The Depot Diary
No 121 — March 2019  
Trainosaurus Wrecks at our 2018 Halloween event
‘Trainosaurus Wrecks’ at our 2018 Halloween event

In this edition

1. The Chairman’s lineside chat
2. News desk
3. Buildings and Infrastructure
4. Big trains
5. Talking ‘shop’
6. Little trains
7. Infrastructure and equipment update
8. Membership
9. Our coming events

The first word

A warm start to the year and time to turn the heat up on our expectations for 2019…with some big ticket items now under the belt and visitor numbers levelling out, is it time to re-think some of our priorities and strategies? VHLDHM chairman Henk, already has wheels in motion for a team to review and define our longer term goals, as you will see in his forward looking address.

There's plenty going on in the heritage railway world at the moment. Despite the wintry weather in Europe, many operators run Santa specials and of course they are often gifted with the added bonus (or setback?) of snow! While parts of this country deal with very hot and dry conditions blended with some torrential rain and hail, we have fortunately escaped the curse of fire bans and high fire risk, thus far. Likewise, the typical pattern of thunderstorms has spared us from torment on Open Days. As you will see elsewhere, Museum volunteers have used the opportunities to push forward on many fronts. With progress on the fettlers shed, departure road crossover and safety improvements, as well as 'undercover' action like intensive research into the story behind electric loco 4601 and the six-week process of preparing this diary! 


Keith Ward, Publicity Manager VHLDHM

1. The Chairman’s lineside chat

Welcome to 2019 and I hope that all our members are having a great start to the New Year. Our volunteers have certainly already been very active despite the heat, working on the new fettlers shed and track changes, as well as carrying out vital maintenance on our rolling stock and other display items and equipment. This year will also be busy in terms of our short, medium and long term planning and development processes that are aimed to progress and safeguard our Museum into the years to come. In order to achieve the best results, I invite all members to put on their thinking-caps and let us know how you would like our Museum to progress and to look in 5-10 and 20 years’ time. Remember that nothing is off the table thus enabling everyone to be as creative as they like. Once we have members input there will be a planning day during which all ideas will go into the ring.

As usual, we will have all our normal open and special days this year so don’t forget that there is also room for new and fresh-faced volunteers. In short, ‘go on, have some fun this year and enjoy the company of others’.

Henk Luf, Chairman VHLDHM

2. News desk

HEARTSafe Valley Heights

HEARTSafe Communities is a program designed to promote survival from sudden out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: heartsafe-community.org

Communities such as Kangaroo Island in South Australia have become HEARTSafe communities, setting up a network of AEDs (automated external defibrillators), especially critical with the thousands of tourists visiting the island each year.

Valley Heights Rail Museum has now become a HEARTSafe venue, with a defibrillator acquired in late 2018.

We give thanks to Sydney Water for a contribution of $1000 under its Community Grants – Safety 2018 program. The full cost was $1695, the balance came from Museum funds.

St John Ambulance provided training in use of the AED on Saturday 15 December. This training was a requirement of the Sydney Water grant.

St Johns Ambulance trainer teaching use of the AED at Valley Heights on 15 December #1St Johns Ambulance trainer teaching use of the AED at Valley Heights on 15 December #2
St Johns Ambulance trainer teaching use of the AED at Valley Heights on 15 December


Seniors Week Recognition Awards

On February 26, Blue Mountains City Council celebrated our community’s older people at the annual Seniors Week Recognition Awards.

Two VHLDHM members received awards for their service to the museum and the community.

Steve Corrigan receives his awardKeith Ward receives his award
FIRST: Steve Corrigan (centre) with Deputy Mayor Chris Van der Kley (left) and Cr Mick Fell (right)
SECOND: Deputy Mayor Chris Van der Kley presented the award to Keith Ward, with Cr Mick Fell

Museum happenings

On Wednesday 17 October we hosted UK railway author Anthony Heale-Barton and partner Pam, for a pre-planned guided tour of the Museum. Anthony took many photos and, with his copious notes, they will form a promised article in a railway magazine. We were pleased to receive a donation on their departure, and look forward to reading his article in due course.

