The Picnic Train is our brand name for steam train tours to exciting country destinations within a few hours of Sydney. Our goal is to provide a full steam train experience in traditional open-windowed period carriages — hauled by steam power only.
In October 2015, with the restoration of the turntable at Kiama, we ran our first Kiama Picnic Train — a theme we revisited from the 1970s and ’80s when locomotive 5917 frequently ran tours to the South Coast town. By Christmas 2015, we had successfully run eight trains to Kiama, with a shuttle train run for local charities once the train from Sydney reached Kiama.
With no permanent home to store our locomotive and rollingstock, it has become very difficult logistically to continue to run the trains in 2016. However, we persevered, as the calling for more trains was heard loud and clear.
In May 2016, we ran the first Highlands Picnic Train to Robertson in the NSW Southern Highlands. Getting a bit more adventurous, on 20th August 2016 we ran The Picnic Train to Hawkesbury River and Gosford as part of the Northern Steam Spectacular, where two steam train ran side-by-side for much of the way!
With steam locomotive 5917 reaching the end of its tyre life, use was limited to a few Kiama Picnic Trains at the end of 2016 and a very special Hunter Valley parallel run with heritage diesel-electric locomotive 4204, hauling The Blue Zephyr train.
While our steam locomotive is now having new tyres fixed to the wheels, we continue to run heritage diesel-electric tours utilising The Blue Zephyr train set — such as our Australia Day tour to Kiama over the past two years, Day tours to Orange and the first train to return to Rylstone during Easter 2018.
Steam locomotive 5917 is expected to be back hauling Picnic Trains in the second half of 2018, while we also work at having former broad gauge Victorian Railways R766 active on the NSW standard gauge.
We are currently running a fund-raiser for the all-important radio allowing R766 to run on the train networks. Please visit the R766 Restoration link to make a donation.
The tours are operated by the Lachlan Valley Railway Society, a not-for-profit organisation based in Cowra, NSW. Any earnings from our trains are put back into the ongoing care and maintenance of the locomotives and carriages.
The Picnic Train is proudly operated by Lachlan Valley Railway, a not-for-profit railway preservation society based in the Central Western NSW town of Cowra.