Hunter Valley Steamfest

Hunter Valley Steamfest is one of the major events in the New South Wales steam locomotive season and also one of the major events held in Maitland, in the Hunter Region. Held over two days in April, it is usually attended by steam locomotives from the Canberra Railway Museum, Powerhouse Museum and Trainworks Railway Museum and railmotors from the Rail Motor Society.

Hunter Valley Steamfest
3237 & 5917 at Maitland in April 2009
Begins13 April 2019 (2019-04-13)[1]
Ends14 April 2019 (2019-04-14)[1]
Location(s)Maitland, New South Wales
Years active33
Inaugurated19–20 April 1986
Most recent14–15 April 2018
Attendance50,000 (2017)


The first Hunter Valley Steamfest was held in April 1986 to commemorate the days of steam, three years after steam operations on the South Maitland Railway ceased.[2] In 2017, Steamfest attracted 50,000 visitors.[3]


Hunter Valley Steamfest has seen different locomotives from over six different preservation organisations within New South Wales and even one from the United Kingdom.

This list contains the locomotives that have attended the Hunter Valley Steamfest:

Local area of Maitland

  • SMR 10: Steam Display item at South Maitland Rail Yard 1990–95, 2006–07 and Steam trip in 2007
  • SMR 17: Steam Display item at South Maitland Rail Yard 1991
  • SMR 18: Steam Display item at South Maitland Rail Yard 1991–93, 2007 and Steam trip in 1994–95, 2007
  • SMR 25: Display in Maitland railway Yards in 1986 before being moved to Richmond Vale Railway
  • SMR 27: Static Display 1987

Richmond Vale Railway

  • Marjorie: 1986–2015
  • SMR 24: 1990–93, 1995–97
  • SMR 25: 1991–96, 1998–99
  • SMR 30: 2000, 2003, 2005–09

Ex New South Wales Government Railways

United Kingdom


During the Steamfest, trips to Broadmeadow, Branxton, Singleton, Paterson and Dungog are operated by both steam and preserved rail motor.[5][6] The Sunday Barrington Bullet travels to Dungog, then to Stroud Road loop and return. In 2015, a new trip to Port Waratah was introduced.[7]

In the early years of the festival, steam hauled charters brought passengers to the event but this is no longer the case with the locomotives and rolling stock moving to the festival empty. In 1986 two trips from Sydney Central and another from Blacktown operated.[8] In 2013 and 2014 passengers were able to travel on the stock movement from Picton to Maitland, albeit on the Friday before and Monday after the festival.[9][10]

The Great Race

One of the excursions involves a race between one or more steam locomotives and one or more de Havilland Tiger Moth. In 2010 a triple parallel of 3265, 3642 and 3526 was organised taking months of planning. The locomotives raced against three Tiger Moths[11] and winner of the race was the oldest loco in the race, 3265.[12] A Tiger Moth eventually won the race for the first time in 2012.[13] In 2016, the race was between four trains and four Tiger Moths.[14][15]

In 2004 Hunter Valley Steamfest received its own ground at the intersection of Church Street and the New England Highway, Maitland NSW, adjacent to Maitland Railway station. The ground is called Maitland Steamfest Rally Ground and is managed by Maitland Steam and Antique Machinery Association. Steam traction engines and portable steam appliances are stored, maintained and refurbished by volunteers onsite. Traction engines are also run onsite and driven on local roads in the Maitland area. Events and displays provided by the association include traction engines, portable steam appliances and equipment, road steam equipment, mini train rides (provided by the Lake Macquarie Live Steam group), vintage machinery, interpretive tours and static displays. Maitland Steam and Antique Machinery Association also provide event management and catering at Hunter Valley Steamfest and other events hosted at the Maitland Steamfest Rally Ground including Maitland Motor Heritage and Steam Fair and the Annual Postie Bike Rally.[16]

Maitland Park plays host for the "Show 'n Shine car expo" where hundreds of vintage, veteran and classic cars are on display. The car expo is held on the Sunday during Steamfest.[17][18]

As part of Steamfest, the Richmond Vale Railway Museum south of Kurri Kurri is open to the public with tours provided on the museum's own operational steam locomotive and with other steam related machines on site.[19]

See also

List of festivals in Australia


  1. "Steamfest Home Page". Hunter Valley Steamfest website. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  2. "Steamfest History". Hunter Valley Steamfest website. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
  3. "Another fantastic Steamfest for Maitland". Maitland Mercury. 10 April 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  4. Driver, Robert (2010). Hunter Valley Steamfest The First 25 Years. Hunter Valley Steamfest. ISBN 978-0-9806771-1-9.
  5. 2014 Steam Timetable Hunter Valley Steamfest
  6. 2014 Diesel Timetable Hunter Valley Steamfest
  7. Port Waratah Coal Run Steamfest
  8. "Heritage Week" Railway Digest July 1986 page 217
  9. Hunter Valley Limited April 2013 Heritage Express
  10. Hunter Valley Limited April 2014 Heritage Express
  11. Briony Sneddedn (23 February 2010). "Trains versus planes in a Steamfest first". The Maitland Mercury. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2010.
  12. "Steamfest's Great Race Comes to a Surprise End". NBN news. NBN Television. 18 April 2010. Archived from the original on 25 April 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  13. Edwards, Amy (29 April 2012). "Thousands flock to Steamfest". The Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  14. Sharpe, Donna (4 January 2016). "Full steam ahead for anniversary". The Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  15. Timetable 2016 Steamfest
  16. "Steamfest 2010 – Celebrating 25 years". Quest Serviced Apartments. 2010. Archived from the original on 7 September 2012. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
  17. "All Things Auto". Hunter Valley Steamfest website. Archived from the original on 18 April 2010. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
  18. "Show n Shine". Hunter Valley Steamfest website. Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  19. "Hunter Valley Steamfest 2012". Richmond Vale Railway Museum. Retrieved 6 April 2013.

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