News 2004   

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Updated 16/1/2005

December 2004

In revue, 2004 was a busy year for PTCo it would seem.

The annual staff BBQ saw some more track laid at the turntable yard. There were a few new arrivals, including VW40763, Steam Locomotive SSM 2,  Rail Runner and 2 QQMG's.

We operated 788 Tram services south of Pemberton all of which went as far as the Cascades, Most of which went to the Warren River Bridge and a few which went as far as Northcliffe. There were 150 Steam Train services operated North of Pemberton all of which went as far as Eastbrook siding, 32 of which continued to Lyall.

These activities along with the general maintenance requirements of equipment and the railway itself saw PTCo staff keeping busy and things moving.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to All

November 2004

November brought the end of steam season for the PTCo.

V1213 worked throughout the winter well with only occasional faults developing here and there which were attended to reasonably quickly in most cases. Crane 31 performed it's duties well also during the season loading coal and unloading assorted other pieces of equipment where necessary.

Thanks to all of our volunteers who make the trek south each winter on a regular basis to help operate our steam train services. Without their valuable assistance and dedication we would not be able to operate 1213 and provide the services we currently do.

Since the end of steam on the weekend of 6th & 7th of November many of the usual end of season jobs have been carried out on V 1213 - emptying of the tender of coal and water, draining of the boiler water, washout plug removals and washouts, removal of all spark arresting equipment from the smoke box, tender inspection panels removed. Some boiler cladding panels have also been removed for inspection of the external boiler barrel. Just a few of the many duties required to keep 1213 operational for each season.

Tram services continue as they always do - regular as clockwork - twice a day everyday. As with most machinery there are occasional mechanical faults which develop and are attended to as soon as possible. 


October 2004

September has been and gone as has most of October.

This period is the busiest time of the year at PTCo due to the wildflower season.

It is during this time of the year that it is possible to see anything up to 5 Tram departures in a day with many charter tours being operated for the many Coach lines that visit the area.

During September and October, V1213 is operating every Wednesday as well as Saturdays and Sundays. Early October also has the two week school holiday period which sees V1213 operating on Tues, Wed, and Thurs as well as weekends.

PTCo had its annual busy bee weekend over the 9th and 10th of October with our regular volunteers in attendance.  It was great to see some of the ladies also down for the weekend terrorising the local wineries and arts and crafts, as well as looking after those of us running trains and working around the railway. Thanks to the ladies for the making the weekend even more fun and enjoyable. 

Due to assorted reasons the weekend was a relatively casual 2 days with the regular steam train services being operated and a few small projects being attended to. Once again more panels of track being laid at the turntable yard although this time only a small advancement was achieved.

August 2004

August has come and gone much the same as most months, the only exception being the arrival of two wagons on the 30th August. PTCo had purchased these wagons some time ago but had been unable to make appropriate arrangements to move the vehicles due to their length being oversize for most trucking companies to move. After finding a company capable of moving the Rail Runner in June, the same Company were contracted to move the 2 QMG class wagons from Picton Yard to Pemberton. Arrival time in Pemberton being around 2.30pm.

Unloading of the QMG wagons numbers 20054 and 20072 once again being carried out by Crane 31. These wagons although being quite light in weight are very long measuring in at just under 23 metres long or 70'-0". They would have to be some of the longest wagons to have operated on the narrow gauge in WA.

The QMG wagons started life as QMD class wagons used for carrying motor car bodies. 20054 & 20072 were converted to QMG in 1971 and were eventually written off in 1983 with most of the class.

Any photo's showing these vehicles in service particularly in their latter years would be appreciated.

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July 2004

July compared to previous months was relatively quiet for PTCo.

We were however busy operationally due to the school holiday period. This period saw V1213 operating extra steam trains to Eastbrook siding on the Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and Sunday afternoon of each week carrying reasonably good numbers of passengers which may have been helped by the beautiful weather during most of the two weeks.

Trams also continued to operate although often the steam train saw better passenger numbers

June 2004

June started out with the webmaster attending the annual AMRA. Model Railway Exhibition/Show. The PTCo once again having our small display boards set up for the weekend. Although the display is unmanned due to the webmasters other commitments at the show, A good number of brochures and driving course information leaflets were picked up by the attending public.  It was good to chat with all of you who managed to catch up with me over the weekend.

