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Springfield Railway celebrates 125 years

Easter Monday, 28th March 2005 sees a celebration day that commemorates the 125 years since rail reached Springfield (1880).

The day also celebrates the 40 years since the current heritage building was opened (June 1965). The celebrations are based at the Springfield Railway Station, with the day starting at approximately 10am when JB1236 a steam locomotive under full steam arrives from Christchurch. She will be sitting in the Springfield yard for most of the day 'with steam in her belly'. Unfortunately, due to unforseen circumstances, the mighty KB968 originally planned to attend, is now unable to.

The JB class locomotive, however, did also work on the Midland Line between Springfield and Arthur's Pass. 'There has been a great response from locals and ex-railway workers", reports Ainsley Burton of the Springfield Information Buro, "from as far away as Australia as well as all over New Zealand. All have registered for the official functions on the day, where they will partake of lunch, plus the planting of two trees (2pm), followed by afternoon tea. We are looking forward to hearing lots of good old stories and tales of Springfield Railway in it's hey day", added Ainsley. "We also invite everyone, who is interested, to come along to The Open Day' where there will be rail memorabilia plus numerous photos as well as a push-me-pull-you trolley, and the showing of a film detailing Springfield history.

Springfield School have been learning about the history of the area and have produced drawings to depict their studies which will be on display. They will also have a sausage sizzle running and food with refreshments will also be available". "Don't miss joining in and singing along with the local singing group to some good, old, favourite railway tunes," said Ainsley.

"Local businesses have come to the party with prizes for a raffle which will help with the steam locomotive expenses and this help is greatly appreciated", she added. "After the event a souvenir journal is planned", Ainsley commented, "containing as much Springfield Railway History as we can gather; stories, names and photos. This will be available for purchase and viewing".

Source:Malvern News 24th March 2005

Easter Monday brought not only sunshine, a gleaming, polished and steaming locomotive but a great array of fond memories, stories and joy to many ex, as well as a few current, railway workers for the celebration day at the Springfield Railway Station.

Many of these people had drifted away and lost contact with one another over the years and it was wonderful to see the smiles as the railway cobbers re-acquainted themselves. Both local identities and others from as far as Perth, Western Australia, including Desmond Murphy who helped Springfield resident, Bid Elson cut the celebration cake.

The oldest lady present on the day was 88 year old, Mrs E C Reeves and in honour of that fact, she was presented with a bouquet of flowers. Long time Springfield local, Tom Ferguson, assisted by Bill Rennie planted a tree in the Station garden to commemorate the day. The gleaming Steam Locomotive - JB1236 sat in the Springfield yard for the day with its presence tickling everyone's fancy - even the old drivers -"the smell got them buzzing".

A favourite with the children were the old jiggers that used to run up and down the line. Springfield School participated in running a barbeque and congratulations go to Vanessa Bragen and Paige Heselwood for winning with their fine artwork.

The organiser of the day and Station Proprietor, Ainsley Burton was very appreciative of the help and support given by local businesses and extended a huge thankyou for their donated prizes, which assisted in defraying the cost of bringing the steam locomotive to the district. "All in all it was an extremely successful day and an awesome experience to be able to bring history back to Springfield", said Ainsley. "It is certainly a town that people have fond memories of and after listening to the stories that were told, there were a lot of fun times enjoyed over the years. We're now looking forward to putting together our Souvenir Journal with some lovely stories and memories plus some great photos, so watch out for it", said Ainsley.

Source: Malvern News 1st April 2005


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