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     A Look Back at Enthusiast News from our website in 2016


To look at other years click on the dates above                          






PLEASE NOTE

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



 

Human Resources

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 Anrew for continuing to manage an important but usually "invisible" task in a very competent manner.

We are currently progressing a procedure for a more formal program of inducting new volunteers into the SteamRanger workplace. Peter Schneider is assisting in this process and we have already introduced the format with workers operating from the Goolwa Depot. We thank Peter for his guidance in this area. The Kitchen Car at Goolwa Depot was used in February for the Track Force Course. Many thanks to all for their assistance in conducting this course and it make the effort to restore the car to the original training purpose all the more rewarding.



  • Goolwa's Kitchen Car takes on a New Role

    Many years ago the heritage wooden bodied kitchen car was a hub of activity when eager volunteers went to Goolwa Depot to stay over night. During the day they were busy putting all sorts of things together to enable SteamRanger to operate from the depot. The dining area of the kitchen car was set up for both dining and as a training room. However, after many years the car was only spasmodically used and in the end fell into disrepair and was finally condemned as unsafe for use. Late in 2015 Ben Greeneklee set about re-wiring the car and it was made safe again for use. Many thanks to Ben for all his efforts!

    With the need for more training it was recognised that the car needed to be resurrected for one of the original purposes of training. Judy and Peter Schnieder and David Linke had set up a small cleaning and maintenance team to maintain the carriages at the Goolwa depot and included the kitchen car in that program. After many hours of cleaning cupboards, washing and replacing many stored items, removing unsafe electrical appliances, having the remaining appliances tagged and tested, decorating and installing notice boards, the kitchen car is once again open for business in its new role.

    Peter, Judy and David (opposite) must be thanked for committing their time and donating equipment to create a valuable training facility and a place for staff commencing duty at Goolwa Depot to enjoy a "cuppa" before work for the day!


  • Recent Training Initiatives

    It is great that we have quite a few potential future Station Masters and Guards undertaking training. Good luck to Bradley Turner, Hamish Camens and Ben Graefe who have qualified to start training as Station Masters whilst John Cutts and James Emmett (recently qualified as an SM) have started their training as Guards for the Goolwa to Victor Harbor section.

    And here are a few of the trainers and trainees looking very smart posing for a "mug" shot between movements on Victor Station

    Just to prove that you can teach old dogs new tricks, long time volunteer Roger Currie has now completed training as a guard for the Mt Barker to Victor Harbor section Southern Encounter running. Roger currently works as a guard on the Cockle Train section and has been a loco Fireman for as long as we can remember, having joined the ARHS in 1965.

    Wednesday the 30th March proved to be a great day for SteamRanger as we had a Trainee guard (John Cutts), Trainee Station Master (Hamish Camens) and a Trainee Passenger Attendant (James Andonopoulos) all in full training under the watchful eyes of Alan Potter, Graeme Strudwick and Dave Linke. All positive signs for future qualified workers to help keep SteamRanger moving.

    We are pleased to report that one of our Strath based volunteers, Chris Thompson, is progressing well with becomng a qualified railcar driver. Chris previously drove Brill 106 for the Pichi Richi Railway at Quorn, and now having moved south has been studying under Phil Neville's tuition to complete theory papers to drive with SteamRanger. Good luck Chris!



    Brian's Special Charter

    Most longer term members of the SteamRanger team would remember the incredible work undertaken by Brian Busch in a range of executive roles before his unexpected retirement a few years ago.

    On the 26th May we were honoured to have Brian as organiser of a railcar charter from Mt Barker to Bugle Ranges with a group from the Philip Kennedy Centre. There was lots of recalling of the the clattering of the "Hens" around the suburban network.

    Our photos show Brian with ex SHR President and MS Manager Ian Johnston and SHR HR Manager Andrew McDonough and the happy group from the Centre.

    Marketing

    With Peter Michalak settling into his time as the newly created SHR Marketing Manager a well coordinated marketing program has developed over recent months.




    Sir Malcolm joins Thomas!

    In its issue of Thursday April 7th the Adelaide Advertiser printed a special report on a great marketing opportunity for SteamRanger written by journalists Neala Johnson and Patrick McDonald with some background provided by Pete, and headed with this very impressive artwork.

