Merriwa railway line
The Merriwa railway line is in northern New South Wales, Australia. The line branches from the Main North line at Muswellbrook and travels north through Sandy Hollow to the town of Merriwa, a distance of approximately 80 kilometres (50 mi). The line was completed to Merriwa on 29 October 1917, however the section north of Sandy Hollow closed in 1988. The section between Muswellbrook and Sandy Hollow, combined with the Sandy Hollow – Gulgong railway line forms the Australian Rail Track Corporation's Ulan line between Muswellbrook and Gulgong on the Gwabegar railway line.
Restoration of Sandy Hollow to Merriwa section
|This section is outdated. (April 2014)|
There have been several attempts to launch a rail preservation group to restore and maintain the Merriwa rail precinct and the section of line between Sandy Hollow and Merriwa.
A small group tried to form a preservation society (which was to be called Merriwa Railway Museum) to restore the station and goods shed to their original condition, as well as the railway yard including the historic steam era turntable and steam locomotive water column. The aim was to restore the line and have a steam locomotive run on it again using historic New South Wales Government Railways rolling stock. It was intended for tourists and train enthusiasts alike. This group was started in early 2002 but failed to progress.
Another attempt was made in 2007, but also failed to proceed past internet speculation.
A new railway society, The Merriwa Railway Society Incorporated (MRS), was officially launched in Merriwa on 24 October 2009, with more than 42 locals and rail enthusiasts in attendance. Consultation has been undertaken with Upper Hunter Shire Council, the Australian Rail Track Corporation and the Independent Transport Safety and Reliability Regulator.
Since August 2009, the intentions and plans of MRS have been reported in 5 regional and Sydney based newspapers and on the local Upper Hunter ABC radio station, increasing local residents' awareness of the heritage railway restoration plans.
From 2010 to 2014 regular news stories and media were published online by the MRS but since September 2014 there has been no website updates from the MRS. Furthermore no actual news has been placed on website since April 2014 either. It is difficult for local media to get any confirmations as the MRS doesnt publicly distribute any information anymore. Since April 2014 the then President, Brian Leedham went on leave it was observed by many enthusiasts and no one replaced him until around possibly June 2015, when local Merriwa person Bryan Baker was observed to take over. At the same time a Brian Leedham resignation note was made public online which may go some way to confirming he stepped down.
It is not known in late 2015 if many active volunteers are still restoring or maintaining the station. It is also unknown if the project has closed either. Some railway industry commentators speculate the project has run out of money and people wishing to care for it. The station is noted in November 2015 as being untidy and overgrown which indicates no volunteers are active anymore.