Cooma Monaro Railway

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Operations

 


NOTE: Due to the need to undertake upgrades to railway infrastructure on the Cooma line, CMR will not be operating train services until further notice. Please contact the railway by email at manager@cmrailway.org.au if you have any concerns.


The Cooma Monaro Railway runs services from Cooma station on the following basis:-

Summer (October-June)- Saturday/Sunday at 11am, 1pm and 2pm

Winter (June 14th - end September) - Sunday at 1pm and 2pm only

Public Holidays - each day (except Christmas Day).

The CMR runs numerous charters on weekdays, sometimes as many as 4 days a week. So if you are going to be in Cooma on a weekday and would like to take a ride on the CMR, call or e-mail our manager (02 6452 7791 or manager@cmrailway.org.au) and check if and when the train is running.  Most charters can and will make allowance for  people who just want to come along for the ride.

CMR trains are also available for hire. If you have a party which would like to avail itself of this option, please contact the CMR Manager on (02) 6452 7791 (and see the 'Group Tours' link above).

To get to Cooma Station, turn into Bradley Street past McDonald's.

 

Late morning at Cooma Station - a beautiful day, with autumn colours evident in the trees. Railmotor 6 has been brought over from the shed (far right of photo) to the station. The duty crew of four in their bright orange safety vests stand in front of the signal box enjoying the sun whilst waiting for the first passengers of the day.

Currently, journeys are from Cooma station to either Bunyan or Chakola on the banks of the Numeralla river, and return. Chakola (an aboriginal word meaning 'Lyre Bird') offers the opportunity for picnics and swimming.

Number 6 leads 22 and trailer 55 at Chakola

The 11 AM and 2 PM services run to Chakola, with the 1 PM service going to Bunyan. This schedule will allow people interested in the longer Chakola run to have a choice of times. It means that those who have to travel beyond Cooma on any particular day can undertake the trip to Chakola and still have time to reach their destination (eg Sydney) before sunset. It also means that the prospect mentioned originally in these pages, that of having a picnic by the Numeralla river and return on a later train, can now be fulfilled.

On the Chakola services, light refreshments will be available, and our unique dining/lounge trailer car No 55 will be in use where there are sufficient passengers.

Current (return) fares are:

Snowy Jct - Single $6, Senior/Concession $5, Child (4 to 18 Years) $4, Family $12

Bunyan - Single $12, Senior/Concession $10, Child (4 to 18 Years) $8, Family $24

Chakola - Single $18, Senior/Concession $15, Child (4 to 18 Years) $12, Family $36

(Children under 4 years old travel free.)

Charters:

Bunyan - Adult $10, Child $5        (Minimum charge $100)

Chakola - Adult $15, Child $10    (Minimum charge $120)


Following are some examples of the charters and special operations CMR conducts:


The Devonshire Tea Trains

We are delighted to be able to report that the Easter long weekend 2013 at CMR was an outstanding success! The format of the event was new to us - passengers were to be served Devonshire Tea in the trailer car during the course of a return trip to Chakola. This activity was complimented by craft stalls and entertainment at Cooma station. The event was very well publicized locally, using the Cooma Visitors Centre, our new banner near the roundabout in town, and further afield via the website. The result - customers came in numbers, with some services sold out entirely.

In the following photo you can see part of the craft stalls and entertainment that supported train operations.

In another first, the Paybus was positioned on display opposite the platform (a preview of things to come).

All three days saw bumper crowds. No less than 17 CMR members were in attendance to conduct operations (possibly the biggest number to attend outside of the special anniversary gatherings) as guard, driver, crossings attendant, carriage attendants (including service of Devonshire Teas) and food preparers for each service.

The pattern for each journey was that passengers would swap cars at either Chakola or Bunyan to take their turn for tea service in the trailer car. The trailer car really proved its worth during the course of the weekend, as the kitchenette end was used to prepare the scones and drinks for service to the tables.

The following photo is a good example of the spirit that pervades CMR - volunteers prepared to pitch in wherever needed to help us provide an enjoyable experience for our patrons. Ashley Jones, Jeff Lane and James Compton are hard at work in the trailer car preparing the scones.

Given the outstanding result of this initiative, it is very likely that it will join the Valentine's Day train and the Busking Championship weekend as regular fixtures on the CMR calendar.


