TRIP BACK IN TIME: Rachael Hodgen and Frances Pyper, from Brisbane, dress in period costume for their journey to Goondiwindi on the Downs Dasher. INSET: A crew member checks the new crank pin which split in November last year.
TRIP BACK IN TIME: Rachael Hodgen and Frances Pyper, from Brisbane, dress in period costume for their journey to Goondiwindi on the Downs Dasher. INSET: A crew member checks the new crank pin which split in November last year. Kirstin Payne

Glorious return for the Downs Dasher

THE Downs Dasher hit the tracks over the long weekend in its first overnight trip since its recent repairs.

Packed with passengers from as far north as Rockhampton, the locomotive travelled to Goondiwindi on a three-day round trip, to return this afternoon.

Despite the best efforts of the Southern Downs Steam Railway crew there was a slight hitch for the train that had been out of action for six months.

"The oil regulator had a bit of trouble so we left a little while later," volunteer Peter Tobin said.

The only other issue on the journey was the "battle with the blowflies". Both volunteers, Mr Tobin and his wife Valda had been preparing for the journey for months.

"At one stage we didn't think it was going to go, the whole group has been working flat out," he said.

Volunteers cater and sell tickets and some of the crew were up at 3am to light the engine.

"There is an incredible amount of overhead with something like this," Mr Tobin said.

"We needed to make sure a truck of coal was out at Goondiwindi so we could get back.

"When people show how much they enjoy it, it makes it all worth it".



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