February 17 2018
Dozens of Deniliquin residents this afternoon went out to see a passenger train that had arrived as part of a ‘Dash to Deniliquin’ historical train tour.
There was some confusion leading into this afternoon, 707 Operations website had mentioned a plan to have the train arrive at 6:45pm but then they had on their schedule located on the same page an arrival time of 4pm which confused people.
The train looked fantastic with the lead engine in Victorian Railway (VR) colours, VR was what we now know as V/Line and VR was what serviced Deniliquin by rail into the 1970’s.
Two engines and ten carriages made up the train with the carriages made in different decades providing a pure historical journey.
Getting off behind Harvey Norman may not of been the most glamorous disembarking point in rail history but there is no doubt the crowd would of made up for it.
Lots of pictures were taken by both passengers and onlookers and 707 Operations has some available to look at on their page as well as The Lone Railrider who helps shed light on how they managed to get the VR engine to the other end of the train without a turntable.
It is still odd seeing that the end of the rail is just past Harvey Norman when it used to end around 190m further down the road (Google Earth measurement).
The former end of the line site used to have the remains of two rail platforms and a turntable but those are now gone and soon buildings will take their place.
The passengers on the train are at this time of writing in Warragoon at the Long Table Cafe, a cafe that has a reputation for guests receiving fine hospitality and quality dining.
By 6:50pm, the train will reverse and start going back towards the border, hopefully the next train will come soon as trains never fail to draw a crowd and local interest and wishes the trains restarted again.
The loss of the 190m of rail line no doubt makes restoration of rail travel difficult but a daring council together with a sympathic state or federal government can always make use of the many hundred of metres of line that is still in town.
The former platform towards the Railway Hotel measured out to be about 66 metres long (including small building) with the width of the platform coming to about 11 metres or 16 metres including building and a platform theoretically could be replicated along the 500m of track that leads to the Cobb Hwy.
Just imagine the possibility of getting off a train outside Harvey Norman and being whisked to the Cruising Nationals or the Ute Muster by Bus and then catch an afternoon ride home.
We can always dream but for today, rail was back.