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The Depot Diary
No 122 — August 2019  
Fettlers’ Shed. Photo Bruce Coxon
Fettlers’ Shed. Photo Bruce Coxon

In this edition

1. News desk
2. A new perspective on the ‘Caves Express’
3. Buildings and Infrastructure
4. Membership
5. Our coming events

The first word

This is a mini edition of “Depot Diary”. Yes, we are well overdue so we hope that this mini edition keeps you up to date.

It includes a news summary, list of future events and a ’call to arms’ which will keep you all going until our next more comprehensive issue!

We apologise for the infrequent nature of D/D, but rest assured that your publicity team has been working on many fronts to deliver exciting events to the Museum, as you can read below!

Keith Ward, Publicity Manager VHLDHM

1. News desk

Car clubs in March

A private function was held at the museum on Saturday 30 March and despite early rain, the day was a great success, involving over 50 members of four different car clubs with 23 cars. Our guests enjoyed tram rides and a sausage sizzle lunch, tastily prepared by Serge Sequen and Ross Stenning. Guided tours were skilfully run by Ted Dickson, Jeff Russell and Bruce Coxon, and a special mention also for Eileen Ward and Debbie who ran the shop and served lunchtime drinks. The visitors included a large group from the Veteran Car Club, with many vehicles around 100 years old, that later headed to Katoomba for an overnight stay. We were also pleased to see members of the Hudson/AMC, RAC and Daimler clubs, making up an great mix of marques, eras and designs.

Car club visitors 1Car club visitors 2Car club visitors 3Car club visitors 4
Car Club visitors to Valley Heights in March


Electric loco anniversary

On Sunday 28 April the Museum commemorated the 30th anniversary of the last ‘whistle-out’ of a 46 class electric loco (4610), in service, from the Depot. This event was widely publicised and featured attendance by a large group of veteran railwaymen who had worked in or around the Depot, or had strong connections with it, in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. This provided a marvellous opportunity for them to catch up with former mates and also to chat to the public and our volunteers about ‘The Good Old Days’! There were many experiences and recollections of the era shared and some great tales rolled out. Steve Corrigan was especially excited to gain further insights on the ‘tricks of the trade’ as he has been spending many months on developing a ‘Driver Simulator’ experience for visitors to have a go at ‘driving’ the loco on our Open Days.

Our class leader 4601 was cleaned during the week prior and partly pulled out on the day for cab inspections, facilitated by entrance and exit steps (the latter temporally relocated from steam loco 3214). Mike Pensini’s team worked hard on creating interpretive panels (as in use at Thirlmere) and these were displayed on heavy metal bases around the loco while a large banner ‘GONE...BUT NOT FORGOTTEN’ was suspended on one side. Our thanks go to all who worked on this great looking project, a wonderful foretaste of what we can achieve when we all pull together.

30th anniversary cakeFormer railwaymen at 30th anniversary
Cake celebrating the last run of 4610 from Valley Heights 30 years ago, and former Depot workers

4601 Gone but not forgotten
4601: Gone but not forgotten. Photo Andrew Tester

 


Teddy Bears Day Out

Sunday 19 May saw the return of our popular Teddy Bears’ Day Out. As in previous years, visitor numbers were high and great fun was had by all. We were fortunate to attract two new recruits as ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa’ Bear and they performed their duties admirably on a warm, fine day! ‘Gummi Bears’ were handed out to excited children as they retrieved their teddies after a short ‘bears only’ ride on the ‘Teddy Bear Express’.

We again held a ‘Spot the Teddies Challenge’ that added an extra activity for families on the day and also had local business ‘BUILD-A-MIND’ on site providing a Lego® and building display, with hands-on participation for the young ones. Thanks to owner, Kerry Pyle, we were able to demonstrate the special significance of the Museum to S.T.E.A.M. creative learning!

