Railway Line to Tumut in Operation for 50 Years

30 September 1953 Cootamundra Herald

October 12 will mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of   the branch railway line from Cootamundra to Tumut.

At that time in 1903 Mr. Jack Hickey, now or Tumut, was acting night stationmaster at Cootamundra (owing, to the illness of the resident Stationmaster), and despatched the ministerial rail car to Tumut with Sir William Lyne and Party for the official opening at Tumut. 

Following the ministerial train a passenger train with nearly 400pasengers aboard left to take part in the celebrations; but' unfortunately, the train was overloaded and could not make the grade over Reka Hill, and those aboard missed the official opening.

It was a great day for Tumut as many old hands will remember. After the banquet at night, tended by the Tumut citizens  to sir William Lyne and party, the passenger train left Tumut fist for Cootamundra, but again baulked on the Tumut side of Reka Hill, and was delayed some hours. 

Meanwhile the ministerial train arrived and pushed the passenger train over the hill between Gundagai and Coolac.

This meant that sir William Lyne arrived two hours late at Cootamundra, and he missed connection with the down express to Albury.

Sir William was greatly annoyed when he found the, express had left without him, and castigated Mr. Hickey for allowing the train to go.

Mr. Hickey then arranged for the ministerial car which had travelled from Tumut to continue on to Albury one hour later.

His action was questioned by the Railway Department, but official investigation proved Mr. Hickey had done the right thing.   

At this time sir William Lyne, who was member for Hume, was in favor of Gadara (between Adelong and Tumut) being chosen as the site for the Federal capital. After the ballot had  eliminated Gadara, he supported the agitation in favor of the site at Canberra.