Re: Walhalla Goldfields Railway and the bushfires

Michael J

Good news on this mornings radio reports is that with last nights rain the threat seems to have passed. Let's hope they can get the support and money to get up and running again. And yes Walhalla is a very special place, so thank goodness the town itself was not harmed.


----- Original Message -----
From: Frank Stamford []
Sent: 12/23/2006 8:11:27 AM
Subject: [LRRSA] Re: Walhalla Goldfields Railway and the bushfires

I am not sure that there are any secure stabling facilities at
Walhalla. I think they moved the rolling stock down there because it
was seen as being a lower risk site than Thomson. It might be quite
fortuitous that they have a train at each end of the line, and might
not have been planned that way.

For those of us for whom Walhalla (the town) is a very special place
(a "sacred site") it is a relief to report that the only loss in the
town was a tent!

The $500,000 mentioned in the article below is an exaggeration,
$200,000 was a figure quoted by the WGR's Robert Ashworth on the ABC
this morning. That still seems high considering what the bridges on
the Gembrook restoration cost in the 1990s, but presumably the
remoteness and inaccesability increases costs.


--- In, "john browning" <ceo8@...> wrote:

The very useful site recommended by Frank

appears to indicate that the Henschel steam locomotive was taken
away on 16
December, I suspect on the Puffing Billy low loader.

The passenger cars are at Walhalla with the Baldwin diesel Kasey
whilst the
Fowler loco is at Thomson. This way they have a loco on each section
of the
line but I'm not sure what stabling facilities there are for rolling
at Walhalla.

The burnt out bridge is a small three span bridge about halfway between
Thomson and Walhalla -all timber construction, with spans about 15ft

There is talk of immediate rebuilding with some money (a start) being
pledged and organisation underway.


Bushfire damages tourist railway

Renee Switzer
December 22, 2006 - 4:35PM

'Malcolm' dumps water on Walhalla Goldfields Railway bridge over
the Thomson River.

'Malcolm' dumps water on Walhalla Goldfields Railway bridge over the
Photo: Craig Abraham

One of eight bridges that form part of a tourist railway near
Walhalla has
been destroyed by bushfires, as crews battle this afternoon to
protect the
seven remaining.

Yesterday crews managed to save six of the bridges, today saving the
substantial bridge on the line after aircraft, including an air
crane known
as Malcolm, dumped water on the blaze.
But the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) confirmed
that one bridge was burnt by the main fire in the area while the air
was on the ground re-fuelling.
The popular tourist icon, which attracts around 30,000 people each
year, is
made up of eight bridges and 4.5 kilometres of track between Thomson and
The proprietor of Walhalla's Star Hotel, Michael Leaney, said he
believed it
was bridge number seven that had been lost, situated in a gully
approximately two kilometres from the town.

Mr Leaney said the timber bridge cost about $500,000.

"Where are we going to get half-a-million bucks from?" he said. "Every
government department is going on holidays now and so for two weeks
will be no decisions made, no money handed out, nothing and so we
can't even
start work on repairs."

The Walhalla Goldfields Railway is the reconstruction of the most
spectacular section of the original Moe-Walhalla railway which
operated from
1910 until 1944.

Opened in 2002 and installed by volunteers, it is considered a
contributor to the area's economy.

Walhalla residents remain on high alert today for ember attacks and have
been urged to activate their fire plans.
Walhalla Road - the main road into the town - remains closed to all
non-emergency traffic.


John Browning

PO Box 5646
Central Queensland Mail Centre 4702

Phone +61 (0) 7 4926 6356
Mobile 0407 069 199

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