I am such an old coot. Can't believe its 21 Easters ago that 3801 Ltd and LVR combined to give me one of the best Easters since childhood. It all started where it should - at Central behind 3801 early on Good Friday morning.
From memory the 38 performed magnificently throughout the trip (it was off to Dubbo). We got a tow from Penriff to Katoomba from a pretty decrepit 4472.
We hopped out at Blayney for my first ever ride behind a 47 class. LVR provided the class leader and a couple of carriages for a trip I hope to have the chance to do once more, soon. And yes, this was a photo-stop. Something else I haven't done for 21 years.
The next two days were a blur of rail motor and 30T trips. Here's a couple I didn't catch.
As part of the tour we were billeted in sleeping cars in the loco yard. I forgot just how cold those carriages could get. But it did give us the run of the loco depot, including after hours. So please forgive the following self-indulgent 'atmospheric' shots.
I wasn't too good at getting up early for the start of days...
But the afternoons weren't bad to be around...
By Easter Sunday night my then girlfriend packed it in for a motel in the town. I stuck it out in the sleeping car until about 2am and then made a lonely little trudge into town to seek a bed with an electric blanket. Best of intentions!
Anyway Easter Monday came too soon, like it always does. 4701 was strapped onto the front of our Blayney-bound train.
And at Blayney the big Pacific turned up to return us to Sydney.
Again it was a terrific trip. I remember being struck by the numbers of people out to see the 38 steam through. Apart from the usual train chasers (see next photo) it was just Joe and Jane Public with their kids. I remember in particular Newbridge. Its platform was chock-a-block with the whole village.
So, its been 21 years but it doesn't feel like it. I really hope the Blayney to Demondrille cross country line is reopened this year so LVR may again flourish at Cowra. The experience offered by LVR at a country railway depot is unique and tantalising. And it hooked me. LVR scored themselves a (admittedly passive) member on the basis of this trip.
So I will finish up with a snap of what that weekend meant to me.