Our Halloween weekend was held on 27–28 October. This was our first attempt at two day Halloween action, and I believe it is the first time we have opened to the general public after 16:00. Although not many arrived after 18:00 on the Saturday, there were still some families around at 19:30, with closing time set for 20:00. The ‘Spooky Express’ performed perfectly over both days (normal hours on Sunday) and excited passengers enjoyed the ambience with webs, spiders and bats to enhance the ride. The ‘Tram of Terrors’ provided some extreme experiences for ‘victims’ young and old, with new volunteers, Ros and David Austin performing superbly in their roles. Many visitors took a detour via the ‘Silver Scares’ (aka ‘U-Boat’ interurban carriage ETB6039) and were startled by the eerie presence of member Peter Banks in wizard mode, or Jakob Sweeney in his amazing outfit as a Dr Who ‘Cyberman’. Entry to the shop took patrons past the ‘graveyard’—the last resting place of ‘Trainosaurus Wrecks’. Steve Dive had done a great job chalking up steam loco 5711 as the ‘Ghost Train’ while the ‘Wacky Witch Hunt’ provided a competition for children to spot 10 hidden model witches around the site, with prizes to be won. The successful entrants were notified and results published on our website.

The display items and costumes on loan from Thirlmere were returned and our thanks go to Ann Frederick, THNSW Creative Services and Public Programs Manager for arranging that. Special thanks also to Winmalee Rural Fire Service, for the loan of their smoke machine, which was used for dramatic effect and to Terry Matchett and Alan Holley for assisting with it.

The Warrimoo Senior Girl Guides (including Mike Pensini’s daughter, Liz) performed wonderfully, creatively painting faces of volunteers and the public (by gold coin donation) over both days, and the Museum made a contribution to the Guides’ fundraising efforts.

Spooky expressCouple in costume in front of tramGhost trainHalloween peopleHalloween people

The Coffin Cart that had been kindly lent by NSW Rail Museum at Thirlmere, was also on display and created much interest. The exhibit was later returned with help from STARPS director, Wayne Flicker. First used at our ‘Life & Death’ event in September, the Cart had been stored in the fire equipment shed with the cooperation of Chief Fire Warden, Dave Hunt. The two-way transfer was supervised by THNSW Collections Officer, Chris Fielder, and was approved by Heritage & Collections Manager, Jenni Edmonds and our appreciation was conveyed to both of them.

The final outcome was that over 200 visitors, many first timers, took part in the proceedings, thus ensuring a springboard for another similar opportunity in 2019. There has been positive feedback from all quarters with volunteers and visitors alike happy to support a repeat.

A large pool of volunteers was on hand to help with preparation and implementation of the various activities over the two days and my thanks go to them all for their contribution.

Our Open Day on Sunday 11 November (Remembrance Day) saw normal operations cease at 10:50 for a flag ceremony and minute’s silence followed by David Hunt’s rendering of The Ode. A poppy wreath was mounted adjacent to our Honour Board for several days prior to and after this significant commemorative day, in keeping with protocol. Although well publicised, no serving or retired service personnel took up the offer of free admission to the Museum, but some visitors were aware of it and commented favourably.

Rob Mason
THNSW Chair Rob Mason at Valley Heights AGM

The Museum’s AGM was held on Saturday 17 November and was attended by 47 members and guests. Of these, 40 voted in the election to appoint Andrew Tester as new Retail Manager, taking over from Steve Corrigan after his remarkable 17 years in that role. Steve was presented with some railway books and made a ‘retirement’ speech, but assured us that he would still be active, as Andrew’s assistant with back-office duties and also continuing to focus on the implementation of the driver simulator in electric locomotive 4601. Diesel tractor X206 was on show, sporting bold new side panel numbers, with thanks to signwriter member, Frank Coy.

