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Victorian Goldfields Railway

Home > Melbourne > Day Trips | School Holidays
by Andrew Burton (subscribe)
I am a Freelance Writer-Photographer and Novelist. I travel to find inspiration, wherever the distant horizons lead.
Published May 25th 2015
Thomas found Theresa the Tank Engine at Maldon
Theresa the Tank Engine.
Here she is Thomas, on holiday in Maldon.
 
Vintage steam trains.
Vintage steam trains.
Thomas the Tank Engine was so thrilled. He thought Theresa had disappeared, and finally he found her at Maldon station.

"Big locamotives take people for exciting steam train rides to Castlemaine, and I just wanted to see their happy faces." Theresa exclaimed.

Situated in goldfields of Victoria, Maldon was declared

Australia's the most notable town by the National Trust in 1966. Take a day, a weekend or more exploring, and make this a memorable activity the whole family can enjoy. Smell the smoke and oily aromas, and watch steam billowing as these magnificent beasts huff and puff like dragons; slave to tons of steel. During special events, the kids are allowed to blow the whistle, it will make you jump in your seat. Meet the engine driver and ride in the cab of the diesel locomotive.

There are a number of special experiences and these are often one-offs. Stream Train for Kids is orientated around entertaining the little-ones with jumping castles, a Miss Piggy train, roving entertainers, an animal farm and of course the trip to Castlemaine and back. They are infrequent and usually occur on school holidays. The next Steam Train for Kids is held July 11 & 12th. Watch the websites below for details of future events.
 
Bill Swaine.
Bill Swaine, the conductor.
Pictured conducting on the platform is a character who will tell you how it all works with a smile. Bill Swaine remarked,

"I worked on interstate rail all my life, what am I doing here?"

"The thing is, we run this like it was the 1920's."

He is a character and adds the kind of spirit that makes these things so much fun. His uniform is a page from the history books and the authenticity of Maldon Steam Rail is detailed and it is very well run.

The continuous work conducted on Maldon Rail by the dedicated workers and supporting society members, means a number of the current projects will come to fruition. The money comes from fares and donations and is important for what can only be described as a historical national treasure.
 
Happy travelers and steam trains rides.
Happy travelers and steam trains rides.
 
Experience the 'Age of Steam.'
Experience the 'Age of Steam.'
The workshop and loco-yards are run by volunteers, who spend their time for the love of history, restoring the beasts that made the 'Golden Age of Steam' stick in our minds and hearts. The yard is full of various types of locomotives awaiting restoration, including some interesting steam locomotives and diesel models too. There are passenger carriages and goods carriages, and an explosives carriage, which I am pretty sure is empty. There are two steam locomotives currently running and a diesel locomotive too. It is a sight to see a working steam locomotive on the turntable, surrounded by the range of different engines. It would be very interesting to see them all operating and waiting there for the next run.
 
Historic Maldon Station.
Historic Maldon Station.
 
Steam trains are a constant fascination.
Steam trains are a constant fascination.
Do you want to drive a steam locomotive? Well, now you can. It is a full day experience, under controlled and supervised conditions. You drive a steam or diesel locomotive pulling a goods train. Now imagine being in control of a 160 tons of iron machinery, steaming and rattling down the track. The million dollar question burning a hole in your brain...how much? For an individual $1300, for 2 people $750 each and for 4 people $425 each. Now, that is not cheap, but you cannot put a price on a lifetime memory. Here is Maldon's steam train website.
 
The rail crossing a good vantage point.
The rail crossing just out of town, a good vantage point.
The day will begin working with the instructing crew to perform various mechanical inspections. After the starting the locomotive, you will work with the guard moving the rolling stock to put the train together. After morning tea it will be time to depart for Castlemaine with you and/or family and friends in the driver's seat of a magnificent Y- class steam locomotive, or diesel locomotive. After lunch you may help the signal man while the train is moved to the other end for the return leg. Lunch is extra at nominal cost and can be provided for you, your friends or family. In addition, you receive a year's membership of the Castlemaine & Maldon Railway Preservation Society. Drive a train information can be found here.
 
Historic steam trains Maldon.
Two steam locomotives and a diesel engine currently run.
The times of operation for the steam trains are Wednesdays, Sundays, selected Saturdays, and additional days on public holidays. Note there are restricted timetables in February due to fire danger, and they may run the diesel or cancel services on days of high fire danger. Visit the website for details.

The first class tickets are a speciality too, creating a unique experience in veritable comfort of compartments, or an open carriages with a bar. The stewards serve drinks and snacks enroute, and you can ride on the observation platform of the Parlour car.

Maldon and Castlemaine are great towns to visit and deserve time and attention. The list of tourist attractions is endless, and if you just want to camp and get away from things, there are plenty of bushland areas to explore. There are plenty of bush tracks to walk, mountain bike, and rivers or lakes to, fish or kayak. Bendigo is 40 kilometers from Maldon, and Ballarat is 85 kilometers away. There are also plenty of bed and breakfasts operating in some of the most adorable old buildings. For more information about Maldon click here.
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Why? Family fun and adventure awaits on Maldon's historic steam train rides..
When: All year round, on Sundays and Wednesdays, selected Saturdays and public holidays; see the timetable for specific dates.
Phone: (03) 5470 6658
Where: Maldon is located 146 kilometers from Melbourne along the Calder Freeway; Turn left at the Elphinestone-Castlemaine exit or 10 mintues past
Cost: $45 per person for a return trip, $95 for a family ticket, $40 for concession and $20 for a child under 15. One way and first class tickets attract varying fares; see the website.
Your Comment
I don't remember Theresa. She's one scary looking train.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12442) 1549 days ago
Hi to all, We spent the day around Maldon and enjoyed it so much we will return another day. Keep up the excellent posts.
David
by johns (score: 1|69) 1548 days ago
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