Commitment to the care and preservation of the steam and diesel locomotives in their care requires members of the Australian Sugar Cane Railway (ASCR) to subject the Botanic Garden locos to a weekly maintenance schedule.
Despite the interruptions caused through the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the ASCR are attending to strict maintenance of the locomotives to ensure they are ready to safely resume operation when cleared to do so.
ASCR secretary Ross Driver said care of the steam locomotive boilers was critical and the routine maintenance and testing was required to be documented for audit.
“Steam locomotive boilers are high risk equipment and carefully observed and recorded weekly inspections are simply a part of maintaining the equipment in a state of preparedness and our members are doing that on an ‘as required’ basis.”
Mr Driver said 2019 had been a sensational operational year for the ASCR.
“We hauled 35,000 passengers during the course of the year setting a record in the process,” he said.
The ASCR commenced operations in the Botanic Gardens in 1988 and within four years had carried its 50,000th passenger.
Three years later and the number had doubled.
Despite the impact of floods in 2010/11 and 2013 where significant damage was done to locomotives and infrastructure, suspending their operation, the ASCR has now taken more than 635,000 passengers on a delightful tour of the Gardens.
Mr Driver said the ASCR was proud of the contribution it made to the local visitor market and the genuine enjoyment people felt when undertaking a ride on a steam locomotive.
“Our group of volunteers has been busy restoring our little Orenstein & Koppel steam locomotive “GERMANY” which will be ready to run sometime this year.
“We plan a celebration for the occasion and details will be advised when we get through the COVID-19 virus and most of the restrictions currently in place are lifted.
“Our members also plan on extending our shed out by a further bay which will provide much-needed additional storage space.”
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