Steve Corrigan speaking after received VH awardTerry Matchett (L) and Bruce Coxon (R) with Rob Mason
FIRST: Steve Corrigan (with sausage cooking gloves) after receiving award at VH AGM
SECOND: Terry Matchett (left) and Bruce Coxon (right) receive Life Membership at THNSW AGM from chair Rob Mason

THNSW held its AGM on Saturday 24 November. A group from Valley Heights travelled to Thirlmere to view P class loco 3265 returning to service after a major overhaul in conjunction with owners MAAS. Members had the pleasure of the return trip to Buxton behind the loco before convening for the meeting later in the day. This was highlighted by the presentation of THNSW Life Membership to a number of long-term volunteers, including our own Bruce Coxon and Terry Matchett. A review of the 2017–18 year and an outline of future plans both stimulated much lively interaction.

3265 simmers at Thirlmere
3265 simmers at Thirlmere

A special running day on Saturday 1 December was chartered by the Retired Commissioned Officers Association Corrective Services NSW. The Museum provided Devonshire Tea, with thanks to Eileen Ward; guided tours, entertainingly and well led by Ted Dickson, Bruce Coxon, Jeff Russell and Steve Corrigan (in his first outing in this role); and Steam Tram rides. This highly successful visit was originally suggested by STARPS director Bruce Irwin, a member of the association.

Santa and elves

The Santa weekend of 8–9 December was disappointing in terms of visitor numbers (with just over 220 over both days) as early indications had been promising with a high engagement rate on social media. Hot weather predicted for “The West” probably did little to encourage travellers to head our way, but despite that, those that visited had a great time, judging by some of the feedback. A ‘tag-team’ of suitably padded volunteers wore the red suit, with myself and Andrew Tester in the role on Saturday with Andrew and Bruce Irwin on Sunday. Megan Tolhurst drove specially from Armidale to again play her part as one of the elves, in company with sister Lydia and our thanks go to them both and all who volunteered over the two days, especially those who were in costume in such challenging conditions.

Santa with children

Julie Tester and Ellen Anderson had earlier put their spin on the shop decorations, following Andrew’s concept, and the outcome was most pleasing. Our Christmas tree, picket fence and carpet tiles were set up with assistance from the three Daves—Grove, Hunt and Wainwright—and we appreciate their valuable input. A large marquee had been set up near the shop, providing valuable respite for those awaiting Santa’s appearance on the tram.

Fifteen members of the Southern Cross Model Railway Association also made a planned visit on Santa Sunday and enjoyed firing up our gas barbecue. It was also used later in the day, along with the tables and chairs that were in place on the grassed area under the silky oaks, by members of the Winmalee Rural Fire Brigade and their families. This group of 22, smaller in number than previous years, also enjoyed a late tram ride to collect their very own Santa trackside before heading to the still-warm throne! We are always pleased to host this group (at a special rate) and we have every indication that they are keen to use our venue again next year.

The bulk of Santa’s ‘grotto’ was later removed with assistance from the Retirees Week gang, to make room for Christmas lunch for the ‘Mid-Week Warriors’ on the following Wednesday (12/12), with the dressed tree left in place to add some sparkle. Rudi Glajcar and his team again turned on a tasty meal and our thanks go to them for a satisfactory end to an exciting year.

This apparent downturn in the outcome for our Santa event will probably lead to a review of how we hold/promote this event next December. If you have any BRIGHT ideas to breathe new life into our Santa activities, please let me know.

Our first Open Day for 2019 was held with temperatures in the low thirties. Over 40 keen visitors made the most of the conditions, on a non-running day that had been well promoted.


