Cooma Monaro Railway

The Big Weekend

 

On the weekend of 6th/7th December 2008, two events of some significance to the CMR took place. The 6th was the date for the annual Cooma Cup horse race meeting at the track on the edge of town. The following day CMR celebrated its 10th anniversary. The weekend saw one of the biggest gatherings of CMR members in the history of the railway. As the photo below illustrates, we have members of all shapes and sizes, from seventeen to seventies and everywhere in between. The anniversary was a fitting tribute to what made the CMR what it is today - extraordinary achievements by a group of ordinary people. 

 

Race Day

The Cooma Cup is one of a circuit of annual country cup race meetings. These events are significant social highlights for the towns concerned and are conducted with the aim of making them a very enjoyable day out for all attendees. The unique Cooma "Ti Tree" racecourse was the site of the great racing scenes in that iconic Australian film of the 1950s "The Sundowners", staring Robert Mitchum, Deborah Kerr and Peter Ustinov.

Many people came to the Ti Tree race course on the 6th of December for the big Race Day in Cooma. There were two main races on the program. The first was the 'Sundowner Cup', named in honour of the movie, which has been run since 1993. The second was the Cooma Cup, which is one of the oldest races in Australian history, dating back to 1854.

The event is one of some significance to the CMR. This is by far our busiest day of operations in the entire year. On this day the CMR operates a continuous shuttle from Cooma station to the purpose built Snowy Junction station at the racecourse on the edge of town. The photo below shows the train crew waiting for passengers on a mid afternoon return journey.

 

(Photo: John Gibson)

During the period that the races were in full swing, there was time between trips to catch up with other members who you may not have seen for some time. 

But once the races had finished, it was all hands on deck - drivers, guards, carriage attendants, station attendants and level crossing staff. A tight roster saw all operations members rotate through each of these functions, so everyone had a turn. 

In the photo below, the racecourse platform attendants have patrons nicely lined up for an orderly boarding of the train for the return journey to town.

(Photo: John Gibson)

So thank you to those who came and experienced one of the best examples in Australia of a heritage railway supporting the community in which it is based.

 

Ten Years On

The Sunday anniversary began with a member's birthday celebration, so again we gathered  for a collective mug shot. (By the way, the member is not 10 years old!)

(Photo: Jenny O'Regan)

If you get the idea from the above that we are a happy lot, well we are! We enjoy what we do and try to ensure that our passengers in turn enjoy their time with us.

The day itself was a repeat of our popular shuffle operation, whereby passengers pay a  gold coin donation in lieu of tickets, and changing trains at Bunyan is part of the fun. (The photo below was actually taken at a previous gala day, but the method was exactly the same).

(Photo: John van Voorst)

For the day the railmotors were decorated with red and green ribbons, a direct reference to the red and green ribbons cut by the train at Cooma station on the first day of CMR's operation (see photo on 'History' page).


(Photo: Matthew O'Regan)

The view below, from the rear driver's cab of number 6, sees number 22 arriving at Bunyan's siding road after the down hill run from Cooma.

 
(Photo: Matthew O'Regan)

Finally, at the end of a top day for all concerned, CPH 6 prepares to couple up behind trailer car 55 to propel it back to the shed. 55 had been on display at the platform for visitors to inspect it's unique lounge/dining configuration.  

  

                                                                                                                                       (Photo: Matthew O'Regan)

On the following Tuesday, the Cooma-Monaro Post newspaper carried the following report of the event. (Our thanks go out to the Post for allowing us to use the report, and for the support they have given us over an extended period).

 

 

CMR's Award

It seems that the 'achievements of a group of ordinary people' have not gone unnoticed outside of CMR itself. At the recent Volunteer Awards ceremony, conducted by the Office of Rail Heritage to recognise the efforts of groups and individuals within the heritage sector, CMR was honoured to receive the award that you see below.

CMR's leadership committee over the last 10 years, and our hard working members, can take a well deserved bow. We are resolved to maintain the level of commitment shown to date, producing the experience that our passengers want and that our community can be proud of.

 

Another Gala Day

On Sunday 29th May 2005, the CMR celebrated the anniversary of the first train to arrive in Cooma (30th May 1889). The occasion saw the return of the very popular 'shuttle' services, where one rail motor travels from Cooma to Bunyan and a second from Bunyan to Chakola. This pattern of operations means passengers experience two changes of trains during the round trip, adding another enjoyable dimension to the experience.

The sequence of events unfolded as follows:

First thing in the morning, a display of trolleys belonging to CMR members was set up on the platform. The latest addition is pictured below (this one is built for comfort).

Then the two CPH motor cars were brought out for coupling

The first service of the day proceeded to Bunyan, where the set was uncoupled. In the photo below, 22 has already gone ahead into the platform on the siding, ready to run the return service to Cooma, whilst 6 is proceeding to the mainline side of the platform, to run the service on to Chakola.

Thereafter the day proceeded smoothly, with 6 services operating on the hour from 10am. The services were very popular, with 4 of them being full or nearly full. The weather was initially overcast and somewhat cold (as shown in the Chakola view below) and the sausage sizzle on Cooma platform did a roaring trade hats off to the members manning the catering stalls. Later on in the day the sun came out and completed a great day for the CMR.

The third, fourth, fifth and sixth photos above were supplied by Peter Lawrence, who joined the CMR on the day. Welcome Peter and thanks for the photos!

 


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