Western Victorian Railfan Guide

Dimboola’s steam locomotive

Article Category  Western Victorian Railfan Guide > Articles
Date Published  Thursday 17th August 2023
Author  Dimboola Courier
\Photo"  Western Victorian Railfan Guide

Dimboola’s steam locomotive

As a lasting symbol of the importance of the railways to the town, the Dimboola section of the Victorian Railways Institute purchased a steam locomotive from the Victorian Railways after it had been retired from service.

Money was raised by offering the residents of Dimboola the chance to purchase a part of the locomotive, which entitled the purchaser to reserve and keep their part clean, but they were not to remove it.

Locomotive J539 was chosen and acquired in 1974.

A large working bee was held to move the locomotive to its current location, in the park at the corner of Lloyd and High Streets.

A ‘jump-rail’ was used to get the locomotive off the main line near Park Street, which couldn’t be broken due to being made up of continuously welded rails, and then sections of track were moved from behind to in front of the locomotive as it progressed slowly along McDonald Street to the park. This last journey was 700 yards.

This was done on this day in 1975, August 17.

For the last forty-eight years, the locomotive has sat in the park, although over that time, it has suffered from vandalism, with the guard’s van that was originally on display with it damaged to the extent that it has been removed altogether and various parts of the locomotive itself have been removed without authorisation.

In July 1995, a signal mast featuring semaphore signals that were replaced by searchlight signals on this line in the 1980s was added to the precinct.

This park, known variously as Apex Park, Bicentenial Park, or just the Train Park, remains a popular stop for visitors, as steam locomotives on static display in Victoria are becoming less common.

Just over twenty years ago, in 2002, J539 received a full repaint and, during the process, spent a brief period in this unique all-over grey.

This article was originally published on the Dimboola Courier.