    The following Advertiser text outlined the project

    "Thomas the Tank Engine is getting his first Aussie mate - a green and gold engine named Shane, who could help rescue the last working South Australian steam locomotive on which the character is based. - Fun-loving, carefree Shane, modelled on the 520 class - designed and first built at South Australian Railways' Islington workshops in 1943 - is one of 13 new engines from around the world joining Thomas in his next animated movie, Thomas & Friends: The Great Race


    Only two of the 520s survive, both in South Australia. SteamRanger Heritage Railway is raising funds to restore the only operating 520. named the Sir Malcolm Barclay Harvey, at its Mt Barker workshop. A non-functioning engine is on display at the National Railway Museum in Port Adelaide.

    In the musical film, out internationally from next month and in Australia from July-August, Thomas wants to represent his island of Sodor at the Great Railway Show, racing agaiast the world's biggest, strongest and fastest engines."We tried to get as much of a variety and a range of different engines coming to compete, bringing a lot of diversity," UK film producer Ian McCue said

    Peter Michalak added that the 520 fitted the bill for size, strength and speed. "They were designed for passenger traffic hut they were able to work anything and everything, pretty much anywhere, because they had a really good axle load," he said. "Their streamlining made them really unique ... they were very stylish for the era. They are something that is quintessentially South Australian - there's nothing else in the country' like it." He said he hoped the creation of Shane would generate interest in the 520 and help fundraising efforts to get it back on the rails in 2018.

    SteamRanger founder Dean Harvey noted that in a Thomas & Friends-style race, the 520's advantages would be speed and endurance. "It was able to run non-stop all the way, whereas smaller locomotives had to stop at least once for water." he said. Steam Ranger's 520 has not operated since 2000 due to corrosion, but a private benefactor has put up about a third of the $300.000 needed to restore the engine. Construction is under way on its new tender.

    In the movie, Shane is nicknamed the "Whispering Giant", a moniker that Mr Harvey confirmed the 520 had from the get-go. "When it was running at high speed, you could hear the steam fizzing out of it but it was a whisper," he said.

    Shane is expected to be immortalised in toy form, too. It is believed Mattel will turn most of the new characters into toys.


    Well done Peter for all these marketing initiatives!

    And to read in more detail on recent marketing issues CLICK HERE



    Bill Hassam Passes Away




    Longer serving SteamRanger volunteers were saddened to hear of the passing away of long term supporter Bill Hassam in early June. A number of volunteers attended his funeral and one time ARHS President and Loco Manager Ian Johnston has reminisced below on Bill's significant involvement with SteamRanger its early years

    "Steamranger's first contact with Bill Hassam would have been when Bill was a DE loco driver and inspector for AN. Bill had spent much of his earlier years firing and driving steam locos and it was quite obvious from his involvement with the steam locos that SteamRanger had taken over that Bill knew what he was doing with steam, based on his vast knowledge and experience gained from his SAR days. He was somewhat of a perfectionist with no short cuts whatsoever and it was a pleasurable learning curve watching him at work with the shovel or on the regulator. Bill had a couple of outstanding characteristics; he was one of nature's gentlemen, always polite and friendly, and was more than willing to share his expert knowledge with a group of keen SteamRanger volunteers.

    When SteamRanger progressively took over the operation of trains between Mt Barker and Victor Harbor, Bill was one of a number of SAR/AN steam drivers who volunteered their time to train and supervise the SteamRanger volunteers on the finer arts and responsibilities of crewing both DE and steam locos. Bill's input also included the formulation of training regimes for both the theoretical and practical sides of loco crewing which complied with the regulations at that time and basically are still in use today.

    This photo by Roger Currie shows Bill greasing loco 621 at Victor Harbor when SteamRanger's ran its first "Southern Encounter" service in October 1986.

    Bill was always a firm, gentle and polite prodder ensuring our group latched onto and remembered all aspects of loco management. If anyone did not measure up to Bill's high standards, there was a firm hand on your shoulder with a polite explanation on what you should have done and why. Under this regime you respected Bill for what he was saying and invariably did not easily forget it, nor were there any feelings of being under pressure. Bill had quite large hands and his bone crushing handshakes are legendary. Equally, watching Bill's hands on a regulator or air brake always indicated he was in charge of the loco, no matter what.