Return midweek from Perth found a new piece of equipment arrive in Pemberton on Wednesday 9th June 2004. Due to the inaccessible nature of the line from Lyall to Northcliffe, General Manager Ian Willis has for some time been chasing a suitable piece of equipment for shifting machinery such as a bulldozer, bobcat or crane etc along the railway without having to hire a truck. PTCo has the equipment necessary for carrying out most of the jobs that need to be done along our railway but getting it to the worksite can be quite difficult. One item of equipment that has been sought after for some time was one of the Rail Runners that were used during the electrification installation of the Perth suburban system to carry cement trucks along the line particularly to areas that were hard to get to conventionally by road. As can be seen from the picture below the Rail Runner is long and low with ramps for driving road vehicles on and off.  It is powered by a Duetz diesel engine with a hydraulic drive to the axles and other powered equipment such as the ramps and the Hiab type lifting arm. Currently the machine is mostly complete however it is missing some of the hydraulic pump equipment and "off tracking" equipment. At the moment "Rusty" is the motive power for movement around the yard whilst restoration to working order is carried out.

Crane 31 lowers Rail Runner on to the mainline at Pemberton Yard whilst Rusty provides braking power to prevent rollaway on the gradient

For more photo's of the delivery of the Rail Runner Click Here

Any photographs of the Rail Runner in action during the Electrification of the Perth Suburban system would be gratefully appreciated.   E-mail Photo's to the Webmaster

Work has been continuing on minor repairs to the AY coaches.

On Friday 19th June the Ballast Regulator was used on a "line clear" run to Northcliffe due mainly to the failure of the hydraulics on the gang truck hi - rail wheels. The opportunity was taken to spend the day using the regulator to clear some of the light line side scrub which is becoming an increasing problem on the Warren Bridge to Northcliffe section.

May 2004

Nothing much to report in May really.

Little niggly day to day jobs were carried out on V1213. The AY class passengers car have been receiving some much needed general repair works to the car bodies and windows etc. Paint has been splashed around on external timbers to try to slow the inevitable rot that is starting to take hold on the cars. The roofs have also been painted. AYB 459 over the summer had the internal ceiling removed (due to water damage which had been occurring in 2003) and the exposed area was painted. The brake compartment had the walls sanded and painted and was finished in early May.

Tram services remain much the same as last month.

See you all at the Model Railway Show - June 5th, 6th & 7th

April 2004

Easter during April each year sees the return to Steam Services at PTCo.

V1213 commenced operating on Easter Saturday with reasonable passengers being carried through the Easter and the following school holiday period.

Due to an extended summer period or lack of rain, running of 1213 was only permitted with acquisition of a Fire Permit from the Warren Shire. This required our hi-rail vehicle fitted with a fast attack fire unit to follow the train for each journey. This duty was carried out by volunteer Scott Parker. Thanks Scotty. The shire was looking for approx 20mm of rain before we could afford to operate without the fire unit following. Fortunately Easter Monday night saw the heavens open and guess what -- 20mm of rain was had. This eased the staffing requirement and allowed Scott to spend the next 3 days on the shovel. V1213 has performed well during April with no problems occurring.

Trams 4 and 1 continue to be the regular service trams in use on Warren River Bridge service with SSM 2 and 3 being used when and where required.


March 2004

March was relatively quiet compared to February at the PTCO.

Tram services continued to operated as per normal with not much being out of the ordinary.

PTCo staff have however been steadily working towards the recommencement of steam services for Easter Saturday.

Line clearing North of Pemberton to Eastbrook and Lyall took place over 4 days during the 3 weeks prior to Easter. Our ballast regulator was used for 2 days to broom the line as well as remove any young line side growth.  Y 1115 and a NS shunter's float, ZSD van (Overhead inspection car) and a standard Z brake van were used  on 2 days, which were spent clearing the encroaching aerial vegetation using pole saws and chainsaws.

V1213 has had its boiler inspection and repairs etc carried out during the summer and was steamed on April 4th to check for any possible problems. After a good thrashing up and down the yard, V1213 was declared fit for traffic and will re-enter service on Easter Saturday for the forth coming steam season.

Services to Eastbrook will be available Saturdays and  (During School Holidays) Tues, Wed & Thu at 10.30am & 2.15pm. There will be an extra Eastbrook service on Sunday at 2.15pm during the school holiday period. Services to Lyall Siding will be only available at 10.30am on Sundays.

February 2004

SSM 2 and VW 40763 arrive in Pemberton

4th of February turned out to be a busy day for PTCo.

General Manager - Ian Willis started out from Perth early to be in York at 7am for the arrival of John Holland's Rail Vehicle Transporter Truck/Trailer, reputed to be the only one of its kind in Australia, to collect our recent purchase VW 40763 and transport it to Pemberton. With the truck getting away after spending approximately 1hr and 30 minutes in York, arrival in Pemberton was around 3pm and the VW was promptly unloaded..

