The International Steam Pages

Steam in Australia 2017

Kevin Hoggett visited a number of preservation sites in early 2017, Click on the report you are interested in:

This report covers the West Coast Wilderness Railway and the West Coast Pioneers Museum, Zeehan:

"Quite a lot has happened since James wrote his piece on the railway in 2013:

Thankfully it is running again over its full length, There are trains which do half of the line, from either Strahan or Queenstown to Dubbil Barrill and, on some days, the whole line from Strahan to Queenstown and back. Best to check the website for details - (Be advised that the fares of ca GBP 50 and GBP 100 for Heritage Class / Wilderness Class for a return trip on half the line reflect the cost of maintaining the operation. RD) 

A tip for intending visitors, pay the extra for first class, this coach has an open balcony which is at the back one way and behind the engine the other, otherwise you are trapped in a coach with no opening windows. It's advisable to pre-book your tickets since this sells out.

An American style "safety culture" seems to have been implemented and passengers are constantly instructed on what and what not to do. An extensive commentary is given, which may be appreciated by "normal" tourists but is very irritating when you are trying to video.

The steam guys are, however, very friendly and true enthusiasts. Nigel Day, unfortunately, is not there anymore, but he got me an introduction which lead to a depot visit and a footplate ride.

Surprisingly, there is quite regular goods traffic for the forestry works on the Strahan end of the line. These are worked by one of the Drewry diesels. We were very lucky to catch all three locomotives in steam on one day (no 3 was on test after repairs and double headed our train). Queenstown station had the atmosphere of a London suburban terminus with two trains in and shunting taking place.

It is a marvellous and unique line which must be preserved. A visit is highly recommended."

Like James Waite, Kevin also visited the West Coast Pioneers Museum, Zeehan. He adds:

"The locomotives can be seen without going into the museum. Also of interest in the yard at the back are a mine winding engine and a single cylinder horizontal stationary engine." 

Viewed from left to right are 610mm gauge Mount Lyell’s 0-4-0T no. 8 (Krauss 5480/1906), 1067mm gauge TGR 2-6-0 C1 (Beyer Peacock 2509/1885) and 1067mm gauge Emu Bay Railway 4-8-0 no. 6 "Murchison" (Dubs 3854/1900)

The museum's website has no information on locomotives or stationary engines. While details of the steam locomotives are available on the web, that for the two stationary engines seems to be absent. They don't look very well loved with all that rust evident and a small tree growing. 

Rob Dickinson