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Railways, Capertee, Gulgong, Mudgee

In spite of excellent services from Cobb & Co, the largest and most enterprising coach service in the world, it became obvious to people out west that a railway was needed to link with Sydney and beyond.

 

Margaret Robinson of Mudgee writes:

The Mudgee Railway League, formed to press the government to build a railway to and beyond Mudgee. Mr James Atkinson was chairman and Mr James Loneragan secretary.

In July 1879, Parliament approved the construction of the railway in two parts. The first section from Wallerawang to Capertee was completed in January, 1884 and the second, from Capertee to Mudgee in September 1884. The line to Gulgong opened on April 14, 1909 and was celebrated with a railway picnic for all of the town.

Before the railway station in Mudgee opened, a good shed, engine shed, station master's house and two gate keepers' cottages were erected.

The first train to Mudgee, a mixed goods and mail train, was welcomed by the first station master, Mr JG Blissett.

At one time two passenger trains per day were running between Mudgee and Sydney as well as man goods trains.

As the years passed, the Railway men played a big part in the lives of the people who lived along the line. Often school children were picked up and taken to the large towns for a week's schooling, and returned to their homes by train on the Friday. As the train passed properties along the line, the driver blew the whistle to let people know there was something or someone for them to pick up and the guard passed it on.

The railway refreshment room opened at Mudgee Station in December 1911 - a very popular move with the travellers, who still had some hours to go to their destination. Around 1930 it was known to serve full meals as well as liquor, cigars, confectionery and light snacks.

In 1959 the rooms were leased out to private concerns, and later served only liquor.

On December 2, 1985, the rail passenger service between Kandos and Gulgong ceased and in 1992, the closure of the goods service followed.

The old Menah Railway Station, long gone.

On September 2, 2000, the first passenger train to travel the route for more than 10 years left Kandos for Mudgee. Regular tourist trains were planned for train rides coming from Sydney to Kandos, Rylstone, Mudgee, Gulgong, Dunedoo, Merrygoen and Binnaway through to Muswellbrook.

The Reopening of Mudgee Railway Station 2000

 

 

 

Elsie Winter of Mudgee writes:

I remember Mum and Dad with us kids, about four of us at that time, all dressed up in our pretty frilly dresses, white socks and black patent leather shoes, ready to board to train.

The thrill of the whistle as it puffed slowly into the station.

The guard called 'Twenty five minutes for breakfast'.

Then when the train drew to a stop, men and women climbed out, some in dressing gowns, and hurried to the sedate dining room with its tables covered with white starched tablecloths, laid with silver cutlery and crockery marked with the letters NSWGR.

Most people bought a cup of tea served in a very thick cup and saucer, with a sandwich, to take back to the train. The crockery was collected at the end of the journey by railway staff.

There was another break at Mt Victoria, if one wanted to buy something to eat, but no time for a meal.

Some people carried food with them. Each compartment of the train was separate, with a door opening straight out onto the platform. There was always fresh water in each compartment. Each had its own toilet, called a 'dog box'.

 

 

 

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Sources

The Mudgee Guardian; History with Diane Simmonds; from an article,

Rail link was obvious need, by Margaret Robinson

Episodes - Interludes and Haunting Sports on Mudgee by Elsie Winter.

 

Before the Rails
was Cobb & Co
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