August 15th, 2022Trains almost back to Bullarto
DAYLESFORD Spa Country Railway trains are not far from heading back to Bullarto after the track was covered by fallen trees and debris in the June 2021 storm.
Board member Stuart Smithwick said Bushfire Recovery Victoria had done a fantastic job with work looking like it will be finished this Friday, August 19.
“It’s great and while it doesn’t mean we will be running trains on Saturday, the work BRV and the contractors have done just needs to be noted.”
Mr Smithwick said the storm damage was devastating for the railway’s many dedicated volunteers but “you just keep your chin up and keep plodding along and you know someone will come along and help you eventually”.
“And we have definitely been proved right that it was not just a job for a couple of blokes and a chainsaw. You see the gear they are using and the volumes they have been taking out. We could never have done that.”
Mr Smithwick said the organisation originally contacted VicTrack and Macedon MP Mary-Anne Thomas with BRV unable to work on public land until legislation was changed.
“The contractor did an assessment back in January, and they brought in arborists to look at the trees, and then we all got the green light on June 30 this year. I think the six months was all about who was going to pay for it.”
Mr Smithwick said despite the delays, the volunteers never gave up on their railway. “At the end of the day it is a government asset and the government recognises that we are pretty important to the region. So it was just a matter of being patient – the same as it was with the fires in 2009.”
Mr Smithwick said it had taken until now to discover the extent of any track damage with “literally spots we couldn’t actually see the track because there was so much debris over it”.
“I walked the track last Monday and it doesn’t look too bad. And if we have to put down a couple of sleepers, that is what we do.”
Mr Smithwick said it could be a couple of months before the train reached Bullarto and people riding the train will find a huge change of scenery.
“There is going to be sunshine where it hasn’t been for a long time, and in some spots where it was forest it is now open. “It’s not until you actually go into the bush and go ‘wow’ that you get a real feeling of what has happened.”