The Victorian Goldfields Railway has been restoring the stream trains with the help of 10 local job seekers under the Australian Government’s Work for the Dole programme.
The job seekers are learning a variety of skills, sanding, painting, replacing windows, removing moss and mould as they restore the train carriages to their former glory. Two of the job seekers have worked with railway mechanics to upgrade the boilers for the steam engines and get them working again.
Brendan Leach from the Victorian Goldfields Railway said the Work for the Dole participants have really made a difference. Brendan said it usually takes about seven years to fully restore one carriage, but with the help of the Work for the Dole participants, the latest carriages have been restored in just under a year.
‘Previously we had a few volunteers and some retired tradies working on the carriages. We were under the pump and desperately needed assistance to get the carriages finished. Since we were approved as a Work for the Dole activity and the young people started, we’ve been breezing through.’
Brendan is also proud of the alterations to one carriage which includes disabled access and an area for wheelchairs.
Brendan expects that it will take roughly five years to fully restore all the carriages and engines and is confident that he can get the job done with future groups of Work for the Dole participants.
‘I’m really happy, they’re good young people. They’re eager and work well.’
A recently donated carriage in need of upgrade will hopefully look like this fully restored and working carriage within the year.