To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the last train to Beech Forest, on Saturday 30 June 2012 the regular 11:10a.m. Belgrave Gembrook train was hauled by G42 and the normal consist was extended to 16 cars.

This was achieved by adding nine cars to the front, consisting of an NC van, an NU van, six NQR canopied passenger trucks, and another NC van. The only thing missing was the second NC van, as at present the Puffing Billy Railway has only one in trafficable condition.

For the day, G42's front buffer beam was painted red, as it was on Saturday, 30 June 1962; and bore a headboard resembling that it wore on the last train to Beech Forest.

Only a handful of those on the 1962 event were seen on this train, and it lacked the memorable bone-shaking, high-speed return from Gellibrand to Colac – 17 miles in 71 – minutes, an average speed of 14.4 miles an hour on very rough track in worn out rolling stock, with the foliage of nearby trees brushing the sides of the trucks.

Not very fast, but a great impression of speed!

On that occasion G42 ran funnel-first for the whole trip, taking the passengers around the balloon loop at Beech Forest, a procedure which was against the rules.

And the tennis players on the tennis court inside the balloon loop just kept playing, without stopping to pay homage to the last train. Shame upon them.

 

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At Menzies Creek, 30 June 2012.

At Menzies Creek, close up of loco, showing red buffer beam and special headboard.

At Lakeside.

At Gembrook - heritage station.


Fifty years earlier ...

G42 on the last train to Beech Forest, taking water at Dinmont. 30 June 1962

G42 on the last train to Beech Forest, approaching Beech Forest. 30 June 1962

G42 on the last train to Beech Forest, entering the balloon loop at Beech Forest. 30 June 1962

G42 on the last train to Beech Forest, exiting the balloon loop at Beech Forest. 30 June 1962. The fence surrounding the tennis court can be seen to the left of the locomotive.

G42 on the last train to Beech Forest, entering Beech Forest yard from the balloon loop. 30 June 1962

G42 entering Beech Forest station after going around the balloon loop. 30 June 1962

G42 on the last train to Beech Forest, at Gellibrand on the return trip. 30 June 1962

G42 on the last train to Beech Forest, at Gellibrand on the return trip. It was about to make its final run for over forty years, and it was a very fast trip over rough track. 30 June 1962


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All photographs Copyright Frank Stamford who may be contacted by email at: frank.stamford@bigpond.com

Last updated: 2 April 2016