On Tuesday 13 November, I attended the 2018 review session at Katoomba of the excellent progress made by the Stronger Families Alliance (SFA). The mid-week school holiday Open Days in July and October were a mixed blessing for us, with an average of 40+ visitors over those four (non-running) days. The positives from this are an expanded audience of many first timers and the networking opportunities created by being part of this project. A revamp of the SFA website means we can now add events (including our regular Open Days) at any time.

The MAAS Regional Stakeholders Forum was held at the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo on Friday 23 November. The Museum was represented at this annual get-together of volunteers and staff from many kindred organisations in the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) sector, that had over 70 attendees. A well informed and inspirational group of speakers revealed their activities, ideals and ambitions in their respective fields. 

Gay Hendriksen, Blue Mountains City Council’s Museums adviser, joined us for an exchange of ideas on Tuesday 11 December. Meeting with the library and cataloguing team and myself, Gay was keen to share some of her thoughts and observations about Museum operations and also learn how we function, especially in the areas of exhibit record management and conservation. During a Museum walkabout with Mike Pensini, Gay met Ted Dickson, for a brief chat, and many of our other volunteers, including Dave Hunt who gave her a quick peek at the Studebaker! Our thanks also to Rudi Glajcar and Ellen Anderson, who enthusiastically shared details of the recording process. On a number of occasions during her visit, Gay was very praiseworthy of the work that we all do here and the quality and depth of our volunteer resources.

A private function was held at the Museum on Sunday 6 January—a family birthday party group of 14. Despite the light showers, a good day was had by all, including a short guided tour and use of the gas barbecue. Funds generated from this extra opportunity will be used to buy some snap opening wall-mounted signage frames that will be used at key points around the Museum to promote future events and other publicity matters.


Following an unexpected surge in our Twitter followers (jumping from 300 to 400 in less than a week in early November due to a flurry of ‘interest’ from offshore), the growth seems to have slowed and currently sits at 460+. It remains to be seen how engaged these new fans really are! We also notice an upturn in our Australian followers, so I continue to ‘Tweet’ interesting stuff about the Museum and other railway topics. On the Museum’s behalf, I also respond in a (hopefully!) friendly way to comments by other railway enthusiasts and institutions around the world. Meanwhile, under Andrew Tester’s guardianship, Facebook continues to be a steady, reliable and economical avenue for promoting the Museum to a wider audience.


‘Santa’ drew the 10 prize-winning tickets in our 2018 raffle on Sunday 9 December and prizes were sent to the winners (details on our website). As usual, the notification process took several days as the winners were contacted in sequence of the ticket draw, so they could choose their prize, in accordance with the rules.

Although we only cleared $700 in our Christmas raffle last year, the generated income does help boost revenue for general use. To provide a longer selling period, this year’s effort will start earlier, in June. See the section entitled Raffle Tickets under Membership.

Keith Ward, Publicity Manager VHLDHM

3. Buildings and Infrastructure

Fettlers Shed

Now we have an actual shed to keep the sun (and rain?) from the workers who are advancing this exciting project. Wayne Flicker has been busily welding door frames, with hanging duties performed by Dave Grove, Dennis Brown and team. Meanwhile Bruce Coxon and Glenn Hargrave have installed the necessary electricals, so the building is finally taking shape. Everyone seems to be in fine fettle… It has been decided to leave the shed unpainted so that it looks original. Congratulations to the many who have assisted in this construction. Meanwhile the concrete sleepers for the shed apron have been delivered. Work in progress!

Fettlers shed

Coal bunker

The coal bunker opposite the tram platform has been concreted to stabilise the floor, after good preparation work by Steve Dive and Roslyn Reynolds.

Concreted coal bunkerConcreted coal bunker

Electrical services

Ted Dickson and Terry Matchett recently attended a 2 day course for testing and tagging our multitude of electrical items and passed with flying colours. Although we now have our own unit to enable on-site compliance for 240 V devices and leads, we still await connections for the tag printer, and also equipment to test 3 phase machinery.

