Here is where the streamliners roam free, at least compared to rest of the country.
- Southern Shorthaul Railroad (SSR) usually operates a broad-gauge grain train two or three times a week from locations in northern Victoria to Kensington in suburban Melbourne. These trains often run at night, but usually load grain at their origin and unload in Kensington during daylight hours. This train is usually worked by at least two streamliners, sometimes on their own, so is a pretty good catch – furthermore, it runs pretty much year-round.
- SSR also operate a standard-gauge grain train between northern and western Victorian loading points and the ports of Geelong and Melbourne. Unlike its broad-gauge counterpart, however, it doesn’t always have the streamliner leading (although at least one is usually on the train).
- Less easy to predict and catch are the following SSR broad-gauge operations: occasional track work specials around Melbourne on certain evenings and weekends; electric suburban passenger train stock transfer specials (operated on behalf of Metro Trains Melbourne) between Melbourne and Ballarat/Bendigo; and locomotive and rolling stock transfers between Melbourne and SSR’s Bendigo Workshops. All of these movements are often operated by SSR’s ‘hood unit’ P and T Class locomotives, however, SSR’s B and S Class streamliners can appear from time to time.
- During 2020 V/Line disposed of two of its four A Class (A60 and A62) to preservation groups (Seymour Railway Heritage Centre and 707 Operations, respectively. This left A70 stored at South Dynon and A66 stored operational at Bendigo. During early 2021, A66 was reactivated and transferred back to Melbourne where it has since been used on a number of charter trips. During May 2022 the locomotive was repainted into its original V/Line orange and grey livery, underlining its use as a heritage asset.
- QUBE operate a number of broad-gauge freight services into and out of Melbourne from destinations such as Maryvale, Deniliquin and Tocumwal. Leased CFCLA power features on these trains, occasionally including CFCLA’s streamliners B76 and B80. Every now and then QUBE will also hire Seymour Railway Heritage Centre (SRHC) and Steamrail Victoria power – including B and S Class streamliners – but only very rarely do they lead these trains.
- Seymour Railway Heritage Centre (SRHC), Steamrail Victoria and 707 Operations operate between them an impressive annual program of heritage, tourists and private charter specials, including operations that feature SRHC’s B74 and S303 and Steamrail’s S313. SRHC during 2020 obtained A60 Sir Harold Clapp from V/Line while 707 Operations obtained A62 at the same time and they have put out a call for donations to help restore the locomotive. Both organisations have more streamliners in their collection, but their respective bases of operation (Seymour depot for SRHC and Newport Workshops for Steamrail and 707 Operations) are not nominally open to the public. However, both locations usually host at least one open day annually. Newport is in fact your best chance to get a look at one of the preserved L Class streamlined electrics owned by Steamrail, which are currently not operating.
We also recommend joining the Train Tracker Victoria Facebook group to help keep tabs on where and when Victorian streamliners are likely to operate.
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Last updated 28 May 2022