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Phantom Steam

On Easter weekend 1992, NSW Rail Transport Museum ran a grand steam tour to the “Phantom Of The Opera” stage show in Melbourne. Museum locomotives 4-6-0 No. 3642, resplendent in green livery, led 2-8-2 No. 5910 in shiny black with white and red trim, hauling a train of 14 cars from Sydney to Albury. Here the train was split, with 5910 remaining in Albury for local tours associated with the 30th anniversary of the opening of the standard gauge to Melbourne. 3642 continued to Seymour with half the previous train, the other half being taken by a diesel.

At Seymour the passengers detrained from the sleeping cars which went empty to Melbourne behind diesel G521. 3642 coupled to the the sitting cars, collected the passengers and headed to Melbourne. 3642 then did a parallel run with Steamrail’s broad gauge R766 from Melbourne to Seymour and return. Next day, 3642 returned to Cootamundra with the sitting cars, the sleeping cars being hauled by a diesel overnight. At Cootamundra the trains reunited, continuing to Sydney with 5910 leading 3642 on the 14 cars.

The video opens with 3642 double heading 5910 on Demondrille Bank with the locos working hard and the steam billowing high in the cold morning air. We continue with lineside views from all angles at Wallendbeen, Cootamundra, Junee, Wagga Wagga (including the long viaduct), The Rock, Henty and Gerogery.

At Albury its like the old “change trains” days when broad gauge J 515 arrives with a train of clerestory roof cars into the adjacent platform. The story continues next morning at Seymour, with a steamy 3642 simmering in the early morning air, followed by a view of the train passing through Broadford. Three scenes follow of 3642 running parallel with broad gauge R 766 between Broadmeadows and Seymour, followed by loco servicing at Seymour, and an after dark departure for Melbourne, with 3642’s cab aglow from the firebox door.

The next day, 3642 is seen crossing the spectacular Maribyrnong bridge, and at several locations to Albury, where she meets an assembly of one steam and eleven diesel locos on display. After a look inside the cars and a view after dark of Culcairn station, decorated with coloured lights, we resume viewing next day at Bowning, where 5910 leads 3642 and the 14 car train through a collection of delightful old mechanical signals. After capturing the train at Gunning, Cullerin Range, and Goulburn viaduct, the video concludes at Bargo as daylight fades, ending a steam spectacular.

An Original Rowlingstock Production.

Available on DVD from www.trainpictures.com.au

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