The Depot Diary
No 116 — April 2017

Newly appointed THNSW chair Rob Mason (right) with CEO Andrew Moritz at VHLDHM
Newly appointed THNSW chair Rob Mason (right) with CEO Andrew Moritz at VHLDHM (Photo: Keith Ward)


In this edition

1. From the “chair’s desk”
2. THNSW visit to the Valley
3. Making your museum safer
4. Happenings at “The Valley”
5. Exhibit updates
6. Small but important exhibits
7. “On the right track”
8. “Let’s go shopping”
9. Our retirees group
10. Our modellers
11. Membership
12. Our coming events


“The first word”

Four times a year I take it on myself to come up with something interesting and different to introduce that particular edition. DD116 includes such a great variety of fascinating insights into what’s going on at “The Valley” that I looked further afield for my inspiration this time around.

Railways across the world are in a state of change. There appears to be a growing demand for rail freight (China to London in 18 days!), loco hauled services are very popular with operators and even “push-pull” is making a comeback. In the U.K. “bi-modal” is all the rage, with a slowdown in the rollout of overhead cabling making dual powered (electric/diesel) interurban sets extremely useful. The race for increased efficiency has led to ever more acronyms being added to the jargon in which the railway hierarchy likes to immerse itself: HLOS – High Level Output Specification; SoFA – Statement of Funds Available; DOO – Driver-Only Operation and JTC – Journey Time Capability.....to name just a few.

Here’s some of my own Valley Heights specials: VST – very slow train; NOTOT – no timetable operating today; TROTT – there’s rust on the track and NORTWID – no rush, tomorrow will do….and I’m sure you can think up plenty more!

Why are acronyms so popular? They’re concise, save time and enable a message to be quickly sent to the brain where it (hopefully!) is recognised and acted on, as needs be. On our recent training courses we learnt (or re-learnt) RACE, EWIS, ECO, TOTAPS, MrMIST and so on. Do we still remember them? It may be easy at the time but if we don’t use them frequently we are more likely to forget. This is like many tasks at the Museum - “Practice makes perfect.” If there is a procedure or function that you know like the back of your hand, consider teaching it to someone else. This is a great opportunity for us all to share our combined wisdom, be it how to update our website, how to run a guided tour, how to save fragile paper from deterioration, how to run a model layout, how to work a lathe or even just how to cook a tasty snag!

The very act of teaching and explaining the process to someone else does two things: firstly it reinforces the importance of the key steps in our own minds and secondly it builds a bond between us and the “trainee”. Most importantly it creates a wider pool of knowledge so that when we move on, for whatever reason, there is at least one other who knows what to do. Some call this “succession planning”: I prefer “spreading the word”!

Keith Ward, Publicity Manager VHLDHM

1. From the “chair’s desk”

Firstly, I must thank everyone who participated in the “Clean Up” day on 18 March, and I’m sure you’ll all agree the Museum now looks a lot more presentable!

National Volunteers Week commences on 8 May. Valley Heights will open the Museum for up to 20 volunteers (of other organisations) on Wednesday 10th, including a guided tour and sausage barbecue. This gives us the opportunity to showcase the Museum and even pick up some new members!

Derryville Rail has delivered a further 140 second grade sleepers with a further 240 first class ones from Narromine to follow, kindly donated by ARTC. Our sincere thanks go to both companies for their support and interest in the Museum.

The grant to air-condition the shop is progressing. Currently the Funding Deed is with the grants people who will send a purchase order to us. We then forward an invoice and the money should be received sometime in May, enabling the A/C units to be ordered and work to commence on the mains upgrade.

The X206 Change Management Plan for conversion of the failed hydraulic controls to solid linkages has been completed and submitted to the THNSW Fleet Manager and then ONSR. I am also negotiating with Head Office to finalise the Loan Agreement for this loco between STARPS and THNSW. After all these approvals have been received, we should be able to utilise the locomotive for passenger and shunting activities.

An application has been submitted to the Office of Environment and Heritage for a grant to install a number of High Pressure standpipes in the front of the Roundhouse and auxiliary hoses to the STARPS shed and Civil Depot. Thanks to all in the Executive who helped me with the legwork on this project!!

Thanks also to the “Weekday Warriors” led by Ted Dickson, who have done terrific work on preparation for the boundary fence upgrade and have repaired the retaining wall at the front gate next to Tusculum Road. The new fence is now well underway and should be completed by the end of May.