As can be seen from the photos above, the trailer wheels move forwards enabling the trailer to tilt up/down to provide a suitable ramp to roll the vehicle on or off.

Then it was SSM 2's turn. After getting the VW off, the truck then headed off to the Manjimup Forest Products Centre where SSM 2 stood ready and waiting.

The pictures above show SSM 2 top left as it has stood for many years, top right SSM 2 is part way  being winched onto the truck trailer, bottom left - she's on her way leaving FPC Manjimup. SSM 2 arrived in Pemberton just after 7pm as the sun was going down and was left standing on the trailer for the night. 5 am came bright and early on Thursday the 5th of February and SSM 2 is seen here touching real railway again just a little before 6 am helped along a little by Rusty. 

Click here for more information about SSM No.2

After a quick pack up, the truck was on the road heading for Perth.

Later in the day Cutts Transport showed up with the 3 LA Ballast wagons which had been up North of Perth working at the new Nowergup railcar depot. These were quickly unloaded using #31 the Cowans Sheldon 60 ton Breakdown crane. (sorry no photo's of this).

January 2004

Well the Festive season has come and gone and we are now in a New Year and already at the end of January.

Fortunately since the last News update there has been minimal news to report until now.

In late November an Auction held at York regarding the sale of almost all items from the rail based museum was attended by a PTCo representative. Assorted railway Ana items went under the hammer during the day including - Crossing signs & lights, Staff instruments, books, signal boards, signal posts, lamps, posters etc . All items were sold in what was considered by some of the enthusiasts in attendance to be at a high price range although probably not unrealistic. Also included in the auction was the grounded coach body of AYE 710 and what was described as a Half and Half wagon. This is in fact a VW class vehicle which was modified to carry a Tractor and provide accommodation for its driver. This vehicle, which is in a complete condition including all running gear etc, was purchased by PTCo at a good price. It is an interesting vehicle in that it was originally Midland Railway Co. JB22 and became KB20 in 1950 when modified. It was renumbered to VW40763 by the WAGR. in 1966. The photo below taken by Andy May in 2000 shows the vehicle in Westrail Yellow livery prior to being moved to York. Currently it carries a coat of green. This vehicle is soon to arrive at Pemberton - as yet we are unsure what we will use it for but at least it is now preserved as it should be on an operating railway. 

Tram services have continued as normal on the PTCo with good numbers of passengers carried during the Christmas - New Year holiday period. Tram #4 re-entered service in mid November with a brand new engine which to begin with had some teething problems that were soon sorted by our mechanical staff and has since seen #4 operating as the lead Tram for most of the busy period. #1,2 & 3 have been in a rotational use in conjunction with periodical maintenance being carried out as required.

V1213 has seen minor works being carried out since the last report but mostly with annual maintenance to the tender tank.

Our Annual Staff BBQ was once again held over the January Australia Day long Weekend. With attendance by our volunteers (Simon, David, Rudi, Bob, Trevor and Scott) also for the weekend, once again some projects were undertaken.

Saturday saw the fellas  head up to Manjimup to prepare G class type 4-6-0 SSM 2 for relocation to PTCo.  Approximately 18 months ago SSM 2  which has stood outside the Manjimup Forest Products Centre for the last 10 years, was donated by Bunnings/Sotico to the Pemberton Tramway.

In conjunction with the transfer of VW40763 from York to Pemberton, the time has also come to move SSM 2. During the Saturday both Coupling rods  and front and rear cowcatchers were removed ( I believe these weren't the only nuts loosened) along with loosening of the brake rigging and removal of any objects in place to prevent SSM 2  from rolling away. All Axle boxes were lubricated along with inside valve gear. It was surprising that the motion and pistons were found to move quite freely despite having stood still for so long. A hydraulic jack was then used to nudge SSM 2 to make sure she would roll when the time comes to winch her onto the transporter truck. Hopefully SSM 2  will arrive shortly after VW40763 whilst the truck is still down in the area in early February. SSM 2 saw much use at Dean Mill during steam days.

Sundays project was to insert sleepers into the point work at the Turntable yard.

The 2 sets of points in the yard were sleepered during the day with one set also being spiked. Much to'ing and fro'ing of the forklift around the Pemberton yard to bring the appropriate size sleepers to the work site to be sorted caused comments to be overheard such as  "anybody would think we were extending through to Albany", such was the quantity of sleepers being moved around. Nevertheless by Monday lunch time both set of points were sleepered, spiked & finished, apart from having tumblers fitted. A quantity of track panels was also retrieved from the blackberry cover stockpiles at the northern end of Pemberton Yard and loaded onto  2 QBE's for future reference which should see the turntable yard tracking being finished next time we have a get together.


Tel: +61 8 97761322