Per way

Work is continuing apace, despite some hot days, on the turnout from arrival to departure road with all timber sleepers in place. Rails are set and fixing is in progress, while the layout of points continues. Luckily, our large trees provide excellent shade until mid-afternoon.

Rail fixing in progress
Rail fixing in progress

To facilitate placement of locomotives and rolling stock in the roundhouse, the concrete has been chipped out of the flange way in road 4 with thanks to Craig Connelly and Wayne Flicker. By coincidence, the next day, Keith Ward filled it all in again with polystyrene foam to minimise the gaps during our Santa event! Our diesel tractor X206 was parked there while boiler inspections on the steam tram and Stevo took place (successfully) in January.


The buffer stop sign at Valley Heights signal box was removed, repaired, cleaned of graffiti and put back in position.

Following an incident at a recent Open Day, turntable pit barriers (cones and poles) have been purchased and set up around the area. These will act as a highly visible deterrent to persons deliberately or accidentally gaining access to the pit. A more substantial barricade will replace these in due course.

Turntable barriers
Turntable barriers

Thanks to David Wainwright we now have smart looking and safe fencing from the ash tunnel to the eastern end of the tram shed (along the top of the retaining wall). This was sourced from our own materials salvaged from previous projects and was achieved at low cost to the Museum.

From Steam Scene February 2019 (published by STARPS):

THNSW’s track inspectorate has deemed it necessary to place a stop sign on the Coal Road approximately where the tentative placement of check-railing is to be laid-in. This will avoid confusion in the past as to where to stop. Some drivers went beyond this point and others before it.

Conductor/ Guards will in particular, be mindful of stopping their tram as close as practicable to the stop sign.

The formal notice of this restriction is to be found on the Society Notice Board in the depot and will be emailed to all drivers, firemen and conductors.

Stop sign on coal road
Stop sign on coal road


4. Big trains

HG guards van

Large Exhibits Manager Bruce Coxon has been working with Jennifer Edmonds, Heritage and Collections Manager THNSW, and a plan has been established to enable restoration budgets to be determined allowing a start on this project. Jenni will liaise with the THNSW Curatorial Committee to convey our desire to return this rare 1902 vintage 4-wheeled wagon to original condition as a working exhibit, on the ‘Valley Heights Mixed’.
Bruce has already begun the assessment of what timbers need replacing on the wagon to allow work to proceed on the eastern end that isn’t too bad with only a few boards to replace.

Diesel tractor X206

The loco has been load tested and despite some very minor tech issues it provided good driver experience whilst hauling the S truck and the LFA carriage.

The day for the loco’s inauguration in passenger (and revenue!) service draws closer. Craig Connelly, STARPS President and Works Manager, is well advanced in the regulatory accreditation process. As painting the loco in its original livery may be a way off yet, member Frank Coy was very keen to display his true professional skills in signwriting X206 on both sides — every loco needs a number!

X206 has its number
X206 now has its number!

Terry Matchett, with help from member Bruce Kelt, has been repairing the side window rubbers and the metalwork on the loco due to wear and tear plus the inevitable rust.

First, the right-hand side windows were removed and the area descaled with a needle gun. Treatment with rust converter was followed by a primer coat. New mounting rubber for the fixed windows has been purchased and will be fitted soon.

Andy McNeill and Ted Dickson in X206 cab
Andy McNeill (THNSW) and Ted Dickson in the cab of X206 at Valley Heights

The air brake reservoirs on the loco were opened and inspected and found to have shallow rust scale throughout. This was removed by high pressure water washing. A rust converter was applied, however, the spherical end sections did not receive sufficient coverage. Another converter was purchased and applied with a better result. The final coating will utilise a product originally purchased for another project, if it can be thinned to a sprayable viscosity.

During the driver familiarisation course, the air brake pressure unloader control failed so the training continued with this device manually operated. This system was overhauled in conjunction with the air reservoir inspection.


