The Hot Pot Run
On the Queens' Birthday long weekend in June (8th - 10th June, 2019), the Illawarra Live Steamers will hold a run for members of affiliated AALS clubs (sorry, but members of the public are not admitted). 2019 will be our 25th Hot Pot Run, and as such is shaping up already to be a big one. The aim of the weekend is to have a relaxing time, exchange ideas with other live steam enthusiasts and have fun driving our locomotives.
As was first started last year, the onsite camping booking requirements will be carried into 2019. Any caravans, camper trailers and motor homes must book in from 1st March to 31st April to John Wilson (see Contacts page). In addition to this, the club is no longer providing 240V camping power as our facilities cannot handle the load for the weekend.
The cost for the whole weekend is 3 large cans of soup, irrespective of how long you stay. If you don't have any soup, the cost is $15 per person - still a cheap weekend.
Any soup left over is donated to local charities. Last year we donated 296 cans to two local charities. People come from all over Australia to enjoy Winter in the 'Gong . In 2018 there were over 684 visitors during the four days and 100 or so members and visitors slept at the track.
Most visitors tidied up their camp site, but there were a couple who didn't which gave us more work than we needed. Please be considerate.
Here's a general view of how things happen.
Prior to the weekend, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are work days for us to make sure the track is up to scratch. Fortunately there isn't much to do as we keep on top of all the jobs with our regular Wednesday and Saturday Work Days. Our visitors start arriving on Thursday evening so we have a good social time. The track is open to locomotives and trains from Friday onwards, but maintenance occurs throughout Friday so the signals and various pieces of infrastructure may not be available until the Saturday.
The weather is usually fine with temperatures in the high teens during the day and down to around 8° at night.
Normally, ILS members don't run their locos on Saturday during the day, just to ease the track congestion, although we like to run on Saturday evening. Mostly, we make sure our guests are catered for, but there is a lot more talk than work as we greet old friends.
It is unfortunate in one way that the weekend is so popular because it makes the track congested at times, but everyone takes their time and doesn't get steamed up.
We go through well over 1,000 bread rolls over the three days and I don't want to see another cup of soup for months.
Oh yes, I just remembered something I overheard. One mother told her daughter "Hurry up dear or you'll be left behind. If you're female around this area, you are forgotten about". Unfortunately, this is most probably closer to the truth than we care to admit so on behalf of all the men, to you ladies I'll say "Thanks for your understanding and I promise to paint the kitchen next week."
One visitor said to me ... "I hope heaven is as good as this." One other thing that is fantastic is the number of people who thank us for the terrific weekend. On behalf of ILS, I'd like to thank you for coming to see us. We love your company.
I can't mention everyone who does a fantastic job, but special thanks must go to those who sit in the cold and make sure everyone signs in, to those who worked in the kitchen from early morning till late evening and those signalmen cooped up in the signal boxes for 12 hours a day. Especially those who keep the toilet area clean and tidy, and those who empty the garbage bins.
We may not thank you, but you are surely appreciated.