Highlighting History of Tumutís Railway Precinct
By Ellen† McGruer
6 November 2015 Tumut & Adelong Times
The† Tumut† Railway† Precinct will† undergo† new developments, with† a† grant being secured† to create† interpretive† signage† highlighting† the† significant† history† of the† area.
The Grant was provided† by the Office of Environment† and Heritage† NSW,† and† was† in† the amount† of $40,000.†
The† grant† was provided under a† 50/50† arrangement,† meaning† the† amount needed† to† be† matched† in order† to proceed.† Tumut† Shire† Council provided† $10,000† and† the† John Holland Group† footed† $30,000† to bring† the† amount† to† an† even $40,000.
Already† a chunk† of the† money has† been† spent† on† the† recent track† restoration† leading† up† to the† Butter† Factory area,† with† the remainder† being† allocated to the signage.
Brad† Beed,† Tumut Shire† Council† Acting† Manager† of† Assets† & Design† says† they† are† pleased† that the† rich† history† of† the† area can now be showcased.
"The† signs† will† encompass† fascinating historical aspects† of the railway precinct,"† Mr Beed† said.
"We've† employed† Samantha Lee† from† NGH Environmental† to draft† up† some† designs† for† the signs.†
It† would† be good to† have four† signs,† but we'll† see† how† far the† money† stretches,"† said† Mr Beed.
The Tumut† Railway Precinct† is steeped† in† history† having begun operations on† October† 12, 1903 and ceased† in† January† 16,† 1984 due to† flooding† and track† damage.
A† number of† signatures† of† people who worked on the† railway,† as well† as† people that† have† passed through† over the† years, are† written† on† the† inside† of† the† large goods† shed† located† near the station.
These† days,† the† Tumut Potters† Club meets† in† the† shed.
Prior† to† the† Tumut† Railway being built,† the† people† of† Gundagai were† pushing† for† a† railway line† even† before† the railway had reached† Cootamundra† back† in 1877.
A† fire† at† the† Grand† Palace in Sydney† in† 1882† caused† a† delay in the† construction of† the† Gundagai station, as† it was† the† building† that housed† all† the† plans, reference material† and† other† documents destroyed† in† the fire,† and consequently† a new† survey† had to† be completed.
Start† of† construction† for† the Gundagai† line† is† not† documented, but† it† is† known that† the Government† took† over† the line† to Gundagai on† I† June† 1886.†
However,† contractor's† trains† were† operating for† some† time before† that date† taking† passengers,† goods and mail. The fares on† opening day† for† Gundagai† to† Cootamundra† were† 65 cents for† first class and† 42† cents† for† second class.
In† 1884,† a† report† was† produced for† provision† of† a† line† from Gundagai to† Tumut† at† an† estimated† cost† of† $800,000.†
It †was some† 15† years† later† in† 1899† that the† extension† to† Tumut came† before† the Government.† Four† years later, it† was up† and running.
The† opening† of† the Tumut† Railway station was a† matter† of real celebration† for† the† local† community.
The line† to Tumut† branched off at† Gilmore† around† 6km away, which† then† connected† to† the Cootamundra line† and was also the† junction† for† the† branch line to Batlow.† Gilmore had multiple tracks† and† platforms for† the† train movements.
Tumut was designated† as† a terminus station† for† the† branch† line, as† was Batlow† so it† had† a small locomotive† siding† built† to† the west† of† the† station.† This† siding was† used† to replenish the steam locomotives† with coal,† water and provide† crews† with† a† rest/barrack building.
The† station† also comprised† a platform,† a† 60-foot† by† 17-foot goods† shed,† loading† bank† and engine† shed,† coal† stage,† water tank and a† 50-foot turntable.†
Cattle† and† sheep† races were† also added.†
Sidings† were† for† BP (COR),† Tumut† Co-op† Dairy† Co. and† the† Freezing Works.
The† Batlow† line opened† on† May 10, 1922.
Until† the end of steam in† the† 1960's,† train† services† were† handled† by† a single class† of† locomotive,† the† 1877† vintage 19 class† 060,† specially fitted to† enable† the use† of the 60-foot turntables.† The trains† were† short,† and limited† to† 100† tonnes due† to† steep† gradients and† sharp† curves.†
Before† the† end† of† steam, services† ran† four† times† a week† as† mixed† goods trains,† also† transporting passengers.