New Orange home - The start of big things for Rail group
This weekend local railway enthusiasts have two opportunities to get out on the tracks in heritage rolling stock with the Lachlan Valley Railway (LVR) running daytrips to Bathurst and Dubbo.
And you can expect plenty more opportunities to come, with Lachlan Valley Railway well on their way to establishing their new home here in Orange.
“Orange is going to become our hub, our new mainline depot,” said LVR Director and manager of Rail Safety, Ross Jackson.
“And you will see a lot of more of our services and events based out of Orange in the future. They are building a new railway museum in Bathurst at the moment and the guys at the Zig Zag Railway at Lithgow are getting back on their feet, so this whole corridor is going to become a rail heritage destination.”
The LVR has been in limbo for the last ten years, when the railway line was closed to their long-held home base in Cowra. But over the last few years, the organisation has been working to set up a new depot for their rolling stock at East Fork.
“We are actually starting re-sleepering in there now. The paperwork side of it is pretty well done and once we get some sleepers under the ground and a bit of work on the turntable… once we have that done, I see us in there before the end of the year,” said Ross.
The Lachlan Valley Railway was formed in 1974 to protect, maintain and operate heritage rolling stock from NSW Railways. The organisation is completely run by volunteers; from operations, train crewing to onboard service — it’s all volunteers.
“We have a very strong committed group of people who want to see the rail heritage society prevail,” said Ross.
“We do charters and shuttles and steam train experiences all across NSW, that’s our only source of real income to expand, to keep things maintained, to reintroduce further rolling stock and basically keep the operation moving.”
The volunteers come from a range of background and experiences, but all share a love of heritage trains.
“It is something you don't see often anymore; a reminder of a time when railway was king in Australia,” said Ross.
“The nostalgia of it actually captivates people. They love to ride our trains, to bring their grandkids on our trains and show them what life was like 50 years ago when rail was the mode of transportation for the state.”
Ross said the move to Orange is the start of big things for the Lachlan Valley Railway and he encouraged people to keep in touch through their Facebook page.
“It is exciting times! Orange is a logical base as it is basically at the centre of everything… we've still got to get some sheds and so forth built at the East Fork depot so we can get our carriages under cover, but all that comes with time.
“There is heaps going on and Orange is going to be our new epicentre. I think there is a lot more to come for the Central West when it comes to rail heritage.”
The Lachlan Valley Railway is running a day trip to Dubbo this Saturday 24 August, and a lunch excursion to Bathurst on Sunday 25 August. For more information visit www.lvr.com.au or visit their Facebook page.