The team at Cooma Monaro Railway are always on the move, and while much has been achieved already over the last few years, our journey has only just begun.
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.
The station will house our museum collection, while the precinct itself will become a living, breathing museum where visitors will be able to experience a fully original, operating railway precinct, the last of it’s kind in NSW. Visitors will be able to learn about the important role that railways have played in the development of regional NSW and see the orignal railways infrastructure in full operation such as the Signal and Interlocking system, beautifully restored station facilities and replica industrial facilities.
Beyond the railway precinct, CMR are bringing trains back to the Monara with our multi-stage restoration plans for the Queenbeyan to Bombala branch line, initially pushing south to Rock Flat before moving on to Nimmitabel then down to Bombala.
The following paragraphs highlight some of the projects that are underway as part of our comprehensive Conservation Management Plan for the Cooma Precinct and its associated Concept Plan for capital works going forward.
The Concept Plan details the proposed works and layout of the Cooma Railway Precinct as a holistic visitor experience and provides the necessary infrastructure to both display our exhibits and maintain our rail operations. Examples of planned works include a locomotive display shed at the station, the refurbished railway barracks for the use of our volunteers, and new workshop facilities for the maintenance of our Permanent Way (the track and associated infrastructure) and a dedicated rollingstock workshop to keep our rail vehicles in top operating condition.
Beyond the Precinct
While preserving the history of the Cooma Railway Precinct is important, one of our primary goals is to allow visitors to experience to romance of the railways through the restoration of the branch line and the return of trains to the Monaro.
The first stage of our track restoration is the short northern section between Cooma and the CMR Platform at Snowy Junction, opposite the Cooma Monaro Race Club. This will provide visitors with the opportunity for a short train ride when visiting the museum as well as the very popular Cooma Cup race day train.
The second stage of our track restoration is the southern section between Cooma and Rock Flat Station. This journey will wind around the hills out of Cooma as you head south with the mountains in the background.
After reaching Rock Flat, our goal is to continue south to Nimmitabel before continuing on to Bombala which will allow us to offer a variety of railway experiences including day trips to neighbouring towns, full-day rail adventures and special event trains.
Locomotive Display Shed
The Locomotive Display Shed is planned for the northern-end of the platform to exhibit both the restored gunpowder wagon and our allocated 19th century steam locomotive 3203 in a building that will both protect them and be sympathetic to the existing station buildings. Locomotive 3203 is a member of the C32 class that regularly ran the rails to Cooma and is currently in Broadmeadow pending completion of its preparation for display and delivery. The locomotive was entrusted to CMR custodianship by Transport for NSW’s Independent Funding Advisory Panel, and a grant for the shed design was generously provided by the NSW State Government.
Once 3203 is restored it will be relocated to Cooma for display. The 32-class were commonly seen on the Monaro’s rails for 70 years.
Recent Progress Updates
- Rails and TrailsOver 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 …
- A Total Railway ExperienceWhile 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 …
- Sleepers for a greener futureRestoring 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 …
- Getting Back on the RailsIt’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 …
- Quads, Sheds and CoffeeA 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 …