X205 sign for kids
X206 interpretive sign for kids

Interpretive signs

Interpretive sign stand

Bruce Coxon organised a team to prepare large exhibit signs similar to the one shown, as used at Thirlmere. Funded by THNSW, these signs will supplement the child-friendly signs that are in place already. A sample text (for our Standard Goods steam locomotive 5461) follows:

Steam locomotive 1174 / 5461

D53 class photo from NSWGR archives
NSWGR archives (Public domain)

This locomotive, a member of the TF Class was built in 1916 at Clyde Engineering Granville. And commenced service as engine no 1174. It was a member of the TF Class of which 190 were built.

In 1924 a new numbering system was introduced for all locomotives in the NSW Railway fleet and 1174 became 5461.

The majority were built with, or later fitted with superheating steam technology. (Dry steam that has been heated to a temperature above 100 degrees centigrade. It is widely used as a working medium for converting heat into mechanical energy for which purpose it is more effective than normal steam.)

Locomotive 1174 gained the reputation of being the worst performing of the class due to its poor steaming efficiencies. Later however it was established that the blast pipe did not line up with the chimney resulting in a lack of draft for the firebox.

It saw service all over NSW including periods here at Valley Heights during the 1950s. It worked as a pilot engine assisting goods (freight) and passenger trains up the steep grade to Katoomba. It had a service life of 50 years and was then used by the NSW Rail Transport Museum until the 1980s. Boiler defects forced its retirement to Valley Heights Rail Museum where it is displayed as a static exhibit.


Weight, including coaled tender:   137 tonnes
Water capacity: 4000 Gallons (18184 L)
Boiler pressure: 160 psi (1.10 MPa)  
Fuel: Coal
Tender coal capacity: 13 tons (13,208 kg)
Wheel arrangement: 2-8-0
Maximum horsepower: 1200 HP (895 kW)


A heavily laden truck delivered stands for the signs to the Museum on Wednesday 6 March, and they now await the process of verifying the text as appropriate. These ‘heavy metal’ signs will play no music, but will tell the remarkable stories of our key major exhibits.

Truck delivering signs
Truck delivering stands for signs at Museum

Electric locomotive 4601

Member Leigh Stokes, our helpful expert in railway video scene creation, has been working with Steve Corrigan to refine the process of delivering the train simulator that has been Steve’s passion for the last two years. This has included a trial of a later version of the "Trainz" software in the loco to see if it will work with the interface that Steve built. If so this may give us a short cut path to being able to have more "local" scenery. Research was also carried out to figure how to interconnect the 46 class pantograph controls to the computer, as this is supported in this version. This is looking possible but will require some very delicate modifications to the interface unit!

To give readers some idea of the meticulous detail that Steve has applied to this project, here is just one of the ‘roadblocks’ that have appeared along the way (perhaps these should be regarded as just ‘checkrails’??). In Steve’s words: “Late last year, during an attempt to demonstrate the simulator to a small group of members, the unit failed. The problem being that the computer would not go back to ‘idle’ when the throttle was moved to the ‘stop’ position. This problem last occurred in June 2017, 18 months ago, and the unit has worked perfectly since then. On the last occasion when this problem occurred, a specific fault was found (faulty solder joint) which was fixed. This time, during bench testing, the unit is working perfectly; it has not been possible to provoke the problem at all. The plan now is to re-install the unit in the locomotive, and regardless of whether the problem is evident or not, work through this procedure with a view to either finding the problem, or at least verifying the procedure ready for use if/when the problem occurs again in future.”

Progress on the driver simulator is showing dividends with a ‘soft launch’ to the public on Sunday 27 January. As preparation, potential hazards in the No 2 end driver's cab were removed: the inspector’s seat and protrusions on the crew seat backs.