    Every person who was trained and supervised by Bill has their own positive stories of their experiences and if these were ever collated, besides being a very interesting read, there would be a common denominator that Bill was an excellent mentor with a gentle and common touch. It was a pleasure to know and work with Bill and we are all that more knowledgeable and very grateful for his expert mentoring during SteamRanger's formative years of train operations. SteamRanger obviously owes a lot to Bill and how he helped and showed the organisation the best aspects of running a railway.

    Bill's knowledge and expertise has been passed onto successive loco crews and although they may not have had direct contact with him, their expertise is all that much better from his earlier influences."

    Thank you and Vale Bill!


    Human Resources - Training

    It is great that we have quite a few potential future Station Masters and Guards undertaking training. Good luck to Bradley Turner, Hamish Camens and Ben Graefe who have qualified to start training as Station Masters whilst John Cutts and James Emmett (recently qualified as an SM) have started their training as Guards for the Goolwa to Victor Harbor section.

    And here are a few of the trainers and trainees looking very smart posing for a "mug" shot between movements on Victor Station

    Just to prove that you can teach old dogs new tricks, long time volunteer Roger Currie will soon undertake training as a guard for the Mt Barker to Victor Harbor section Southern Encounter running. Roger currently works as a guard on the Cockle Train section and has been a loco Fireman for as long as we can remember, having joined the ARHS in 1965.

    Wednesday the 30th March proved to be a great day for SteamRanger as we had a Trainee guard (John Cutts), Trainee Station Master (Hamish Camens) and a Trainee Passenger Attendant (James Andonopoulos) all in full training under the watchful eyes of Alan Potter, Graeme Strudwick and Dave Linke. All positive signs for future qualified workers to help keep SteamRanger moving.

    We are pleased to report that one of our Strath based volunteers, Chris Thompson, is progressing well with becomng a qualified railcar driver. Chris previously drove Brill 106 for the Pichi Richi Railway at Quorn, and now having moved south has been studying under Phil Neville's tuition to complete theory papers to drive with SteamRanger. Good luck Chris!



    More Marketing Initiatives

    Promotional Signage in Carriages

    As a further marketing initiative Pete is progressing display of signage for our own services above windows in railcars and centenary cars and is liasing with the Whale Centre, Coorong Cruises, the Australian Electric Transport Museum at St Kilda, Pichi Richi and National Railway Museum to put in place reciprocal arrangements. This photo shows the type of signs being introduced





    Advertising in GSR's on train magazine

    And finally, to attempt to attract interstate passengers we have placed a full page width advertisement in Great Southern Rail's "Platform" magazine handed out to passengers on the Indian Pacific, Overland and Ghan long distance trains.




    Puff Puff Club Relaunch

    The Puff Puff Club

    And as a final marketing initiative on Sunday 27th December Sarah Michalak coordinated the re-launching the previously very successful Puff Puff Club in order to not only engage a younger audience (and their fare-paying parents), but also as a way to, in the long term, develop some new volunteers.

    There will be an annual Puff Puff club event day, a newsletter, complimentary ticket to travel on the Cockle Train and a Birthday CArd as part of the annual membership fee of only $10!

    Train Operations - Christmas 2015 / New Year 2016


    Looking back it was "all hands to the grindstone" running intensive Cockle Train running over the busy December / January holiday period - running trains on consecutive days over some five weeks with to six return Cockle Trains on some days!
    Quite a lot of volunteers required each day - up to 20 people on and off train on a day when we run two locos

    And excellent news for passengers who were seeking steam locomotives!

    Steam loco Rx207 which had been sidelined for a couple of years due to necessary workshop mechanical attention was approved to run again and operated three of the six return Cockle Trains each day from the 29th December to 2nd January whilst steam loco 621 operated the remaining trips each day and then continued alone to power trains right through to the 30th January.

    Unfortunately some minor mechanical issues with the Rx and some unexpected hot weather (over 34C) meant the locos needed to be shuffled around and backed up with railcars or diesel locos on isolated days when mechanical servicing was required.

