In the northeast corner of the Tallarook Ranges, north central Victoria, Australia. The Kerrisdale Mountain Ranges is a unique railway built to two-foot (610 mm) gauge on a zig-zag formation.
To gain the maximum height within the shortest distance, steep grades and tight curves also abound, with panoramic views (360 degrees) to take your breath away at ‘Summit Station. The railway and museum has been developed and preserved by a group of dedicated volunteers over a fifteen year period and is a not for profit incorporated body.
The ‘mountain’ part of the name is significant in as much that this refers to the type of railway i.e. steeply graded and tightly curved, so as to gain the maximum height in the shortest distance.
Another feature of mountain type railways is the zig-zag formation to assist in gaining height quickly, so the volunteers have incorporated this feature. A short length of line 33m) was excavated across ‘bottom points’ forecourt to the erecting shop.
In the erecting shop a fettlers trolley and ballast truck were designed and constructed, a lot of track was laid up to ‘ ‘Strath View’, ‘Middle Station’. At this point feelers were sent out for a larger diesel locomotive that could be used to speed things up, a Malcolm Moore locomotive was procured, after a year of re-building this locomotive was available for duty. Another vintage diesel locomotive was also secured at this stage to augment the locomotive roster, the Ruston and Hornsby locomotive that was purchased and fully re-built and is now part of the fleet.
As the railway proceeded up the hillside thoughts, promoted by the Murrindindi Shire Tourism department, turned to opening the railway to the public. To expand from a hobby to public usage required proper rolling stock, an open toast rack carriage was erected in the works, and later two derelict coaches were procured from the St Helena Island Tramway in Moreton Bay, Queensland. These carriages were completely stripped, re-designed to fit our loading gauge and fitted with brakes and rubber suspension, after completion, these units, which are semi open, were put on the roster of rolling stock available for service.
The early locomotive shed had now become over crowded, so a service and lubritorium second road shed was designed and built along with a separate ‘crib room’ for the staff, these two buildings were quickly followed by a kiosk and ‘Summit Station’. Having completed the building of the Railway, attention was given to making the ‘Bottom Points’ precinct into an interactive display of live steam engines and associated equipment, doing what they were designed to do a century ago. During my visit there I was amazed at the many artefacts, restored locomotives,preseverd engines and so many rare paraphernalia from around the world; not forgetting the stunning views!
‘Kerrisdale Mountain Railway & Museum Inc.’