On Wed 4-Nov-1998, R711 was towed to the Ballarat workshops, emerging on Fri 13-Nov-1998 in its gleaming new paint work.  The loco looked magnificent in its coat of royal blue.

16-Nov-1998: On this Monday, R711 ventured out onto the mainline for the first of a series of road tests.   In the company of diesel T369 (WCR liveried 3rd series T), the train set out from Ballarat at about 1.50pm at 30 km/h, R711 tender first leading T369 heading towards Warrenheip.  The diesel "MU facility" worked well, the loco sounded superb, the Lempor-type exhausts didn't seem to have muffled the R class bark.