Lachlan Valley Railway’s steam engine 3237 at South Grafton last weekend.
Lachlan Valley Railway’s steam engine 3237 at South Grafton last weekend.

Steam train passengers disgruntled

LOCAL rail buffs have been venting over Saturday’s steam train journey to Casino that wasn’t.

Several have complained that they were not aware that the event organisers, Lachlan Valley Railway (LVR), planned to use a diesel engine to take passengers instead of the restored P-Class locomotive 3237 that it brought to the area.

During the weekend, LVR conducted shuttle trips to Kyarran for $20 per single ticket using their steam engine to pull their restored carriages.

But on Saturday the steam engine picked up passengers at South Grafton for the dinner trip to Casino and took them over the bridge to Grafton, where it was uncoupled and a diesel engine attached

One disgruntled passenger, Sandra McSkimming, said she paid $30 for a steam-train ride but did not get as good a trip as those on the shuttle ride.

“At least they got an hour or so on the train, I only got across the Grafton Bridge,” she said.

However, LVR spokesperson Peter Lougher said his organisation never intended to use the steam engine for Saturday night’s trip to Casino.

Mr Lougher said a flyer advertising the Casino trip as steam-powered was wrong and not authorised by the group.

“I’m not sure where it came from, but it was something we did not have any control over,” he said.

He said the amount of preparation needed to get the engine ready for each day’s operation would have made it impossible for the volunteer workers to take the steam engine on the dinner trip.

“If we’d taken the engine to Casino we would have got back about 1am in the morning, and then we would have been up again at 4am to get ready for Sunday,” he said.

“We were never going to do it. We had ads on the radio saying it was going to be a diesel trip to Casino.

“We had around 100 people on the train for the dinner trip and, of those, 94 had a great time.

“Over the weekend we had about 900 people on the train and we’ve had about six people complaining. That’s less than one per cent of people unhappy with what we provided.”

The Daily Examiner’s coverage of the event left something to be desired. Our ‘Things to Do’ section on Saturday said the train would make five steam trips to Casino, which was incorrect.

We also published incorrect names of LVR workers in two photographs run in Monday’s paper.

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