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The steam locomotive travels to Ballarat from Melbourne, passing through Ballan near the Bostock Reservoir on the Ballan-Gordon Road. Photo – Helen Tatchell

By Helen Tatchell

It was a steam rail spectacular throughout Moorabool, even if the wait was two and a half hours for a two and a half second glimpse.

Three ‘VR’ passenger locomotives, D3 639, A2 986 and an R761 climbed the steep terrain up the Pentlands and onto Ingliston Bank from Southern Cross station, to Ballarat, Geelong and back to Melbourne.

Hundreds of people lined the route last Saturday to catch a rare glimpse of these steam locomotives, with photographers clicking with glee.

A spokesperson on the Steamrail Victoria facebook page said it takes a lot of man hours and many thousands of dollars to get these trains on the tracks and out into regional Victoira.

“I think it is only fair to say, it is appreciated by every person that came along to see the train head out from Melbourne, via Bacchus Marsh and Ballan, on its way to Ballarat. An awesome journey indeed.

“The delay, which had keen onlookers waiting for a number of extra hours, was caused by a late departure at Southern Cross, then a fire box had to be dropped just out of Bacchus Marsh and held the train up for quite some time.

“But the volunteers worked hard to get it ‘back on track’ and rolling again.”

In 1965 the Steam Preservation Coordinating Committee was formed and 50 years on they are still able to operate these specials, a testament to those who had the vision and sheer determination in the early days of preservation.

“This event is a celebration of not just the trains but the passionate people who have contributed to the success over those 50 years.”

The Moorabool communities hope they continue to capture the imagination of many for the next 50 years.