and the Mount Barker Gangs have also been out slashing grass and poisoning weeds.

    Charters and Block Bookings by Groups

    An important contribution to SHR, both to in promoting our services and generating significant income, comes from stand-alone charter services and group bookings on scheduled services

    On Tuesday 22nd April a very significant charter train operated from Victor to Goolwa with steam loco 621 and five centenary cars. The train was chartered by a group of Vietnam Veterans from across Australia visiting the Fleurieu , timed to allow them to march in the Anzac Day parades at the end of the week. The group organises an annual get-together at a different location each year and consisted of some 250 Vets, wives and families and associates.

    On the 22nd SHR ran 621 and its consist across from Goolwa Depot to Victor in the early morning, picking up the group at 9.00am at Victor and bringing them back to Goolwa station where they alighted.

    During the day they had a celebratory lunch and trips across the river in the heritage paddlesteamer "OscarW". Many then walked around the town, visiting souvenir shops and attractions including the Goolwa Arts and Crafts shop on the station platform.

    As you can see from this photo, they hardly fitted on Goolwa platform and were extremely complimentary of the train excursion manned by Ian Johnston and Andrew Gramp on the loco and Ted Mason as guard - a long day for the crew including the hardworking passenger attendants.

    And more charters to come - including a 150 passenger train in October; and on top of this group bookings on scheduled services selling well - 600 or so booked up for 2014 already this early in the year!

    SHR volunteers produce a promotional movie

    SteamRanger volunteers are currently producing a documentary film as the result of a successful grant application submitted by SHR executive assistant Tania Kunze (right).

    The success of this documentary will assist SteamRanger to raise funds, to promote our services and raise our public profile. As well as federal funding and local council funding, the project is subsidized by Employment Options, a work place provider in Mt Barker, it will place SteamRanger in a tremendous position to seek their assistance for future grant projects and to ask for more workers/volunteers within the Hills area.

    If anyone has any stories, photos or historical information that they feel might be included they should contact Tania on 0404 083 109

    The documentary is being created by a new group of SHR volunteers who come to Mount Barker Station two or three times a week to work on all aspects of completing the project. Approximately 35 people were at Mt Barker Station on the 29th March for the filming of a large (late 1920's) re-enactment for the documentary. Historical footage for the late 1800's and early 1900's is hard to come by, so three re-enactments are being created to compliment the early history section of the documentary storyline. Vintage cars were kindly loaned to us by members of the Adelaide Hills Motor Restorers with railway uniforms from the NRM Port Adelaide.

    Here are a few shots of the team in action at Mt Barker station.

    Gordon Webb as SM                                                         Sharon and Jessica Harvey as pasengers

    Shaun Cassidy, Cameron Roach and Gordon Webb

    Human Resources behind the Scenes

    HR Manager Andrew McDonough reports that various important ongoing activities under his control are being pursued with the objective of training new volunteers for the future and upgrading the qualifications and "fitness to volunteer" across the volunteer group. We thank Andrew for continuing to manage an important but usually "invisible" task in a very competent manner
    • Health Assessments
      As required by our health and safety policy, volunteers continue to be regularly assessed for Cat 2 Health Assessments almost always with good outcomes. Many thanks to all for attending to this requirement, particularly those for whom the "years are catching up".

    • Senior First Aid
      Another task that requires time and effort from a majority of our volunteers is to regularly attend a Senior First Aid course and a number of volunteers have recently successfully completed their training and retraining.

    • Safe Working Courses
      Arrangements have also been finalised for the 2014 Safe Working Course The course will be convened by our Work Place Trainer, longserving loco engineman Peter Brown. We thank Peter for his time and effort to conduct the course.

      Attendees come from across the SHR spectrum, including Operations, Goolwa Track, Strathalbyn Track, Signals and Mt Barker and Goolwa Depots.

      Without current qualifications we just cannot place people on rosters.

      This photo shows new guard Alan Potter convincing trainer Peter that he is "on the ball"

    • New Volunteers.
      Andrew has been away for the past few weeks on holidays and he is pleased to report that on his return he has been made aware of number of new volunteer enquiries to follow-up. More offers are always welcome! Just email him at HRmanager@steamranger.org.au


    110 Sleepers have been replaced between 88 and 89.5km at Sandergrove. This is the balance of Dean Harvey's donated Jarrah Sleepers. Dean has donated a further 25 Redgum Sleepers which were picked from Gillman by the Bedford Road Railer and transported back to Goolwa Depot. 5 second hand sleepers have been replaced at 87km (Sandegrove).

