Highlighting History of Tumutís Railway Precinct

By EllenMcGruer

6 November 2015 Tumut & Adelong Times

TheTumutRailwayPrecinct willundergonew developments, withagrant being securedto createinterpretivesignagehighlightingthesignificanthistoryof thearea.

The Grant was providedby the Office of Environmentand HeritageNSW,andwasinthe amountof $40,000.

Thegrantwas provided under a50/50arrangement,meaningtheamount neededtobematchedin orderto proceed.TumutShireCouncil provided$10,000andtheJohn Holland Groupfooted$30,000to bringtheamounttoaneven $40,000.

Alreadya chunkof themoney hasbeenspentontherecent trackrestorationleadingupto theButterFactory area,withthe remainderbeingallocated to the signage.

BradBeed,Tumut ShireCouncilActingManagerofAssets& Designsaystheyarepleasedthat therichhistoryofthearea can now be showcased.

"Thesignswillencompassfascinating historical aspectsof the railway precinct,"Mr Beedsaid.

"We'veemployedSamantha LeefromNGH Environmentalto draftupsomedesignsforthe signs.

Itwouldbe good tohave foursigns,but we'llseehowfar themoneystretches,"saidMr Beed.

The TumutRailway Precinctis steepedinhistoryhaving begun operations onOctober12, 1903 and ceasedinJanuary16,1984 due tofloodingand trackdamage.

Anumber ofsignaturesofpeople who worked on therailway,as wellaspeople thathavepassed throughover theyears, arewrittenontheinsideofthelarge goodsshedlocatednear the station.

Thesedays,theTumut PottersClub meetsintheshed.

PriortotheTumutRailway being built,thepeopleofGundagai werepushingforarailway lineevenbeforethe railway had reachedCootamundrabackin 1877.

AfireattheGrandPalace in Sydneyin1882causedadelay in theconstruction oftheGundagai station, asit wasthebuildingthat housedalltheplans, reference materialandotherdocuments destroyedinthe fire,and consequentlya newsurveyhad tobe completed.

Startofconstructionforthe Gundagailineisnotdocumented, butitisknown thatthe Governmenttookoverthe lineto Gundagai onIJune1886.

However,contractor'strainswereoperating forsometime beforethat datetakingpassengers,goods and mail. The fares onopening dayforGundagaitoCootamundrawere65 cents forfirst class and42centsforsecond class.

In1884,areportwasproduced forprovisionofalinefrom Gundagai toTumutatanestimatedcostof$800,000.

It was some15yearslaterin1899that theextensiontoTumut camebeforethe Government.Fouryears later, itwas upand running.

Theopeningofthe TumutRailway station was amatterof real celebrationforthelocalcommunity.

The lineto Tumutbranched off atGilmorearound6km away, whichthenconnectedtothe Cootamundra lineand was also thejunctionforthebranch line to Batlow.Gilmore had multiple tracksandplatforms forthetrain movements.

Tumut was designatedasa terminus stationforthebranchline, aswas Batlowso ithada small locomotivesidingbuilttothe westofthestation.Thissiding wasusedto replenish the steam locomotiveswith coal,water and providecrewswitharest/barrack building.

Thestationalso compriseda platform,a60-footby17-foot goodsshed,loadingbankand engineshed,coalstage,water tank and a50-foot turntable.

Cattleandsheepraces werealso added.

SidingswereforBP (COR),TumutCo-opDairyCo. andtheFreezing Works.

TheBatlowline openedonMay 10, 1922.

Untilthe end of steam inthe1960's,trainserviceswerehandledbya single classoflocomotive,the1877vintage 19 class060,specially fitted toenablethe useof the 60-foot turntables.The trainswereshort,and limitedto100tonnes duetosteepgradients andsharpcurves.

Beforetheendofsteam, servicesranfourtimesa weekasmixedgoods trains,alsotransporting passengers.