Merriwa Railway Yard, and my idea for a museum

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TBP Minister for Railways

Location: Singleton
(This is a preservation subject but at the moment until anything goes ahead it is just railway archaeology)

Hi, today i went for a drive to Merriwa to have a look around, (sorry pics only on my mobile phone) and to be honest I was disgusted with it. While I want out to take film of what is left, I had a look around the whole yard area.
Station is starting to look really bad, and no thanks to idiot vandals, (the kind who need a bullet in the head) every window smashed. The goods door was opened. Inside the station not much. Had a look around the goods shed once again F head vandals been busy with spray cans.
Down to the end of the yard is still a water collum and turntable.

No one seems to give a damn about it anyway Evil or Very Mad
So I am interested in forming a small group (Merriwa Railway Museum) to hopefully restore the station and goods shed back to former glory. That would be the first goal. Just to have it look respectable first. Long term restore some track between 5 or 10k of it and to have a CPH rail motor doing shuttles once a month or so. then a while down the years try and lone a steam loco for a short period of time (SMR 31 would be my choice and two FO cars), restore them and use on special occasions, and for charters.
I now people are going to laugh at me writing, but if no one else is going to try anything then i want to have a crack at it.
I have sent emails of to a few people i know tonight, waiting to see replys (with one back already saying it sounds like a good idea)
But who still owns the line it self is who I want to know???
As I will need to send either an email or letter them to propose my interest and ideas. Restoring all the line one day would be the goal. but I doubt as it runs through peoples front yard now in some places, there are roads over the top of some locations. But at Merriwa just before the yard and the home signal poll I was looking at which had a left bend would be a great photo location, especially for steam hauled trip.
Pipedream at the moment yes, but people say to follow yours dreams so I am doing so, if all fails at least I can say I had a go at doing something I though would be worth wild.
Cheers from Paul
 
flathog Chief Commissioner

Location: Central West, NSW
Sounds like a good idea...

Its just getting it started, I would certainly support such an idea once its off the ground and I know my money would be going to good use.

One thing to remember, SET SOLID goals, don't stray off and try to achieve something to big to fast, if you have the opportunity to "go big" hold back a bit and plan on how you should go about it and how you will handle the new "enviroment". This has been the downfall with many, running a "bigger" tourist op. like a small one.

Tom
 
TBP Minister for Railways

Location: Singleton
Thank you flathog, nice to have a possitive comment from someone. As you can see the goals are not all at once. I would be happy just for the buildings to be looking good again. Believe me if u were to have a look at the station tomorrow it would make you  Spew
Last thing i want to hear is of it being burnt down (wooden stations and vandals don't mix)
 
Raichase Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
I'll be honest with you.

I saw the title and thought "oh oh, here comes another kiddy foamer with their grand idea for having a private track for 3801 and all her friends, with thomas faces on them".

Then I saw who was posting it, and I gave it a read, instead of dismissing it outright.

I honestly don't know the area too well, but from your idea, you seem to have good passion, and drive. I agree, follow your goals. Be realistic, don't drive yourself into the ground chasing them, but go for it.

I wish you the best of luck in firstly finding out if it's possible, and then going for it. It'll be a mammoth task, but who's to say it's not possible? I do hope you keep us updated, even if it stutters badly initially, if you keep at it, I hope you will see results.

It's certainly a positive thing to see someone to motivated to get up and do something about the vandalism, rather than sit there and go "someone really should fix that" (which is what most of us, myself included like to do).

Good luck!
 
TBP Minister for Railways

Location: Singleton
Thanks Raichase, as you can see I am planning this, but I have to ask around and see if i can get permission. Can't imagine people would not want these old buildings restored. I would even put my own personal collection of tickets, loco numbers plates and stuff on display there to. As I would start off having an historical museum before wanting to move on to restore some track.

And as you can see to if this ever want ahead, I would not want a massive collection or museum of rollingstock and locomotives as I would not want the yard to look like a scrap yard of stock with nowhere to go and rusting in the weather. I may have one or goods vans on display next to the goods shed to why what used to get loaded and unloaded there as the old yard crane is still there to. A single CPH is what I would want to start with. Then since there is the water collum a steam and two passenger cars and that would be it, no more stock.
 
trainweld Train Controller

All sounds like a good solid acheivable goal if you can obtain leases from owners
i would support from here in S.A.

Cheers
 
Raichase Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
As I would start off having an historical museum before wanting to move on to restore some track.
- SMR30


Thats what made me warm to it initially, clear goals.

Everyone else seems to want to do everything at once, but you're starting at the beginning.

Again, best of luck, I'm keen to watch this thread Smile.
 
wurx Lithgovian Ambassador-at-Large

Location: The birthplace of Street's Ice Cream
A good  Idea Paul - I hope that it will come to something Smile

Maybe only a pipedream now, but great things have small beginnings, do they not?
 
