After our fun afternoon chasing the steam train on the Saturday it was our turn to go for a ride on the Sunday afternoon.
All week the weather forecast had been for a rather wet day on Sunday. For once they got it right……Blast! However, we were really pleased that we had been out and about taking photos on the nice, warm, sunny day and that we would be snug inside the train on the wet day.
Here’s the lad, waiting patiently for our train to arrive.
This time I remembered to take a photo of the “Bathurst” plaque on the train. I forgot to mentioned that the steam train is part of the stable of “Heritage Express”, which is a part of Transport Heritage NSW. The trip out west, which went as far as Dubbo was the “Great Western Steam Tour”.
I was delighted to see that our diesel loco that would be helping push the train up the steep climb was a lovely older engine 4490.
The carriage we were in was a lovely old girl.
A bit of silliness while we waited to start on our way.
We finally started to get under way, travelling through the goods yards.
As I said in my last post, our first home, when we were married in the mid 80s, was in a little workers cottage only a couple of blocks from the railway station. The older ladies over the road talked of the time when they always had to wipe down their clothes lines to get rid of the soot from the trains before they hung out their washing. The ceiling space of our cottage had a fine black coating of soot, even after the steam trains had long since stopped running. At night we would hear trains shunting in the goods yard. We became used to it as background noise. Every now and then you would hear a big bang, followed lots of little ones and we would comment that they must have a learner driver on, and have a bit of a chuckle. By the time we moved from there, eleven years later, you rarely heard any shunting, as the railway usage gradually died off.
In all my years living here I have never travelled on a train heading west from Bathurst. Until my teens there was a passenger train to Sydney that made it possible to have a day in Sydney. There was also the slow, overnight mail train. In the early 80s everything changed, with the introduction of the XPT trains. These left Bathurst in the evening, returning early in the morning. There hasn’t been a passenger service to and from Sydney that could allow you to have a day in Sydney until a couple of years ago, when one was started after much lobbying by an active community group. The train is being well supported……I digress again…. of as Mick would say, I waffle on.
As I was saying, I haven’t travelled west on a train. Mum always said the train is a really slow way to go to Orange, which is only 40 minutes by car. The train travels via Blayney, which is quite out of the way. In the 50s mum was based in Bathurst as a dressmaking teacher and she travelled by train once a week to teach a class in Blayney, so she would have had quite a few slow trips up this line.
Once we got out of town we could see what a dreary day it was. Just perfect for being in a steam train. We were fortunate in that we were on the side of the train that did not have much rain blowing in and we could still have the window open.
The weather didn’t stop others from following the train along.
The start of the long climb to Wimbledon.
I was fascinated by the cuttings.
All the different textures were stunning.
This is the spot where we stopped yesterday to take photos. There were only two cars yesterday, and the weather was much kinder for us.
Beautiful wattle to remind us that even though it was a bleak day, spring is on its way.
What a colourful sight on the bridge with all the umbrellas. At this stage we had started to head back down the hill, pulled by the diesel loco.
Looking back behind us. So many of these photos were taken on the phone as it handled the wet conditions better. Just stick your hand out the window and good luck.
Isn’t that gorgeous, all bleak and misty.
Wending our way down the hill.
Past Georges Plains Station, which is looking a little sad.
The sign is in better nick than the buildings.
More people taking photos.
Finally, this is a rather strange photo to take. When we were kids, Mum was telling us about steam trains, and that you never wore white clothes while travelling on a steam train as you would get too dirty from all the smuts. I took this photo of our table not all that long after we left Bathurst and if you look closely, there are heaps of little black smuts on it. I can only imagine what your clothes would be like after a long journey. Yes, I remembered her advice and didn’t wear white.
We had a wonderful time on our train ride, and in the end decided that the bleak weather really added atmosphere to the experience.
We do hope that Bathurst has more visits from steam trains in the future, as it was really well received, with all the 2,500 seats available over the two days being sold out. Congratulations to all involved, (mostly volunteers), who made the weekend possible.