We are the ACT division of the Australian Railway Heritage Society, also known as Canberra Railway Heritage. We exist to preserve, restore and operate heritage railway equipment for the enjoyment of young and old alike. The equipment we use has been saved in many cases from the scrapper’s torch and returned to service by a band of volunteers for future generations to learn from and enjoy. Founded in the late 1960′s, a small group of enthusiasts began to collect pieces of rolling-stock and other railway artifacts as they became available, and when they could afford to, from the then New South Wales Government Railways. They raised enough money to restore these carriages and steam engines and began to operate trains, mostly in the Canberra-Monaro district, for their own enjoyment as well as for the enjoyment of Canberra’s families, something we continue to do to the present day.
Today, we operate trains on most weekends out of either the Canberra railway station or from our platform situated within the museum premises on Cunningham street. Twice a month, we operate steam and diesel hauled trains from Canberra to Bungendore, making a family day trip a realistic activity for anyone interested in the sounds, smells and the overall experience of train travel as it was for our grandparents some years ago. The trip to Bungendore and back is by no means an easy journey for the drivers and firemen, as the climb into the Molonglo Gorge is both spectacular as well as long, working our locos hard and often testing the skills of the crew. The spectacle of a steam locomotive working hard is something that everyone should experience and many come to love the experience, returning time after time. Unlike modern train travel, a steam hauled train seems to come alive and the harder it works, the more it talks to the passengers, almost as if it is asking for them to join in the battle. Every time we run a steam train, this battle on the footplate is relived and the full power of these magnificent machines can be seen, heard and appreciated by all.