From the Archives, 1962: Sad farewell for Colac’s ‘Beechie’ steam train

First published in The Age on June 28, 1962

Sadness at “Beechie’s” Last Workout

The ‘Beechie’ on one of its final runs in June 1962.Credit:The Age Archives

Six detonators exploded clouds of steam surrounded the 1926 locomotive, and “The Beechie” came to a final halt at Colac station yesterday afternoon.

The detonators were a traditional “welcome home” from railwaymen to “The Beechie” which for 60 years has run along the twisting line 3000 feet up into the Otways from Weeaproinah to Colac and back.

It was a sad farewell for the old train, which has become part of life for people living in isolated farm houses and small sidings.

Clarrie Kenyon, 48, who has been driving “The Beechie” for 26 years, was at the controls.

“She’s on her last legs, and has just lasted the distance,” said Mr Kenyon.

By the time it got back to Colac “The Beechie” was hauling 15 trucks loaded with 66 tons of pulp timber and 32 tons of potatoes.

On Saturday 120 members of the Railway Historical Society will travel from Colac to Beech Forrest and back on “The Beechie’s” last passenger run.

The line itself will not be dismantled for another 12 months.

In 2005, the first section of The Old Beechy Rail Trail was opened. The 45 km walking/cycling trail, located between Colac and Ferguson, follows much of the original path of the narrow gauge railway “The Beechie”.

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