We have also offered to join in a working bee with the Springwood Boys and Girls club to help repair the retaining wall on our shared boundary near the carpark. We will provide sleepers and machinery. This is the least we can do to assist our excellent neighbours.

I would also like to thank STARPS for their excellent effort in returning “Stevo” plus the tram motor and car to service after a full maintenance in good time for our big “Trains, Trams & Ts” event in February and congratulations to all involved in the event’s planning and running.

To hasten the necessary upgrade to the roundhouse forecourt, three comprehensive quotes were received and evaluated. A request for Stream 2 funding has been submitted to the Independent Funding Panel. If successful and after Heritage Council approval has been obtained work could commence in October this year. We might have to cancel an Open Day in order for this to proceed at this time, but we are hoping to work round it.

Barry Palmer from Sydney Trains has advised that the legal side of the transfer of the RailCorp Civil Depot has been finalised. Barry will manage work on lead dust clean-up in the buildings and labelling of any safety hazards such as asbestos sheeting after which the Depot can be transferred. The building on Council land is still under negotiation and will take some time for us to submit our case to use it.

Congratulations go to Henk Luf, our Large Exhibits Manager and model railway enthusiast, for organising a donation of model trains from SDS Models. Three very large boxes of the latest NSW railway models in HO scale were gratefully accepted, to make a fantastic addition to both our layouts. Thanks go to SDS Models!!!!

We recently purchased a set of HO scale Caves Express cars from Casula Hobbies in the Blue and Cream colour scheme. This set includes the RBR 1049 buffet car, and as most of you know, we have the fully restored original car, at the Museum. This model set will run on our 1950s layout to illustrate how this famous named train passed through Valley Heights.

Cheers for now!

Bruce Coxon, Chairman

Caves Express carriages on VH 1950s layout
Caves Express carriages on Valley Heights 1950s layout (Photo: Keith Ward)

2. THNSW visit to the Valley

Recently appointed THNSW chair, Rob Mason and CEO Andrew Moritz were at the Museum on Wednesday 19 April for a meet and greet. A healthy roll up of members and volunteers had the opportunity to interact with the new chief, following introductions by VHLDHM Chairman, Bruce Coxon.

Mr Mason recalled a previous visit on the occasion of the Depot’s Centenary on a somewhat hotter day in 2014, and spoke of the importance of fleet maintenance.

Questions from the floor covered topics including: the status of the Glasgow bequest; the future of the Chullora site; the repair program for 3642; the future of the Eveleigh Large Erecting Shop; the prospects for recommissioning of the German 3801 boiler; the impact on THNSW of future changes in the political wind and the ideal ratio between paid staff and volunteers in the workforce.

Rob revealed a personal priority of “sustainability” whilst in his new role and a board position with Destination NSW, with responsibility for western NSW. He also promoted the philosophy of sharing best practices across the heritage movement to the benefit of all. It was generally regarded that it was time well spent, and included a brief tour of some new projects and headline exhibits.


Keith Ward, Publicity Manager

3. Making your museum safer

Safety matters graphic

Safety is the first priority in any workplace. As an organization we are responsible to ensure that we provide a safe working environment for our volunteers and contractors as well as ensuring the Museum is safe for our visitors.

It is just as important to us as it is to your family that when you finish working for the organisation at the end of each day, that you return home in the same healthy state that you were in that morning.

Safety Notice Boards

Adjacent to the Members’ Meal Room are two Safety Notice Boards. These are located on each side of the Meal Room doorway so that they are clearly visible as you enter. The Transport Heritage NSW (THNSW) WHS Notice Board is located on the left side of the door while the STARPS Notice Board is on the right.

All volunteers should read notices displayed on the THNSW Notice board as this relates to all workers. The STARPS Notice Board is more specific to Rail Safety Workers (RSWs) who should take note of the content displayed on both Notice Boards.

THNSW WHS Notice Board

ALL Volunteers & STARPS Members working onsite need to be aware of the Information displayed on this Board as Notices are frequently added.
Key information displayed on this Board includes:

  • THNSW Policies
  • Safety Alerts
  • Emergency Evacuation Plan
  • Lists of First Aid Officers, Fire Wardens & Safety Committee Members
  • Minutes of Safety Committee Meeting

THNSW Policies

Transport Heritage NSW has revised and issued Policies around Health & Safety, Drugs and Alcohol, Rail Safety and Fatigue Management. Each of the Policies have been signed off and endorsed by the Chairman of the Board and the Chief Executive Officer. It is the individual volunteer’s responsibility to ensure they become familiar and comply with these policies.

