15 December 2011

The Don River Railway

I missed out on the Ida Bay Railway while in Tasmania so I was very pleased to notice that the the Don Rover Railway was operating on the day that we had some time in the Devonport area.   In fact, this railway operates daily.   It's run by the Van Diemen Light Railway Society and uses part of the trackbed of the former Melrose line which was a branch line on the Tasmanian rail system.  However, when the preservation group took over, the rails had been lifted so they had to completely rebuild the line.   It's not a long line, but it is a picturesque route on the banks of the Don River, from the very substantial workshops in the town of Don to the previous junction with the main rail system at Coles Beach.  The terminus at this point is alongside the main railway line, although there is no permanent physical connection.    
In addition to the workshops, the facilities include a railway station (formerly at Ulverstone), a signal box (from Launceston), a turntable and quite a number locomotives,  carriages and wagons.  The collection includes some magnificently restored carriages (perhaps this is related to the fact that the society has been the recipient over the years of a range of government grants).
On the day we were there, a rail car was operating, but apparently a restored steam locomotive operates on Sundays. 
 Restored carriage
 Inside the workshops
 Driver's view down the track
 At the Coles Beach terminus
Locomotives in the yard

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