Full steam ahead for popular miniature railway
Published on 02 March 2018
Nillumbik’s top tourist attraction, the Diamond Valley Miniature Railway, is back on track for the next two decades.
Nillumbik Shire Council has entered into a new 21-year lease agreement with the iconic non-profit railway attraction, next to the Eltham Lower Park, after its lease was due to expire last year.
A small parcel of land from the corner of the Eltham Lower Park has been added into the lease. This will remain unfenced and be open to the public around the clock.
It is set to be more beautiful than ever, as the club says it plans to work with community groups to revegetate it with native plants. In terms of the lease, the railway club will maintain the area – one less cost for the ratepayers.
Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the new lease at Tuesday night’s Council meeting, following extensive public consultation.
The miniature railway was voted the top tourist attraction in Metropolis Research’s 2018 Annual Community survey of 500 randomly selected households in Nillumbik.
Mayor Peter Clarke said it was a win-win decision. “The miniature railway, which started in the 1960s, is run by 150 volunteers and attracts close to 3000 passengers on an average Sunday. Council’s decision is a victory for common sense,” Cr Clarke said.
And it’s full steam ahead for the club, with President Sam Daly thrilled with the outcome. “Little kids and big kids across the Shire will be very happy everything is sorted out,” he said.
The good news could not have come at a better time. The Diamond Valley Miniature Railway is holding a 12 hour event on Sunday March 11 where the public can hop on the trains and ride them anytime between 11am to 11pm.
The night time train rides are very special, with only the lights from passing trains and lineside signals visible.
The Diamond Valley Brass Band will be performing and the Wattle Glen Fire Brigade will be selling glow sticks to fundraise.
Mr Daly said an important part of the day was presenting money to local charity groups – each year the railway club gives $20,000 to various concerns.
He said a special one-off donation of $2000 would be given to the Eltham North Adventure Playground that was destroyed by fire in late 2017.