Safety Alert Notices

Being a THNSW workplace we are included in the circulation of all Safety Alert notices that are generated from Head Office. Safety Alerts issued from Head Office are attached to the Notice Board and while these largely affect Safety Management at Thirlmere it is important that our Members read these.

At times some of our Members volunteer at Thirlmere and we must be aware of Safety Issues specific to Thirlmere and adhere to the content published in these Notices. Additionally some of the content may also be relevant to us at Valley Heights as we could be exposed to similar Safety Issues and the way we manage these issues at Valley Heights is likely to be no different to Thirlmere.

Please ensure you become aware of the content of both the Policies and the Safety Alert Notices.


All Members working on any Transport Heritage work site (for the first time) need to be inducted onto the site before they commence work. Over time conditions change within our workplaces and irrespective of how small these changes are it is important that our volunteers are familiar with the changes for our own Safety.

Working at Thirlmere

Many of us have worked at Thirlmere in the past and since the redevelopment of this site, the working and operational environment at Thirlmere has changed significantly.  If any of our Members go to Thirlmere to work, you need to be aware that the Roundhouse and Roads 5-8 are operational areas and access to these areas is restricted. Inductions and signing in to access these areas is mandatory. If you are going to Thirlmere be sure you make arrangements beforehand and report to whoever you need to before you access any of these restricted areas.

Reporting Incidents

THNSW and STARPS have obligations under both the Work Health and Safety Act and the Rail Safety Act when it comes to Reporting Safety Incidents.
Guidelines on reporting Safety Incidents have recently been revised and issued by Ross Jackson, Rail Safety and Operations Manager – THNSW.
These guidelines are available in the SMS Folder located on the THNSW “P” (Public) Drive on the Meal Room computer and a printed version has been filed in the Incident Reporting Folder in the Filing Cabinet (Safety Drawer) in the Members’ Meal Room.   


Andrew Tester, Chairman, Joint Operating and Safety Committee


Fence construction


The contractor has erected the posts for the new boundary fence in almost all locations. This major project has diverted many of the Museum’s hardy volunteers from other activities. Extra tasks for the team have included clearing 2 m wide path along the entire length of the existing fence, rebuilding the front retaining wall, tree and stump removal and moving several large stacks of sleepers and rails. Much of this was achieved in short time in the midst of the oppressive summer heat!

Fence clearing 4
Fence clearing 1
Fence clearing 3
Fence clearing 2
(Photos: Ted Dickson)

Safety on 4601

Following a minor incident when a visitor tampered with the handbrake on electric loco 4601 it has been bolted to prevent unauthorised operation.
Ted Dickson, Building Services Manager

Safety: use of PPE

All volunteers are encouraged to use the appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) when working on site. Any oversight is to be handled immediately and kindly to ensure that the risk of accident and injury is minimized. To this end, anyone who is to work on a particular task is have the correct PPE and tools (in good condition) to work on site. No exceptions will be made.
Each of us is responsible for our own safety and to look to the safety of others.
Chris Troy, Per Way Manager

Roaring 20s gentlemen awaiting the Caves Express
Roaring 20s gentlemen awaiting the Caves Express (Photo: Grant Robinson)
4. Happenings at “The Valley”

Our two regular Open Days in January are usually quiet due to our current inability to provide rides (due to planned maintenance), plus the sometimes extreme weather conditions that spilled over to 12 February and saw the cancellation of our planned return to steam. Although we have fire brigade approval to operate under such extremes, it is deemed in the best interest of volunteers and the public alike, that we respect the local community, and err on the side of caution.

Over the three days we still hosted over 100 hardy visitors to justify opening and they enjoyed the room to move with the bonus of turntable rides and guided tours to some usually “off limits” areas, thanks to Steve Dive and others. Although hot, the Museum was not unbearable and even provided a refuge for one English visitor who wasn’t overly keen to return to the frosty days of the UK! The welcome addition of diesel shunter X206 to our operational fleet before next summer will benefit the Museum immensely and should help satisfy the expectations of our visitors on such days.

