Rails and Trails

Over the past few weeks, many of you have been asking what our position is on the proposed development of a Rail Trail through the Queanbeyan to Bombala rail corridor. As a Heritage Railway that has been a part of the Monaro region for over 30 years, we have always worked hard to support the economic development of the local community by promoting tourism in the region and attracting visitors from across the state.

We believe the development of a bike trail through the rail corridor, installed beside the existing track alignment and designed in conjunction with the railway will give the Monaro a one-of-a-kind attraction that will not only enhance the reputation of the Monaro Region as a year-round tourist destination but also provide the catalyst for the economic recovery of our regional towns along the corridor.

As our own plans for heritage train operations progress, we continue to develop our concept plans for the rail corridor which not only include restoration of existing railway infrastructure but development of new infrastructure to integrate and support a trail, including:

🔹Installation of a new platform at Lake Williams, providing walking access to Nimmitabel township and connecting up with proposed trail heads.
🔹Installation of additional new platforms at key trail locations along the corridor to allow for rail transport of riders, walkers and bikes between sections of the trail.
🔹Installation of a new platform and viewing facilities on Mount Cooper, linking up with trail users and providing rail passengers easy access to one of the most scenic sections of the line.
🔹Installation of communication facilities at key points along the corridor to support rail operations and provide trail users with access to emergency communications in areas where mobile phone coverage is not available.

As residents of the Monaro, we feel that it is important that any financial investment from Snowy Monaro Regional Council is spent effectively and in the interests of everyone in the community. After reaching out to our friends at the Monaro Rail Trail group in December 2021 to collaborate on what a shared railway corridor might look like, we’ve since had the opportunity to meet collectively with MRT and a number of stakeholders with an interest in the rail corridor. As a group, we’re committed to finding a solution that works for all involved and more importantly, provides the Monaro with an attraction that will continue to strengthen the local economy for generations to come.

We hope that you share our vision and will continue to support us on our journey to returning trains to the Monaro once more.


If you would like to support any of our projects or just contribute toward the getting trains back on the rails in the Monaro, please visit our online store:
👇👇👇

https://cooma-monaro-railway.square.site/shop/Donations/4

All donations over $2.00 are tax deductible.

A Total Railway Experience

While the pandemic has disrupted the plans of many organisations across the country, including CMR, our dedicated team have continued to work tirelessly on restoration projects and capital works within the railway precinct but equally as important, we’ve also been putting a lot of energy into planning for the future of the museum.

The goal of the Cooma Monaro Railway is to develop a nationally recognised, year-round, destination attraction for the Monaro region, providing visitors with a total heritage railway experience for all ages. We want to ensure that we create an attraction that is both self-sustainable financially and continues to help strengthen the local economy while preserving the heritage of NSW Railways for many years to come.

Across 2020 and 2021, we were able to finalise the Concept Plan for the Cooma Railway Precinct. This is an exciting development because it allows us to share our vision for the precinct with you and highlight some of the exciting things that are in the works, including:

🔹 Two road display shed for restored rolling stock.
🔹 Railway Barracks Accommodation that can be booked by visitors for overnight stays and other railway experiences.
🔹 Picnic and BBQ areas throughout the precinct.
🔹 Restoration and re-installation of coal stage, fuel infrastructure gantry crane, etc.
🔹 Renovation and conversion of the Goods Shed into a function centre.
🔹 New carriage storage shed to house passenger rolling stock.
🔹 New permanent way shed and railway workshops.
🔹 Restoration of the Railway Institute building and tennis courts for public hire.
🔹 Extensive landscaping, tree planting, development of ornamental gardens across the precinct and installation of fresh produce gardens that will supply fresh produce to our café and hampers for railway journeys.

Couple that with heritage train rides and hands-on railway experiences and we believe we’ll be the premier destination for heritage railway in NSW.

Excitingly, it’s not just a plan on paper with capital works already underway and many items either complete or progressing well, including:

🔹 Interior, period correct restoration of the Cooma Station building to house the CMR museum. [Complete]
🔹 Renovation of the District Locomotive Engineers building to act as a headquarters for CMR volunteers including kitchen, meeting rooms, amenities and lockers for our volunteers. [Complete]
🔹 Installation of perimeter security fencing around the entire railway precinct to protect the precinct and rolling stock from vandalism. [Complete]
🔹 Re-connection of power, lights and communications across the precinct. [Complete]
🔹 Installation of a network of security cameras across the precinct [Complete]
🔹 Restoration of the signal and interlocking system. [In Progress]
🔹 Erection of temporary shelter for Steam Locomotive 3203. [Complete]
🔹 Trees and rose gardens [Ongoing]
🔹 Establishment of temporary railway workshops in the Goods Shed. [Complete]
🔹 Two road display shed. [Architectural Planning]

We hope you will like the Cooma Heritage Railway Precinct as much as we do and we look forward to welcoming everyone as we continue to develop the site.

If you would like contribute to the development of the Cooma Railway Precinct, donations can be made on our online store
👇👇👇

https://cooma-monaro-railway.square.site/shop/Donations/4

All donations over $2.00 are tax deductible.

We are also looking for assistance in kind with things like machinery and equipment hire or donation of services.

As always, we’re always happy for people to come down and join our volunteer teams. If you think you might be able to help with these projects, please get in touch through Facebook or via email at secretary@cmrailway.org.au.

Sleepers for a greener future

Restoring and maintaining railway infrastructure is a huge task, especially for an entirely volunteer-based workforce. With an average life-span of 10-15 years, the ongoing maintenance of track infrastructure using timber sleepers becomes even more difficult the further down the line you go. By the time you install new sleepers for a whole section, it’s time to go back to the start and replace them all over again (not to mention the recurring cost of new sleepers).

