Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Hunter Valley Steamfest 2014


I have been living in Newcastle now for 5 years.  Each time the Steamfest has been on I have been working that weekend; until this year!

The Hunter Valley Steamfest is a celebration of all things run by steam, as well as some other vintage trains and machinery from the 'era' of steam.

Get there early to secure a good park!

Apart from the static displays of steam engines being used for water pumps, threshing machines and sawmill operations, there are quite a few displays that move around.  Huge traction engines drive about the place.  The traction engine was mostly used for heavy haulage on roads (especially lumber and loads up to 120 tons).  Some were operated by contractors who would travel from farm to farm to assist in threshing, tree pulling and general farm duties.

The most famous of all Traction Engines would have been the Steamroller, used to flatten gravel and rock for road building.  I can remember as a child watching the local council upgrading our street from a dirt road to asphalt and the huge steamroller they used to flatten the road.  Although the production of traction engines stopped in favour of petrol in the 1930s, they were still widely used up until the 1950s and the Steamroller was still in use well into the 1960s.

There was Penny Farthing races!  I have ridden a pushbike for years now but it still amazes me how people who ride these do it.

Miniature steam engines gave joyrides for children and some enthusiastic steam engineers also had their own single seater steam engine for their own personal transport!

The main attraction I guess was the Steam Locomotives and vintage carriages that provided joy rides all over the weekend.  These rides departed from Maitland and went separately to Branxton, Newcastle and, Dungog.  

I took up a strategic position at the Lochinvar train Station to get some photos. It is a small remote station with pedestrian overpass to get a great overhead shot.  The train travelling to Branxton could not turn around at the end of its' trip and therefore it pulled the carriages on the way up and pushed on the way back.   Attached at the end of this train was Diesel 4306.  On the return trip the steam loco pushed whilst the diesel pulled.

I had planned to drive madly from one place to another to get some photos of the other steam trains running through the countryside.  On the day, however, I decided to stay at Lochinvar train station.  I figured that next year I would have to do some serious recon and find suitable areas favourable for photography.

The train in my photos here 'Heritage Express 3642' was one of 75 introduced to NSW in 1925 as Express Passenger engines.  This particular train was officially withdrawn from service in September 1969.  During its' service it was recorded to have travelled a distance of 1,837,716 miles!

The other steam train featured here in this entry is a 'Mikado' Class D59. This particular locomotive 5917 was built in the USA in 1953 and was used for freight haulage up to its' withdrawal from service in August 1972.

The Diesel Locomotive 4306 that was teamed up with Heritage Express 3642, was built at Broadmeadow near Newcastle, NSW.  It was brought into service in June 1957 and worked the Central West Line hauling passenger carriages.  When that line was electrified it was transferred to the North Coast Line working from Broadmeadow for freight services.  It was resigned from service in October 1979.

What it is about steam trains and the older steam driven engines that attract people?  Perhaps it harkens back to a simpler time when we all weren't rushing about madly trying to make up time.  A time when making a phone call was a big thing because not everyone had a phone in their house; when taking the time to handwrite a letter was the main form of communication between family and friends.

It was a very successful weekend!  If you want to experience a 'real train ride', then keep an eye out for Steamfest next year!  There are more photos in an album on my Google Plus Page and I intend to upload more there also. 



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Heritage Express 3642 arriving at Lochinvar, NSW, Australia.

Letting off some Steam.  Maitland, NSW, Australia.

Mikado D59 Class Locomotive at Steamfest 2014.  Maitland, NSW, Australia.

Penny Farthing Races.  Steamfest 2014, Maitland, NSW, Australia.

Diesel Engine 4306 returning from Branxton with Heritage Express 3642 assisting on the end.
Steamfest 2014, Lochinvar, NSW, Australia.

Heritage Express 3642 reverses through Lochinvar Train Station.  Lochinvar, NSW, Australia.

1913 Ruston Proctor 2 speed agricultural steam traction engine at Steamfest 2014.  Maitland, NSW, Australia.

All aboard! for Steamfest 2014.  Maitland, NSW, Australia.

A 2 man operation to drive this beasty!  
1913 Ruston Proctor 2 speed agricultural steam traction engine at 
Steamfest 2014.  Maitland, NSW, Australia.

International Harvester Company of America.  Traction Engine at
Steamfest 2014.  Maitland, NSW, Australia.

Heritage Express 3642 steaming into Lochinvar, NSW, Australia.