His­toric wagon back on the rails

McIvor Times - - LOCAL CLASSIES -

A HIS­TORIC rail­way wagon now pro­vides a link with the past, be­ing placed on rails at the former Axedale Rail­way Sta­tion site on the O’Keefe Rail Trail.

The rail trail is lo­cated on the former Wal­lan to Bendigo rail­way re­serve, on which trains car­ried pas­sen­gers and goods for 70 years be­tween 1888 and 1958.

“This is a project that our com­mu­nity group has had in the plan­ning stage for some time,” pres­i­dent of the Friends of the Bendigo-Kil­more Rail Trail Garry Long said. “With the project’s first stage of trans­port­ing the wagon from Ko­rum­burra to Axedale now com­pleted, the next stage is to re­fur­bish the wagon as a static his­toric dis­play.

‘‘The trans­porta­tion was made pos­si­ble by a com­mu­nity grant awarded to our group by Kirk­land Gold, the own­ers of Foster­ville Gold Mine. This grant was very much ap­pre­ci­ated, as was the as­sis­tance of lo­cal trans­port com­pany A2B Move It.”

Fol­low­ing re­search into rail­way rolling stock suit­able for a dis­play, the Friends group be­came aware that the Vic­to­rian Rail­way’s North Bendigo Work­shop had man­u­fac­tured many items of rail­way rolling stock in­clud­ing steam lo­co­mo­tives and wag­ons.

With most of the ear­lier rail­way stock hav­ing been scrapped, a suit­able item was dif­fi­cult to find. Then Pub­lic Trans­port Victoria sought ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est in 2017 for the re­lo­ca­tion of rolling stock stored at the Ko­rum­burra sta­tion. Fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions found that there was one ‘GY’ wagon stored that was man­u­fac­tured in Bendigo, be­tween 1955 and 1957.

These wagon types were once widely used in the Bendigo area, in­clud­ing be­ing loaded with tim­ber, blue­stone rock, pot­tery clay, grain, farm pro­duce and gen­eral goods sup­plies at the Axedale sta­tion be­fore that sec­tion of line was closed in 1958. The Heath­cote to Heath­cote Junc­tion/ Wal­lan sec­tion of this line closed in 1968.

“With the suc­cess­ful al­lo­ca­tion of wagon ‘GY 16625R’, it was fan­tas­tic to have this linked with both the Bendigo - Axedale - Heath­cote ar­eas as well as specif­i­cally the Bendigo Rail­way Work­shops,” Mr Long said.

“As the VR Work­shops, the ‘Round­house’ loco shed, pas­sen­ger and sta­tion op­er­a­tions were large em­ploy­ers in Bendigo dur­ing the 20th cen­tury, un­for­tu­nately there is no lo­cal pub­lic dis­play of his­toric steam lo­co­mo­tives or rail­way rolling stock in the 21st cen­tury. This sit­u­a­tion has now changed, with the ar­rival of this GY wagon.”

Group mem­ber Ken Han­son, who be­came di­rectly in­volved with the project, said: “Trail users will be amazed how big this wagon is, when they are next to it on the trail! And you can see up close the skill re­quired by the rail­way work­ers to man­u­fac­ture this wagon.’’

Weigh­ing 9000kg, the wagon is an im­pos­ing piece of trans­port de­sign.

The ac­tive com­mu­nity group has al­ready re­con­structed a replica Axedale sta­tion plat­form, as well as build­ing a sec­tion of rail­way line at this plat­form. Now the group in­tends to re­fur­bish the wagon to its orig­i­nal ‘wagon red’ liv­ery colour.

Trail users will be amazed how big this Hanso’n wagon is — Ken

The GY wagon has been placed in Axedale.

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