Valentine's Day Train

The first of our three special events scheduled for early 2013 was the Valentine's Day train, and what a great success it turned out to be! We were unsure of just how many patrons we would get, but ended up with 77 (the Chakola hall's capacity is 82). Preparations began early, with Graeme Linkenbagh shipping our ride on mower out in the day's first train service to mow the grounds around the hall.

After the completion of the normal services, the train was washed down from stem to stern. As the guests arrived at Cooma Station, each gentleman was given a red rose to present to his Valentine (ladies without partners were given them direct). A nice touch that!

At Chakola, the guests sat down in an appropriately decorated hall and were entertained by two local guitarists who played everything from classical to 'Classical Gas', much to their audience's delight.

Local caterers from the 'Let's Go Nuts & Fudge' outlet in Cooma were ready to provide the three course meal, and what a good job they did. The photo below shows a certain CMR immediate past president (complete with a red bow tie), who acted as one of the waiters on the night.

At the end of the evening, CMR president (and architect of the evening) Rod Clancey called out the support staff who had made the evening possible for a warm round of applause from the guests. Then back on the train for the trip home (there is something special about those night trips).

Back at Cooma station, Rod and wife Julia were well justified in looking pleased with the whole affair. Before the night was even over, we had fielded some requests as to when we would be doing it again!

Postscript: When your reporter was doing crossings the next day, I stopped a 4WD to let the train pass. A lady jumped out of the vehicle and took a photo as the railmotor went through. She then exclaimed to me 'I was on the train outing last night - wasn't it great'. It's very nice to receive first hand such a compliment to the success of the evening.


A Slightly Different Charter

Our railmotor number 22 was temporarily out of action, so driving trailer car 55 was pressed into service to handle charters over the few weeks. Driving this unusual consist from 55's cab is interesting, as throttle movements result in only the distant sound of number 6's motor responding and leads to a feeling of being somehow remote from the action. Still does the job well though, as the very successful outings will attest.

On Friday 13/4, the group was from Singleton Probus club and they enjoyed almost perfect weather for their visit to Chakola.

On Sunday 15/4, a large group travelled to Chakola to celebrate an 80th birthday (actually there were two birthdays involved) in the hall.

A number of the passengers chose to make the journey in the kitchenette section of the trailer car, whilst others filled the tables and the lounge section at the rear of the car. The unique configuration of the trailer car lends itself well to the differing needs of the travelers.

In this instance, the trailer car was left at Chakola station while number 6 returned to Cooma. 6 then ran an unscheduled trip to Bunyan for a family of people who turned up in spite of publicity that no normal services would be operating. Mid afternoon 6 made two journeys out to Chakola to return all of the birthday party (and 55) to Cooma.

One of the results of the three days of operation was three separate donations of $50 from people who had greatly enjoyed their experience. It is further proof that our stated purpose of ensuring that every passenger has an enjoyable time with us is being achieved.


The Big Band

CMR's second musical event at Chakola hall featured a big band playing jazz and easy listening music. Those who missed this event will be kicking themselves for some time as a result, for as you can see, it was indeed a BIG band.

It must be great to sing with that much instrumental ability backing you (great listening too)!

As some of you would know, the hall at Chakola is not that big, so everyone has a 'front row seat' and you would really 'feel' the music as the sound fills the entire space.

The success of these first couple of musical events at the hall will doubtless lead to more of them being staged in future. As has been noted before, these occasions are very likely to become the signature events on the CMR's calendar. Roll on the next one!



A Musical Interlude

Valentine's Day: a very special event has been put together by Rodney Clancy in conjunction with the railway. The train was to convey guests to Chakola where they would attend a concert given by a string quartet, whilst enjoying a picnic of their own creation. Crews arrived at the station to find that Graeme Linkenbagh had been busy. 6 and 22 had been brought out and scrupulously cleaned from top to bottom. The photo below does not do justice to how presentable they looked.

Now unfortunately, we all know what happens when you clean a vehicle – it rains. And when you have done it as thoroughly as Graeme had done it – it pours! Just before the appointed departure time of 6pm, Cooma experienced very heavy rain. You may be able to see the rain cascading down over the front doorway of number 22 in the photo below.

As we had a little time up our sleeve, we decided to delay departure for 10 minutes, to let the bulk of the storm pass. This proved to be the correct decision, as there was only light rain on the way to Chakola and by the time we arrived there, it had stopped. In fact, it had turned into a very pleasant evening (I had brought along a jacket for the expected cool conditions, but did not need it the entire evening).

