Crookwell railway line

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Crookwell Line
Crookwell
McAlister
branch line to Taralga
Roslyn
Woodhouselee
The Forest
Norwood
Kenmore
Argyle
joins the Main South line, to Goulburn

The Crookwell railway line is a disused branch railway line in the south of New South Wales, Australia. It has never officially been closed. It branched from the Main South line at North Goulburn and passed north through the localities of Kenmore and Roslyn to the town of Crookwell.

History[edit]

The Crookwell district north of Goulburn is rich and productive agricultural land, with a high annual rainfall. A railway to Crookwell was proposed as early as 1857, but it was not until the late 1870s and early 1880s that formal submissions were made by local residents and landowners to the Commissioner for Railways. Various routes and proposals were considered, including the option of a tramway as a feeder to the Main South railway. From 1884, public meetings were held and deputations were made, but not until 1899 did the NSW Parliament finally pass a Bill for the construction of the Crookwell line.[1]

The major engineering feature was a heavy (and expensive) steel lattice bridge over the Wollondilly River to the north of Goulburn. The line then passed through rolling hills to the town of Crookwell, and was opened in 1902. A platform was provided at Argyle, near the Goulburn Training Centre (now the Goulburn Correctional Centre), and stations were built at Kenmore, Norwood, The Forest, Woodhouselee, Roslyn, McAlister and Crookwell, with sidings at each of these locations. Several intermediate sidings were provided for stock loading and similar activities.[2]

In 1913 there was a proposal to extend the branch line further north west to Cowra. With the advent of the great war, the proposal didn't move forward.

Traffic[edit]

From opening, the line carried a mix of goods and passenger traffic. Superphosphate and livestock were the main goods carried, and superphosphate in particular was responsible for keeping the line operational long past the closure of similar branch lines. Initial passenger traffic was locomotive hauled 'mixed' trains of passenger and goods cars until the introduction of CPH railmotors from 1926. Two return daily railmotor services were provided allowing day return travel in either direction. Steam power was replaced with diesel from 1961. From the mid-1970s, goods traffic began to decline in competition with road transport. Passenger traffic ceased in 1974,[3] and by the 1980s freight traffic had dwindled to such unprofitable levels that the last train operated in 1985. The final train to operate on the line was hauled by steam locomotives 3001 and 3102 on 25 August 1985 with both being turned on Crookwell's turntable.[4] The points connecting the line to the Main South line at Goulburn were removed in September 1989 and the line listed as "out of use". The branchline has not been formally closed.[5]

Current state[edit]

Disused rail bridge, Crookwell Line
Goulburn North

Much of the alignment and track of the line remains in place, including the substantial bridge over the Wollondilly River. Since 2000 there are continuing plans to operate heritage rail trips over the line. The Goulburn Crookwell Heritage Railway group has been maintaining what is left of the lines infrastructure and sleeper replacement. Track vehicles known as trikes are operated for maintenance purposes.[6]

Taralga Branch[edit]

At Roslyn, a branch line to Taralga diverged, opening on 23 February 1926 and closing on 1 May 1957.[7] Whilst initially the line saw a six-days-a-week service, by the time of its demise it saw trains on Wednesdays only.[8]

The station buildings were of concrete, similar to other stations constructed in that period. The line has been lifted and little remains of the formation. Part of the original alignment remains but has been turned into a road.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goulburn to Crookwell Railway Act 1899 (NSW)
  2. ^ Scrymgeour, R. A History of the Goulburn - Crookwell Line. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin. Vol 48, no 721. November 1997.
  3. ^ Banger, C. The Intercapital Daylight, 1956-1991 Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin June 2001
  4. ^ "Double 30Ts to Crookwell" Roundhouse October 1985 page 31
  5. ^ "Crookwell Branch" Railway Digest November 1989 page 385
  6. ^ "Goulburn Crookwell Heritage Railway Inc". Goulburn Crookwell Heritage Railway Inc. Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  7. ^ Bozier, Rolfe; et al. "Taralga Line". NSWrail.net. Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  8. ^ History of the Taralga Railway Scrymgeour, R. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, March, 1994 pp78-90