ECML sunrise event wasn’t the first quadruple running

I am an overseas subscriber to Heritage Railway and have just received my copy of issue 228.

I was amused to read the claim made in the report of the East Coast sunrise spectacular that this event was ‘a unique world-first event.’

I would like to point out that at the annual Maitland Steamfest, which was held in 2016, four steam-hauled special passenger trains ran in parallel over the four-track section of the ARTC Hunter Valley rail network for a distance of 24kms between Warabrook (on the outskirts of Newcastle, New South Wales) and Maitland.

Steam locomotives Nos. 3642, 3016, 6029 and 5917 approaching Warabrook station. ANDY STURT

The staging of this event also required two of the trains to run in the ‘wrong’ direction – in this case down the Up main and Up coal lines.

This event took place between 10.30am and 11am on the morning of Sunday, April 10. All four trains conveyed fare-paying passengers having been advertised to the public as being part of the Steamfest package of events.

Parallel running was achieved without incident and with minimal disruption to the traffic flows that normally use this rail corridor, which can amount to over 80 coal trains in each direction, with a half-hourly suburban passenger train service, as well as interstate freight and passenger trains.

There were no other engineering works in force during this period and the operation of the four-train parallel running (which also involved the trains ‘racing’ three vintage Tiger Moth aeroplanes) was fitted into that day’s train programme by the ARTC planning team working with the heritage train operators, NSW Trainlink and the Maitland Council Steamfest organising committee.

Andy Sturt,
Eleebana,
New South Wales, Australia

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