Gwabegar railway line

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Gwabegar railway line
Binnaway Station Looking North - panoramio.jpg
Binnaway Station
Overview
TerminiWallerawang
Gwabegar
Operation
Opened10 September 1923 (1923-09-10)
OwnerTransport for NSW
Operator(s)ARTC, John Holland CRN
Technical
Line length431.7 km (268.2 mi)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Route map

171.9
Main Western line
at Wallerawang
Irondale
Pipers Flat
Portland
Portland Cement Works (closed)
Cullen Bullen
Invincible Colliery (closed)
193.7
Baal Bone Junction
200.3
Baal Bone Colliery
Ben Bullen
Capertee Tunnel
207.4
Capertee
Airly Loop Junction
Airly Loop
Torbane
Excelsior
Weenga
Carlos Gap
Carlos Gap Tunnel
Vulcan
Clandulla
Charbon
Charbon Colliery Junction
Charbon Colliery
Kandos Cement Works
249.3
Kandos
257.2
Rylstone
Mortonmain
Lue
Havilah
Mount Knowles
Mount Frome
308.1
Mudgee
Munna
Cudgegong River
Pipeclay Creek
Warrobil
Sandy Hollow-Gulgong line
340.6
Gulgong
Wialdra Creek Bridge
Puggoon
Tallawang
Birriwa
Coolah Branch
Craboon
Dunedoo
Liamena
Towealgra
Wongoni
Troy Junction-Merrygoen line
417.8
Merrygoen
Neilrex
Mooren
Piambra
Binnaway-Werris Creek line
Binnaway grain sidings
458.7
Binnaway
Murrawal
Deringulla
Ulamambri
508.3
Coonabarabran
Yearinan
Bugaldie
Wittenbra
563.8
Baradine
Kenebri
Merebene
Baradine Creek
603.6
Gwabegar

The Gwabegar Railway Line is a railway line in the Central West and North West Slopes of New South Wales, Australia, which passes through the towns of Mudgee, Gulgong, Dunedoo, Coonabarabran and terminates at Gwabegar.

The section from Wallerawang to Capertee was opened on 15 May 1882; the section from Capertee to Rylstone on 9 June 1884; the section from Rylstone to Mudgee on 10 September 1884; the section from Mudgee to Gulgong on 14 April 1909; the section from Gulgong to Dunedoo on 28 November 1910; the section from Dunedoo to Binnaway on 2 April 1917; the section from Binnaway to Coonabarabran on 11 June 1917; and the section from Coonabarabran to Gwabegar on 10 September 1923.[1][2]

Currently, the Gwabegar Line is operational between Wallerawang to Rylstone. The line beyond Rylstone towards the terminus at Gwabegar still remains Booked Out of use and rail traffic remains suspended.[3][4][5]

The section of the Line between Kandos and Rylstone was restored in 2018 to operate heritage trains between the two railway stations.[5]

Description[edit]

Rylstone railway station

The line branches from the Main Western line at Wallerawang and heads north through the townships of Kandos, Rylstone and Mudgee before reaching Gulgong, where there is also a junction to the Sandy Hollow to Gulgong Line.

For several years, the section between Kandos and Gulgong was used only for a monthly heritage train service, subject to heavy speed restrictions.[6] The line had previously been closed from 2 March 1992 until 2 September 2000 but was reopened after repairs.[7][8]

Rail traffic on the Gwabegar Line is suspended north of Charbon Colliery, however charter services are able to operate conditionally as far as Kandos.[3][4] Rail traffic on the section between Binnaway and Gwabegar was suspended 28 October 2005 by the Rail Infrastructure Corporation (RIC) citing safety concerns arising from degraded infrastructure.

On May 2007, RIC announced that rail traffic between Kandos to Gwabegar would be suspended from use effective 30 June 2007.[9]

In February 2016 the section from Kandos to Rylstone was reopened for a heritage 660/720 class railcar trip from Lithgow.[10]

On 24 October 2017 the NSW State Government announced that $1.1 million would be provided to reinstate an 8km section of the Line between Kandos and Rylstone, enabling the Kandos Museum, Lachlan Valley Railway and Lithgow State Mines Railway to run tourist trains in the section. Refurbishment work, which includes replacing 3,500 old timber sleepers with long-life steel, commenced in 2018 and continued for several months.[11] The restored section of the Line was officially opened on 29 September 2018.[5]

Services[edit]

Primary traffic on the Line are coal trains from the Baal Bone and Charbon Collieries. Coal operations were initiated by Pacific National at Baal Bone in July 1986 and by Southern Shorthaul Railroad at Charbon in December 1986.[12][13][14][15]. Charbon Colliery closed in 2015.[16] Mining activities ceased at Baal Bone in 2011.[17] The only remaining coal activity north of Wallerawang is at Airly Colliery.[18][19]

Cement from Kandos Cement Works was a regular source of traffic until the mine's closure in 2011.[20]

Grain was formerly shipped from silos at locations such as Gwabegar, Baradine, and Bugaldie, on the now closed section of line north of Binnaway.[21] Silos continue in use at locations such as Neilrex and Birriwa. The flour mill sidings at Gulgong are no longer connected to the line (personal observation 2018-09-15).

Passenger services from Lithgow to Gulgong via Mudgee were operated with 620/720 rail cars, then DEB sets until their replacement with coaches in the early 1980s.

Commencing in 2018, with the restoration of the Kandos-Rylstone section, Lachlan Valley Railway and Lithgow State Mines Railway regularly operate their heritage train services between Lithgow and Rylstone, with shuttles between Rylstone and Kandos.[22][23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Wallerawang - Gwabegar Branch Line" Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin January 1968 & August 1968
  2. ^ "RAILWAY EXTENSION". Mudgee Guardian and North Western Representative. New South Wales, Australia. 13 September 1923. p. 29 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ a b "Signaling & infastructure" Railway Digest November 2014 page 42
  4. ^ a b "Signaling & infastructure" Railway Digest February 2015 page 43
  5. ^ a b c "Kandos-Rylstone Heritage Railway Official Opening". Mudgee Region. 2018-09-25. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  6. ^ Railway Digest, April 2007.
  7. ^ Gwabegar Line NSWrail.net
  8. ^ "Freight Traffic Doubts for Mudgee and Blayney to Cowra Lines" Railway Digest October 2000 page 5
  9. ^ "Gulgong-Kandos rail line to be suspended from use". ABC News. 25 May 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  10. ^ "The Rylstone Rambler" Railway Digest April 2016 page 56
  11. ^ Elliott, Honor (24 October 2017). "All-aboard the region's new $1.1M rail line". The Mudgee Guardian. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Western Report" Railway Digest September 1986 page 280
  13. ^ "Western Report" Railway Digest February 1987 page 52
  14. ^ Baal Bone Colliery Glencore
  15. ^ Charbon Centennial Coal
  16. ^ "Media Statement Charbon Prosecution". 2016-04-22. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  17. ^ "Baal Bone Colliery". Glencore Australia. Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  18. ^ "Airly Mine". Centennial Coal. Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  19. ^ "70 jobs secured as controversial NSW coal mine extension given green light". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2016-12-19. Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  20. ^ "Kandos Cement Plant". Cement Australia. Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  21. ^ "Harvest stopped dead in its tracks". Sydney Morning Herald. 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  22. ^ "Lachlan Valley Railway – A non-profit, railway preservation society". www.lvr.com.au. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  23. ^ "Tours and Events - Lithgow State Mine Railway". Lithgow State Mine Railway. Retrieved 2018-10-21.

External links[edit]