Take a walk down the railway line with John Healey.
The Lachlan Valley Railway secretary treasurer and Lithgow Railway Workshop admin manager spoke to the Lithgow Mercury about his time in the locomotive field with the 150th anniversary of the Great Western line coming up.
"Lithgow is kind of my childhood happy place," he said.
John was just four when he started his fascination with trains, which all began when he visited the iconic Zig Zag Railway.
"I have brothers who are also very into trains so that got me into it. I was away from it all for a while when I was studying, but I got back into it in 2011 and here we are," he said.
Just over three years ago John was offered a role in the Lithgow Railway Workshop in which he made the decision to move his family to Lithgow from Sydney.
"We moved the family and now I'm living in my childhood happy place," he said.
"How about that?"
John said when someone asked him what he loved about trains, it was always a hard question to answer.
"How do you answer that? Certainly I've had a fascination with steam, steam engines and anything steam driven is really quite intriguing and very fascinating for a young boy and still a bit mysterious as a grown up," he said.
It's still a bit mystical how it all kind of works, it seems to be this living breathing thing that's made out of metal.John Healey
"It's still a bit mystical how it all kind of works, it seems to be this living breathing thing that's made out of metal."
He said he was passionate about the heritage of trains and being able to bring back memories for people.
"A lot of the stuff with Lachlan Valley is heritage which is what I rode around on as kid.
"One of the most satisfying things about being involved in my line of work is that you get kids having their first train ride with their grandparents and then you've got the grandparents grinning from ear to ear because the carriage they're in is like the one they rode home from boarding school across country NSW when they were kids," he said.
"It transports people back to another time and period of their life, and I love seeing people getting caught up in their memories."
Working in heritage and preservation of trains, John has been part of many restorations and has one particular favourite, which is set to make an appearance at the Bowenfels celebrations.
"We've got a 1940s dining car and that's probably a favourite of a lot of people in the society, I've kind of found myself an official scone maker too.
"It's a pretty enjoyable thing to get into an old dining car, make a batch of scones and serve a bunch of people devonshire tea," he laughed.
Also making its debut at next weekend's celebrations will be the 1930s MFS 2028.
"To get this thing back in service we received some grant money from the state government, it's had all mechanical work done to it, tests, maintenance and we had to put batteries in for the lights to work," John said.
He said he had plenty of things planned for the carriage which lends itself to being a "good party car".
"We've got a couple of things in mind for it but it's pretty much ready to roll out the door," he said.
John hoped people would come down to the celebrations and take a ride on the MFS 2028.
"We want people to come check it out. We're going to run some local shuttle trains between Lithgow and Wallerawang on the day.
"They can experience a pretty comfy ride and I'm hoping we'll get people who have ridden on these things when they were in regular service and bring back some memories for them," he said.
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