In January 2022, for the first time since COVID struck, the rail operations team welcomed Barry, our certified driver-trainer, back into Tasmania from interstate. After two years of no new drivers being certified, Barry’s timing couldn’t have been more crucial following the loss of one driver in late 2021 and the retirement of a second due in January 2022.
Our training path for eventual drivers includes time as a fireman (for steam locos) and second person (for diesel locos). Drivers may then move onto our diesel locomotives for experience, which are comparably easier as they are not modified to travel on the rack and pinion – even a fully qualified steam driver from another railway needs time as a fireman with us to understand the requirements of the rack and pinion.
Brock joined us in the month of June a few years ago. He was just 21 years of age and was passed out as a qualified fireman in January – just seven months after he started!
Brock will be recognised by many of our previous passengers for his infectious smile and more than simply giving off the aura of someone who truly loves their job, but for actually loving it too!
In January 2022, Brock undertook his diesel driver practical and theory tests and has passed with flying colours. Our stewards have remarked just how smooth the train trip is when Brock is in the driver’s seat and our driver-trainer has praised him for his excellent train control and effortless gear changes, which he has described as second to none.
It can take years to gain enough experience to drive our specialised locos and Mark has certainly put in the hard yards. This hard work has been rewarded and Mark is now fully certified to drive both steam and diesel locos along our line.
Mark joined us initially in 2019 as a fireman, coming from a background as a steam locomotive maintainer and freight train driver from that big island to the north. He was appointed as our Rail Operations Manager in 2021, and as a qualified fitter and machinist he can also work on the locos, which is pretty handy!
Mark is now operating our Rack and Gorge journeys from Queenstown on a regular basis as well as holding down his day job as Rail Operations Manager. Thanks Mark, we love having you onboard!