While alternative sleeper materials are not a new thing, with both steel and concrete sleepers being used in railways for many years, one Aussie company has been working on an even better solution. Integrated Recycling from Mildura have developed Duratrack, an engineered recycled plastic railway sleeper, manufactured in Australia from Australian waste plastic.

With a minimum 50+ year lifespan, they are not only environmentally friendly but provide an organisation like CMR with a product that will reduce both the cost and effort required to maintain the track infrastructure and allow us to focus our resources into providing a top-quality heritage railway experience for our guests.

Some interesting facts about Duratrack sleepers:

🔹 30 Duratrack railway sleepers will save about 300 trees and use about 1 tonne of plastic waste.
🔹 Every kilometre of (standard gauge) Duratrack sleepers installed will recycle approximately 90 tonnes of waste plastic.
🔹 Compared to concrete or steel sleepers, Duratrack sleepers require less energy to manufacture and thereby produce significantly less greenhouse gases.

We would love to get the support to see these rolled out along the line at Cooma and beyond and be the pioneers for recycled sleepers in NSW.

In an age where NSW alone produces 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste every year, of which only 10% is recycled, it’s important that we all embrace and support important initiatives like this and CMR is no different.

Check out the Integrated Recycling website for more information about the Duratrack recycled sleepers, including how they’re made and where they are being used 👇👇👇

https://www.integratedrecycling.com.au/railway-sleepers/

If you would like to help with track restoration, both in the yard and out on the line, we are always looking for financial contributions toward our sleeper fund which will help us purchase new sleepers and hardware to replace the many aging (or non-existent) sleepers.

https://cooma-monaro-railway.square.site/shop/Donations/4

All donations over $2.00 are tax deductible.

Getting Back on the Rails

It’s been a long journey and almost a decade since trains last graced the rails in the Monaro but we’re definitely on the home stretch. While we are still working through our re-accreditation, our volunteers are starting to prepare for the day that trains will roll once more.

Track from the loco shed is being inspected in preparation for some much-needed sleeper replacement between the shed and the yard. Inspections have also begun on our fleet of Railmotors which are still in operational condition but, like any vehicle that sits idle for a decade, they’ll need a little TLC before they roll out of the shed again.

While track maintenance continues in the yard, planning has also commenced for travelling out of the Cooma Railway Precinct with initial inspections and vegetation control taking place on the Cooma to Snowy Junction section to the north and Cooma to Rock Flat section to the south.

This is an exciting step toward seeing trains running again in the Monaro and takes us one step closer to re-connecting with our friends in Nimmitabel and Bombala.

Who else is looking forward to seeing No.22 roll out of Cooma yard once more? We certainly are!

If you would like to help with track restoration, both in the yard and out on the line, we are always looking for financial contributions toward our sleeper fund which will help us purchase new sleepers and hardware to replace the many aging (or non-existent) sleepers.

https://cooma-monaro-railway.square.site/shop/Donations/4

All donations over $2.00 are tax deductible.

We are also looking for assistance in kind with things like machinery and equipment hire or donation of services.

As always, we’re always happy for people to come down and join our volunteer trackwork teams.

If you think you might be able to help with these projects, please get in touch through Facebook or via email at secretary@cmrailway.org.au.

Quads, Sheds and Coffee

A Wheel Blast: This week we look at why the track quad vehicle has shiny rims, we move beyond the rafters to the battens at the loco shed, the sleepers continue to multiply under the track in the yard, and the best coffee is keeping our volunteers braced against the Cooma winter!

The track maintenance quad vehicle is progressing well, with volunteer Daryl making an impromptu sand blasting cabinet from a cardboard bow and clear plastic to sandblast the quad’s wheels. The wheels are now looking splendid and following examination will be primed and readied to go back onto the track vehicle.

Man at Work: Daryl uses an improvised sandblasting cabinet to renovate a wheel from the track maintenance quad vehicle. (CMR photo)

Over at the temporary loco shed, Caelan and Dave R. ignored the winter cold and continued working to bring the project closer to completion. They have completed installing the rafters and have commenced fixing the battens to the rafters. This project is a fine example of what the team at CMR can deliver, and we are looking forward to the arrival of steam locomotive 3203 to take pride of place in the shed.

Batten Progress: Caelan keeps himself warm by fixing battens to the rafters at the temporary loco shed project over at the goods shed. (CMR photo)

On Saturday our trusty crew of volunteers laid more sleepers in the yard, and our stalwart coffee connoisseur Dave Miller, whose Cooma-based mobile business, Coffee 2630 is a popular fixture at our monthly Fresh Produce Markets, is now making Saturday morning pit stops at the station to refuel our workers with complementary coffee. If you haven’t been to the markets yet, please do so – Dave has the best tasting coffee in the region, so your mouth will thank you forever.

Delirious Dave: Dave Rolfe can’t contain his anticipation for a cup of Dave Miller’s 2630 Coffee – you can get your fix at our next Fresh Produce Markets on 8 August or come down and volunteer on a Saturday morning and get a cup for free! (CMR photo)

There are so many ways you can get involved with the Cooma Monaro Railway. Our next Fresh Produce Markets will be held on 8 August (the second Sunday of the month), and you can join, volunteer, or donate to help advance our return to an operating museum with exhibitions and heritage rail operations. Just visit our website www.cmrailway.org.au to find out how to get involved, or contact us at secretary@cmrailway.org.au