Rail history chugs into Bendigo

BENDIGO railway station travelled back in time when a steam train puffed in on Saturday afternoon as part of SteamRail Victoria’s excursion journeys.

The Hogwarts Express lookalike arrived to drop off passengers before returning to Melbourne via Castlemaine.

SteamRail Victoria train manager Graham Harrison said the R-Class British locomotive made the journey to central Victoria about once a year.

“It carries about 380 passengers up from Melbourne. They stop off and have a look around Castlemaine and Bendigo, or off to another train line to Maldon,” he said.

The train was built in the 1950s and has a 100-year-old, restored steam locomotive.

Passenger Jackie Noyes and her family said the steam train journey proved a memorable outing.

“It’s not as comfortable as the modern VLocity trains but it’s far more exciting,” she said.

“The look of it, the feel of it, the sounds and smells, it’s great. You can hang your head out the window and get the grit in your eye.”

The journey came a month out from a special steam train visit to mark the 150th anniversary of the Bendigo railway line.

The celebrations on October 21 will coincide with the reopening of the rail museum.

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