    In addition, we operated the short FINNISS FLYER excursion northwards from Goolwa over the high Currency Creek bridge to the rather isolated siding at Finniss en route to Strathalbyn on Wednesdays the 6th and 27th January using a railcar. Convenient connections at Goolwa to or from Victor Harbor were provided using our regular Cockle Train services. At Finniss passengers were able to visit the recently restored Cafe for a cofee or sit-down lunch. After only attracting minimal passengers earlier in the year there were very satisfying passenger loads over January and we will be continuing to offer this excursion in 2016.




    In March the regular year-round Cockle trains were expanded with trains every day over the four day Easter break, with six return services on the Saturday and Sunday

    And to read more about the return to service of Rx207
    spool down to the MECHANICAL SERVICES section further down this page
    A major recent initiative is SteamRanger's participation in the launch of the
    FLEURIEU HERITAGE EXPERIENCE promotion.


    The Governor The Honorable Hieu Van Le travelled on the Cockle Train on the 4th October to front the launch.

    As the ticket shown here indicates the package involves return travel between Goolwa and Victor on the Cockle Train, a cruise on the Oscar W paddleboat and the travel on the horse tram to Granite Island. Fares range from $58 for adults, $49.50 for seniors and pensioners, $30 for children and a family ticket at $142

    Tickets are sold at Tourist Information Centres at Victor and Goolwa



    Farewell Wes Johnson

    Volunteers who work on the south coast were saddened recently by the news that longstanding Goolwa volunteer
    Wes Johnson had passed away

    Wes came to SteamRanger in the 1990s as a retiree after working for E&WS as a plant manager. He appeared regularly each Saturday when other working members could also spare a day.

    From 1990 to 1999 the team worked on the Brill rail car converting it from a camp car to a 75 class power car. They used what parts they could find. Many major changes had to be made and this is where Wes used his experience in doing drawings of the work to be done. This was a very vital part of the Brill's restoration. He was meticulous with his work, even touching up the lettering on the axle caps, highlighting the name of Brill & GardNer The assessing engineers were very impressed with his work.

    He was a patient and kind man, well liked in the group with which he worked. He often told of his working experiences over the many shared lunch times. He went on to learn to drive but because of his age he thought it best if he did not continue to drive. He regularly pushed his bike or got to the Victor Harbor station to score a ride on the Brill whenever it was running.




    And farewell to to Bruce McLean

    Bruce became an active ARHS Tours contributor in the early days of our running
    Southern Encounter trains from Adelaide Station to Victor and worked tirelessly
    for several decades, both on-train and at south coast stations. He passed away in late February

    Bruce was one of the earliest recipients of a GOLD certificate of commendation for contributing over ten years of active service to SteamRanger

    His infectious smile illustrated in this photo of him working at Goolwa station will remain in many members' memories




    Certificates of Appreciation

    As is usual as the year comes to a close, Human Resources Manager Andrew McDonough has announced the 2015 recipients

    This year, there are two long serving recipients of the Gold and Silver awards (for sixteen and eight years of service to SHR respectively) and ten who have contributed four years.

    The gold awardee was Val Green who has worked as a Buffet Supervisor, Ticket Officer, and Shop Assistant for over 16 years, often at very short notice. A wonderful effort!

    And doesn't she look happy accepting the award from Andrew !

    And the silver award was made to long term ARHS member Ivan Marchant who is currently Society Secretary

    Ivan has been a member of ARHS for 50 years, almost since its inception in SA, and in the 1970ís as a member of the Tours Committee was a tour organiser and booking officer

    An avid railway photographer Ivan has been contributing to Catchpoint magazine for over 20 years and in 2002 edited the archival 110 page book "50 Years of the ARHS SA Division"




    And then in the four year awardees group, firstly a group of six working in the Train Operations area
    - Station Masters, Roster Clerk, Buffet Staff, and Passenger Attendants


    Carey Akers               Hamish Camens             Helen Bradbury             Sarah Michalak


    Ryan Lehmann         Wes Saunders



    And then four in less visible roles - John at Mt Baker Depot and the others at Strathalbyn Depot


    John James                 Brenton Jones                 Jim Caspers                 Roxley Hall



    Incidently, the unidentifed certificate awarder in most photos is our HR Manager, Andrew McDonough

    Click HERE to look at the full list of current awardees on our "Whos who" page