Daylesford Spa Country Railway
|Daylesford Spa Country Railway|
|Stations||Daylesford to Bullarto|
|Rail transport in Victoria|
The Daylesford Spa Country Railway (which is operated by the Central Highlands Tourist Railway) is a volunteer-operated 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) broad gauge tourist railway located in Victoria, Australia. It operates on a section of the formerly disused and dismantled Daylesford line. It presently operates between Daylesford and the hamlet of Bullarto, although the section between Musk and Bullarto is currently closed due to bushfire damage sustained in early 2009.
Victorian Railways era
The original line was opened in two stages—from the mainline junction at Carlsruhe to the town of Trentham, on 16 February 1880. The remainder of the line was opened a month later on 17 March. The line initially had significant goods and passenger traffic, with 50,000 passengers travelling the line in 1884 alone. However, over the next seventy years, both traffic and the quality of line gradually degraded, until the last passenger service was replaced with a road coach in 1978.
Reopening as a tourist railway
The Central Highlands Tourist Railway was founded two years later, and set about restoring the railway to operating condition. After several years of restoration, trolley services commenced to a temporary terminus located in the Wombat State Forest in the latter half of the 1980s. On 15 September 1990 rail services commenced between Daylesford and the nearby hamlet of Musk. Another section of line was opened on 17 March 1997, allowing services to operate as far as Bullarto. As the station had been demolished, this required building a new platform and installing a portable station building. In 2002, the organisation changed its trading name from the Central Highlands Tourist Railway to the Daylesford Spa Country Railway.
On the evening of 23 February 2009, bushfires in the Daylesford region destroyed 1.6 kilometres of track running through the Wombat State Forest, with about 2000 sleepers being destroyed, rails being buckled, and the last two broad-gauge cattle pit logs on a running railway in Victoria destroyed. As a result services have been truncated until further notice, running on the 1.7 km of line left out of Daylesford. The repairs are expected to cost $250,000.
As of August 2010, services to Musk were reinstated after repairs to the damaged section through the forest.
- A single Leyland railmotor, 53RM is under long term restoration.
- DERM RM63 is preserved and operational.
- 26MT, a DERM trailer preserved and operational.
- DRC40, a DRC railcar which is preserved and operational.
- 102hp Walker railmotor 7RM, under long term restoration.
- 153hp Walker railmotor 32RM, under restoration.
- 280hp Walker railmotor 91RM, preserved and operational.
- 280hp Walker railmotor 82RM, which is stored, spare parts for 91RM.
- Walker Trailer 56MT
- Y159, a Y Class Diesel locomotive.
- RM74 passenger mail motor number 74, currently under restoration.
Current operations and extension plans
The railway operates every Sunday, with six services on its regular time table from Daylesford to Musk and return. On the first Saturday evening of each month, the railway also operates the Silver Streak Champagne Train. The railway also operates a weekly Sunday market on land adjacent to the Daylesford station, which both provides revenue and assists to promote its services.
Besides ongoing works to restore their services to Bullarto, the DSCR is interested in reopening the Bullarto-Trentham section of line. Numerous obstacles must be faced before this can begin, mainly the cost. Included in this project would be the upgrade of the Daylesford Bullarto section. Significant outside funds would be needed to achieve this. While the reservation is still intact, many sections are now privately leased from the crown, as are both stations on this stretch—Lyonville and Trentham.
|Daylesford Spa Country Railway|
- Osborne, M., (1993?), Timber, Spuds and Spa, A descriptive history and lineside guide of the railways in the Daylesford district 1880-1993, Australian Railway Historical Society: Victoria Division, ISBN 0-85849-044-7
- "Daylesford Spa Country Railway in jeopardy". Hepburn Advocate. www.hepburnadvocate.com.au. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
- "Daylesford Spa Country Railway Timetable". www.dscr.com.au. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
- "Daylesford Spa Country Railway seeks $1.7m for repairs". Hepburn Advocate. www.hepburnadvocate.com.au. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
- Daylesford Spa Country Railway - Timetable and Fares
- http://www.dscr.com.au/ - official site