Warwick train tourism to soar with new initiative
AN INNOVATIVE move by Southern Downs Steam Railway is set to see Warwick’s humble rail operations follow in the path of the renowned Puffing Billy and The Mary Valley Rattler ventures.
Launching the Downs Explorer earlier this week, Southern Downs Steam Railway secretary treasurer Kelvin Hutchinson said the rebranding of the train came from necessity but had the power to revitalise the future of Southern Downs train tourism.
“Because of the fire season and mechanical issues with old equipment, we can’t always promise to have steam and some people can get upset about that so we decided to sell the heritage experience,” he said.
We have 80 to 100-year (old) carriages, a historical railway line from the 1800s, landscape mountain passes and tunnels.
“We’re selling more than just a steam train ride.”
Mr Hutchinson said the move, alongside a recent push for grain haulage rail operations, had Warwick returning to its roots.
“We have a lot to offer, Warwick was a major rail town of the past and it is becoming that way again,” he said.
“It is exciting to have the old carriages and historical locomotives right beside the modern Watco trains sitting up here.
“We are becoming a rail hub again, for both the old and new.”
SDSR would remain the corporate entity of the new venture and would continue to bring the public news about heritage carriage, steam and other restoration projects.
And after a year of hardship battling fires, drought and pandemics, Mr Hutchinson was gearing up for a welcome September 12 return.
“Everybody’s really excited about prospect of getting going again,” he said.
“Our launch will be the a trip to Clifton and back, and then later in September, we’re going to Toowoomba for a three day Carnival of Flowers trip.
“As long as the borders and COVID-19 behave we will be operating and getting back to great things again.”
For a full list of the SDSR upcoming program, head here.