Help with defunct NSW branch at Hexham

  freightgate Chief Commissioner

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Some armchair exploring revealed an interesting branch which looks to have disappeared a long time ago.

http://maps.google.com.au/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=melbourne&daddr=-35.12298,147.303+to:-33.97517,148.58367+to:-32.96586,149.81348+to:pelton&hl=en&geocode=FT0Ev_0dpPWjCCn3TbrStUbWajGQzYwhdVYEBA%3BFdwQ6P0dWKrHCCmDROMoyJgYazHwpDB0tAkGEw%3BFX6U-f0d9jTbCClzemm335cQazHB7it0tAkGEw%3BFRz7CP4d6PjtCCmNFh-ssnUOazFwYDh0tAkGEw%3BFaRNCv4d5NQECSkD93eM0MwMazHgODMWaH0BBQ&mra=dpe&mrcr=0&mrsp=3&sz=7&via=1,2,3&sll=-35.346235,148.19014&sspn=7.542825,13.238525&ie=UTF8&ll=-32.829855,151.684606&spn=0.007591,0.012928&t=h&z=17

Any information on the old line(s) would be fabulous.

--Bill

Sponsored advertisement

  GrahamH Chief Commissioner

Location: At a terminal on the www.
Read about J. A. Brown & Co. Executive Summary: Mr Brown owned coal mines. His trains took coal to a port at Hexham. Later they also went via the Govt line to Pt Waratah with interchange at Hexham. Then the coal line went out of use.
  Warks Minister for Railways

Location: Near H30+059
I took a screenshot of Hexham with Hairyleg's Google Earth overlay showing the tracks.

There's also a set of sidings to the north about a km from the crossing.

I can recall a photo of a train crossing the Main North there at right angles.  Always intrigued me.  Must see if I can find it.
  The Man in Blue Deputy Commissioner

Location: Trackside in Baiyin NW China!
There's also a set of sidings to the north about a km from the crossing
Warks


From memory, the sidings were on the southern side of the line, used to be for another colliery. There was a loco in a shed there, it was given to Keith Jones & was the first item that started the "collection". I have a photo somewhere...
  jd4980 Chief Commissioner

Location: Grafton
The website has recently got a mention in another group and i stumbled upon this from 1967.
  Roberts0001 Chief Commissioner

Location: Perth, Western Australia
Wow that's a pretty cool photo !
  jd4980 Chief Commissioner

Location: Grafton
Its VERY COOL indeed.

More pictures of Hexam area featured in this gallery from the same website http://www.westonlangford.com/images/photo/1985/nov/

You'd never know today what used to be, thats for sure.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
There's also a set of sidings to the north about a km from the crossing
Warks


From memory, the sidings were on the southern side of the line, used to be for another colliery. There was a loco in a shed there, it was given to Keith Jones & was the first item that started the "collection". I have a photo somewhere...
The Man in Blue


This nest of sidings on the south side had access only from the Coal lines on the Maitland end, and they were controlled from a signal box called "Maitland Road". IIRC, the main road crossed the 4 rail lines at an interlocked level crossing controlled from this box. The system of working on the Coal lines changed from Block Telegraph to Permissive Automatic signalling (with pointed arms) as far as Metford ?? causing this box to be operated 24/7. This was all replaced with auto colour lights about 1974.

Exactly how these sidings operated is not clear. Perhaps coal trains from the Maitland direction were unloaded at these sidings with and overhead conveyer belt to some staithes on the river. These siding may have already been out of use in 1974 for they were abolished around this time.
  wally-wowser Junior Train Controller

Where in hells name  do  some of you guys  get  your information from.

There are 2 books which are a must have for any research regarding the Newcastle/Maitland coal fields, Eardleys 1972 edition of "the Railways of J & A Brown "   &   Brian Andrews  "Coal, Railways & Mines "2004 edition.
The Eardley book is out of print , But Andrews espistles are available  at the ARHS on Central Station.


