Blayney–Demondrille railway line
|Main Western Line|
|Line length||101 km (63 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
The Blayney–Demondrille railway line is a railway line in New South Wales, Australia. It is used mainly for grain haulage. The line is owned by the NSW government, however in 2004 the Australian Rail Track Corporation became responsible for operations over the line. The Lachlan Valley Railway operated heritage and tourist trains over the line, based at Cowra. It previously also operated general goods trains.
From January 2012, the line was managed by John Holland Rail. Following flooding in 2011 between Cowra and Young, the line remains unusable for most of its length.
Approval was given by the New South Wales Government in April, 1881 for the construction of the 'Blayney–Murrumburrah Railway'. It in fact connects the Main West line at Blayney with the Main South Line at Demondrille, and passes through the towns of Cowra and Young.
The section between Demondrille and Young opened on 26 March 1885. The next section, from Young to Cowra (on the west side of the Lachlan River), saw the first government operated train on 2 November 1886, however the contractor operated trains from May 1886.
The bridge over the river was tested on 25 August 1887 and the line opened to the current station site forthwith. The final section, from Cowra to Blayney opened in August 1887. The section from Blayney to Cowra was closed in late 1999 after a bridge near Holmwood burned down but the line was reopened April 2000.
Finally, between 2007 and 2009 the line was progressively suspended from service due to declining freight volumes, high maintenance costs and safety concerns.
The councils of Blayney, Cowra, Weddin, Harden and Young have strongly supported the re-opening of the ‘Cowra Lines’, which include the Blayney to Demondrille line and a section of the Grenfell branch line between Koorawatha to Greenethorpe. In mid-2013, Transport for NSW and the Blayney, Cowra, Weddin, Harden and Young councils signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a sustainable and integrated regional road and rail freight infrastructure model.
A Registration of Interest process conducted in late 2013 identified that there was market interest in the Cowra Lines from suitably qualified and experienced private sector proponents. As a result, the NSW Government moved to hold an ‘open tender’ for the Cowra Lines.
On 24 March 2014, the NSW Government opened a Request For Tender process for the Cowra Lines. The tender invited submissions from the private sector to restore, operate and maintain the Cowra Lines on a commercially sustainable basis. The Request For Tender process closed on 25 July 2014.
The tender process was completed in April 2015. A comprehensive tender evaluation found that none of the proposals received adequately met the tender criteria. It concluded that there was too much uncertainty in the ability of the tenderers to return the lines to full service and run a commercially sustainable business without significant government support.
The Lachlan Valley Railway (LVR), which operates from its base in Cowra, could face an uncertain future if the line remains suspended from operation.
The line between Cowra and Demondrille was reopened in December 2009 as per a notice in the January Issue of Rail Digest but so far has not been used by LVR.
A railway line branched from Cowra and headed west to the small township of Eugowra. The line opened to Canowindra on 4 July 1910 and to Eugowra on 11 December 1922. It mainly carried grain traffic, but also had a passenger service until 1974.
Line Between Cowra and Demondrille was reopened in December 2009 as per a notice in the January Issue of Rail Digest but so far has not been used by LVR. Services are currently suspended and the line is in a poor state and is unlikely to reopen.
- New South Wales Cross-Country Lines – Blayney – Harden Clark, L.A. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, November, 1954 pp136-140
- "Final Tripartite Agreement". ARTC. Retrieved 24 May 2007.[dead link]
- "TESTING THE LACHLAN RAILWAY BRIDGE NEAR COWRA". The Sydney Morning Herald (15,419). New South Wales, Australia. 26 August 1887. p. 5 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Call for private sector interest to reopen Cowra Lines". Transport for NSW - Corporate. 2 September 2013.
- "CALL FOR PRIVATE SECTOR INTEREST TO REOPEN COWRA LINES". Lachlan Regional Transport Committee. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
- "Industry given opportunity to reopen Cowra Lines". Transport for NSW - Corporate. 19 March 2014.
- "Industry given opportunity to reopen Cowra Lines". Cowra Council. 21 March 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
- Ryan, Lawrence (1993), Lines to the Lachlan (Revised ed), Australian Railway Historical Society NSW Division, ISBN 0-909650-31-4
- "Viaduct traffic concern resolved – 102 years on". Cowra Community News. May 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
- "Unsafe rail viaducts to be removed next week". Cowra Council. 26 May 2010. Archived from the original on 21 April 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
Media related to Blayney–Demondrille railway line at Wikimedia Commons