Monday, September 14, 2015


Lachlan Valley Railway

Just 2 hours drive north of Canberra there is a great railway museum. It is part of the Lachlan Valley Railway, based at Cowra in central western New South Wales. In the early 20th century, Cowra used to be a huge railway base servicing trains on the railway line joining the main north-south line to the main east-west line. The line, from Demondrille to Blayney, was built between 1885 and 1887. Cowra was the operation base and workshop. A large roundhouse and turntable were built in the early 1920s, and up to 30 trains could be at the base at a time. The line was closed in 2009. Lachlan Valley Railway was formed in 1974 to save as much of the locos and rolling stock as possible. It ran "tourist trains" from Cowra up to the time when the government closed all lines around Cowra. Now its locos operate from Cootamundra , Wagga Wagga and Sydney. The museum at the roundhouse is well worth the visit. You can see engines being restored, like this 53 class called "Rosie". I was allowed to climb into the driver's cabin and check out the controls. The turntable is still so finely balanced that it can be pushed around by just one person. I had a go, but it was a bit too big for me (can you see me trying?). If you look closely, you can see a scar in the concrete just to the left of the rotating part of the turntable track. That is the mark from an accident  (in the 1950s?) when a loco missed the rotating section and went nose-first into the turntable pit. Cowra rail museum is a place full of history, with staff who really know all about it. Another favourite place for this small bear.

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