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Some time ago we were contacted by Rob Lee, a photographer from Canberra. He had visited CMR and generously offered us use of his photographs. Amongst Rob's equipment is a drone (small remotely controlled helicopter device that can carry a camera and is controlled via an I-Phone). Using it, Rob has created views of Cooma Yard unlike anything seen before. (Back in April 2011, the website featured a photo of the yard taken vertically from an aeroplane, but these shots are quite different). More of Rob's photos (both from the drone and otherwise) will appear in future updates.
Opposite the station is the Barracks, where train crews used to be able to stay the night. For several years after the formation of the CMR, a community group had control of the building. They removed some of the original internal bedroom walls and didn't pay much attention to the rest of the building. Fortunately, the CMR regained control of the premises and commenced restoration. The internal walls were put back in place and every part of the building was refurbished. The transformation is now complete, due once again to the unstinting efforts of a few of the local Cooma members. And what comfortable accomodation they have created for the benefit of visiting CMR members from outside of Cooma. See for yourself!
The exterior of the building has now been repainted in heritage colours.
There are 6 bedrooms, each with 2 comfortable beds.
Next to the bedrooms is a large open lounge area with 2 separate lounges (the TV set now rests on a glass fronted cabinet). Shower and toilet facilities adjoin the lounge.
To complete the picture there is a dining room (The 'Blue Room'?) and a fully equipped kitchen (through doorway).
The facilities have been given a 'road test' many times since their re-opening and have come through with flying colours! Visiting CMR members now have a 'home away from home'.
One of the few major features of Cooma Yard that was removed before the CMR took over was the water tank/tower. This serviced the steam engines that were the original motive power on the line. As one of the significant goals of the CMR is to restore the yard to 'original' condition, another water tower was located in country NSW, transported to Cooma and erected just a few yards from the old site by the engine shed. The 'new' tower is is the same type, but larger than the original. The photo below shows how prominent a landmark the tower is now.
The tower fed water to the engine refilling point located in the yard in front of the shed. This too has been recreated as it used to be.
New footpaths have been laid down connecting the station with the engine shed, water tower and the barracks. The paths make it easier for CMR personnel and visitors to access the features of the precinct. (Certainly better for CMR members staying overnight in the barracks - no more stumbling in the dark now the paths and powerful automatic lighting are in place).
Give us a Sign!
Recent additions around the precinct are the explanatory signs that adorn our tourist paths. The signs explain some of the history of the feature that is located at that site (eg barracks, shed, turntable etc).
By following the path around the precinct and reading the signs, visitors can conduct their own 'self guided' tours at times when the railway is not operating.