Diesel trips will be on offer again at Burton Automotive Hunter Valley Steamfest in 2019, with heritage diesels NPF 621 and NTC 721, and CPH 1, 3 and 7, known affectionately as the Red Rattler and Tin Hare, set to return to the festival.

Attendees will be able to purchase tickets on the Red Rattler Mount Thorley journeys and Tin Hare Paterson journeys on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 April.

Following the end of World War II, NSW Government railways commenced a modernisation program which took advantage of aluminium construction skills developed to support production of aircraft components used by the air force during the war and these skills led to the construction of the 620 and 720 classes of train.

The first trials of class leader set 621/721 took place in August 1961 with return runs to Penrith and Katoomba, before being delivered to Newcastle less than two weeks later. In September, the 621/721 unit entered operational service and from this time became known as the Red Rattler.

The 621 performed its final regular service with mismatched 725 trailer car in June 2007 and later that year was reunited with 721. The Red Rattler has strong ties to the Hunter Region, having spent all of its time on Hunter services. It is only fitting that the Red Rattler was returned to the Hunter for preservation at the Rail Motor Society. In 2010, Rail Motor Society volunteers spent countless hours restoring the two car unit which included a repaint to the train’s original Indian Red colouring.

There were 37 CPH rail motors built between 1923 and 1930 that were given the nickname of Tin Hare as the self propelled trains were quick paced, similar to greyhound racing hares in the era when greyhound tracks were moving towards the use of mechanical hares.

Tin Hares began service on country NSW lines in 1923 and operated well into the 1980s. There are only around ten of these motors remaining in operational condition throughout NSW and ACT, and three of these units will be attending Burton Automotive Hunter Valley Steamfest this year.

Tin Hares feature old fashioned cow catchers and roof-mounted radiators in addition to windows at the end of the car which provide passengers a driver’s eye view of the scenery in front of the carriage.

Don’t miss this opportunity to experience these diesels in person. Tickets are on sale from 12.00pm Friday 15 February.

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