1 April 2022

Keep calm and carriage on: steam is back on track this Easter

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Steam train

Steam returns this Easter long weekend in Canberra. Photo: Canberra Railway Museum.

After a rough few years, the Canberra Railway Museum is back on track with a treat for vintage train buffs this Easter long weekend.

Canberra Railway Museum’s John Cheeseman, who has been volunteering there for more than 30 years, said the museum got into financial difficulties back in 2016.

“A group of us then set up a new charity and we acquired what was left of the museum from the liquidator or the previous operator, and we’ve re-opened the museum and got it back up,” he said.

There was also a fire at museum just hours before it was due to reopen in October 2019

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With the museum up and running, and if there are no COVID lockdowns or bad weather delays, John can’t wait for the return of the traditional train rides over Easter.

“We are really looking forward to the Easter long weekend, we’ve been trying to run it for the past two years, and now we’re happy it’s finally moving forward,” he said.

Over the Easter long weekend, the 1950s Picnic Train will steam between Canberra and Bungendore three times daily, tracking through tunnels to the Molonglo Gorge.

The Picnic Train is one of the D59 Class 2-8-2 ‘Mikado’ steam locomotives used by NSW Government Railways from the 1950s until the end of steam operations in the 1970s.

Canberra Railway Museum sign

The Canberra Railway Museum is open every Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm. Photo: The Canberra Railway Museum, Facebook.

John said the steam engine train would come down to Canberra from Sydney for the weekend.

“We will also have the Canberra Railway Museum open to the public, where we will have our other events and other items on display,” John said.

The Easter trips are sold out, but they’re planning on running The Picnic Train on the Anzac Day long weekend.

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Capital Retro6:33 pm 01 Apr 22

Will they be burning renewable coal?

Great idea CR. Switch them to electric power. There is ample room for batteries in place of the boiler and coal tender. A small steam generator for the smokestack, for the “drive” cylinders, and for random authentic valve leaks. Add a noise generator for the right noises (just like ICE cars already do for effect). We may need a small gas system for firebox effect but not much and I’m sure it can be replaced with a TV screen.
So long as the passenger carriages rattle, nobody will really notice.

Or, maybe should that be yes?
I’ll think about it.

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