News 2007                         


This page last altered 04/03/2011

December 2007

13th December 2007 - Ballast Regulator on the move again.

After completion of its work as far as the 16km bridge, the Ballast Regulator is once again loaded to road transport for a visit down to Pinjarra and some much needed maintenance, love and care.

11th December,2007 - Re-sleepering east side of the 13km point



Before and after shots of the re-sleepering east side of the 13km point.  In this general area, sections of up to 25 sleepers in a row were completely burnt out

11th December 2007 - Ballast Regulators Movements

The Regulator being unloaded at the 14.300km point, immediately east of the upper lights crossing.

Following completion of the Ballast Regulator's work as far as the bridge at the 13.383km, the machine is once again transferred to the next section by road.  This scene is the loading operation at the 13.210km point.

6th December, 2007  - Re-sleepering at the 12km point location.


This work is being carried out for HVTR by a team from the Puffing Billy Railway of Victoria utilizing equipment and materials provided by HVTR.  The sequence can be clearly seen here as a backhoe removes the old sleepers in the distance, the Linear Scarifier follows, clearing the sleeper cavity to the required shape, size and depth.  This is followed up by manually inserting the sleepers, which are then plated and drilled.  Next comes the gauging and fastening utilizing petrol driven power tools to install galvanized "Dog-screws".

A close up of the Linear Scarifier at work


Sleeper distributions is by Hirail with the sleepers brought to the suitable loading points by the HVTR Hiab Truck.


Morning smoko - lineside at the 11.750km

6th December 2007 - Access Roads.

Much of the HVTR line has long been inaccessible by any means other than train, trail bike or  "shank's pony" .  This has therefore required the construction of significant amounts of access roads to enable repairs to be carried out, particularly to the bridges and the many culverts.  

The photo below on the left is a section of the access roads is located on the downside of the line to the east of Scarp Road in an area of multiple burnt out culverts.

There are some 17 burnt out culverts in the first 2km east of Scarp Road.


The photo above on the right is a section of the access roads looking east at approximately 17km point.

Burnt out culverts - east of Scarp Road.

These 8 photos below show a selection of the burnt out culverts in the area east of Scarp Road



Heat Damage to Rail - 16.650km point

Heat buckle east of Scarp Road at approximately 16.650km 

4th December, 2007 - Ballast Regulator at 13.1km


     Ballast Regulator in action at the 13.1km point, immediately west of the lower level crossing lights.

    (Photo courtesy of Don Smith)

1st December, 2007

16km Bridge site now with access roads and cleared debris

November 2007

30th November 2007

With bridges missing, the only way around for machinery is by truck & crane.  Here, the Pemberton Tramway Ballast Regulator is being placed on track at the 11.5km location having previously been working between the 3km bridge and Isandra Siding.  This machine is moving vegetation and clearing the gravel ballast from the track and sleepers to enable identification and removal of the burnt out sleepers plus a clear safe working environment for sleeper renewal.


28th November 2007 - Trestles for Etmilyn and Davis Brook Bridges.


The photo on the left is the Pinjarra Team assembling one of the trestles for Davis Brook Bridge, while the photo on the right is the 6 assembled trestles at Pinjarra ready for Davis Brook and Etmilyn.                                                                                        

(Photo of the Pinjarra team courtesy of Bevan Hill)

October 2007

Sunday 7th October - Etmilyn Bridgework



This week end saw the completion of the four abutment wing walls at the Etmilyn Bridge constructed from 868 bags of concrete, each weighing 30kgs and all manually placed.




Week ending Friday 5th October - Repairs to Culvert


The first of the many burnt out culverts was replaced this week just east  of the 13km bridge. This culvert is one of the largest at 700mm diameter and 12 metres long. As noted earlier on this news page, this location had become a large wash away due to the significant rains of this winter. Continuing water flow had to be managed during the installation of this culvert.


September 2007

28th & 29th September 2007 - Etmilyn Bridgework

Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th September work at Etmilyn continues with the construction of the abutment wing walls using 30kg bags of concrete premix stacked,  spiked and watered to create simple effective wing walls.


June 2007

Construction of Access Road to Isandra

The access road to Isandra has been completed along with parkland clearing of the entire Isandra siding area in preparation for use as a potential stopping place as the line to Dwellingup re-opens.

The next stage here will be to surface the access road with gravel to facilitate machinery access to the burnt out bridge at the eastern end of Isandra siding.

Diesel Electric Locomotive G50

Work is progressing on the reconstruction of the main generator armature of the Diesel Electric Locomotive G50. The armature has been fully disassembled with a majority of the windings being recovered for re-use and all laminations de-stacked  for repair and random re-stacking to distribute the partially damaged laminations throughout the armature.  The re-stacking process has commenced.  All of this work is being undertaken by Read Electric at Fremantle.  



