Monday, 21 March 2011

Memories of the Rurr Valley

As some may know, as well as my HO scale NSWGR Lambing Flat layout, I also have a garden railway, the Rurr Valley Railway. This railway is built to (nominally) 1:24 scale on 45mm gauge track, representing 3ft 6ins gauge, and is 'inspired' by the railways that once existed on the west coast of Tasmania (particularly the Mt Lyell railway). The locos and rollingstock are mostly modified and adapted proprietary models from the likes of LGB and Bachmann, with a few scratchbuilt items. Sadly, the line has been very neglected since I was recruited to AMRM, especially after the flood of December 2007 that demolished one major bridge and severely damaged the other. Despite two more major floods in early 2010 that did even more damage, an attempt was made in June/August last year to revive it. This was partially successful, as I managed to get about half the line cleared and operational, but then, with the heavy rain late last year, and then the heat of summer preventing the heavy outdoor work needed to maintain it, the line has slipped back into 'services suspended' mode once more. However, come the cooler months, I intend to make another attempt to revive it!

In the meantime, here are a few shots from the 'heyday' of the line.
 Back on 19 July 2005 the line was in fairly constant use and in pretty good condition. Here, RVR No.2, a conversion of an Aristocraft G scale 2-4-2 hauls a passenger train down the Bottom Road towards the terminus at Possum Point. The line originally had a zig-zag going up the side of the hill in the background and, despite the top section of the zig-zag being 'deviated' in 2002, the names 'Bottom' and 'Middle' roads have stuck. The passenger cars consist, from the front, of an LGB car modified to resemble the ex-Tasmanian Main Line Railway passenger car preserved at the Hobart Transport Museum, a purchased on eBay cut down kit of an English Lynton and Barnstaple Railway car that resembles some vehicles used on the Emu Bay Railway, a repainted and modified Bachmann American car that is reminiscent of the cars used on the North Mt Lyell Railway and a mostly scratchbuilt brakevan based on a Mt Lyell Abt railway van.

Still one of my favourite shots, on 3 May 2004 the RVR's No.1 drifts down the Bottom Road with an ore train. The loco is a heavily modified LGB 'Stainz', altered to resemble the Mt Lyell (and Burrinjuck) 2ft gauge Krauss-built locomotives. The vehicles are a modified Bachmann gondola, altered to resemble a Mt Lyell K type ore wagon and a scratchbuilt styrene model of the Emu Bay's B2 ore wagon.

This is a shot through the open doors of brakevan D6 at Possum Point on 12 June 2004. D6 was converted from a Lehmann (LGB) van to represent a 'might have been' rebuild in the style of the TGR's DB vans of early TGR four-wheel van D6.

No.1 again, coming off the Middle Road past the scratchbuilt signal box and water tank at Bottom Points on 7 October 2003. The first vehicle is a conversion of a Lehmann American style four-wheel boxcar to resemble an early Emu Bay Railway E van.

No.2, a conversion of a Bachmann Lynton and Barnstaple 2-4-2T Lyn, stands at the highest station on the line, Devlins, waiting to bring a passenger train 'down the hill', also on 7 October 2003. No.2 has, since 2006, been sitting on the workbench part way through conversion into a 'near enough' Mt Lyell Baldwin-built 0-6-0T. The station building is a cardboard mock-up that only comes out for running sessions.

 This is what the line looked like the day after the disastrous flood of 5 December 2007. The two floods, a week apart, in early 2010 completely finished this bridge off. Luckily I recovered the girder spans during the week between them, or the whole bridge would have ended up in Sydney Harbour! A new bridge will have to be built before trains can run on the southern end of the line again.

There is hope yet! This photo shows the Bottom Road looking towards Possum Point, after Possum Point had been cleared, but before work started on the Bottom Road in July 2010.
This photo shows the view, from more or less the same spot as the previous photo, after a lot of hard work on 4 July 2010. Unfortunately, the view from this spot today would be more like the top photo again! However, winter is coming...


  1. Hi James,good memories of running on the RVR. Live steam was a challenge though. :o) Let me know when the line is open again.

  2. They say there's a prototype for everything...Including the neglect and reopening!