Oberon Tarana Railway – Planning for a Heritage Railway
It has not been a simple task to re-open the Tarana ~ Oberon branch line but progress is occurring at a rapid pace. There are various other successful and some not-so-successful examples of tourist railways based on existing railway lines. Well known successful examples include: the Zig-Zag Railway Co-op; Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum Ltd; Lachlan Valley Railway Society; NSW Rail Transport Museum; Valley Heights Steam Tramway; Pichi Richi in SA; “Puffing Billy” in Vic to name a few.
The Oberon Tarana Railway / Oberon branch has many advantages over many other models:
- The line is relatively short (24km) but sufficiently long to provide a worthwhile experience for patrons.
- The infrastructure is in fair condition viz: The 2 main stations are in good condition, Tarana is largely restored and Oberon is in excellent condition.
- The platform, rails and sidings have been retained in their original positions.
- The minor stations of Carlwood & Hazelgrove will not be difficult to replicate as they were very simple structures.
- Most of the rail is intact.
- A preliminary survey between Hazelgrove and Carlwood has revealed the scope of work needed to complete the line and a decision was taken to divide the work into 3 stages.
- The permanent way is relatively intact.
- The main iron bridge over the Fish River is in remarkably good engineering condition.
- The timber trestle spanning Snakes Valley Creek is in fair condition. It is intact but will need the replacement of many timbers.
- The goods and shunting facilities are intact at both ends.
- There is a useful intact loading facility at both Oberon and Tarana.
- The historic sheep and cattle yards at Oberon are also relatively intact and have been identified as having a high heritage value as most similar structures have been destroyed. The Council is to be congratulated on preserving these yards.
- The line passes major timber industries which may allow viable freight or tourist interaction. Commercial utilisation in the short term is unlikely but OTHR Inc will lobby for the reintroduction of commercial operations on the line.
- Close proximity to other heritage rail operators such as the Zig Zag Railway and the Lachlan Valley Railway.
- Possibility of tourist traffic via or to Jenolan Caves
- Proximity to the large population centres of Sydney
- Proposed interaction with other heritage railways such as 3801 Limited, Lachlan Valley Railway, Goodwin Alco and the NSW RTM.
APRIL 2010 – update
- the association has a Professional Board and a Business Plan in place to provide realistic and professional guidance for the implementation of the complete project. Membership exceeds 270
- OTHR :
- is Incorporated.
- has an ABN & TFN
- has Deductible Gift Recipient status.
- has Public Liability and Personal Accident Voluntary Workers Insurance policies.
- is an Accredited Operator.
- The Australian Tourism Development Project grant of $50,000 and the Oberon Council’s matching grant of $50,000 have been expended on the replacement of sleepers in the major part of the Oberon – Hazelgrove section of the line (Oberon Tarana Railway line). This section is Stage 1 of the complete restoration to Tarana. Stage 2 will be from Hazelgrove to Carlwood and Stage 3 the remaining section to Tarana.
- The initial plan to replace sleepers at 1:4 proved impractical as practically all of the sleepers were unsatisfactory. OTHR has been purchasing replacement quality second hand sleepers in bulk.
- Fund-raising for the purchase of additional sleepers is being conducted by means of a “SLEEPER CLUB” and donations for sleepers and rolling stock acquisition have been very good but are still urgently sought. OTHR also conducts raffles, trivia nights and we obtain tax deductible donations from members.
- Most of the line has been rebuilt from Black Bullock Road to Albion Street with the exception of some areas in front of the timber factories. These will need to be aligned with the replacement crossings.
- Level crossings have been replaced at Black Bullock Road, Rutters Ridge Road, the Tip Road, and Clover Lane. Three major crossings remain: Lowes Mount Road and Gate 6 in front of the factories and Albion Street immediately North of the station.
- The main road crossing over Lowes Mount Road has been surveyed and relocated slightly to account for local infrastructure changes.
- Visitors to Oberon are invited to examine progress on the line by driving towards Tarana on the Lowes Mount Road. Work at the Station can now be observed from the security fence or by arrangement with the Team Leader on working days. Visitor Induction is required to be completed before you can access the site. For further information on viewing the line, download the Self Guided Tour.