Saturday the 17th of July 2010 marked the return of a regular timetabled train service within the Yarra Valley. The Hon Tim Holding Minister for Tourism and Major Events, helped Bill Snell, the last train driver to drive a train from Healesville, to cut the ribbon and officially open the superbly restored Walker Rail-Motor “RM22″. Other special guests included, Margaret Howie, who travelled to school every morning on the RM22 between 1956 and 1961, (Read Margaret’s Story here) and Ben Hardman the Member for Seymour.
The volunteers of the railway have reached a goal that has taken many years to achieve. The goal was to replace the existing trolley service with a train passenger service. To achieve this goal 4 bridges and 4kms of track required restoration to a standard capable for train operations.
Track restoration work has been ongoing since 1989. In 2006-2010, increased volunteer activity and increased resources to purchase track materials has resulted in great progress to track restoration during this period. The track required timber sleepers to be replaced and the track to be lifted and packed with ballast. Sleeper replacement in the running section from Healesville to the tunnel is complete and ready for train action. The largest bridge, the Watts River Bridge, required $100,000 worth of materials to rebuild with these funds supplied from a State Government Grant.
On 9th December 1980, the communities surrounding Healesville and Yarra Glen bid farewell to the Rail Motor Service. The last passenger train on the Lilydale to Healesville line was provided by rail-motors, ceased.
The Passenger Service will resume with Walker Rail-Motor “RM22”, a project that railway volunteers have worked on for over two years restoring the rail motor to “as new” condition. The Walker has been lent to the Railway by the Australian Railways Historical Society and was transported from the Williamstown Museum in 2006.
RM22 is a single carriage diesel rail-motor that once plied the Lilydale to Healesville line, and one which many residents of the area would have once travelled. It will be a very rewarding moment to return RM22 back to the Healesville Line.
The Yarra Valley Railway has won 2 national awards for the restoration projects in the last 2 years. The Association of Tourist & Heritage Railways Australia’s [ATHRA] Infrastructure Restoration Award for 2008, for the completion of the Watts River timber trestle bridge.
Tourist Railways from all over Australia are invited each year to nominate for these awards covering many different categories. The Watts River Bridge Project was selected by ATHRA for this award over other projects from all over Australia.
The second award was won at the 2009 Association of Tourist and Heritage Railways of Australia (ATHRA) awards held in Queensland. The YVR received the “ARTHA Passenger Vehicle Restoration Award 2009” for the restoration of RM22.
What’s Special about this Railway?
- The Yarra Valley Railway has enormous potential as a major tourist attraction. The railway runs through the heart of the Yarra Valley. The Yarra Valley attractions include Wineries, Accommodation, B&B’s, Markets, Racecourses and the Healesville Sanctuary.
- The large volume of passing traffic in the area over the weekend on Melba Hwy and Maroondah Hwy is significant.
- The line offers views of flood plans, dairy farms, vineyards, mountains and forests. The YVR is the only tourist railway in Victoria with a tunnel.
FARES & TIMETABLE
A round trip departs Healesville station every hour
from 10.00am to 4.00pm on
- Public Holidays
- School Holidays – Wednesday and Sunday
Night Owl Specials:
Night rides under the stars with a chicken and salad meal can be arranged for groups. (Group booking required)
Adults – $ 13.00
Children 3 -1 6 years – $ 8.00
Family (2 Adults + 2 children) – $ 34.00
Concession – $ 10.00
Prices effective 18-07-10
For more information about the Yarra Valley Railway visit their Website at – www.yvr.com.au