BUIID-A-MINDOUtdoor cafeSpot the teddy
BUIID-A-MIND, outdoor cafe and spot-the-teddy

Papa and Mama Bear Teddy   Bear Express
Papa and Mama Bear and the Teddy Bear Express


School visits

Thursday 20 June saw the visit of two primary schools. In the morning we hosted nearly 40 children and teachers from Korowal School at Hazelbrook. Despite detailed planning, their late departure plus the delayed arrival of our afternoon group of 60 from Mount Riverview, meant that the seamless transition from one to the other, with a smooth overlap, didn’t happen and some ad hoc re-scheduling was needed! However, a great day was had by all and written feedback included: “Thank you for a very valuable experience today.”

Our special thanks go to those who assisted with the event (in alphabetical order): Ray Beharrell, Bruce Coxon, Ted Dickson, Wayne Flicker, Debbie Inwood, Bruce Irwin, David Lewis, Grant Robinson, and Mick Tanner who very capably stood in for Henk in the model room.


National Tree Day

On Sunday 28 July we celebrated National Tree Day, and with sponsorship (thanks to Sonya and Sandy at Bunnings, Valley Heights), dozens of children planted a seedling, and marked the spot with their name tag. Personalised certificates were also handed out and plenty of family photo opportunities were created. Great efforts were put in by David Hunt, Dave Wainwright, Dennis Brown, Luke Tolhurst and Roslyn Reynolds in the planning & preparation of the event, on the day and in the ongoing upkeep and our thanks go to them for their contribution.

National Tree Day 2019 plantings
National Tree Day 2019 plantings

National Tree Day 2019 certificate
National Tree Day 2019 certificate

Keith Ward, Publicity Manager VHLDHM

2. A new perspective on the ‘Caves Express’

We recently acquired a 70 year old ‘O’ gauge model consisting of seven R-type carriages, representative of Caves Express set 108 of 1938.
It was donated by Mr John Wood of Carlingford, who constructed the model in 1948 as a hobby while in his final year of high school, having always been delighted by the sight of the Caves Express at Parramatta Station.

With a railway employee father, family holiday travel always undertaken by train and a clockwork train set as a child, Mr Wood developed an interest in trains from a young age.

A pharmacist by profession, he had an amateur interest in woodworking and in later life undertook a hobby class in metal working at Granville Technical College.  He went on to build a total of 150 ‘O’, ‘HO’ and 5 inch models and has been an active member of the Hornsby Society of Model Engineers at Galston.

The model has been in his possession continuously since 1948 with only occasional showings at Hornsby Society events.  Remarkably, he still has the original tin of paint which he used to paint the model:  Balm-Dulux ‘Jenolan Blue’, selected as a result of his many childhood sightings.

The Museum gratefully acknowledges Mr. Wood’s generous donation and the assistance of his friend, Mr. Howard Armstrong.  Thanks also go to mid-week volunteer, Bob Creasey for initiating the contact which led to the donation.
We plan to put the model on public display in 2020 and it will, of course, form an important supplement to the presentation of our 1:1 scale carriage, RBR 1049. With the operating ‘HO’ scale train running in the 1950s room, we will soon have all Caves Express bases covered – small, medium and large!

From left: VHLDHM Deputy Chair Ted Dickson, Howard Armstrong and John Wood with O scale model of the Caves Express
From left: VHLDHM Vice-Chairman Ted Dickson, Howard Armstrong and John Wood with O scale model of the Caves Express. Photo Mike Pensini

Mike Pensini, Small Exhibits Manager VHLDHM

3. Buildings and Infrastructure

Fettlers' Shed

Our Fettlers' Shed is now almost full, with most of the finishing touches now in place. A great article, written by Large Exhibits Manager, Bruce Coxon, appeared in the Winter 2019 edition of “Roundhouse”, so THNSW members amongst you will have already read that. This link to the article will enable non-members to read it: https://www.thnsw.com.au/post/nsw-railways-1961-design-standard-gang-shed-is-built-and-stocked

See Fettlers' Shed photo.