Roaring 20s

Valley Heights enjoyed the sights and sounds of the “Roaring 20s” over the weekend of 25/26 February. Many of our popular extra attractions were onsite both days, including demonstrations by the Sydney Morsecodians, the old-time school classroom set-up by the Nepean District Historical Society (superbly manned on the 25th by “ex-chalkie” Jeff Russell) and, of course, Model “T” Fords to complete our “Trains, Trams & Ts” line-up. On Sunday, we were all pleasantly entertained by the “Kate Woolfe Trio”, (formerly the Blue Velvets) with some new faces, but still featuring Kate on vocals. The band played many well-known jazz classics to the delight of those assembled under the marquee and even included a 20 minute set on the Steam Tram! Both days saw the return of the “Period Dress Competition” and those that did make an extra effort were well rewarded with four categories judged on Sunday afternoon, by our impartial singer Kate. Prizes were sent to the winners and emails sent to all participants so they could access the photos taken of them posing in front of the tram, under controlled conditions. Photographers Grant Robinson, Andrew Tester, and new member, Sequoia Dawson made a great job of organising the competitors, in sometimes challenging weather conditions and the results are on our website and Facebook page.


Members of the Sydney Morsecodians prepare for the influx of fascinated visitors
Members of the Sydney Morsecodians prepare for the influx of fascinated visitors (Photo: Eileen Ward)

Well-known Mountains band, the Kate Woolfe Trio adds style to classic jazz numbers
Well-known Mountains band, the Kate Woolfe Trio adds style to classic jazz numbers (Photo: Eileen Ward)

Model “T” Fords meet a Steam Tram from the era. The changing of the guard
Members of the Sydney Morsecodians prepare for the influx of fascinated visitors (Photo: Eileen Ward)

Roaring 20s style delivery: Model “T” Ford truck
Roaring 20s style delivery: Model “T” Ford truck (Photo: Grant Robinson)

Contestants in the Period Dress Competition enjoy their prize-winning photo shoot!
Contestants in the Period Dress Competition enjoy their prize-winning photo shoot! (Photo: Sequoia Dawson)

Another winning entry!
Another winning entry! (Photo: Andrew Tester)

Group visits

Monday 6 March dawned bright and clear after several wet days and heralded the arrival of a pre-booked group from Queensland. Joining with a separate day tour group from Newcastle, the visitors arrived in two coaches and enjoyed Devonshire teas, prepared by member Eileen Ward. An introduction and video in the “U-Boat” was followed by guided tours, well-led by Bruce Coxon, Ted Dickson, Warwick Tafe and Keith Ward, with help from Henk Luf on the model layouts and Jeff Russell behind the scenes. Extension tours were also popular and enabled our guests to inspect steam loco 5711, the ash pit and take in distant views of progress in the “Carriage Works”. Dave Lewis and Wayne Flicker from STARPS joined with Keith as conductor, to take the combined group on a 20 minute Steam Tram ride. Lunch was then taken in the Roundhouse with a well-received two course meal supplied by the local Ori Café. Chef Brad, with assistant Zac, prepared and served tasty dishes in this unique and memorable setting. The Queenslanders left for the airport, having been away for a week on a railway themed tour that included Richmond Vale, Trainfest at Thirlmere and State Mine Railway at Lithgow. The day was appreciated by our guests and the tour operators were also well impressed, indicating that they would be keen to conduct tours here again.
Sunday 12 March was the first day of our “One-for-one” deal for Seniors, with free entry for Seniors Card holders, if accompanied by a full fare paying customer. Several thousand booklets outlining all the special events across the region during the month were distributed by Blue Mountains City Council to many relevant outlets throughout the district. This resulted in a good day overall with a number of extra Seniors attending.

The visit by the Touring Old Farts (TOFS) on Thursday 16 March was a great success, although the group of over 50 men arrived by bus because of the wet weather, rather than walking from VH station - a good decision! After morning tea in the Roundhouse, a brief induction and introduction was carried out, and guided tours were conducted by Jeff Russell, Andrew Tester and Keith Ward, before the group was taken by bus for lunch in Springwood. The provision of Devonshire teas, usually prepared by member, Eileen Ward, has proved popular and is now a regular “value-added” offer for our visiting special interest groups.

