STOP PRESS

Celebrate National Science Week at this family-friendly science community day, hosted by the Surfing Scientist, Ruben Meerman. The Australian Museum (1 William Street, Sydney) will be bursting with activity! Learn some seriously strange science facts; watch live science demonstrations; enjoy a T.rex Autopsy show; chat to scientists at the Science Expo and keep your eyes peeled for Winny the Muttaburrasaurus - our roving puppet dinosaur! Free general admission includes Science Expo entry, plus drop-in shows and interactive activities throughout the Museum. Please choose from either the Morning (10am - 1.30pm) or Afternoon (1.30pm - 5pm) session when registering.

Murrurundi 1872 to 1965

The Rai1way was completed to Murrurundi,and the first train ran to the present railway station on April 5, 1872. The goods shed and engine sheds also were completed and in operation at this date.

This was at the same time as those old outlaws were operating in the old west of America.

Murrurundi was the terminus (end of the line) until the completion of the Ardglen tunnel in 1877. The line then was completed to Tamworth (West) in 1878.

The original Locomotive shed was situated near the Albert Street crossing and remained the main north depot until the new sheds were completed in 1899.

The old shed had a 50ft (15m) turntable and this provided for the 10 goods engines and the six passenger locomotives allocated to Murrurundi at that time.

The new depot was provided with a 60ft (18.5m) turntable, could accommodate a large number of engines, had up-to-date equipment, well appointed workshops,and was the main repair centre for northern New South Wales as well the headquarters of the mechanical branch for the north was located here.

All locomotive activity from Muswellbrook to Armidale and out to the North West was directed from this building, until June 13, 1917 when this operation was transferred to Werris Creek.

Until this time Murrurundi engine crews worked trains to Newcastle, ArmidaJe and Narrabri West. The distances being 190km to Newcastle and 210kms to Armidale and Narrabri. This change was due to the introduction of larger and more powerful engines on the main lines.

The administration (district superintendent) office was transferred to Werris Creek on March 31 1926, meaning a loss to Murrarundi of over one hundred people includes families).

Murrurundi still had some importance as a railway town, as it had a very busy marshalling yard, goods shed, signal electrician, and interlockers, etc as well as the still busy loco depot, although greatly reduced in staff numbers.

This depot now became a bank engine depot, providing engines and crews to assist heavy trains over the Liverpool Range, from Murrurundi to Ardglen and Willow Tree and also in the other direction.

The engines also performed shunting and marshalling duties at Murrurundi and Willow Tree. The Staff in the 1940s and 1950s consisted of a district locomotive engineer, a night chargeman, 10 drivers, 10 acting drivers, 10 firemen, 5 cleaners, a fuelman and 2 labourers, plus a few casuals and from time to time men from other depots such as Grafton and Taree to assist during the wheat harvest.

A substantial brick building provided accommodation for these men, as well as housing the D.L.E and timekeepers etc. The large palm trees still stand in what was the very well kept garden of this building.

It is difficult to imagine this site as being one of the most important in N.S.W and to appreciate the intense locomotive activity that once took place here, 24 hours a day seven days a week for more that 70 years.

It is also hard to visualise that the headquarters of North & North-Western. N.S.W. railway activities was located near the beautiful, almost deserted, original Murrurundi railway station.

The bank engines still operate over the Liverpool Range but now are powerful diesel electric units, sometimes coupled three together (but driven by one crew) performing the same basic tasks as ever since the opening of the line over the range 120 years ago.

Note on the Ardglen tunnel. This is the oldest tunnel still in use in New South Wales, having being built in 1874 to 1877. The contractor being Mr. William Wakeford, some of whose descendants still reside in the area.

Respirators were necessary for use by engine crews in the tunnel to combat the suffocating fumes of the engine exhausts.

The summit of the range occurs in the tunnel, the line sloping out of each end alcoves being provided where people working in the tunnel may shelter.

At least four people have been overcome by fumes in this tunnel.


 Name: Notes on railway operations

 By: Harold Burraston

 Date: 1997


The above society is both a museum and historical society and subscribes to the International Council of Museums dictum. A museum is a not-for-profit, permanent institution in the service of society that researches, collects, conserves, interprets and exhibits tangible and intangible heritage. Open to the public, accessible and inclusive, museums foster diversity and sustainability. It operates and communicates ethically, professionally and with the participation of communities, offering varied experiences for education, enjoyment, reflection and knowledge sharing. This website is sponsored by the Murrurundi Pioneer Cottage and compiled by Des Dugan, © Email address © Phone: 0418 647 176 or: 0418 211 404.