May 2007

29th May 2007 - Construction of Access Road   

At the end of May, construction of an access road to the previously inaccessible Isandra Siding was undertaken.  This road will ultimately provide access for the re-construction of the burnt out Isandra Bridge.

The nature of the terrain at Vezey Road to Isandra is such that it is wet all year round and necessitated a number of culvert pipes.

A quantity of used fibreglass pipes were donated and delivered to Hotham Valley Tourist Railway by the CSBP group at Kwinana.


28th May 2007 - State Government Assistance

The WA State Cabinet approved financial assistance to Hotham Valley Railway for the re-instatement of the railway infrastructure between Pinjarra and Dwellingup which was badly damaged by fires earlier in the year.  Hotham Valley Railway are extremely grateful of this support, which will enable the line to Dwellingup to be re-opened in 2008.

For details of the Premier's announcement visit the State Government press release at: 

21st May 2007 - Volunteers


Would you like to be a volunteer, helping to maintain and operate an important part of WA’s history???  Hotham Valley Railway is always pleased to hear from people who are interested in working with our team of volunteers.

The Board has been making special efforts to extend volunteering for Hotham Valley Railway, and people are responding to the call. Initial joining fees, membership fees and renewal fees can all now be waived in exchange for a commitment to carry out a minimum of just 12 shifts per year.

The couch is a great place to dream of railways, but that will never get you on the footplate of a Hotham Valley Railway loco, welcoming guests on the Forest Diner, or taking charge of the Dwellingup Station Kiosk. So this year, why not swap the living room for some responsibility and company. Every week, people up and down Perth do just that by giving up some spare time and energy.

True, it can take a long time to learn to drive a locomotive. But if you do, you will learn to appreciate the railway in a way few have the privilege to do. You may even find your enthusiasm leads you down different, unexpected paths. You could find your place in a workshop, feeling the pride that comes with helping to restore a heritage loco, an item of rolling stock or a piece of railway infrastructure.

If you prefer to keep your hands clean, there are car captain’s duties to perform, telephones to answer, ticket sales to make, or management decisions to consider.

Do you want to be part of a vibrant team of dedicated people, enjoying the training and mastery of new skills, participating in operating an accredited railway with a heritage emphasis? Why not give the office a call on 9221 4444 or send an email to find out how you can become a volunteer. 

If you are interested, click here to download the membership application form, or call Philip Moore at the HVTR office on 9221 4444 on a Monday between 10.00am and 3.00pm for more information.


5th May 2007 - Weekend

Another big weekend at the 3.221km bridge and again finishing in darkness but this time both Saturday and Sunday!                                On Saturday, the formwork from the previous weekend’s work was stripped plus the sections of concrete immediately above the sills on both the western and eastern abutments were jack hammered formed up and the lower sections renewed with the Parchem Micro Concrete.                                                                                                          On Sunday, the higher sections of the Western & Eastern abutments were jack-hammered free of fire damaged concrete as was the whole of the centre support plinth pylon. 

Formwork was then built and fixed to each location with just a small amount of work left to be done Monday, ready for the pouring of pre-mixed concrete on the Tuesday morning, supplied by Hanson's and pumped to the awkward to reach locations by Boomcrete of  Mandurah  who have continued to support                                                                               




April 2007

April 2007

April 2007 saw approximately 100 sleepers replaced in the fire damaged area east of Dwellingup, 3 burnt out culverts replaced, work started on the damaged concrete of the 3.221km bridge and a variety of other work including the commencement of the structural designs for the Etmilyn & Davis Brook Bridges.

28th & 29th April - Weekend

With all of the low level work that would be affected by the oncoming winter completed east of Dwellingup, attention turned to the fire damaged concrete of the 3.221km bridge to ensure this would be completed prior to the creek level rising.  Over this week-end, damaged concrete was jack-hammered from the Western abutment.



Formwork was then erected and special structural repair "micro concrete' poured to renew the sill top and face.  The product used was Parchem LA55 which was supplied to HVTR at a reduced price to help us out.  The concrete was mixed on site and placed by excavator bucket. 


This was tough week-end's work in unpleasant conditions with the final trowelling off completed by torchlight and car headlights.  Members and others worked very hard over this week-end.  

Photos courtesy of Andrew Bremner, Bevan Hill, John Syers & Martin Thobaven

21st & 22nd April 2007 - Weekend

On the weekend of April 21st & 22nd, work was carried out to better excavate the abutment and wing wall areas of the Etmilyn Bridge at 32.650km plus the third and last culvert was renewed at 31.480km, again with the assistance of Watercon & Robbo's. 

14th & 15th April 2007  - Weekend

On Saturday the l4th April 2007, the area around the new footings at Davis Brook Bridge was backfilled and landscaped together with the re-digging and re-forming of the creek bed. On the same day at the 30.750km, the first of three burnt out culverts was renewed with 450mm concrete pipes and headwalls.


