PROGRESS has been made towards returning Korumburra’s two Red Hen trains to South Australia where they originated.
As previously reported in the Sentinel-Times, Adelaide train enthusiast Grant McDougall purchased the trains.
He plans to put the trains back into service on regional tourist routes, seeing their potential to bring people to the Barossa Valley.
However, while Grant raises funds to transport the trains home, he has been battling the clock to shift them to private land for safe keeping.
That has been prompted by the twin threats of vandalism and circling companies keen to scrap the trains.
“They’ve been waiting for me to fail to move the trains,” Grant said of the latter.
One of the trains, number 402, was shifted to a private property in Jumbunna on Saturday, where it sits on track, a welcome development given vandals had smashed some of its windows while in storage at the Korumburra railyard, and the threat of it being scrapped.
Grant explained the urgency to shift 311 as soon as it was safe to do so after rain, with plans to move it on Saturday abandoned due to the wet weather.
Wet conditions had previously thwarted an attempt to move the trains.
“If you can’t move it by a certain (date) it’s classified as abandoned,” he said.
Grant stressed that South Gippsland Shire Council has plans to develop the Korumburra Station holding site at which the Red Hens have been stored and is keen for the relocation to be finalised.
Grant said council would be officially notified of the progress, and the reason for the unplanned delay in shifting 311.
It was deemed unsafe to move the 30-tonne 311 in the wet conditions.
“Once 30 tonnes starts to move, there’s no way of controlling it and you’ll tip the train and the truck over,” Grant said of the risk of trying to move such a heavy vehicle on uneven and wet ground.
The decision to delay moving the second train followed the challenging and time-consuming process of safely transporting 402 to its new temporary home.
Grant has run a series of fundraising efforts through Facebook to help shift the trains and has now established a ‘GoFundMe’ page.
A major fundraising effort is underway in South Australia, with five pubs already on board, selling raffle tickets to help get 402 and 311 home.
A range of merchandise has also been created to help in the fundraising drive, with items such as mugs up for grabs.
Red Hens served on Adelaide’s public transport network between 1955 and 1997.
Only 111 were built, with few remaining in working condition and many having been scrapped.
That fate befell the other two Red Hens to have previously called Korumburra home.
As well as his appreciation for all those contributing to fundraising efforts, Grant expressed his gratitude to Glenn Gow’s Transport & Mobile Cranes, and Shamick Transport for their assistance, with both companies agreeing to shift 402 and 311 to the Jumbunna location at helpful rates.