Monday 20 March saw the arrival of over 60 Newcastle schoolchildren plus teachers and parents on the first day of three to be spent in the Central West. In perfect weather, sandwiched between two rainy days, Steam Tram rides were included in their program as well as comprehensive tours of all the popular exhibits including both model layouts enthusiastically presented by Ray Beharrell and Henk Luf. All the children also completed the “Kids Quiz” with helpful guidance from group leaders Jeff Russell, Andrew Tester, Glenn Hargrave and Grant Robinson. Our thanks go to them for their effort. After a memorable morning for all, the children boarded their buses for Bathurst after an exciting time at the Museum.

Detail shot on one of the regular “themed day” now running on Open Days and for midweek tour groups
Detail shot on one of the regular “themed day” now running on Open Days and for midweek tour groups (Photos: Keith Ward)

Guess what’s running this day (not “who”!)?
Guess what's running this day - not who?

We welcomed a select group from the Jowett Car Club plus a group of carers from 3 Bridges Community Centre near Menai on Sunday March 26, the second day of the Seniors Festival “One-for-one” deal. This pleasing influx of special interest groups boosted our visitor numbers to well above average. Guided tours were included as part of the arrangement and thanks go to Andrew Tester who was again on hand to assist. “Stevo” was on duty to lead the “Valley Heights Mixed” on another successful outing.

Rare "Jowett" vehicles
Rare “Jowett” vehicles on parade under a cloudless sky (Photo: Keith Ward)


 Roaring 20s passengers on Caves Express
Roaring 20s passengers on Caves Express (Photo: Grant Robinson)

5. Exhibit updates

X206 update

A substantial amount of work has been done by a few of us on getting the modification to approval stage. X206 will be used for off-steam days and during high fire risk periods as well as shunting from time to time. Another work in progress in terms of getting things approved!

More information has been put together on control system changes and we now have a fairly detailed submission folder. It outlines what is required and how to proceed and although a slightly different format may be needed, the essential structure is in place, and can easily be adapted to suit requirements.

Henk Luf, Large Exhibits Manager


Finally the modification to the control system is functional although some work is required to fine tune the brakes.

The seats have been removed, with assistance from member Bruce Kelt, and the floor has had a good clean, ready for a coat of green paint on the walls and floor mounted equipment. You’ll never see it like this again! Member Dave Hunt has been shopping for a larger gauge for the torque convertor and a couple of engine gauges, now awaiting installation.

Thank you to the team for their assistance

Terry Matchett, Workshop Manager

X206 before

X206 after

X206 cab overall view sans seats
X206 gets a clean: before & after plus an overall view (Photos: Keith Ward)

HG Brake van

There are only two of these vans in existence and the van we have is well worth preserving. The initial work on the frame and couplings has been discussed and this will provide a starting point for the project. I have had a closer look and while the chassis appears to be reasonable, the bodywork needs major specialised work done to bring the unit back to its original condition. Further examination will no doubt reveal what will be required. (see picture)

We should keep in mind that restoration manpower is not yet available and other projects will have funding priority, so this will be a long term task on both counts.

Henk Luf, Large Exhibits Manager

HG brake van bodywork (Photo: Henk Luf)

5711 update

There is a separate fund for this long-term project and a raffle is proposed to boost the coffers.

While operational restoration may not be possible, an eventual paint-job may at least bring the unit to a presentable preservation standard. As funding for 5711 may not be available now, I would neither rule in or out future private funding being sought. I am always mindful that 5711 is the only loco of its class in existence and I deem it important that this loco be preserved.

This long-term project is approaching a milestone with the fitting of new gusset plates to the tender (see photo), aided by the arrival of some seriously HEAVY DUTY rivets! This stage should be ready by the end of June.  

Henk Luf, Large Exhibits Manager

Gusset Plate 2
New gusset plates for 5711’s tender (Photo: Ted Dickson)

3214 update

The paint job on steam loco 3214 is now virtually complete following the finishing touches being applied by the handy team of Bob Creasy, Chris Troy and Michael Jessop under the watchful eye of Ted Dickson. This involved patching up some overruns and splashes, the wheels and then finally a clear coat.

