Bellarine Railway 3rd December 2012
Having arrived on the overnight XPT from Sydney, via a bus to Goulburn, I was feeling less than fresh when I met up with three other guys and a local Australian crank in Melbourne to head off to the Bellarine Railway near Geelong.
We’d arranged a Private Charter at the Bellarine Railway on which we’d utilise their 3 English Electric locos:
Ex Tas Rail X Classes – X3 & X20
Ex Queensland 1600 Class – 1604
We’d hoped for a bit more than we actually got and things seemed to have gone a bit awry with what was actually possible shortly before our trip. We originally expected to have a return trip over the full length of the line from Queenscliff to Drysdale with the X Classes and a return trip from Queenscliff to Lakers Siding with 1604, what we actually got was 1604 from Queenscliff to Lakers Siding then the X Classes Lakers Siding to Drysdale and return all the way to Queenscliff. Strangely though the stock came and returned empties to Lakers Siding but we weren’t allowed to drive down there to board due to it being restricted to staff only.
All the above aside we at least got all the locos we paid for and plenty of photo stops and run-by’s en route in both directions. The stock was load 6, the same set that the railway used on their Blues Train.
Having not had much English Electric stuff outside of the UK, just a few bits in Portugal & Malaysia, I was quite surprised at the noise that came out of 1604, and only from 6 cylinders as well. It was a shame it was only on the train for just over 4km.
At Lakers Siding, in the middle of nowhere, 1604 was shunted off the train and into the massive new shed that had been erected to house the Bellarine fleet. Inside the X Classes were already marshalled together and mutli’d up, all they needed was starting.
The X’s didn’t sound anything like as meaty as 1604 had, no matter how hard they tried. there wasn’t much scope to give them a good hammering along the line anyway, with just one gradient, where they tried, bless them. They looked the part in the pristine red livery they carried, unfortunately the sun didn’t so them any justice until we arrived back into Queenscliff at the end of the run.
We did attempt to get the railway to give us some runs off their shunter fleet but they were unable to do so as they needed permission to move anything on shed. It had been a decent day, nothing to write home about thrash wise and we’d paid a fair amount for the privilege too but one out and back had sufficed really, being able to have ridden from and back to Lakers Siding would have been a lot better though. By 1500 we were heading back into Melbourne for an afternoon spin on the V Line Bacchus Marsh commuters.