An updated version of the 46 class simulator operating manual has been completed and placed on the Intranet. If you are not aware, the Museum has its own internal storage facility in what’s called “The Cloud”. In the same way that clouds are up there, constantly changing, can’t be touched but available to all (in our case, with authorisation) and with ‘infinite’ capacity (yet to be tested!), so many businesses, organisations and individuals use the internet to store documents, data, images, emails and music. This has several benefits: it enables users to free up space on their own computers; it facilitates document sharing; it safeguards items from loss through the accidental or deliberate deletion from home computers or external drives or other backup systems. The Museum’s Intranet storage can currently only be accessed by Committee members. However some parts of it may be made available to members in the future.

5. Talking ‘shop’

Book Deliveries

Don’t forget that your very own bookstore is onsite at the Museum! Several titles from the Blue Mountains Educational Research Institute are usually in stock, along with a number of the ever popular children’s titles from Turning Page Book Shop in Springwood. Always interesting, the ‘Sydney’s Forgotten…’ series just seems to keep on selling…do buyers ‘forget’ they already have these books at home?

Two recent titles now on the shelves are ‘The Hawkesbury River Railway Bridges’ by Bill Phippen (A.R.H.S.) and ‘Steam Trams of Australia and New Zealand’ from SCR Publications. Make sure you keep your library up-to date!

By the way, we still have stock of THNSW 2019 calendars. If you have a spare spot on the wall, buy now to avoid disappointment.

Note to members, did you realise that you are eligible for a nice discount on your purchases? Remember to ask when shopping!

Online bookings

Our Santa weekend saw a trial of advanced ticket bookings via Trybooking.com that produced an excellent result and was well received by our shop volunteers.

A meeting of all retail volunteers was held on Saturday 16 March to discuss ideas for possible future changes in layout, merchandising, appearance etc. Newly appointed Retail Manager, Andrew Tester, has some thoughts on this topic, but wanted contributions from the hardworking team that gives up part of their weekends for the Museum’s benefit. The spirited discussion was encouraging, with suggestions from many of the assembly. Some ideas will be achievable in the short term while others will take longer to implement.

A trial of some child-friendly food options to please our little visitors’ appetites took place during February with reasonable success and the experiment will continue.

More signage news

  1. Watch your head! (those over 2 m tall beware) A sign directing visitors to the 1950 layout has been installed under the awning at the southern end of the courtyard.

First stop Valley Heights
First stop Valley Heights sign

  1. Three large Valley Heights station signs have been acquired and are awaiting a decision regarding their placement.
  2. In order to increase our visual presence to the thousands of passing vehicles and train travellers, it has been suggested that we position a ‘large item’ at or near the highest point of the coal stage road. This could become a high profile billboard with a combination of fixed and movable signage. The chance of an acquisition of a Streamliner Diesel or a Steam Locomotive from THNSW is minimal at best (likewise an old model Eurostar or Shinkansen!). We possess a steel guards van (NDMF) that is ‘surplus to requirements’. With a minimum amount of external repair and a good paint job, this wagon could also be sign written, all within our own resources. With the new security fencing to the rail corridor, and safely attached to the track, the guard’s van ticks most boxes and is being seriously considered by your executive committee.

Current sign on wheels adjacent to main western line and Great Western Highway
Current sign on wheels adjacent to main western line and Great Western Highway


6. Little trains

The model group is looking at rolling stock which needs cleaning or adjusting plus track cleaning on both layouts. Also on the agenda is making the display on the 1950s layout (DCC) more attractive by either doing scenic work on the loop or alternately installing a mountains scenic wall between the operators and the public.

7. Infrastructure and equipment update 


As a result of the turntable ‘sticking’ (seemingly worse on hot days?) some masonry around the pit was adjusted and some of the metal work trimmed to help resolve the problem.


‘Mario’, our extremely useful road/rail unit had the hoist arrangement removed to replace the leaking hydraulic seal. During that time, the vehicle was still operational apart from the lifting mode.