Ted Dickson, Project Manager

Cement Wagon

Member Michael Jessop is doing a very thorough job of refurbishing the bodywork and frame of this exhibit. Before and after images give a good idea of progress.
Ted Dickson, Project Manager

Cement wagon at its previous home
Cement wagon at its previous home

Cement wagon during restoration
Cement wagon during restoration
(Photos: Keith Ward)

4601 update

Steve Corrigan (wearing his non-retail hat!) has made great progress with the train simulator and it is nearly to the point of ‘road-testing’. Read Steve’s report below.
Once ready for use by the public, there is the question of ‘manning’ the simulator and thus some training of volunteers in its usage will be required. If anyone is keen to add a very interesting qualification to their résumé please let Henk or Steve know.
Henk Luf

4601 train simulator

Recent work was focused on the train simulator. A micro-switch was installed in the ceiling mounted horn valve in the No. 2 end drivers cab, with wires running back to the H.T. compartment. This will enable the “air horns” in the computer simulator to be operated by actuating the actual whistle cord in the No. 2 end drivers cab.
Using temporary wiring, a full test of the train simulator was carried out. This included the use of speakers and a moderately large flat screen sitting on the fireman's side desk. The following functions were tested:

  • Notching up of the accelerating handle
  • Return of the accelerating handle to “off”
  • Series/parallel transition
  • Forward/Reverse
  • Braking (application, release and lap) using the regen handle as a “pretend” air brake
  • Operation of the “air horns” using the whistle cord

As noted, this test was carried out using temporary wiring with wires simply laid on the floor and connected to various points in the loco using alligator clips. In the final installation a proper wiring loom will be prepared, with concealed inter-connecting wiring. A homemade replica reversing key was also used.

Trains Simulator Screen and Speakers in the 46 Class No. 2 End Cab
Trains Simulator Screen and Speakers in the 46 Class No. 2 End Cab.
Note the replica reversing key.

Interface Unit and Computer in the No. 2 End H.T. Compartment
Interface Unit and Computer in the No. 2 End H.T. Compartment
Note temporary wiring and use of alligator clips. (Photos: Steve Corrigan)

For the most part the test was successful, with all functions working satisfactorily. After several hours of operation, some intermittent operation of the accelerating handle notching up was noted. No obvious cause could be found, and during subsequent bench testing, the interface unit and computer worked flawlessly.

The next task is to prepare and install more permanent, and tidy, inter-connecting wiring.
Documentation also needs to be addressed, in particular a manual describing operation, circuit diagrams and a list of changes made to the locomotive's existing wiring.

Steve Corrigan, 4601 Project Manager

6. Small but important exhibits

The Call Boy exhibition in the former DLE's building is undergoing major refurbishment. Designing and rearranging of the room has started for the setup of the new display. Volunteer Sue Fulton has completed the text for an interpretative panel.  Sue also attended a Metal Conservation Workshop run by the Powerhouse Museum at the Wollondilly District Museum.

Members and mid-week volunteers Ellen Anderson and Ed Manning have completed a report on the two day textile preservation workshop they recently attended at the Powerhouse Museum.
Several paintings from our collection have been beautifully reframed to conservation standard.

Michael Pensini, Small Exhibits Curator

7. “On the right track”

Fettlers’ Shed

Wet weather greatly reduced the opportunity to return to the groundworks for the Fettlers’ Shed. A site inspection was carried out in March to review and prioritise tasks and the subsequent meeting of key personnel involved confirmed my additional role as project leader. Levels were checked and it has been found that all sleepers need to be raised and additional fill to be placed. Work is now progressing with rails being positioned prior to fixing.

Lifting the rails

Rails for the fettlers' shed
Rails for the fettlers' shed (Photos: Keith Ward)


Previously delivered stock has been sorted as either usable, landscape quality or unusable/surplus to needs and therefore available for disposal. If you know anyone who would like to buy some, please advise Andrew Tester or Chris Troy.

Crossover Points

Until the rails that are currently stored on the site for the Fettlers’ Shed are relocated or installed, work cannot commence on this project. Once work can commence the site is to be cleared, excavated, levelled, ballast and sleepers placed and rails and crossing installed.

Ash Pit

Refurbishment of the timbers on the southern side is dependent upon the completion of the Crossover Points project.

The current plan is that 5711 and other rolling stock will be relocated to the Arrival Road and other locations as may be necessary after the Crossover Points are completed. Operational use will then switch to the Departure Road.

Arrival Road

This is dependent upon the completion of the Crossover Points project and relocation of 5711 and rolling stock elsewhere on site.

Level Crossing

This may be done in conjunction with the Fettlers’ Shed or Ash Pit projects.

Chris Troy, Per Way Manager

8. “Let’s go shopping”

Recent good sellers have been the newly received small toy metal trains, with a push-pull action plus working lights and sound. At $16 each these are highly popular and make an ideal gift for the young ones.

