We mentioned the Don River Railway in a recent article about Devonport Tasmania. This tourist attraction is worthy of more than just that brief paragraph however, especially considering the effort and dedication of the volunteers involved.
All Aboard the Don River Railway
So we’ve delved into our photo catalogue for a few more pictures…
Volunteers on Track
Don River Railway is owned and operated by volunteers. Since 1973, with support from the council and the government, they have managed to establish a substantial tourism draw-card. Their trains, carriages and buildings have been collected from all around Tassie. The station was even moved from Ulverstone and re-built at Don in 1990.
Station: Tickets Please!
Tickets are purchased at the station, with trains departing on the hour between 10:00am and 4:00pm. For $38 (family ticket) we enjoyed a half-hour ride between Don and Coles Beach as well as having access to the museum, workshop, signal station box and yard.
Spotting Trains at the Railway Museum
The museum is fascinating, with all sorts of memorabilia and railway photos. There’s exhibits to play with; a range of metal signs and badges; and many other train-related trinkets. There’s a working model train set, which is activated by dropping a coin into a slot. Even a five cent piece will set the wheels in motion. Can’t ask for better value than that!
The feature of Don River Railway is obviously the actual train ride. Our kids were even afforded the privilege of driving the engine as it turned at the terminus. Clearly loving the interaction with passengers, especially the juniors, the volunteers from the ticket salesman to the driver, were friendly and high-spirited. They even tried to sign us up to their roster as helpers!
The train ride can be extended by stopping at Coles Beach and catching a later scheduled return. You are given information explaining the history of the bridges and buildings along the journey, which passes through the Don River Nature Reserve.
Engines and Carriages
With a collection of about 20 passenger carriages, dating from 1869 to 1964, most stages of the former Tasmanian Government Railways are represented. Don River Railway also boasts Tasmania’s largest collection of steam locomotives. As part of the entrance fee you can inspect some of the beautifully restored vehicles.
Don River Railway Workshop
Carefully marked walkways lead you from the station platform via the resurrected Devonport signal box to the workshop and sheds. The industrious and talented Don River Railway team work on vehicles in various stages of restoration.
Some people collect stamps; others watch horse racing. But the lifelong passion of this dedicated band of volunteers? The Don River Railway. Tasmanians and tourists are very lucky to share and enjoy their hard work.
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