In November 2020, a heavy storm brought down some trees alongside the line into the Royal National Park. One tree managed to strike the overhead; pulling down the wires and poles either side of it. Consequently, the poles needed to be replaced and the overhead re-erected and realigned back into position. The first few weeks were spent cutting back vegetation in the area where the poles needed to be replaced, and ensuring enough donations were received in order to pay the contractor’s cost of $5000 for both pole replacements. Once this was completed, the main work could begin.
In late December, the contractor arrived with their small poles and borer machine to install the two new 11-metre poles. Once both were installed, the overhead was tied to the poles with rope at a safe height, which would allow Overhead line car 99u to easily access the site for installation of new side arm brackets that would support the live wire.
Over the course of three weekends, the infrastructure team made a concentrated effort to re-erect the trolley wire to the new overhead poles. The first weekend on the 9th January focused on installing the new side arm brackets and attaching the main overhead wire to the new fittings, the next week on the 16th saw the pull offs re-strung and the overhead correctly aligned and centred for future pantograph operations, and the last on the 23rd was general maintenance involving the removal of kinks in the wire, replacement of any faulty insulators, along with several inspection runs to ensure the line was suitable for passenger operations.
A time-lapse compilation video of the overhead repair work undertaken between December 2020 and January 2021 has been uploaded to the museum’s YouTube Page, and is available to view below.
With works on the National Park line all but complete – not just involving overhead but crossing repairs as well – reopening of the line is expected to occur very soon once final approvals are signed off.