Shock headline: “Electric fork lift runs on water!!!!” (click here for how!)

IFAP (Independent Funding Advisory Panel) — some successes

Some roof sections on the roundhouse and workshop were replaced but some heavy rain events in late 2018 revealed leaks in the workshop area. These were subsequently rectified by the contractor. Work has begun with design and certification documents being prepared for hydrant boosters for the firefighting system. We were also pleased to obtain funding for the remainder of the safety fence east of the tram shed plus improved fencing on the access ramp to the Compressor Shed and top car park, with work on both projects now complete.

Rack safety sign
Safe working load signage on new storage racks



8. Membership

I hope all members have had a wonderful beginning to 2019 and that the remainder of the year continues to treat you kindly.

As you would be aware our membership year runs from January to December and just over 100 members have renewed their membership thus far.

Members who have yet to renew are requested to do so as soon as possible.
The fee remains at $20 for adults and $10 for school aged children.

A downloadable renewal form is on the website:

If your details have not changed, just write your name and membership number (and of course payment details — either credit card details or amount sent by EFT).

If you have difficulty downloading or printing the form, contact me on (02) 4751 2471 or jeff.russell@ valleyheightsrailmuseum.info and I'll send you one.

Please send the completed form:

Members who have joined recently include

A warm welcome to you all—hope you enjoy all the activities and facilities at your Museum.


We need additional volunteers for all the activities we engage in at the Museum—particularly to ease the load of those already putting in super efforts.
Please make contact (phone 4751 2471) and we can discuss your interests, as shown on your original membership form along with your availability to volunteer.

You can help here by encouraging friends, relatives and neighbours to join our team.

Working With Children Clearances

The Board of Transport Heritage NSW has asked all volunteers to obtain their Working with Children clearances.

This is a simple process and can be done online at www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au/ child-safe-organisations/ working-with-children-check

Once you complete the online form you will receive an email with an approval number. You present this to a Motor Registry office (other places are available) with your licence as proof of identity. Later you will receive another email detailing your name, your WWC number and date of expiry (it lasts five years).

Please send this information to me via email or phone along with your date of birth. I need to send this to Head Office of Transport Heritage NSW where the details will be verified.

If you don’t have internet access, please phone me and we can do it together.

Raffle Tickets

We usually hold only one raffle a year and this generates valuable additional income for the Museum. If all members were able to sell some tickets this would provide much needed funds for many essential activities. The raffle starts in June (drawn in December) so please decide soon.

Hope to see you at the Museum soon.

Jeff Russell, Membership Officer


9. Our coming events

Please share Museum news with friends, relatives, workmates and neighbours.

2019 calendar

Sunday April 14

School holidays
Museum open day
Steam tram rides today

Monday April 15

School holidays
EXTRA open day
Reduced admission fees—no rides today

Friday April 26

School holidays
EXTRA open day
Reduced admission fees—no rides today

Sunday April 28

School holidays
Museum open day
Commemorating 30th anniversary of the last electric locomotive piloting out of Valley Heights
Valley Heights Mixed rides today

Sunday May 12

Museum not Open – Mother’s Day

Sunday May 19

EXTRA open day
Teddy Bears Day Out (Kids with Teddy Bears admitted free)
Steam tram rides today

Sunday May 26

Museum open day
Valley Heights Mixed rides today

Sunday June 9

Museum open day
Steam tram rides today

Sunday June 23

Museum open day
Valley Heights Mixed rides today

Sunday July 14

School holidays
Museum open day
Steam tram rides today

Sunday July 28

Museum open day
Valley Heights Mixed rides today

Keith Ward, Publicity Manager VHLDHM


3265 posing at Thirlmere with restoration team


Photo credits

Keith Ward, Eileen Ward, Andrew Tester, Julie Tester, Bruce Coxon, Grant Robinson

Depot Diary: Print friendly version
Depot Diary: High quality print version