CELEBRATING OVER 100
YEARS OF STEAM RAIL HISTORY
The Red Cliffs Historical Steam Railway operates a steam train which has significant historical and cultural importance to Red Cliffs.
Unique to Sunraysia, it is the only tourist steam train in the area and one of the few small gauge railways throughout Australia.
The important role played by this train in the early days of Red Cliffs has endeared it to the locals. Now fully restored it is the only one of its type left in the world.
The locomotive, a Skylark Class, named “Lukee”, was built by Kerr, Stuart & Company, at the California Works, Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England in 1901, for service with T.A. Martin & Co., Calcutta.
After two years service in India, the locomotive was returned to England for rebuilding, then shipped to the Mount Zeehan Silver Lead Mines on the west coast of Tasmania.
It remained there until 1921. It was then purchased by the South Australian Government for use on the Cobdogla-Loveday project, carting aggregate and cement from the wharf at Cobdogla to the Humes Pipe Works, at Loveday.
It was acquired in 1924 by the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission of Victoria, and transported from Cobdogla to Red Cliffs by the steamer “Renmark”.
The locomotive was in regular service from 1924 to 1954, transporting briquettes from the Victorian Railways siding at Red Cliffs to the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission of Victoria Pumping and Power Station at Cliffside.
It was later obtained by the Red Cliffs Rotary Club for preservation as an historical item, and placed in a reserve near the Red Cliffs Kindergarten.
At a later stage, the locomotive was moved to Jacaranda Street, Red Cliffs, where it was on display for a number of years.
Between 1984 and 1987 it was restored by the Sunraysia Steam Preservation Society to running condition.
It was then stored until a permanent home was found. In early 1992, the South West Reserve was selected as the permanent site to operate the locomotive as a tourist train.
A committee of management was formed, with representatives from the community and the Red Cliffs Rotary Club, who have overseen the development of a tourist railway.
On the first Sunday of each month this historic locomotive will take you on a 30 minute ride leaving the restored Irymple Station, now known as Karadoc, past vineyards and on to Thurla Station. The engine is uncoupled and moved on to a turntable, turned around then recoupled, before commencing the return journey home.
Help preserve part of Sunraysia’s fascinating rail history by becoming a member of the Red Cliffs Historical Steam Railway. Your support and contribution will greatly assist in our ongoing maintenance.