The first signs are quite evident in the cool autumn morning, it starts with the unmistakable sound of 'choof, choof, choof', then in the distance the first clouds of steam and smoke gather over the Main Northern Line, which can only mean one thing .... the Hunter Valley Steamfest is upon us once again.
|36 Class locomotive|
So this year I decided that I would attend this wonderful Hunter Valley festival for the first time and so arming myself with Canon 400D, I headed off to Warabrook railway to catch the local train to Maitland. Now the Steamfest is unique in that steam trains operate continually throughout the weekend and so even as I waited for my local train, one of the historic steam trains passed through, the beautifully restored 1902 built C-32 class 'Hunter' No. 3265 locomotive. The 3265 still holds a special place in the hearts of Hunter train buffs, as it is last of the 32 class locomotives still operational and still carries the Hunter nameplate.
Once at the rally grounds there were so many excellent examples of steam propulsion it is nearly impossible to know where to begin to describe the displays. However, what I'll do is give a very short overview of just some of the examples of a technology that once dominated the landscape of 20th century Australia.
|McLaren No . 1170|
Sooty - Another John Fowler & Sons road locomotive, built in Traction Engine configuration, plate designation No. 16605 .
|Aveling & Porter Type D|
|Marshall Traction Engine|
|1920's Super Sentinel|
So well it may have been a bit of fun to have a tactile engagement with the past, but I think the age of steam has past and is best left to the industrial romantics.