On Sunday the 15th April, a culvert at the 32.200km was similarly renewed. Unfortunately the heavens opened up with gusto in the early afternoon resulting in the inflow headwall being placed into position as water was flowing 250mm deep through the new pipe work, as well as down our necks and into our boots, an unpleasant time was had by all.

On the plus side, at least we knew the culvert worked and could sign it off as having been tested!  Plus, clearing the Davis Brook site the previous day was clearly a job done just in the nick of time.  

The culvert pipes were supplied by Rocla who were pleased to do so with a significant discount to assist HVTR in its recovery. To get the job done, once again Andrew Bremner of Watercon provided his services and mini excavator with Robbo's Contracting providing a Bobcat and truck for our use.

March 2007

31st March 2007

Work on the fire damaged section of line from the 30.2km to Etmilyn continued throughout March with the heat buckles caused by the fire at 30.900km & 31.700km repaired. The section was walked with 327 sleepers marked for renewal of which 237 required renewal as a direct result of the fire. On Tuesday 27th March, the Pinjarra midweek work team led by Don Smith removed all dog spikes from these 327 sleepers. Anyone seeing this team on the day could have been excused for thinking they had happened across “Dad’s Army” in the forest complete with rifles, but they were really track crowbars. Capt Mannering, er, Don says his chaps all had a great day.

19th March 2007


A Billboard advertising campaign commenced Monday 19th March 2007 aimed at promoting HVTR’s Dwellingup services and Dwellingup generally. The 6m x 3m billboards are attractive and similar to the ones successfully used last year to promote the Steamranger services. Whilst media coverage of the recent fires was helpful in highlighting the misfortunes of the fire damage suffered around Dwellingup, it also has been found to have created a public perception that HVTR and the region have been so badly damaged that they are not worth visiting. Hopefully these billboards will help to change this perception. The initial billboard sites are Lord St East Perth, Stubbs Tce Shenton Park and Welshpool Rd Welshpool. Tribe APN Outdoor the media space providers  and Discus the sign printers have both assisted HVTR at this difficult time with heavily discounted rates.  

12th March 2007


From Saturday 10th March 2007 through to Monday 12th March 2007, following a week and a half of technical, equipment and site preparations, the concrete pile cap sill footings for the centre span of the Davis Brook Bridge were formed, steel reinforced and poured. Each footing required 9 cubic metres (approx 22tonnes) of concrete.

Saturday saw the existing piles carefully trimmed to the required height, the ground excavated to the required size and level, followed by the pouring of the 6m x 2m blinding slabs upon which the formwork for the sill beams was to be erected and bolted down to. The existing piles were arranged to protrude approximately 250mm through the slab and therefore into the sill beam when it was cast.

         Pouring Blinding Slabs  - Saturday 10/3/07

The formwork & steel reinforcing for the sill beams was erected over Sunday and Monday with the final concrete pouring taking place mid afternoon Monday 12th March 2007. 

Access to the bridge site was difficult for getting close by truck and therefore required a concrete pump to convey the concrete  from the delivery trucks to the location of the footings.  At short notice, Boomcrete of Mandurah provided the pumping at heavily discounted rates with Hanson's supplying the concrete, also at discounted rates. 


     Pile Cap Sill Beam Formwork  - Saturday 10/3/07

Once again Watercon provided skilled assistance and machinery to get the job done with assistance from Thundermental Services and HVTR members. Thanks must also go to Boral Formwork and Smorgon Steel for their assistance in bringing their respective elements of this small job for them, together at short lead time in such a busy period for the construction industry.


     Pouring Pile Cap Sill Beams - Saturday 10/3/07             Completed Concrete Pour - Monday 12/3/07

Photos courtesy of Andrew Bremner & Bevan Hill                                         


February 2007

28th February 2007 - Funding Assistance

Following discussions on February 14 between the Peel Development Commission, the Rail Heritage Foundation of WA and HVTR, the RHF at their monthly meeting on 21/2/07,  ratified a recommendation to the Peel Development Commission for re-prioritization of projects and re-allocation of some existing project funds in order to provide funding for the restitution of the fire damage suffered on the HVTR line east of Dwellingup in October 2006 and other fire damage related works. This was considered an important priority need for HVTR given the infrastructure losses from the January fires would require HVTR to focus on its Dwellingup services only for its operations & income over the remainder of 2007. The recommendation was approved by the Peel Development Commission on February 28 and as a result, work can now commence in earnest on getting this work done and the last 2km of the section to Etmilyn re-opened as soon as possible, thanks to the PDC funding which will be made available via a grant to the RHFWA.

15th February 2007 - Fire Damage Update


On Friday 9th February, the access tracks to the Etmilyn and Davis Brook bridges were cleared by Robbo's Contracting of Pinjarra in readiness for the commencement of work at these locations.

