Well it has been an incredible journey. But we are delighted to say that our little pet project of 8 years was recently completed last December, just in time for Christmas!
Last November, the Assets Standards Authority within TransportNSW department granted permission for CAM502 to operate on the rail network for the purpose of trials. Locomotive 42101 was utilised for the first trial journey along with the support of two of our other carriages. The test journey occurred on Tuesday 24th November 2015 from Eveleigh to Waterfall and return.
Only a few minor bugs were found but otherwise it performed satisfactorily to our travelling maintenance team and passed successfully. This would be the green light for the carriage to start operating on mainline tours.
Up next, on Sunday 13th December 2015 we had our annual christmas volunteers party to Robertson on the Cockatoo Run tourist train. On this day we got to show case the car to our fellow volunteers, colleagues, family and friends, as well as to our friends at the Robertson Heritage Railway Station. This would prove to be a very joyous day for everyone involved, not only within the restoration team, but also for every volunteer, past and present who contributed to this fantastic project.
Since then, “the CAM” lounge car been used on several mainline tours and charters. One successful event soon after our christmas party trip was on Thursday 17th December 2015. The car being utilised within the consist for the new Hawkesbury River Express to Brooklyn, just north of Sydney.
Special guests were invited, included the Mayor of Hornsby Shire Hon. Mr. Steve Russell, as well as the family of one of our late founding directors, Mr Ken Butt.
Special mention must be made to the Butt family for their contributions to this restoration project. As a tribute to the late Mr. Butt, the carriage has been named after him as the Ken Butt lounge.
So there you have it. One complete 1920s vintage lounge car, ready for service in the 21st Century.
But keep watching this space, as we may have a few more tricks up our sleeves… Thanks for reading!
Photo credits: Jane Bennett, Ian Wallace, Thomas Durber, Fred Sawyer.