Toy metal train

There are good stocks of each of the seven titles in the “Sydney’s Forgotten….” series. Coming soon is “Sydney’s Forgotten Sidings”—quite a large book but still good value at $80.

Ready for winter? Deliveries included a quantity of “Polar Fleece” jackets kindly donated by Macs Daks Menswear in Springwood, with proceeds going to the 5711 fund.

The shop also has a number of large post cards donated by member and Sunday volunteer John Glass and has re-stocked the Tramway T-shirts from STARPS.

Steve Corrigan, Retail Manager

9. Our retirees group

Dave Grove, tireless leader of this hard working team, reports that they have been doing some Roundhouse repairs. A wooden roof supporting post between roads 5/6 had been partially rebuilt by contractors who “scarfed” a new lower section, backed up with four steel angles. Our jolly group replaced the four coach screws with full length bolts to strengthen the scarf joint at the top. A job well done!

 Repaired roof supporting post
Repaired roof supporting post (Photo: Keith Ward)

10. Our modellers …

have been doing some track laying. Great steps have been taken on the 1950s Valley Heights layout with the return loop now largely in place. Work has proceeded under the leadership of Roger Dohnt and includes a hinged panel for volunteers to access the control board.

Ray Beharrell, Model Railway Manager

11. Membership
  1. At this time of year I check who has forgotten or decided not to renew their membership. Unfinancial members will soon receive a letter via Her Majesty’s Royal Mail asking them to consider re-joining. If you receive such a letter and feel that you have already done so, please contact me as shown.
  2. We are also writing (with a postage stamp attached!) to some members who are on our email list for Depot Diary, eNews and other useful information. Our records show that not all emails are actually opened by the recipients. This of course may be because the messages accidentally end up in a “Spam” or “Junk“ folder or that email address is no longer regularly used. Whatever the case, we are keen for everyone to have the chance to stay in touch with what goes on at our great Museum!
  3. You may soon start to receive email correspondence from Transport Heritage NSW. This applies mainly to folk who use the Volgistics sign on screen at the Museum to record their volunteer hours. The number of emails you receive can be limited - if you’d like to do this and can’t, please let me know by email.
  4. Always feel very welcome to drop in to the Museum to have a look around and to chat with the volunteers. The Museum is usually open for volunteer work on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. We are open to the public on the second and fourth Sunday of the month. If you would like a guided tour of the Museum contact me and we can make a suitable time – a tour can last from 1 to 2 hours depending upon your interests.
  5. Of course we would love to have more members as volunteers so please contact me if you would like to join us. Newer members who, on their application form, indicated an interest in volunteering may soon receive a call from one of the Managers at the Museum to discuss how you can help.
  6. A warm welcome from all the team at the Museum to new members who have joined us during the last period. We hope you enjoy your time at VHLDHM.

A big hello to:

  • Peter Banks
  • Frank Coy
  • Chris Darby
  • Jay Dawson
  • Christen Dawson
  • Sequoia Dawson
  • Patrick Dawson
  • Angus Elliott
  • Melanie Firke
  • Hemant Firke
  • Graham Hodgkins
  • Kim Jackson
  • Jasper Leary
  • Christie Manuel
  • Andrew Manuel
  • Bruce Marich
  • Bluey Quilty
  • Alexander Robinson-Mills
  • George Robinson-Mills
  • Kirsten Salter
  • Darren Spender
  • Jakob Sweeney
  • Naomi Sweeney
  • Andrew Sweeney
  • Joanne Tester
  • John Tipper
  • Chris Troy

Jeff Russell, Membership Officer
Email: jeff.russell@valleyheightsrailmuseum.info
Home phone: (02) 4751 2471

12. Our coming events

Mark your calendar (1):

Victoria Bridge 150th Anniversary

Rosemary Weaver from Nepean District Historical Society has invited the Museum to take part in an open day at the Arms of Australia Inn Museum at Emu Plains on Sunday July 16th to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Victoria Bridge and railway line.

Mark your calendar (2):

Calling all Teddies!

The Museum is pleased to confirm that plans are progressing well for the Teddy Bears Day Out on Sunday 28 May. This popular and high profile event is enhanced this year by the return of Mama and Papa Bear who will dispense packets of “Gummi Bears” to the assembled children. Following the recent acquisition of the suits, we are canvassing volunteers to do a couple of hours in disguise. Please contact Keith Ward for an audition!