On the weekend of 10th & 11th February, with the help of a bobcat provided by Robbo's and a mini excavator provided by Watercon of Malaga, clearing and preliminary earthworks were completed at the Etmilyn (32.650km), Davis Brook (30.350km) and Alumina Junction (3.221km) bridge sites by HVTR members and helpers.

During the following week, the access track to the Alumina Junction bridge site was made trafficable with the assistance of approximately 150 tonnes of nearby soiled blue metal ballast from WestNet Rail and limestone trucked in, placed and graded by Robbo's.

The next stage will be the forming and pouring of concrete pile cap footings for the central supports of the Davis Brook Bridge.




9th February 2007


The Saturday 3rd  February  2007  bushfire was determined to be a continuation of the 26th January outbreak. The widespread effects and losses cover areas now estimated as over 13,000 hectares. This fire has now been officially declared as a “Natural Disaster” which presents various opportunities for relief and re-instatement assistance to eligible entities for relevant infrastructure. HVTR may qualify for some assistance.

As previously reported, all timber structures have been totally lost. These photographs show the 3 bridges lost from Saturday 3rd February to Monday 5th February. 

The bridges are the 10.483km (Isandra), 13.383km (between the 2 level crossing lights) and 15.913km.

Freight rollingstock stowed at Isandra has been fire damaged and the station hut (‘out of building’) incinerated.

In total, the fires have destroyed all 6 bridges, approximately 22 culverts, two sets of level crossing flashlight equipment, approx 16 level crossing signs, 20 km peg signs, 5 flat car decks, the Isandra station hut and roundly 3,000 sleepers.

Forest Train and Restaurant Train services are continuing to operate on the Dwellingup to Etmilyn section from Dwellingup to the 29.900km point.  Forest Train and Restaurant Train services are continuing to operate on the Dwellingup to Etmilyn section from Dwellingup to the 29.900km

Clean up work has commenced as well as preliminary earth works and access road creation to the various bridges and culverts. The first major work will commence Saturday 10th  Feb at the Etmilyn, Davis Brook and Alumina Junction Bridges.

5th February 2007

THIRD BUSHFIRE on HVTR in 3 months and 5 days

On Saturday 3rd February 2007, yet another  bushfire commenced just northwest of Dwellingup and quickly spread in a south westerly direction. Over the following 36hrs, the fire completely burnt through some 12,000 hectares of forest and farmland to the west of Dwellingup. The HVTR line from Alumina Junction near Pinjarra winds its way through this area and rugged escarpment, over 4 timber trestle bridges and many timber culverts as it makes its way to Dwellingup.

 As a result of the fire, all timber structures have been totally lost, several freight wagons burnt out, a small station hut incinerated and approximately 2200 sleepers lost along the 10.5km of line affected.

The three fires have now destroyed all 6 bridges on the HVTR lines and many culverts, along with two sets of level crossing flashlight equipment and many level crossing signs, km pegs and so on.

Forest Train and Restaurant Train services are continuing to operate on the Dwellingup to Etmilyn section from Dwellingup to the 29.900km point. 

These fires have been a significant blow to HVTR however work has begun on evaluating the best way to achieve re-instatement of the line in a staged way that may even permit modified steam services to recommence as usual in May from Pinjarra, as far as Isandra Siding, 10.25km from Pinjarra.

HVTR is working closely with the Shire of Murray, the Peel Development Commission, the Rail Heritage Foundation of WA and State & Federal Government agencies in an effort to get the necessary infrastructure back into place.

Our aim is to turn these devastating losses into positive outcomes as soon as possible.

Further information and photographs will be placed on this news page soon.

January 2007

HVTR suffers from another bushfire

Late in the afternoon of Australia Day, Friday 26th January 2007, a bushfire   started a few kilometres west of  Dwellingup, towards the coast and well away from HVTR lines. Unfortunately there were very strong winds and by sunrise Saturday morning the fire had travelled south down the Darling Escarpment towards Pinjarra and then swung south east across the HVTR lines at Alumina Junction. The fire progressed generally east and along the HVTR line for some 7km, until it was stopped approximately 400metres from Isandra Siding, 10km back towards Dwellingup from Pinjarra.                                                     

 This fire caused significant damage to the railway, burning out approximately 1000 sleepers, 5 culverts and the 3.221km bridge which was almost new having been heavily repaired in April 2006 (See April 2006 News).

  HVTR now has both extremities of its lines heavily damaged by bushfires. 


HVTR is working with the Rail Heritage Foundation and the Peel Development Commission on how the railway may be re-established asap.

Photos by Matthew Willis


The good performance of train services and ticket sales has however placed great pressure on the relatively small percentage of active members. The railway is doing well commercially but more existing members need to assist and we need to increase the number of members of the organisation. The future of the organisation really is in the hands of the members.




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