The Altona Miniature Railway Inc (A4198H) was originally known as the Altona & South Western Railroad which was established in 1976 with the expressed objective to build and operate a passenger carrying miniature railway in the Western suburbs area, of Melbourne, Australia.
This objective arose out of then lack of miniature railway facilities in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne and hence the need to travel long distances to either the Diamond Valley Railway at Eltham or to the Steam Locomotive Society of Victoria at Moorabbin.
The club became a co-operative in 1978 and an incorporated Association in 1985. During this period it operated a portable track at school fetes and company Christmas parties to raise funds for a day when it would have a site upon which it could establish a permanent railway.
A number of sites were investigated in the Altona and Williamstown areas. Unfortunately, all had problems relating to the security of venure, nature of land use and the amount of rental required. However, in 1979 the Altona City Council (now Hobsons Bay) indicated that its development plans for Paisley Park, a community recreational facility proposed for the old West Newport SEC (State Electricity Commission) briquette dump, could be reworked to include a miniature railway facility.
Following lengthy discussions between Altona Miniature Railway, Altona council and the State Government Lands Department an area of some 3.764 ha (9.3 acres) at the corner of Blenheim and Rosshire Roads Altona North, was approved for use by the Governor in Council on 9th August 1982.
However, it was not until mid 1985 that a lease was finalised between AMR and the Council acting as Committee of Management for a period of 10 years.
The first official train to run on the site occurred on the 2nd July 1985 when the Mayor of Altona, Councillor L.J. Crofts, unveiled a commemorative plaque and wished the club every success with its venture.
After a year hard work by club members, the inner loop of some 385 metres (1260 feet) of dual gauge track (7-1/4 and 5 inch) was completed, and approved by the Department of Labour for public passenger operation in 1986.
During this time negotiations were also had with the MMBW (now Melbourne Water) over the type of site development permitted, and with the Ministry for Planning and Environment over the proposed use of the land, given that the area was a designated flood plain. The latter issue was finally resolved (in the clubs favour) at the Planning Appeals Tribunal after lengthy submissions from legal counsel and an industrial safety consultant.
The commissioning of the inner loop of track now meant that the club was no longer solely dependant on fund raising from the hire of its portable track.
Public running on the third Sunday of each month commenced in July 1986.
The Altona & South Western Railroad was established.
On the 2nd of July the first Official train ran on the Paisley Park site.
In July, public running on the third Sunday of each month commenced.
Construction of a carriage shed/workshop commenced and with the connection of the electricity supply in 1990 it meant the club no longer had to rely upon a portable generator for power. Building of the turntable and steaming bays was also started.
A petrol powered VR B Class diesel and two carriages were donated by club member Ray Hinchliffe, this donation enabled the running of an engine on public running days when a steam engine was not available.
We purchased an obsolete baggage van (1 CP) from V/Line and located it on site for re-development as a ticket box and patron shelter. A track from the club workshop to the main loop was installed making it easier to store and transport carriages.
Hydraulic un-loading ramp for turntable constructed. Replacement of front fence with wire mesh fence.
Widening and completion of sealing of Blenheim Rd. with a drive over curb greatly improved public parking on running days. Inner passing line and turntable docking line added.
Excavation of the cuttings through the mountain and preliminary shaping of the soil which had been built up over several years by local contractors, the club installed a septic based toilet block, and extended the water supply to cover a further 300 Metres. Change of name to the Altona Miniature Railway Inc. Erection of publicity sign facing the Geelong railway line.
Construction of the third road through the station commenced.
LEAP (Landcare and Environment Action Program) sponsored by AMR in conjunction with local service clubs Rotary, Lions and Apex. This program of 26 weeks duration was a full time training program for unemployed youths. Work completed, included the construction of the Southern boundary wire mesh fence, bar-b-ques, and picnic tables and extensive site landscaping. Construction of the inner track loop at the Northern end. Additional shaping of the mountain.
Installation of the first tunnel and completion of track through the ‘S’ shape cutting around the mountain and through the tunnel. Bringing the total track distance to approximately 950 Metres.
Completion of another 50 Metres of track bringing the total to 1000 Metres this construction allows the use of two different track circuits or a figure ‘8’ for special occasions.
The relocation of the portable oval track onto the site to enable junior members to play trains under limited supervision on public run days. Further landscaping at the rear of the site with our first community tree planting day.
Construction of a tranverser and raised steaming bays, to replace the unloading ramp, making it easier to unload locomotives and rolling stock.
Purchased a petrol powered freelance diesel, 3 carriages and a guards van, to have a spare locomotive on site, if the other club diesel fails. Commenced operating the figure ‘8’ circuit on public running days.
A diesel frame with bogies were donated by club member Peter Croxford. This frame will become the clubs 3rd loco with the further donation of a engine. Work is progressing and in time this loco will be running soon.
The clubs 3rd loco ‘DL3’ completed, with it’s first public run on the August runday. Construction started on the ‘Siberia Loop’ track extention.
Construction of the station platform and building started in January. Station offically opened on the August Run Day.
‘Siberia Loop’ track extension completed in February. Construction starts on a articulated 4 carriage set