The sidings to the  west [ actually  geographically north ]  of Hexam were owned?/ used by  RW Miller & Peko Wallsend for loading  colliers for the Mortlake Gas works in Sydney . A conveyor belt system was used for loading into  bins   for shipping.

The Main road from Sandgate to the Intersection of the Pacific  Highway intersection with  the New England Highway has never crossed to my knowledge  any of the railway  lines  [ coal or  main ] untill  the bypass  around Taro was built unless Woodland Close is the original road formation, I am open to correction   by some one more learned in this area. I have had a close intrest  in the Hexam area  since about the mid 1950's when my Father was employed in Browns Sydney office in O'connel St Wynard. The Loading straiths  for  Browns coal were still in use up to Nov  1967 &  the last wagon movement was on 30 /10/1973 when  wagons were removed from Hexam Engineering after repairs.

Wally.
  574M White Guru

Location: Shepparton
It's so cool, the first thing I notice is no brakes
  deadlaker Junior Train Controller

wally-wowser - no offence whatsover intended, but for the sake of all-round correctness, it would be "Hexham" not "Hexam".
  Warks Minister for Railways

Location: Near H30+059
The photo I've found of this spot is of an engine called "Buck" (Richmond Vale no. 4) and the photo is taken from the other direction going by the position of the semaphore signal in the shot.  It's in the 1973 "Locomotive Guide" for the Thirlmere Railway Museum. I won't scan the photo as it's similar to the one above but black and white, plus it's not mine!

Some interesting text which I'll transcribe later when I have time.
  GrahamH Chief Commissioner

Location: At a terminal on the www.
I found it a bit boggling the first time I saw the crossing. Big co-ordination effort to get a slow train across 4 busy tracks...
  Roberts0001 Chief Commissioner

Location: Perth, Western Australia
I reckon the driver of that train might have been boggled the first time he drove through that too ! Again it's a great pic and an amazing section of the line.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney




The Main road from Sandgate to the Intersection of the Pacific  Highway intersection with  the New England Highway has never crossed to my knowledge  any of the railway  lines  [ coal or  main ] untill  the bypass  around Taro was built unless Woodland Close is the original road formation, I am open to correction   by some one more learned in this area. I have had a close intrest  in the Hexam area  since about the mid 1950's when my Father was employed in Browns Sydney office in O'connel St Wynard. The Loading straiths  for  Browns coal were still in use up to Nov  1967 &  the last wagon movement was on 30 /10/1973 when  wagons were removed from Hexam Engineering after repairs.

wally-wowser


Street-Directory.com.au calls the NE Highway near Hexham as "Maitland Road". This road perfectly aligns with Woodlands Road at the site of the putative level crossing controlled from a signal box called guess what "Maitland Road".

This level crossing and Maitland Road on the north side are too close to build an overbridge here, so this was built at Tarro.

If there weren't a level crossing at Maitland Road xing, the box would surely have been called something else, Hexham North (??) or Miller Junction (??).

Do the interlocking plans show that lever number 1 was a gate lever?
  Shed_Rat Train Controller

Location: 'A' Shop - Swindon Works
There were 3 coal loaders at Hexham, the most downstream being the J & A Brown staiths served by the right angle crossing, ad was used from the opening of the line to Minmi 1856 until November 1967.  J & A Brown's Engineering Works were adajecnt to these Staiths & these were the reason that the right angle crossing lasted until october 1973.

The next one was the R & W Miller coal loader that was next to the old Hexham bridge. This loader was served only by road & was built in 1959 & after the merger of R & W Miller into Coal & Allied in the mid 1980's was used by C & A to load coal washed at Hexham washery destined for Balls Head in Sydney. This loader was closed & demolished in 1988 after the closure of Hexham Coal Preparation Plant.

