The most efficient way to get from Melbourne to Castlemaine is on the Calder Freeway, but that would have none of the adventure of the route that Peter Williams mapped out for us for the Malden Steam Train Drive on Sunday 17 November. The roundabout trek via the Burke & Wills Track gave us stunning scenery, twisting roads and some wildlife to keep us on our toes.
We switched from petrol to steam power for the next leg of the journey, in a 1920s art deco carriage on the Victorian Goldfields Railway trip to Malden. Graeme signed up to see the engine in operation up close during the trip, and came back grinning like a big kid.
Getting a feed in Malden at lunchtime is quite a challenge! One venue doesn’t have a working phone number, another cafe was cakes and coffee only. The place we finally settled on… ahem gave us plenty of time to share stories, although with the train trip back to Castlemaine fast approaching, unfortunately the elusive Christmas shop will have to wait until next time.
Many thanks to Lawrence and Shaaron for organising a great day.
Simon de Lisle | Member #430
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
On Sunday, 17 November seven cars, six BMWs and one (modern) Mini - took part in an excellent day of multi-modal transport. The 15-odd participants (well, perhaps not all odd, or not very odd) assembled at the Wallan North McDonalds for a departure at the civilised time of 9:50am. Remarkably we left very close to the scheduled time - just as well, as we had a train to catch! The Peter Williams-designed drive took in some interesting roads and beautiful countryside in cool but fine weather. The roads were a little choppy in places but not enough to unsettle our fine machines. The only incident of note was a mother duck trying to shepherd her brood of ducklings across the road. “Why?” remains the age-old question, but one to which no answer was forthcoming. No ducks were harmed in the making of this movie.
At Castlemaine we parked our vehicles and transitioned to our second mode of transport, namely the historic steam train service to Maldon. We had a very comfortable first class carriage reserved for our use, which we graciously shared with a small number of overflow passengers from the rest of the train, including a clearly deluded individual who apparently actually chose to drive another German brand, one that features a star-shaped logo (decency forbids me naming it). During this excursion several of our party partook of the food and beverage service, including a very quaffable shiraz. The barman noted that it was his first experience of receiving payment via Apple Watch, so the journey was a decided mixture of old and new.
At Maldon we took up our third mode of transport - Shank’s Pony. A short walk took us to the main street of this historic small town, where the group dispersed to locate suitable lunch spots. Unfortunately all the various choices proved to be rather slow in serving their meals, which left little time to visit the town’s retail establishments, no doubt to the chagrin of the proprietors of same, although possibly to the benefit of our bank balances. Nevertheless everyone returned to the train in time for the return journey to Castlemaine, where the group broke up to find their own ways home, thus concluding a most enjoyable outing.
David Francis | Member #243
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne