Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum

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Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum
NSWGR Class D57 Locomotive.jpg
Established 1994
Location Tusculum Rd,
Valley Heights, New South Wales, Australia
Coordinates 33°42′09″S 150°34′42″E / 33.702457°S 150.578417°E / -33.702457; 150.578417
Type Railway museum
Nearest car park On site
Website Official Site

The Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum is a railway museum located in Valley Heights, New South Wales, Australia. It is operated by the Blue Mountains Division of the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum.

The Valley Heights Steam Tramway is also located in the former locomotive depot. The facility is located 300 metres north-west of Valley Heights railway station.

Locomotive depot[edit]

The locomotive depot was constructed in 1913 when the duplication of the line between Emu Plains and Glenbrook was completed. The depot was available for service from December 1913, but was not officially opened till 31 January 1914. With the duplication and regrading of the line, the heavy grades below Valley Heights were eliminated, the ruling gradient from Penrith to Valley Heights being 1 in 60.

The depot at Valley Heights consisted of a locomotive yard, a 10 bay roundhouse, 60-foot (18 m) turntable, an elevated coal stage, and water tanks and columns. It provided bank engines for trains travelling to Katoomba and beyond. The engines at Valley Heights not only banked over the longest distance in NSW, but also had the envious distinction of having to operate over the longest continual and most steeply graded mainline in Australia. The 33 kilometre section from Valley Heights to Katoomba rises 670 metres, with a ruling gradient of 1 in 33.

During the steam era, the depot had a continual allotment of eight freight and two passenger engines. During the peak of the steam era, an average of 30 trains during any 24 hour period required banking from Valley Heights to Katoomba.

The western line was electrified to Valley Heights in October 1956. In February 1957, steam operations from Valley Heights were replaced by the 46 class electric locomotives.

The depot in latter years was an electric locomotive and freight wagon repair workshop, the electric engines receiving everything from minor repairs to complete overhauls at the depot. A variety of freight wagons were also repaired. The demise of Valley Heights depot began when the more powerful 85 class locomotives were introduced in 1979. The demise was accelerated with the introduction of the 86 class locomotives in early 1983. From the mid-1980s, the number of trains requiring banking from Valley Heights had been reduced to a handful each day, the number of locomotives required for this duty being reduced to three, sometimes as few as two being necessary.

In October 1988, it was announced the depot would close.[1] One electric locomotive remained available for any bank work necessary, until the last week of January 1989, when 4627 had the distinction operating the last train to be banked from Valley Heights to Katoomba.

Milestones included:

  • 1911- railway station destroyed by bushfire
  • 1912 - repairs to railway station buildings destroyed by bushfire
  • 1914 - new roundhouse and depot brought into use
  • 1924 - additional water supplies at depot
  • 1925 - improvements to facilities, including ash tunnel for locomotive ash handling
  • 1949 - upgrading facilities for crew amenities
  • 1957 - electric locomotives take over from steam locomotives as bank engines
  • 1960s - improvements to allow for servicing and repairs to electric locomotives, members room/meal room, visitor centre and refreshment rooms added
  • 1973 - machine workshop annex added
  • 1987 - the first floor level of brickwork at signal box was removed in 1987 and extension added
  • 1988 - reduced use of bank engines as larger electric locomotives are used on main line work
  • 1992 - footbridge, upgrading work, concrete deck and stairs
  • 1993 - depot closed
  • 1990s - extensive repairs to roundhouse

Museum[edit]

NSWGR Tram Motor 103A

In 1994, the Blue Mountains Division of the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum established the Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Railway Museum, with the aim of preserving the depot to provide historical, educational and recreational facilities and opportunities for the benefit of the Blue Mountains community and visitor to the region.

Following the destruction of the Parramatta Park Tramway by fire in June 1993, the Valley Heights Steam Tramway was established in 1997 by the Stream Tram and Railway Preservation (Co-Op) Society Limited and its remaining assets were also transferred to Valley Heights.

In 2007-8, the Museum built a new work shed constructed near ash disposal tunnel, former amenities building (refreshment room and visitor centre) repaired and refurbished, ongoing work in roundhouse, chargeman's office (museum) repaired and refurbished, ash disposal tunnel cleaned and restored, amenities (toilets) were repaired and refurbished.

Centenary[edit]

On 31 January 2014, the Museum celebrated the centenary of the opening of the depot, with a special ceremony featuring speeches from the NSW Governor Marie Bashir and NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell. The event received extensive coverage on local and state media.[2]

Museum exhibits[edit]

The Museum's collection of railway locomotives, carriages, wagons and other railway equipment includes:

Steam Locomotives
No Description Manufacturer Year Status Ref
1022 0-4-0T saddle tank Vulcan Iron Works 1896 in parts under resoration Locomotive, Steam 1022
1308 4-4-2T passenger Beyer, Peacock and Company 1877 parts only Locomotive, Steam 1307
3214 4-6-0 passenger Beyer, Peacock and Company 1891 stored
5461 2-8-0 goods Clyde Engineering 1915 static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 5461
5711 4-8-2 goods Clyde Engineering 1929 static exhibit Locomotive, Steam 5711

Other Exhibits include:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Valley Heights to Close" Railway Digest December 1988 page 439
  2. ^ In the media Centenary of the Locomotive Depot
  3. ^ Locomotive 4601 Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum
  4. ^ Tram 103a Valley Heights Steam Tramway

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°42′09″S 150°34′49″E / 33.7026°S 150.5802°E / -33.7026; 150.5802