TBP Minister for Railways

Location: Singleton
http://www.brownfam.com.au/ROLL99/ROLL99.htm

People have a look at the above link, it shows a tour out to Merriwa on 30th November 1969, this would be of interest to NSWRTM members as 2705 was involved in this tour. Oh how i would love to bring steam back to Merriwa in the future.
the station must have been closed between 1984 - 1988.
Here is more infro on NSW Rail.Net
http://www.nswrail.net/locations/show.php?name=NSW:Merriwa&line=NSW:merriwa:0

I can tell you the bit that says  
Current status: The station building is still well maintained, and is now a private residence
- A user


Is now wrong as the station is falling to bits, and no one lives in it.
 
Demonlord Hightower Chief Train Controller

Paul and I have been discussing this idea and I believe, with a lot of hard work, then it is indeed possible. Merriwa has a big enough yard to have a small museum, but one thing at a time.

If we get the necessary permission, it will be Paul, Mainnorthen(maybe) and myself to start with, getting the yard, station and goods shed tidied up, then progressively working on other items. A fair amount of work, but it is achievable if we take our time.

Demonlord
 
The Man in Blue Deputy Commissioner

Location: Trackside in Baiyin NW China!
Paul and I have been discussing this idea and I believe, with a lot of hard work, then it is indeed possible. Merriwa has a big enough yard to have a small museum, but one thing at a time.

If we get the necessary permission, it will be Paul, Mainnorthen(maybe) and myself to start with, getting the yard, station and goods shed tidied up, then progressively working on other items. A fair amount of work, but it is achievable if we take our time.

Demonlord
- Demonlord Hightower


As a suggestion, try to go up to Oberon and meet the team working up there. They have the right ideas and the right approach, and importantly have managed to get COMMUNITY SUPPORT (read sponsorship, materials and local machinery. ) They have also jumped through the right hoops as far as incorporation, ITSRR & OHS requirements and have a proper BUSINESS PLAN in place. Probably more importantly. NO LOCOS OR ROLLINGSTOCK. They are getting the infrastructure up & running.

As far as gauging the support, start with the local council, try to set up a public meeting in Merriwa and approaching the editor of the local paper for Merriwa, they are always looking to run stories like this.

Good luck!!!
 
Demonlord Hightower Chief Train Controller

[quote="The Man in Blue"]  As a suggestion, try to go up to Oberon and meet the team working up there. They have the right ideas and the right approach, and importantly have managed to get COMMUNITY SUPPORT (read sponsorship, materials and local machinery. ) They have also jumped through the right hoops as far as incorporation, ITSRR & OHS requirements and have a proper BUSINESS PLAN in place. Probably more importantly. NO LOCOS OR ROLLINGSTOCK. They are getting the infrastructure up & running.

As far as gauging the support, start with the local council, try to set up a public meeting in Merriwa and approaching the editor of the local paper for Merriwa, they are always looking to run stories like this.

Good luck!!![/quote]

As soon as Paul approached me about it, I thought of the Oberon Torana Heritage Railway. He would be the one who could go to Oberon and meet the people working on that line while I continue 'behind the scenes' work in order to prepare the necessary submissions for ITSRR, Council, Workcover, etc.

As for organising a meeting at Merriwa, that is an option, but we want to talk to Upper Hunter Shire Council first, provide them with a submission of our plan, and try to get permission. After that, we will try to approach the local paper.

Paul and i will try to contact a representative of the OTHR in the next few days.

Demonlord
 
Warks Minister for Railways

Location: Near H30+059
Certainly it's a good spot - closed branch line with no prospect of re-opening, scenic country, decent sized (not big) town, vineyards and tourists, and hopefully the all-important ingredient: a source of keen locals to keep the dream alive.

Of course Mudgee would be a better spot in terms of a better chance of success (line condition and buildings much better) but that's another story.

Best of British to you.  Book me in for a weekend about 2009. Wink
 
Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
 As a suggestion, try to go up to Oberon and meet the team working up there. They have the right ideas and the right approach, and importantly have managed to get COMMUNITY SUPPORT (read sponsorship, materials and local machinery. ) They have also jumped through the right hoops as far as incorporation, ITSRR & OHS requirements and have a proper BUSINESS PLAN in place. Probably more importantly. NO LOCOS OR ROLLINGSTOCK. They are getting the infrastructure up & running.

As far as gauging the support, start with the local council, try to set up a public meeting in Merriwa and approaching the editor of the local paper for Merriwa, they are always looking to run stories like this.

Good luck!!!
- The Man in Blue


As soon as Paul approached me about it, I thought of the Oberon Torana Heritage Railway. He would be the one who could go to Oberon and meet the people working on that line while I continue 'behind the scenes' work in order to prepare the necessary submissions for ITSRR, Council, Workcover, etc.

