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Iconic Australian steam train restored

CCTV.com

08-06-2014 00:31 BJT

The largest steam train in the southern hemisphere is back on the rails. After eight years of painstaking restoration, the Bayer Garratt locomotive is now undergoing test runs in the Australian capital Canberra, before once again carrying steam-loving passengers on a journey down memory lane.

The Bayer Garratt is running again, for the first time in more than three decades. It

The Bayer Garratt is running again, for the first time in more than three decades. It's the biggest working steam engine in Australia and the whole of the southern hemisphere.

The Bayer Garratt is running again, for the first time in more than three decades. It's the biggest working steam engine in Australia and the whole of the southern hemisphere.

Getting it running again has been a triumph for the small team of train enthusiasts, who've been volunteering on the project for eight years.

"We always thought it would go (run on its) first try, which it has, which it is really good,"  An engineer said.

After nearly a decade, the restoration is almost complete.

Kerry Mellor from the Australian Railway Historical Society says it's an emotional step in a long journey.

"The moment the steam starts to circulate through its veins and the smoke starts to appear, and the noise, and the feeling that it's waking up, it's coming back to life," Kerry Mellor said.

The locomotive was built in 1953 in Manchester in the UK. It then spent around 20 years in active use. After it was retired, it was gifted to Canberra's Railway Museum with plans for a full restoration.

Now that the engine is working again, the next step is to restore the carriages. Only then will it be time to let the tourists on board.

"This one is made to go, and go a long way. She's the biggest, so we'll be out on the metals there, in New South Wales, and across Australia eventually, running long distance trips and tours," Project Manager Alan Gardner said.

Rail travel in Australia is not as popular as in many other countries, and the country does not have a huge rail network. But old steam trains have enduring appeal. Many will surely want to climb aboard... and take a rail journey back in time.

The Bayer Garratt is running again, for the first time in more than three decades. It

The Bayer Garratt is running again, for the first time in more than three decades. It's the biggest working steam engine in Australia and the whole of the southern hemisphere.

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