Heritage Railway Wagon Returns to O’Keefe Rail Trail

A former Victorian Railway’s wagon can now be admired on the O’Keefe Rail Trail well into the future, due to the efforts of community group Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail (FoBKRT). This new point of interest, located beside the reconstructed platform at the former Axedale Railway Station, has  taken over 2 years to be realised.

The wagon has a special significance to the Bendigo area, as it was originally manufactured at the Victorian Railway’s North Bendigo Railway Workshops in 1956 as a HY class wagon (number HY16625). In 1961 it was converted to GY class at Bendigo, and later recorded as GY16625 R. After many years of service carrying materials such as bagged and bulk grain, fertiliser, timber and general products, it was taken out of service yet survived being scrapped like most.
“Looking in very poor condition from being stored for decades at the Korumburra Railway Station yards, our group successfully submitted an expression of interest to PTV for this wagon” said Garry Long President of FoBKRT. “With the assistance of a Kirkland Gold community grant, the wagon was retrieved and transported to Axedale in early 2018” said Mr Long.

Being initially placed on a short section of railway line built by the Friends group, the next stage was to have the wagon restored as near as possible to its original specifications. When Friends member Rob Jarvis approached BRW (Bendigo Railway Workshops, now a private company) with what was proposed, “We were blown away by BRW’s Allan Nicolson and Mark Birchmore enthusiasm and willingness to assist” said Rob, “They even provided some of this wagon’s original manufacturing history!”.

“Work such as repairing severe metal rust, sandblasting, and a full repaint from its graffiti covered aging Hansa Yellow colour to the original Wagon Red was planned”, said Mr Jarvis. “BRW staff were more than helpful to obtain the best possible outcome, with the Friends funding achieving far more than was originally anticipated.”

This wagon is now the only item of heritage railway rolling stock on public static display in the Bendigo area.

Rail Trails Australia congratulates the FoBKRT for their efforts on ensuring that our heritage is retained as another source of interest for rail trail users.

V40 215 Axedale rail wagon 2020 03 dsc 0056
The almost new railway wagon back at the Axedale station site. (Colin Scott)

Some historic facts of the wagon:

  • Built at Bendigo Workshops, 27.08.1956 as HY 16625 (RS 56/9542)
  • Converted to GY 16625 at Bendigo Workshops, 25.09.1961 (61/10309)
V40 214 Axedale station 2019 05 3
And before the upgrade (Andrew Lecky 2019)
V40 029 Axedale wagon install 2020 04 Wagon Plaque 01
The plaque on the “new” wagon (Garry Long)



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