As for organising a meeting at Merriwa, that is an option, but we want to talk to Upper Hunter Shire Council first, provide them with a submission of our plan, and try to get permission. After that, we will try to approach the local paper.

Paul and i will try to contact a representative of the OTHR in the next few days.

Demonlord
- Demonlord Hightower


Can I add, to the 2 excellent comments about Oberon, that I definitely agree they have undertaken exactly the right approach.

I will suggest one further thing. Don't have "no" rollingstock, have "one good piece" ie a railmotor and lease it in the first instance.

Healesville made the mistake of having no rollingstock and became dependent on (or hijacked by) and organisation that did have rollingstock, who regarded the line as their playground.

If you control one piece of rollingstock, you can build up your own profile and customer flow without depending on the other organisation. And when you have a bit of cash and track record, you can purchase more targeted acquisitions.

Certainly there are organisations elsewhere in the northern half of NSW who have not adopted the sustainable approach to rail preservation - avoid them at all costs!
 
Demonlord Hightower Chief Train Controller

[quote="Riccardo"]

Can I add, to the 2 excellent comments about Oberon, that I definitely agree they have undertaken exactly the right approach.

I will suggest one further thing. Don't have "no" rollingstock, have "one good piece" ie a railmotor and lease it in the first instance.

Healesville made the mistake of having no rollingstock and became dependent on (or hijacked by) and organisation that did have rollingstock, who regarded the line as their playground.

If you control one piece of rollingstock, you can build up your own profile and customer flow without depending on the other organisation. And when you have a bit of cash and track record, you can purchase more targeted acquisitions.

Certainly there are organisations elsewhere in the northern half of NSW who have not adopted the sustainable approach to rail preservation - avoid them at all costs![/quote]

The leasing part was something I intially thought of, but we might not be successful in getting a 620/720. We have yet to get to the stage of sending an email or letter to Railcorp & the Office of Rail Heritage. We still have quite a lot to do before we can start work on our goals.
 
TBP Minister for Railways

Location: Singleton
Now people, since i am the chairman I can say that at the moment I'm sorry to say the I am not doing anything for this project for this week as my band has a show on Saturday ay new Youth Centre so were gonna rock the place down and smash stuff but. After Sunday I will be getting back into museum mode.
A very long term goal is to lone one steam locomotive and two passenger cars at the most, as we don't want to have a simular fate as DSR&M at the moment of more rollingstock and locomotives then we can handle. The only item that will be on display will be hopefully one or two S wagons at the most next to the old goods shed to show people the kind of rollingstock that was common on the line everyday in the NSWGR era. We will not be looking at stuff that we can no restore, no do we want a on going collection that will just rott away on us and make us look bad in the preservation seen.
SMR 31 or 20 would be the ideal locomotive especially 31 as it was one of the last activated 10 class's back in 1983 and from what I'm told was withdrawn with a active boiler ticket, and when put into storage the tanks were drained, and the boiler on so im told it and 20 have the best boilers of all the stored 10's at HVRW. 31 will retain the whistle handles, none of that NSWGR roof cable rubbish just to try and make easier to operate the whistle, I can tell you the handle are easier to control the volume then the cables especially when on the move and is jumping around a bit on the lines. 10's for some reason love to rock side to side with every clink from the side rods, more so then many other types including the D59 class.

But a steam loco is a long term goal, not tomorrow, not next month, not even next year, about 3 to 4 years on the outside. As there is no point having a loco there that just sits there rather then being a active living steam locomotive that it should be. Locos and rollingstock that ever come this way are to have an active life, no matter what age they are. The only time things would stop running would be for overhauls, restorations and running repairs. And most of all - Money.
Without money then say goodbye to Merriwa ever hearing a 5 chime whistle in the valley ever aga Crying or Very sad in
 
Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
The leasing part was something I intially thought of, but we might not be successful in getting a 620/720. We have yet to get to the stage of sending an email or letter to Railcorp & the Office of Rail Heritage. We still have quite a lot to do before we can start work on our goals.
- Demonlord Hightower


There's redhens going apparently at Mt Gambier, and I expect Auckland won't keep the ADK/Ls when they get their electrification. Both would need gauge changing.

Are the ones at Armidale or Glen Innes or whatever being used?
 
Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
about 3 to 4 years on the outside
- SMR30


Before you get too excited, the Victorian situation is illustrative.

The Maldon line closed in 1976, ran its first tourist train in 1986, had its first decent extension in 1995 IIRC and was complete in 2005. Nearly 30 years!

The Daylesford line closed in 1978, ran its first train a short distance IIRC in about 1990, and did not reopen to its current extent till the mid 90s.

The Healesville line is a sorry tale, but it closed in 1980 and is only just about the run its first sustainable train.