    Re-railing was carried out at Boomer Beach. One 38 ft length of rail and three 60ft lengths were replaced between 126.6km and 126.8km. One 60ft and one 40ft length of rail were replaced between 127.9km and 128.5km (Chiton Rocks)

    Mindacowie Terrace road crossing at Middleton has been rebuilt by a contractor and volunteers made up the rail panel with 11 concrete sleepers and 2 x 38ft lengths of rail. We have purchased a Motorised Rail Saw which was used here. The work involved a planned six day line closure with a cancellation of one Wednesday Cockle Train, but in fact the work proceeded so well that the line was reopened again after 4 days.

    Here are some of Ray Green's photos.

    Road 6 at Mt Barker has ben repaired using 33 steel sleepers which were rebuilt by volunteers whilst the ashpit and holding road at Victor Harbor has been resleepered and re-gauged.

    286 secondhand sleepers have been inserted in the track between Finniss rand Victor Harbor. We are currently working between Mount Barker and Strathalbyn repairing wide gauge and loose rail. 325 Jarrah sleepers donated by Dean Harvey have been delivered to Strathalbyn and 14 replacement sleepers have arrived to replace the rejected Jarrah sleepers from the original order.

  • A new Stop Sign and Cross Buts had to be placed at Rosetta Terrace at Port Elliot because a car had failed to take the corner and ended up on the Rail Line. New Cross Buts were fitted at Byrnes Road because of wind damage.

  • During the strong wind six trees had to be removed between Philcox Hill and Mount Barker, along with others between Strathalbyn and Goolwa Depot. Two large branches had to be removed and a large tree had fallen across the Main Road and the Rail Line. DPTI has removed the tree from the road and the Mount Barker Gang has started removing the rest from the line.

  • The independent track inspection has been carried out between Mount Barker and Burnside Road Strathalbyn. Unfortunately we have to find another Track Inspector because Transfield Services has made the original Inspector redundant.

  • The Gemco Sleeper Inserter has had a new secondhand motor fitted because the old motor had reached its use by date. At the same time hydraulic oil leaks have been repaired. The Toyota Hyrail has had its 400,000km service. The following repairs needed to be done - the timing belt, tie rod ends and spring bushes.

    • Bringing our History Alive

      Over three weekends in November, the history of the Mt Barker region will be brought to life on stage at SteamRanger's Heritage Railway Station as part of the region's 175th anniversary

      The fun, informative show will provide glimpses into our stories from the footprint of the Peramangk to the surging of steam engines.

      Imagine a troupe of itinerant entertainers of all ages, led by two musically-adept clowns, arriving at the station to tell the story. Quirky is juxtaposed with serious, fact and fiction meld together and before you know it the panorama of our history from pre-settlement in Britain to the making of the railway has passed before you! This family-friendly show is a chance to view past foibles with triumphs, peppered with live music and singing, which we anticipate will leave you wanting to know more... Be part of history in the making!!

      November 14th 15th 21st, 22nd, 28th, 29th & 30th at 7.30pm
      Tickets: Adults $25. Concession $20 Child $15 Family $75

    A volunteer 10 years down the track?

    We recently received the following email from a very young supporter who attends a local Fleurieu primary school

    Hello, my name is ***** and I am 6 years old. The children in my class are talking about what jobs we would like to have when we get older and I would like to be a train driver. I have thought of some questions I would like to ask to find out more about being a train driver and I would really like it if you could tell me; How much money does it cost to buy a train? -- and -- how much fuel does a diesel train use each day?

    So we asked one of our very experienced Mechanical Services guys to respond

  • Hello,

    Many thanks for your note and questions on trains. It is great to hear you are interested in driving trains, when you get a bit older. I would expect SteamRanger will still be operating trains from Goolwa Depot in 12 years time so it would be relatively easy for you to become involved with and undertake the required training. Usually new drivers learn to drive diesel locomotives first then if they wish, progress to steam locomotives.

    How much money does it cost to buy a train?
    Non working (second hand) locomotives could cost anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000, depending on their condition. The same costs for working (second hand) locomotives could be anywhere from $30,000 to $300,000. By comparison a brand new diesel locomotive on today's market with all the latest technology could cost up to $5 million.

    How much fuel does a diesel train use each day?
    In SteamRanger's experience; Diesel locomotive 507 (small red and yellow locomotive) would use about 180 litres of diesel fuel when operating the normal three return Cockle Trains between Goolwa and Victor Harbor whilst diesel locomotive 958 (large green and yellow locomotive) would use about 500 litres of diesel fuel when operating the normal Southern Encounter and Cockle Trains between Mt Barker and Victor Harbor.

    I hope the answers help you with your work. Perhaps one day if you like, we could arrange to meet at the Goolwa station when I am driving a train.

    Slightly edited - author's identity?

    Readers might like to pass these comments on to future young recruits in their extended families
    and we will send them a membership application form!!!!