For more years than anyone cares to admit, the Diamond Valley Railway in Eltham Lower Park, Eltham, Victoria, have been running the Teddy Bear Picnic. It is 2 days in a row of total madness where passengers 17 years old and younger when accompanied by a Teddy Bear (or similar stuffed toy) can ride the trains for free – normally $3 per person. (I've been reliably told it was the 6th annual Teddy Bear Picnic on 10th and 11th June 2018)
2018 was no exception to the madness and this year we carried over Sunday and Monday of the Queens Birthday long weekend, almost 10,000 happy passengers and no one is sure of the number of teddy bears and friends. Sunday, first train rolled out at about 10.40 am finishing running at 5.15pm, Monday 12.30 pm start and 4.30 pm finish. Monday most of the public running there were 12 trains on the circuit at any one time, yet despite all the effort put in by so many of us, we just could not meet up with the demand and the queues became longer and longer.
Close to the entrance to the park is a traffic round-a-bout – at times the queue just to buy tickets stretched from the ticket box all the way to the round-a-bout – using Google Earth it is a distance of around 130 metres. I'm sure all those waiting in line could see we were doing our best to move the numbers.
Early in the day the Teddy Bears had to be fed and given nice milk. They were sat at a big table in the club rooms and served up their brekky.
One of the bears asked, “What type are these biscuits?” and they were shown the packet.
With that all 3 bears jumped off their chairs and ran to the upper floor railing of the club rooms and threw up – yuck.
Other bears wanted to find out about something called a 'check list.'
Our control center – better known as B Box was not immune to visitation from bears. Normal the signal box is out of bounds, but not on Teddy Bear Picnic day.
Paul Davies was busy with crowd control at the long, long line of people having bought tickets just had to wait.
Part of the long queue and notice the pram parking bay – another busy spot.
The St Johns Ambulance people were there just in case – luckily they were not needed and even luckier still they bought alone their own deck chairs. Notice behind them is additional pram parking.
Car parking was in hot demand and I'm really glad us volunteers get a parking area that we use before the public start arriving. Sorry to our visitors who had to circle and circle for a parking spot. I did hear that all the streets in the area were fully taken up with parking. Maybe our good friends at Council might consider letting us use the oval for parking a few days a year. The local Scouts would just love the income from car parking.
Some bears are good and others need to be re-train-ed!
Talking of trains – and yes that's what we are all about. Some of the bears got to ride up front with the drivers. Now that's telling news at teddy bear school tomorrow.
Sadly all good things come to an end and I am reminded of a little saying, 'Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
THE END – see you next year.
Note, the comments in this blog are those of the author and are not necessarily those of the DVR CoM.