Crossover

The long awaited connection between the Arrival and Departure Roads opposite the shop/fire shed is virtually complete and should, subject to some final tweaking, be operational in the near future, after the necessary inspection ensures that it meets requirements. This will permit work to proceed on the re-timbering of the Arrival Road Ash Pit that we currently use for rides on Open Days. This exciting step forward, from an operational perspective, will not only permit relocation of rolling stock, but will also ultimately enable motive power to ‘run around’ a train and could lead to working demonstrations of traditional shunting practices on Open Days.

 

TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

4. Membership

As at 7 August, our membership numbers are:

New members at the Museum this year:

Members who have joined recently include

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

Total volunteer hours

worked this year as reported to Committee meetings:

January meeting 1238
February meeting 1179
March meeting 1503
April meeting 1324
May meeting 1424
June meeting 1483
July meeting 1290
August meeting 1457
Year to date 10898

Jeff Russell, Membership Officer

 

5. Our coming events

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

2019 calendar

Sunday August 25

Museum open day
Steam tram rides today

Sunday September 1

Father's Day: DADS ADMITTED FREE with normal fare paying visitor
EXTRA open day
Steam tram rides today

Sunday September 8

History week event: 'Memory & Landscapes', many unique activities are planned to explore the significance of the 105 year old Locomotive Depot in conjunction with the History Council of NSW.
Museum open day
Steam tram rides today

Sunday September 22

Museum open day
Steam tram rides today

Sunday September 29

Celebrate 140 years of Sydney Steam Trams: On this day in 1879, Sydney awoke to a new set of shapes, sounds and experiences with the appearance of the first Steam Tram. A range of special activities and exhibits will be in store to commemorate this special date in the city’s transport history
EXTRA open day
School holidays
Steam tram rides today

Thursday October 3

Enjoy the Museum's great experiences and activities. Climb on board engines and carriages that showcase over 100 years of railway history across the Mountains.
EXTRA open day
School holidays
No rides today--reduced admission fee

Thursday October 10

Reduced entry fees apply. Enjoy the Museum's great experiences and activities. Climb on board engines and carriages that showcase over 100 years of railway history across the Mountains.
EXTRA open day
School holidays
No rides today--reduced admission fee

Sunday October 13

Museum open day
School holidays
Steam tram rides today

Saturday October 26

HALLOWEEN: Late opening at 14:00 - late closing at 20:00. Take in all the ambience of the night lights, wacky experiences and weird happenings! Watch out for scares and surprises! Wear your favourite Halloween outfit and spot the 'hidden' witches for the chance to win prizes!
EXTRA open day
Steam tram rides today

Sunday October 27

HALLOWEEN: Ride the 'Spooky Express' plus many other scary happenings. Wear your favourite Halloween outfit and spot the 'hidden' witches for the chance to win prizes! NB last ride at 15:30
Museum open day
Steam tram rides today

Sunday November 10

Museum open day
Steam tram rides today

Sunday November 24

Museum open day
Valley Heights Mixed rides today

Sunday December 1

Santa event (TBC)
EXTRA open day
Steam tram rides today

Sunday December 8

Santa event with Winmalee RFS (TBC)
Museum open day
Steam tram rides today

Sunday December 22

CLOSED
Museum closed today
School holidays
No rides today

‘Call to arms’

Close scrutiny of the calendar above shows that September will be a very busy month! With four Open Days we will be relying on some additional support from members who are infrequent visitors and/or rarely volunteer. If YOU are in that category, please consider lending a hand, even for just a few hours on at least one of those days. The roles are many and varied, and provide the opportunity to connect with our great visiting audience, so PLEASE be in touch with Membership Officer, Jeff Russell on jeff.russell@valleyheightsrailmuseum.info or 0414 764 178 to see how you can help share the load!

Keith Ward, Publicity Manager VHLDHM

Other events

Member Roslyn Reynolds is holding another exhibition of the HO model layout at her Valley Heights home on Saturday 7 September. Whether you’ve been before or not, this huge display is well worth a visit as there’s always something new to gawk at. Admission is by gold coin donation, with all proceeds going to charity.

Model Railway Exhibition

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