Guests and train crew proceeded down to the hall, which has been subject to many improvements over the last few years and is now a very good venue for the gatherings that use it

Inside the hall the quartet was set up and waiting. After a short welcoming / introduction from Rodney, proceedings got under way.

As you can see below, the guests arranged themselves to partake of the food and drink, in the hall which had been decorated for the occasion with heart motifs and candles.

And the quartet played and played continuously for the hour and a half. The music was a delightful mix of pop favourites, standards and light classics. I was not concentrating on the music (as I was taking the photos you see here) but I know I heard a couple of Beatles numbers and at least one Elvis classic intermixed with romantic melodies such as ‘Humouresque’. It was a selection that really suited the mood of Valentines Day.

The allotted 90 minutes seemed to pass very quickly indeed, filled as it was with listening, talking, laughter, eating and drinking. I think the audience would have happily gone on for somewhat longer had we been able to.

However, the CMR prides itself on running to schedule and so shortly before the end of the performance, the crew returned to the train to get it ready for the return journey. I must say at this point that I have always been a great fan of evening train trips. There is something about a lit train carriage at night that I find enormously attractive. I remember overnight trips years ago in sleeper carriages from Sydney to Dubbo or seeing friends off on their journeys to Melbourne. And on this night, the CPHs standing at Chakola platform looked about as good as anything I've seen. I hope the photos below give you some idea.

The return to Cooma was over all too quickly. CMR is used to seeing happy passengers and our guests this time were certainly very pleased with their experience.

This event was the prototype of a series of such events, showcasing different styles of music, such as folk, bluegrass and jazz. CMR can see that this has the potential to become the signature event on the CMR's calendar.

Phil O'


Cooma Cup Race Day 2011

As the photo below by John Gibson attests, there was a great turnout of members for this year's Cup day. Twenty two members was probably the second greatest number assembled at one time, with only the 10th anniversary gathering having more. A number of new members swelled the ranks, and it was great to see them contributing and in turn receiving a good insight into CMR operations.

The day commenced with operations manager John Wynes addressing his troops before the patrons arrived. As was noted later, having so many orange vests on hand made for the best crowd control both on and off the train. A special mention must be made of Alan Ward and sons, who, as they have in the past, kept a tight control on loading at the small Snowy Junction platform after the races. Also a special thank you to Graeme Linkenbagh, who spent much of the day as a flagman on the road crossings.

Jean Wynes and Gaye Speldewinde sold the tickets to the train and the race meeting itself. (Photo: John Gibson)

The weather had been predicted to include clouds and showers, but to the relief of the race organizers, it was more or less sunny and pleasant all day. A total of 16 return journeys were carried out and I think that the numbers of returning passengers will attest to having had a good time.

The last trip was not completed until nearly 7pm and the railmotors headed back to the shed (below) in the fading evening light. Then followed a 'thank you' BBQ on the platform for the volunteers who made the day such a success.


Cooma Cup Race Day 2010

The statistics of the Annual Cooma Race Day tell the tale - 8 drivers and 10 safe workers crewed 17 round trips, with 300 return tickets sold by Gaye Speldewinde and Jean Wynes, and Christa Harlander providing morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea as usual. (I take my hat off to the ladies – great work)!

The photos below were kindly provided by member Don Mills, who came down with his wife from Sydney for the day. Thanks Don, the photos show just how well Alan Ward and his son maintained order among the patrons waiting at the tiny Snowy Junction platform for the return train trip after the event.

 

 

 

 

A Passenger's Eye View

The following photographs were taken by David Jones, a colleague of our webmaster from Sydney. David took his family for a ride on the railway recently and allowed us to use the photos he took along the way.

The most interesting photo is that of our greatest fan. This lady lives on a property immediately beside the railway line at Bunyan. All CMR train crew know that from the very beginning of our operations, she has come out of her house to wave at the passing train, and we usually alert our passengers to give her a wave back. She has been outstandingly loyal to this self imposed routine and we are grateful for her dedication. Her dog is aware of our presence even before she is, and marks our arrival by racing up and down the wire fence bordering the line.

The next photo of the set shows part of the panorama from Chakola Station, the subject of so many happy snaps over the years.

The following group of David's images are typical of those taken by many passengers during a CMR experience.

Our sincere thanks go to David for allowing CMR to use his photos.


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