Bathurst's love affair with steam locomotives doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon, with crowds flocking to Bathurst Railway Station for a ride on the Beyer-Garratt 6029.
(min cost $8)
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More than 4000 people purchased a ticket to ride Australia's largest operating steam locomotive, some of whom even turned up in vintage attire.
Susan Hunt, along with friends Barry Kelly, Neil McFarlane and Vicky Haak, donned 1940s outfits for the train ride to team with the steam engine's historic theme.
"Our parents grew up in the 1940's, and we've always appreciated the fashion of that era, and this train is a historic reminder of the vehicles our parents would've taken a trip on," Ms Hunt said.
"It's taken us a few weeks to find the right attire, and people our age are always looking for interesting and unique things to do, and a heritage train ride is certainly our kind of activity."
While the Beyer-Garratt 6029 was in service from 1954 to 1972, the carriages were built between 1919 and 1939.
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The train was brought to Bathurst courtesy of Transport Heritage NSW, who were also behind the successful visit of the 3801 locomotive last year.
Transport Heritage NSW head of finance and corporate resources Andy McNeill said the Beyer-Garratt 6029 has been well received by the local community.
"We've been fully booked all weekend, and we took a few trips on Friday with local school children, which were organised through the Bathurst Rail Museum," Ms McNeill said.
"It's been a fantastic experience, and customers from young children to great-grandparents have thoroughly enjoyed it."
Ms McNeill said there's two factors that contribute to the ongoing success of heritage train rides across NSW.
"Not only are they an important heritage asset, but steam trains speak a language of their own. They appeal to every generation, every background, every cultural crossover you could pick," she said.
"From the die-hard train enthusiasts who are curious about every nook and cranny of a steam engine to the everyday parents who want to give their children an interesting experience, there's something romantic and nostalgic about steam engines.
"It's like stepping into another world for an hour and a half with the wonderful sounds of a steam engine and the clickity-clack along the track."
Last month, the locomotive was acquired by the state government for use as part of Transport Heritage NSW's regular program of events.
"The 6029 and the 3801 are the two big engines we're able to bring out for regional tours, and they never fail to draw a crowd," she said.
"We also manage a bunch of smaller locomotives for specific purposes across the state."
Ms McNeill said it's a joy to bring heritage steam trains to Bathurst, where railway history is so widely celebrated.
"We're pleased to see the continued success of the Bathurst Rail Museum, and how it continues to attract locals and visitors alike," she said.
"They've been a big help in promoting the train's visit to town and we can't thank them enough."
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