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Walhalla fires up train for spotting

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THE WALHALLA Goldfields Railway has again used its rolling stock to protect north-eastern Baw Baw from bushfires.

Photo: The fire train crew positioning water containers. Source: All images from the Walhalla Goldfields Railway.

The tourist railway assembled its fire train last week in response to the threat posed by the Aberfeldy bushfire.

Walhalla Goldfields Railway President Michael Leaney told The Warragul Citizen the train was mainly set up to protect the railway’s wooden bridges.

“We lost a 20-foot bridge in 2006 and that cost $150,000 to replace,” Mr Leaney said.

“To lose a big bridge [would] cost three to four million, so that’s why we need to protect them.”

The train utilises four water containers to hold 4,000 litres of water, leaving space for a CFA vehicle holding a further 400 litres to be added on.

Three CFA and five railway volunteers made up the train’s crew.

The train was first used to protect the railway from the Great Divide fire in 2006, but last week was the first time it had been used to combat ember attack.

“Different techniques are being used this time around though because, unlike the great divide fire where we were protecting the railway from a fire front, in this case it’s being protected from ember attack,” Mr Leaney said.

“The difference [in 2006] was… we had a flatbed car and instead of it having four water tanks it had [capacity to carry] a DSE [vehicle].

The fire, which has burnt over 75,000 hectares of land, threatened Walhalla and surrounding towns several times.

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