Mark your calendar (3):

150th anniversary of Blue Mountains railway to Wentworth Falls— July 2017

(all events to be confirmed)

  • Station decoration including posters will be arranged by Sydney Trains during July
  • Friday 21 July Official (non-steam) train (by invitation only) Central to Wentworth Falls for ceremony, then to Katoomba (for unrelated railway event)
  • VHLDHM to open on Saturday 22 AND Sunday 23 July
  • Red Rattler (F1) to run from North Sydney to Penrith to connect with steam shuttles from Penrith to Springwood on 22/7 (and return in evening)
  • Red Rattler (F1) to run from North Sydney to Penrith to connect with steam train from Penrith to Lawson & then steam shuttles to Wentworth Falls (and/or Katoomba?) on 23 July (and return in evening). Street stalls and other activities to be arranged at both townships.
  • It is hoped that the communities and business houses of Lawson and Wentworth Falls will engage with these events and we are working with the various stakeholders to deliver a fitting and successful celebration of this milestone in NSW history.
  • We are planning to hold raffles on all shuttles over both days (volunteers needed, please chat to Keith)

Provisional and generalised leaflet:

Provisional and generalised leaflet for 150th celebrations


Mark your calendar (4):

Halloween event

The Museum plans to add a Halloween event as an extra day to our running calendar. As we have lost some open (and/or running) days for various reasons we need to build our income to keep pace with increased costs of doing business and to maintain the level of excellence displayed by our exhibits and environs. Having recently experienced the huge growth of the whole Halloween “industry” overseas, it is clear that this event will bring new clientele, especially children, to the Museum. We therefore propose to open with a Halloween themed day on 29 October, the closest Sunday to the Christian calendar’s marking of All Hallows’ Eve, still allowing volunteers a two week break before the first Open Day in November.

It may be true that some Australians are not comfortable with the commercial nature of Halloween and regard its possibly American driven popularity as a purely commercial exercise; we are definitely part of the real world, where we strive to provide varied levels of entertainment for visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Several other Australian heritage railways have offered such events, including Lithgow Zigzag and “Trainworks” at Thirlmere, and may well do so again. So there is an incentive for Valley Heights to be proactive and help satisfy that market. Of course volunteers for this event will be invited rather than rostered.

Keith Ward, Publicity Manager VHLDHM

Sun 28 May Teddy Bears day out
Sun 16 July Open day at Arms of Australia Inn Museum at Emu Plains
to celebrate 150 years of Victoria Bridge
Fri 21–Sun 23 July  150th anniversary of opening of line to Weatherboard
(now Wentworth Falls)
Sun 3 September Father's Day
Sun 29 October Halloween event (tbc)




We wish to thank our important sponsors:

  • Glenn Hargrave (electrical)
  • Luke Tolhurst (arborist services)
  • SPC Statewide Protective Services
  • Norman Lindsay Gallery
  • World’s Best Products (graffiti removal supplies)
  • SDS Models (sdsmodels.com.au)
  • Local Hire Service, Valley Heights
  • Blue Mountains Coffee Roasters, Valley Heights
  • Austrains (austrains.com.au)
  • On Track Models (ontrackmodels.com.au)
  • Bunnings Hardware, Valley Heights
  • Jenolan Caves
  • Featherdale Wildlife Park, Doonside
  • Richard Butcher, author
  • Blooms the Chemist, Springwood
  • Springwood Historical Society
  • Turning Page Bookshop, Springwood
  • Abcoe, Penrith
  • Macquarie Road Auto Repairs, Springwood
  • Headway Hair, Springwood
  • Scenic World, Katoomba
  • Royal Hotel, Springwood
  • Mac’s Daks Menswear, Springwood
  • Hunter Shoes, Springwood
  • Coles, Winmalee
  • Signwave, Penrith
  • Terrys Truck Hire, Springwood

Publicity Manager’s Trivia Quiz Corner

Which former Australian Prime Minister shares his family name with a station (later renamed and now long gone!) that was used for religious purposes in Outer Sydney in the 1930s?

Depot Diary 115 Trivia Quiz answer :

Western Australia
Check the question at infobluemountains.net.au/locodepot/depot_diary.shtml

Depot Diary: Print friendly version

Depot Diary: High quality print version

  • Print friendly version is 1 MB. Image quality is lower to reduce download time.
  • The high quality print version is 8 MB. Image quality should be clear in a printout, but download will be slower.
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