Victoria’s Steam Train Heritage Roars To Life

11 March 2016

A 101-year-old steam locomotive will be enjoyed by the public for the first time in more than 50 years, thanks to a team of volunteers which have brought it back to full working order.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne and Heritage Victoria Executive Director Tim Smith were at the Newport Railway Workshops in Melbourne’s west on Friday to see the locomotive in full steam ahead of the Steamrail Victoria open weekend.

The restored A2 986 locomotive was built in 1915, ferrying passengers until 1963 when it was withdrawn from service and later retired to a park in Warragul.

In 1986, Steamrail Victoria volunteers brought the A2 back to its Newport workshops home and, 30 years later, it is now the only working engine of its type.

The A2 will be one of 13 locomotives on display this long weekend, including the first and last locomotives ever to be built at the Newport rail yards in 1893 and 1959.

Polly, the first train built at Newport, is on loan from Scienceworks for the event and will feature alongside the Ballarat-built Y112, the oldest working steam engine in Australia.

Other displays will include the 113-year-old Victorian Railway Commissioner’s locomotive, and sleeping carriages from the Southern Aurora, the Overland and the 1910 Adelaide Express.

Throughout the year, Steamrail Victoria run locomotive trips around the Melbourne suburban lines and the VLine network and open the workshops every two years to the public.

The Newport Railway Workshops, built from 1888, are listed on the Victorian Heritage register for their historic, scientific and archaeological significance to Victoria.

Built in the style of British railway workshops from the same era, the Newport Railway Workshops are regarded as one of the best intact 19th century rail workshops in the world.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne

“It is extraordinary to think the A2 locomotive spent 20 years dormant in a park, but that is where it would still be if it was not for 30 years’ worth of volunteer effort.”

“The work which goes into these old engines means they can haul tourist trains across the state, offering children the chance to experience steam travel.”

“The rolling stock on display at the Newport Railway Workshops are a reminder of how significant the railways were to Victoria’s industrial and manufacturing industries.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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