Towering achievement for ambitious project

The Victorian Miniature Railway has achieved an exciting milestone in the construction of its Harcourt Miniature Railway project – installing the impressive clocktower that forms part of the central station.
VGR president Andrew Mierisch said the volunteers from VMR and the Harcourt Lions Club were thrilled to achieve this critical milestone.
The finished tower will be complete with four working clocks.
Mr Mierisch said their volunteers had been continuing to quietly work behind the scenes to keep their exciting project on track since they unveiled the first stage of their ambitious build in December – the sprawling central station modelled on Maryborough’s magnificent railway station constructed in 1890.
However, the latest COVID lockdown in Melbourne has now thrown a spanner in the works.
“Things had been moving along nicely. In February we installed our new front gates, in March we showcased the project at the Harcourt Applefest and in May we got the tower up and we then began to get stuck into preparing the footings for the 80 metre platform and verandah,” Mr Mierisch said.
“We were on track for a planned December opening but this will now be dependent on a number of factors including weather and the pandemic.
“A lot of our volunteers are Melbourne based so we are currently stuck in lockdown. Our local volunteers can only do so much.
“We were pushing hard to open at the end of the year and we are really hopeful that we can still do that.”
Mr Mierisch said their Melbourne-based volunteers were still working away fabricating what they could in their home workshops and it would be all hands on deck as soon as they were able.
“VMR’s resident horologist (clock maker) Colin Mierisch is busy putting the finishing touches on the clocks and has also constructed a unique clock made of rail parts which will stand in pride of place in the waiting area of the station,” he said.
“The track is ready to be laid. We need to get those footings in so we can build the platform and get the remaining tracks down.
“A lot of the next stage involves large construction elements that have to be built on site but we are doing what we can.
“We are also looking forward to the delivery of the Bendigo Signal Box B which will stand alongside our car park and will be the home of the Harcourt Lions Club.
“Every step is dependent on our talented volunteers in order to assist our contractors and keep our costs down so we are hopeful that we can get back into it soon.”
When complete the railway will feature the longest miniature rail track in Australia and is sure to be a premier tourist attraction for the region.

The final piece of the puzzle is carefully positioned on top of the tower.
The completed tower has a fantastic view of the township.

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