13 January 2012

Bye-bye "Beechie"

I was asked recently whether I had ever travelled on the Beech Forest line, and my answer, that I had, was received with just a little surprise.   This line was of course one of the 4 Victorian narrow gauge lines, and the last on which regular trains operated (that is, excluding "Puffing Billy"). I can remember travelling on the line, and also hiking in the area in scouting days.  However, I have no real recollection of the circumstances of the trip.   Only when looking for something else a day or so ago did I come across the brochure from my trip.
 (Apologies for poor quality of this image, but I am still working on how to upload  pdf files to blogspot.)
It seems that there were 2 "last trip" excursions, on 3 and 24 March 1962.  I can't remember which one I travelled on.    In fact, there were a number of excursions on the line in 1959 and subsequently, conducted by the Australian Railway Historical Society and others using narrow-gauge rolling stock transferred from Gembrook at the cost of the ARHS (including a Garratt loco, I think [Edit - on reflection, this may already have been there as the line was still in regular use at that time]). Although the brochure described the excursion traffic as "extensive", it seems that this alone alone couldn't offset the losses the line was making, and it was closed in June 1962.
The 1962 excursions were scheduled to reach the end of the line at Weeaproinah.    By this time, the portion of the line that extended to Crowes had been closed.  Crowes was the southernmost point of any railway on the Australian mainland (per Robert Lee, The Railways of Victoria 1854 - 2004).
I would have taken photos but I suspect they disappeared many years ago.

1 comment:

  1. What other ancient treasures will appear the next time you look for something?