Puffing Billy first reopened to Menzies Creek in 1962, 4 years after closure, then to Emerald in 1965, 7 years after closure, to Lakeside in 1975, 17 years after closure, and Gembrook in 1998, 30 years after closure!

The relevant measuring unit for tourist railways is decades, not years. You might be looking at 2 decades for a steam operation, not 3 years.
 
Johnmc - Moderator Moderator

Location: Cloncurry, Queensland

There's redhens going apparently at Mt Gambier...
- Riccardo


One here... http://www.a-tm.com.au/saleloco.html (with a "can be converted to SG") note.

I'll echo what others have said, and suggest you start small, work on your foundations (infrastructure, local support, etc.) first.  From little things, big things grow. (Aka, the "Paul Kelly" principle.Razz )  Beware of snake oil merchants who wish to impose their "grand plans" upon you.

And while I'm handing out pithy cliche's, here one more:  

Q. How do you eat an Elephant?
A. One bite at a time...
 
resistor Station Staff

Location: Noraville, New South Wales
Great idea SMR30, the Merriwa line has to be one of my favourites as I always passed it going to Warren when I was a kid.

Back in *I think* 2003 I went and had a good look around the yard, It appeared someone was living in the main station building, I was amazed that the solid goods shed door that was so smooth to operate after being un-maintained for so long.

I hope this idea gets off the ground.
 
GrahamH Chief Commissioner

Location: At a terminal on the www.
Who would do the work?

Find out about any local govt tourism development plans. How would it fit?

Why would anyone go to Merriwa to see / experience railway history?
ie it would be competing with several others in the region which are in more highly trafficed places.

Are the tourists currently through the area likely visitors? Are there enough of them?

If not, how can these be changed?

How will you convince the granters of grants that it is a viable operation?

How will you handle the compromises between historical accuracy and being attractive to the internet and .....world generation?

If track to Sandy Hollow was rebuilt could you sell grain haulage?

Can a coal mine be created in the Merriwa area?

Could a Sandy Hollow based operation be the starting point?

Why is Merriwa a better option than say Coolah which is a comparable situation?

Why do you think you can develop and run a million dollar business?

Not that I'm trying to discourage you. There could be some potential in that it is a 'west of the dividing range railway' in character which is not 'way out west'.
 
Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
I'd be interested whether the NSW rail heritage act or whatever it's called allows freight carriage. It is specifically prohibited in Victoria. If a mine did open locally, and you happened to have a rail line in working order, you could offer to cart the wagons to an exchange siding at Sandy Hollow (assuming it was you who had the relevant paperwork and staff)

Not sure whether Merriwa is the place. There is tourism in Denman and Mudgee, and rail tourist operators at Kurri and Armidale (?).

It is my thesis on my blog that competition in geography is not a problem, hence the prosperity of tourist rail in Tasmania. You have Zig Zag and the State Mine at Lithgow, which doesn't seem to affect it. It is personalities that is the problem.
 
TBP Minister for Railways

Location: Singleton
People thanks but Trent is looking way to far ahead. He is even buying Motivepower to see what diesels my be avaliable. Way to really to be looking at stuff mate. Oh and you really need to get your L plates soon, as I can drive you around everwhere Rolling Eyes
Soz people for hearing that but want him to be able to drive on he's own one day.
Anyway I am giving the museum idea a bif of a rest until early next year, as I got other importnat thing on my mind at the moment.
Thanks for all the wounderful support people, and hope you all have a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.
 
4426 Chief Commissioner

Location: BUSY GOING AROUND IN CIRCLES
SMR 30 I like the idea in theory and hope that you do indeed take baby steps in creating what you aim for.

Just for items of rollingstock I remember reading about the Line being the resting place of a few Bogie Tanks, maybe there could be one there that would be a start for the collection.

Just A Thought....and never give up on that dream....It could be a reality waiting to happen Very Happy
 
Brian 2009 Chief Commissioner

Location: N.S.W.
http://www.brownfam.com.au/ROLL99/ROLL99.htm

People have a look at the above link, it shows a tour out to Merriwa on 30th November 1969, this would be of interest to NSWRTM members as 2705 was involved in this tour. Oh how i would love to bring steam back to Merriwa in the future.
the station must have been closed between 1984 - 1988.
Here is more infro on NSW Rail.Net
http://www.nswrail.net/locations/show.php?name=NSW:Merriwa&line=NSW:merriwa:0

I can tell you the bit that says  
Current status: The station building is still well maintained, and is now a private residence
- A user


Is now wrong as the station is falling to bits, and no one lives in it.
- SMR30

SMR30,

I too have been to Merriwa.
Did some searching and have emails from the locals but would have to dig them out. Had a similar Idea to yours.

How far have you got with your enquiries?

At the time I visited a local group was looking after it.

Regards,

Brian Leedham.
http://www.freewebs.com/neriau/
 

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