Sunday mornings at the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens is a cacophony of sights, sounds and smells.
Leading the charge to tantalise all three senses is the steam locomotive, the pride and joy of the group of enthusiasts who band together under the banner of the Australian Sugar Cane Railway (ASCR).
Every Sunday morning from 10am – more regularly during school holidays – these enthusiasts shunt the restored steam locomotive from behind closed doors and make their way to the station to pick up the first of the days passengers.
The hiss of steam as the engine stands ready to depart the station is accompanied by the unmistakable smell of burning coal.
Founding member Ross Driver cites the passion of ASCA members and a desire to perpetuate the romance associated with steam locomotives as the principal reason for the ongoing success of what is a major attraction at the Gardens.
“The ASCR commenced operations in November 1988 and last year we celebrated our 30th anniversary and achieved the remarkable milestone of carrying passenger number 600,000 on the 17th of June,” he said.
“We have plenty of very capable people within the ASCR and their combined talents ensure we can keep our locomotives operational.”.
The locomotive runs at the gardens every Sunday from 10am to 3.30pm. Adults can ride for $4 while the cost is $1 for school age children. Children under 5 are free.