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Trains v plane at Burton Automotive Steamfest 2024

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Thousands are expected to take a trip down memory lane when the Burton Automotive Hunter Valley Steamfest returns to Maitland next month. 

Arrangements for the popular annual event are already full steam ahead, with organisers planning to welcome record crowd numbers on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 April.

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

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

“Steam trains and Maitland are a big part of my life and history,” says Burton Automotive Dealer Principal Norm Burton OAM. 

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

Pilot Phil Unicomb in front of a plane
A Tiger Moth will race against two steam locomotives at this year’s event.

Steamfest’s Rail Program, presented by Australian Rail Track Corporation, will see a host of rail excursions to various destinations in the Hunter Valley for the event, including Paterson, Branxton, Newcastle, Mount Thorley and the Port Waratah Coal Loop as well as the famous Great Train Race.  

“Hunter Valley Steamfest is one of our region’s biggest events and we are looking forward to joining our local communities in celebrating all things rail and steam,” says Australian Rail Track Corporation Acting Hunter Valley Group Executive Clinton Crump.  

“We are excited to once again be principal rail sponsor of Hunter Valley Steamfest and to host the famous ARTC Great Train Race, which will see the two iconic locomotives compete side by side against a Tiger Moth aircraft.” 

Steamfest train
The Burton Automotive Hunter Valley Steamfest has been sponsored by the car giant for the past 12 years.

The Rally Ground, sponsored by the Bloomfield Group, will transform into a steam lovers haven and offer a glimpse into days gone by with antique machinery from across Australia, including traction and portable engines.  

“As a local company with a rich history, including our Kings Engineering business that recently celebrated its 100th birthday, and our Bloomfield Mine that has been supporting the Maitland community for over 85 years, Bloomfield is delighted to be sponsoring this historical event,” says mine operations manager Brad Donoghoe.  

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.  

This year’s program is scheduled to start 9am on Saturday 13 April.

Tickets for the Burton Automotive Hunter Valley Steamfest Rail Program presented by ARTC will be on sale from noon on Tuesday 12 March.  

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