Much-loved Maitland event steaming ahead

Much-loved Maitland event steaming ahead
Much-loved Maitland event steaming ahead

A big crowd is descending upon Maitland for the much-loved Hunter Valley Steamfest this weekend.

Within hours of the popular event kicking off on Saturday 13 April, thousands of people started taking a trip down memory lane.

In fact, organisers are expecting to welcome record numbers in 2024.

All aboard: Hunter Valley Steamfest is in full swing this weekend. Photos: Rod Thompson

This year’s program is filled with an impressive line-up of historic vehicles, including NSW’s largest and most powerful steam locomotive, the 6029 The Garratt.

Other notable inclusions are the 1917-built 3526, and a range of heritage train trips, the Great Train Race, an antique machinery display and more than 500 classic cars on show at the Rally Ground.  

Also adding to the atmosphere are tasty food stalls, fun activities for the kids, the Railway Street Market, Carnival Lane, watch maker and merchant demonstrations.

Steamfest After Dark then takes centre stage on Saturday evening between 5pm and 9pm.

“Steam trains and Maitland are a big part of my life and history,” said sponsor and Burton Automotive dealer principal Norm Burton OAM.

“I love to see the joy and wonder on children’s faces when they see the old machines, just as I did when I was young.” 

Steamfest’s rail schedule, presented by Australian Rail Track Corporation, will see a host of excursions to various destinations in the Hunter Valley over the two days, including Paterson, Branxton, Newcastle, Mount Thorley and the Port Waratah Coal Loop.

Meanwhile, the ARTC Great Train Race on Sunday 14 April pits two iconic locomotives competing side-by-side against a Tiger Moth aircraft.

The Rally Ground has also transformed into a steam-lovers haven and offers a glimpse into days gone by with antique machinery from across Australia, including traction and portable engines.  

On Sunday, the annual Show ‘n’ Shine, presented by Altapac, will feature more than 500 classic cars, accompanied by food stalls and “live” entertainment for the whole family.  

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