Valley Heights railway station
|Address||Great Western Highway, Valley Heights
New South Wales, Australia
|Elevation||324 metres (1,063 ft)|
|Line(s)||Blue Mountains line|
|Distance||77.41 km (48.10 mi) from Central|
|Platforms||2 (1 island)|
Valley Heights railway station is an urban railway station on the Blue Mountains Line of the NSW TrainLink intercity network, serving the suburb of Valley Heights in the Lower Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia.
The station has an island platform and is served by one train each way per hour in off-peak, with additional services during peak hours. A railway roundhouse and depot is now registered by the NSW Heritage Office and is maintained as the Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum.
The station opened in 1875 as Eagers Platform, renamed The Valley in 1877, renamed to Valley Heights on 19 August 1880 and was once a major rail centre during the steam era. The station was originally a point where locomotives were added onto western-bound trains due to the steep railway gradients in the Blue Mountains.
The locomotive depot was constructed in 1913 when the duplication of the line between Glenbrook and Emu Plains was completed through the Blue Mountains. The depot was available for service on 21 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 had been eliminated, the ruling gradient from Penrith to Valley Heights being 1 in 60 (1.6%).
The depot at Valley Heights consisted of a locomotive yard, a 10 bay roundhouse, 18 metre (60 ft) turntable, an elevated coal stage, and water tanks and columns. It provided pilot (assistant) engines for trains travelling to Katoomba and beyond. Pilot engines were placed in the lead of the trains' "through" engine over a given section of track. The engines at Valley Heights not only piloted 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 Australasia. The section from Valley Heights to Katoomba, a distance of 20 miles 16 chains (32.7 km) has a ruling grade of in 33 (3.3%), rose a total of 2,200 ft (670 m), the gradients varying from 1 in 60 (1.6%) to the steepest of 1 in 31 (3.2%).
During the steam era the depot had a continual allotment of eight goods engines and generally two passenger engines. During the peak of the steam era an average of 30 trains during any 24 hour period required piloting from Valley Heights to Katoomba.
The depot is preserved as the Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum.
The western line was electrified (1500 volts DC) to Valley Heights on 23 October 1956. From 2 February 1957 steam operations from Valley Heights were replaced by the 46 class electric locomotives which assisted trains from Valley Heights to Katoomba. From that train all steam hauled trains, both freight and passenger were electrically assisted to Katoomba, until complete electrification saw steam removed from the scene.
The depot in latter years was basically a very efficient freight wagon and electric locomotive repair workshop, the electric engines receiving minor repairs and complete overhauls at the depot. A variety of freight wagons were also repaired at the depot. The demise of Valley Heights depot began when the 85 class electric locomotives were introduced in 1979 and through working of freight trains commenced. The demise was accelerated with the introduction of the 86 class locomotives in early 1983. From the mid-1980s the number of trains requiring piloting from Valley Heights had been reduced to a handful each day, the number of locomotives required for this duty being reduced to only 3, sometimes as few as 2 being necessary.
With the announcement of the closure of Valley Heights depot by the Greiner Government in October 1988, the depot was gradually closed and equipment removed. One electric locomotive being available for any pilot work on offer. The end occurring during the last week of January 1989 when electric locomotive 4627 had the distinction operating the last train to be piloted from Valley Heights to Katoomba.
Platforms and services
|1||Blue Mountains Line||interurban services to Penrith and Sydney Central||Limted peak hour surburban services to Hornsby via Central|
|2||Blue Mountains Line||intercity services to: Katoomba, Mount Victoria and Lithgow via Katoomba||Weekday services to Springwood only|
Blue Mountains Bus Company runs one route via Valley Heights railway station:
- "Main West Line". Nswrail.net.
- Sydney Trains - Valley Heights station details
- NSW Heritage Office listing: Valley Heights Railway Station and Locomotive Depot
- NSW Heritage Office listing: Locomotive Roundhouse 26Y
- NSW Heritage Office listing: Valley Heights Railway Station