Re: ILRMS Tongarra Trainfest


I spent most of the day down there, in rather hot and humid conditions.

It was a most popular attraction with the general public, all internal parking having been taken by 1030 hours. A single entrance fee gave unlimited train rides throughout the day, with all three bogie passengers carriages in use.

As well as the Society's operating (2-ft-gauge and miniature) railway and stationary engine display, . there were displays from the NSW Police and State Emergency Services, Rural Fire Service, vintage cars, together with petrol and kerosene engines. The Society now has a separate "Ken McCarthy" shed containing historical displays and an operating narrow gauge model railway. The Railway Band made a special trip down from Sydney and performed frequently throughout the day.

Four 2-ft gauge locomotives were in steam and operating at various times throughout the day, with even the minute 0-4-0 box tank "Burra" running a demonstration train of four wheel skip wagons. Diesel locomotives were conspicuous by their absence, although the Simplex was on stand-by with the fire train.

I understand that this may be the last time that the "Perry" is steamed for a while as some repairs are needed to the smokebox area owing to rusting.

Very few railway "enthusiasts" made it to the site. The Museum had made special arrangements for any attending to be conducted to non-public areas in the bush in order to obtain photographs etc., away from the public - which was greatly appreciated by those who took advantage of this. During the morning, include when "Burra" made its demonstration runs, there were only two photographers; my mid afternoon, this had grown to no more than half a dozen, one of whom had made the journey from Stawell in Victoria.

My congratulations are extended to the Illawarra Light Railway Museum Society for an excellent Tongarra Trainfest - the first, so I understand for some five or six years.


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