Arfer Long and the Lupino had been thinking of it for a few years, but never got around to it. We are talking about doing a "Black Train Chase" between Maldon and Castlemaine.
Yes we know that some Afro-pom called Wolf Barnato raced a train in a British truck in the 1920's, but that was on pussy made roads, no, we were gonna do it on dirt service tracks!
Deaf John, Arfer, and the Lupino did actually run the track the weekend before, just to make sure that the track existed along the entire route. This was a wise precaution because the railway boys were unaware of the track near the Castlemaine end, but we found it. And a pisser it was! Rough, muddy, and crude; just as we like tracks.
We had actually done a bit of organising, and contacted the steam boys to say we were going to do this little jaunt, and could we have one of us on the steam engine to film us while we filmed them. No worries! They were stoked.
The weekend coincided with the steamboys picnic at Muckleford, where the polisher car clubs were to gather and drink their tea, while more civilised folk drank the local winery produce. Pity we had to stop mid-guzzle.
The morning dawned, and the Ferals gathered at Maldon Station. The turnout was pretty impressive: the Cocky in the A Model Yellow Peril, Arfer in the A Model Ute, with Ms Fizz, the Lupino in the Huddo, the Mauler and Nursie Lee in the Dodge, Deaf John in the A7, Bluey in the Rocket, and Robbo in the Chev Ute (see Crapaboutus for more details), and Carse in Robbo's Plymouth Speedhump. Yandoit was to join us, but because of Young Tom's footy, was delayed. This was pretty much 90% of the membership.
Young Tom was to be the camera person on the train, but was not there, so the Lupino gave his spare $50 crap video camera to Ms Fizz, told her to open it, press the red button to go, press it again to stop, press it again to go, and just point it at the action.
The Arfer sidled up to the Lupino and whispered out of the side of his mouth, "I wouldn't put too much hope on any result, lad." Apparently, the Fizz is at the same techno-level as Her Musical Indoors, who regards a wheelbarrow as complex agricultural machinery, cause it has moving parts.
(Afterwards, when retrieving the camera, the Lupino replayed the last take, and was rewarded by a detailed view of the Fizz's feet, and her saying to someone off-camera, about the difficulty of keeping her finger away from the lense. Expectations were not high,and consequently, the end results were a total shock.)
The Lupino had been warned, by an Official of the Federation, that he and some minions were going to be there in tractors. This was like a "Baby on Board" sign, what the fuck are you supposed to do? Stay away? Maybe that is what they were after, as this event occurred soon after the Lupino's little missive in Restored Cars at which they had taken umbrage, but, we're bigger than that, and much meaner.
The first part of the journey is better imparted by clicking HERE.This takes in the first 10 minutes. The whole trip takes in a bit more, but YouTube only allows 10 minutes per section.
The second 10 minutes takes in the section after the first crossing, and can be seen by clicking HERE.
The end of the second section was at the Muckleford Picnic. The train was to go onto Castlemaine, but confusion reigned. Firstly, the local boys told the lagging Ferals that the track did not go on (false), and secondly the train dropped its steamer, and decided to go on via Diesel.
The next part of the track is a ripper! Close to the track, and very muddy, until the large tressle bridge. There the track, and the service track diverge for a bit. A dummy track appears to offer itself, but is a deadend. The route back to the rail is a bit further on , and then follows it to Castlemaine. It is rough, but good.
We lost the train at this point, and were never clear as to whether we we in front or behind when we rejoined the track.
We charged into Castlemaine, only to find we were several minutes ahead of the train. Click HERE to see the last part.
Quite a few of the passengers came up to us at the station to say how much they had enjoyed the trip with us.
After the event we learnt of another person taking film of the journey in the last section. Click HERE to see the video. It's good.
We headed back along the same track to Muckleford, taking particular delight in the large expances of water across the track, when we came to the tressle bridge area, which had The Plummet.
This was a particularly viscious drop down into the creek and back out again. The long-wheelbase of the Huddo meant that it could possibly span the entire chasm, but go down? No way.
The Cocky baulked at the prospect, but the Arfer being of more mongrel stock than the scion of the Western District, hadago, eventually. The Yandoit, reassured, barged in, and just made it. Click HERE to see it.
We rejoined the others at Muckleford, and had a few restorative ales, before heading for home. We were joined here by The Brickie and Isabel in the "nearly Feral" Dodge. The journey home was by "approximate navigation" through the bush, that is, you go along a bush track till you reckon it might be time to turn off it. By pure serendipity we actually ended on the track we were aiming for.
Along the way, the Chev ute had a minor fuel blockage, which just added that nice edge to the drive.
Got home with the others, had a few more drinks, and that was it. We'll do it again next year. I hope the steam boys like the videos.