January 26, 2009

When the whistle sounds...

I woke up hours earlier than usual on Saturday morning. Tired and bleary eyed I stumbled for the espresso machine. I could hardly function. These however, were mere physical ailments, underneath I was brimming with excitement.

Today was the day... the day the 'Downs Dasher' would take to the track.

At the Warwick Train Station early, this little blogger was there to greet the first passenger. At least an hour early, she shared her memories of the trains of old as we waited in the shadow of the station's impressive entrance for passengers to descend. And descend they did, approaching across the car park like explorers across a vast desert, eager eyes fixed on the station. As I ticked off names and handed over tickets the passengers peeped past me, impatient to head onto the platform.

Not only passengers but onlookers, photographers and excited children were all eager enough to be earlier than the train! The train was full and the whistle was soon to sound and there was still plenty on the platform to wave them off.

As the whistle sounded the same excitement as your team winning at a football match or the last 100m of the Melbourne Cup seemed to be alive on the platform ... there certainly is something about steam trains.

Travelling by rail is an experience, you suddenly see the country differently, views hidden from the road are extended and romanticized when accompanied by the smell of soot and the sound of the whistle.

The day really was one for the books - what with the sweltering heat and plenty of potential hiccups to upset the coal cart, the day ended for me finally riding the 'Downs Dasher' home from Hendon, hot, tired but happy the day had been a success and wondering how it had ended so soon.

Thanks to the many Steam Train buffs from across the country and all their fabulous feedback, my 'Downs Dasher' experience proved to be much more than a ticket to ride!

Here's to a long and fruitful career for the 'Downs Dasher'.

January 16, 2009

From one festive season to another...

Easter eggs, hot cross buns and easter bunnies - the unmistakable signs that Easter is on its way.

With Christmas barely over, long summer days and the school holidays still in full swing, Easter would barely register on most people's horizons. It's amazing though (and even helpful for those who shop 3 months in advance) - easter produce is now available in stores. Yep, there was even a rumour that easter eggs hit shelves Boxing Day!

Whatever the facts, those at the Warwick Tourism & Events office are not dreaming of chocolate bunnies - they've got an entirely different food group in mind for Easter.

Locally produced food and drink products are the basis for the first ever Warwick Easter Fair. A day for the whole family featuring; arts, crafts, food and wine stalls, kids activities, music and even a celebrity chef (no not Gordon Ramsay - he's busy!).

The day is all about community spirit, the outdoors, fun and celebrating locally produced foods. Education is also on the cards with great opportunities to learn more about what's available locally and more ways for kids to learn fun, healthy eating habits.

The date is set for Saturday 11th April 2009 - 9am until 3pm at Leslie Park, Warwick.

Don't forget, if you're a stallholder and love a good market - then this event is for you!

January 9, 2009

The 'Downs Dasher' Steams into Warwick!

The romance of travelling by the power of steam is back. The Southern Downs Steam Railway has achieved a goal worth hundreds of volunteer hours and years of dedication - a steam train of their own - literally!

Rebuilt by volunteers and ready to run on the track, the 'Downs Dasher' is waiting for the Whistle thats set to sound for it's official first public run on Australia Day weekend 2009.

Families will be able ride on Saturday 24th, Sunday 25th and Monday 26th of January 2009.

To revel in the charm of everything vintage, trips out to the Allora Heritage Weekend on Saturday are planned and visits to historical Pubs in Clifton and Nobby are available on the Sunday and Monday.....Tickets are a must, so if your that way inclined, which let's face it, most of us are... get in quick and book!