Lachlan Valley Railway Society – Orange East Fork Depot

Update posted by Ross Jackson On Jun 23, 2019

2019 is our 10th anniversary of operations without an LVR main line home base. The following will take a brief look at the history of the society and what put us on the path to Orange and where any donations raised will go.

The LVR was initially formed in 1974 to preserve locomotive 5917 and four other carriages for the enjoyment of the public on shuttles and tours.

3237 was purchased from Lachlan Vintage Village at Forbes having spent the remainder of its in-service career working reclamation trains and the yard shunter at Dubbo. In its 78 years of revenue service, from 26 February 1892 to 1 November 1971, 3237 ran a total of 2,225,224 miles.

On 18 June 1977, the society moved its base to the 1923-built Cowra roundhouse that is what is known now as the society’s eternal home. Initially allocated a couple of roads within the depot, in 1985 the LVR took over the entire facility when State Rail vacated the property altogether.

In 1979 the LVR also began operating rail tours from a siding in West Ryde (Sydney) to Kiama. However, the site was abandoned in August 1987 to make way for expansion to the northern line.

In November 1983, the LVR purchased its first diesel locomotive, 4204, and shortly afterwards Australian Iron & Steel shunter D9.

The State Rail Authority ceased services on the Cowra to Blayney section of the Demondrille to Blayney line in 1987 and leased the line to the LVR. The line was closed for repairs in 1990 but was reopened in 1993. 4204 hauled the first of these services reintroduced in 1993.

In August 1994 the LVR operated wheat trains from Trajere on the Eugowra line to Cowra with 47 class locomotives.

In 1999 the LVR started Lachlan Valley Railway Freight, this continued until the company was sold to Bowport Allroads Transport and re-branded as Independent Railways of Australia.

The NSW government in 1999 reopened the Cowra–Blayney section of the line and caused LVR to forgo its exclusive rights for use of the Demondrille to Cowra line, although its trains were still able to operate on the line.

RailCorp closed the Cowra to Blayney section in 2007 and then from Cowra to Demondrille in 2009. At this time the society had no choice but to move its serviceable rolling stock to Cootamundra and Junee before the official closure to avoid the moving fleet being land locked.

LVR did take steps to reopen the Cowra to Demondrille line under its own accreditation after the closure of the Cowra lines, almost to the point of securing the necessary leases and accreditation. Unfortunately heavy rains in 2010 resulted in the washaway of track in the Koorawatha area. The weather event rendered the line unserviceable and beyond the financial capability of the LVR to repair alone.

Since then the LVR has operated steam and diesel trains all over NSW; however, the rolling stock still in Cowra have remained "landlocked" and unavailable to main line service.

LVR to this day are continuing an effort to reopen a short section of the line to Blayney (at least to Holwood and Woodstock where there are no timber bridge structures in the section) for heritage train operations.

Since the closure of the Cowra lines LVR have operated out of Rothbury, Cootamundra, Goulburn, Lithgow and Eveleigh. In most cases with the generosity of the siding owner at the locations – that we are extremely thankful for.

After 2009 the LVR went on the hunt for a new operation base to house the main line fleet, undertake servicing and heavy overhaul work. In 2017 the disused Orange East Fork Depot was selected as its next main line base.

Orange is in a fantastic location however the depot is void of any undercover amenities for rolling stock and has not been used in recent history as a railway depot…. Especially steam.

It is the hope of LVR to create another operating base at this location but we require funds to ensure the safety of the tracks and turntable before we begin to move rolling stock into the location.

Immediate raised funds will be used to resleeper the arrival road and repair the turntable. Once complete it will allow access for LVR trains into the depot an begin a new chapter in our long history of delivering the rail heritage experience to the public.

Because of this we are asking for your help!

Thanks, and do not forget to share!

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Best of luck from the CERT Team

CERT Training

Backed with $500.00 On Jun 28, 2019

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Paul Leader

Backed with $100.00 On Jun 25, 2019

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Anonymous

Backed with $50.00 On Jun 24, 2019

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Hope it all Happens cheers

Jim Houghton

Backed with $100.00 On Jun 23, 2019

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Anonymous

Backed On Jun 22, 2019 Amount Hidden

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David & Bobbie Field

Backed On Jun 22, 2019 Amount Hidden

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Like to help with rail preservation

Martyn Salmon

Backed with $100.00 On Jun 20, 2019

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I hope this comes to fruition. Fingers crossed it would be good for the Central West and for the LVR. All the best.

Scott Tucker

Backed On Jun 20, 2019 Amount Hidden

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Anonymous

Backed with $5.00 On Jun 20, 2019

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Glenn Robinson

Backed with $50.00 On Jun 20, 2019

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John Healey

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Ross Jackson

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Paul Leader

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