28 September 2022

Griffith to Hillston heritage tourist train to run service in October

| Oliver Jacques
Start the conversation
Two men on train platform

Steve Harper and Rodney Short of the Rail Motor Society. Photo: Supplied.

A special one-off Griffith to Hillston diesel-powered, dual-carriage heritage tourist train will operate a return service on 8 October, 2022.

The rare Riverina passenger train service is being run by the Rail Motor Society, a Hunter-based volunteer group that collects, preserves and operates a small fleet of rail motors no longer in general use.

“It amazes me how many people still love trains and train travel,” group treasurer Trish Short said.

“We like to get out to small country towns who need a bit of support.”

READ ALSO From steam trains to diesel locomotives, Junee preserves its rail links

The heritage train day trip costs $95 for adults and $50 for children. It will depart Griffith train station at 9:30 am on 8 October. Morning tea will be served during the two-hour journey to Hillston. A buffet Chinese lunch will be provided at the Hillston Ex-Servicemen’s Club before the train returns to Griffith, where it will arrive at 4:30 pm. Tickets need to be bought in advance via the website 123tix. As at Monday, 26 September, 35 tickets had been sold, with about 55 still available.

The train is a 620-class motor railcar, which is a type of diesel regional branch line train used in NSW between 1961 and 2007. The trains have since been phased out in favour of newer models.

Ms Short said the heritage journey offered a different experience to modern-day passenger train travel.

Group at train station

Departure of a Broken Hill tour in May 2022. Photo: Supplied.

“You’ll be able to open the windows, walk around and chat to the driver,” she said.

Sydney-based company Cruise Express has chartered the 620-class motor railcar to operate a Sydney to Griffith heritage tour in early October.

“When the passengers arrive in Griffith, they stay there for a few days and tour the area on buses. We thought, ‘Why not offer a train service to Hillston while the train is in Griffith’,” Ms Short said.

READ ALSO Griffith genealogists’ four decades of uncovering deep family secrets

Griffith rail enthusiast John Robinson is delighted by the news of the journey.

“I come from the era of rail … to me, travelling on the train is the epitome of transport,” he said.

The Rail Motor Society was established in 1984 as a not-for-profit organisation. Its focus is on self-propelled or diesel multiple units.

“We don’t preserve steam trains … they are far too expensive,” Ms Short said.

The society maintains a collection of heritage-listed rail motors and other items of railway memorabilia at its museum, which is in the Hunter town of Paterson. The group offers day, weekend and extended excursions to various locations in regional NSW, as well as specialised rail tours. It relies on donations, the work of volunteers and money it raises from its tours to remain afloat.

“My husband, Rod, was a train driver for 45 years. Since our retirement we’ve been heavily involved with the society,” Ms Short said.

Further information on heritage train tours can be found on the Rail Motor Society Paterson Facebook page.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Riverina news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riverina stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.