The next loader was built in 1935 for Hetton Bellbird Collieries Ltd & was latter sold to the Newcastle Wallsend Coal Company in 1956. The 1951 Coal Road Appendix shows the name of the sidings here as "Hetton Bellbird Colliery Co's exchange Sidings, Maitland Road Crossing". The sidings consisted of 10 full sidings at the Taro end and 5 empty sidings at the Hexham end. The coal was dumped at a dump station & was transferred via conveyor across the main line & highway to the ship loader. In 1962 a series of 6 bins with a total capacity of 3600 Tons were built next to the loader. This loader closed in 1972 and was demolished  during 1976.
  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle
The Main road from Sandgate to the Intersection of the Pacific  Highway intersection with  the New England Highway has never crossed to my knowledge  any of the railway  lines  [ coal or  main ] untill  the bypass  around Taro was built unless Woodland Close is the original road formation, I am open to correction   by some one more learned in this area.
wally-wowser


This is not correct. To clarify the situation:

The original route of Maitland Road was close to the river foreshore – it is shown on Google Maps as Old Maitland Road and then as an unnamed track, passing through the Goninan property. The Goninan property was the location of the coal loader for the Minmi and Richmond Vale mines and later the locomotive workshop. As these facilities were developed, a number of level crossings were laid across Maitland Road (this is in the era of horse travel, mind you) which lead to the loading staithes.

Beyond here, Maitland Road crossed the Main Northern Railway Line and continued along what is now Woodlands Close and Anderson Drive through Tarro.

To separate traffic from the workshop/loading facilities, Maitland Road was deviated to the west and then northwards alongside the Main Northern Railway Line. This happened in either 191x or 192x (the exact date escapes me at the moment but can be sourced from Brian Andrews’ book). This deviation involved crossing only a double track on the level, immediately east of where the RVR lines crossed the Main North.

Much later, in the 1960s, Maitland Road was deviated alongside the railway line through Hexham, bypassing the section of road shown as Old Maitland Road on Google Maps. The level crossing at Woodlands Close was eliminated in 1964 when the deviation and overbridge were opened, in conjunction with the construction of John Renshaw Drive. The full bypass of Tarro and Beresfield did not open until 1970, so for 6 years, highway traffic had to make a sharp right into Anderson Drive after crossing the rail bridge.

As an aside, the old punt crossing of the Hunter River (on the Pacific Highway) was located immediately east of the RVR coal loader/workshop site, linking with Old Punt Road on the northern side of the river. The first bridge, now carrying southbound traffic only, opened in 1952 (yes, 1952, imagine the agony of traffic jams crossing the river by punt here!  Shocked ).

I hope that clears things up with regard to road crossings in the area Smile
  OK2RUN Assistant Commissioner

....
The next loader was built in 1935 for Hetton Bellbird Collieries Ltd & was latter sold to the Newcastle Wallsend Coal Company in 1956. The 1951 Coal Road Appendix shows the name of the sidings here as "Hetton Bellbird Colliery Co's exchange Sidings, Maitland Road Crossing". The sidings consisted of 10 full sidings at the Taro end and 5 empty sidings at the Hexham end. The coal was dumped at a dump station & was transferred via conveyor across the main line & highway to the ship loader. In 1962 a series of 6 bins with a total capacity of 3600 Tons were built next to the loader. This loader closed in 1972 and was demolished  during 1976.
Shed_Rat

That would be page 97 of the Coal Road Appendix as shown below.
  Xgentric Chief Commissioner

Thanks to all for these excellent posts and photos!  Most interesting.
  barryc Chief Train Controller

Location: Waiting for a train to Canungra
drwaddles Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:00 pm

As an aside, the old punt crossing of the Hunter River (on the Pacific Highway) was located immediately east of the RVR coal loader/workshop site, linking with Old Punt Road on the northern side of the river. The first bridge, now carrying southbound traffic only, opened in 1952 (yes, 1952, imagine the agony of traffic jams crossing the river by punt here!  ).

A user


Mate after Burns Point, Harwood and whatever else, even the inevitable traffic jam at the new bridge was better.

(Ahh steam punts at Harwood, Morris Minoring down the Pacific Higway,.. How does the time pass so quickly)
  M636C Minister for Railways

I took a photo a bit like the one posted earlier but with one of the two big J&A Brown 0-6-0 Saddle tanks taking a couple of wagons across.

I, however took the shot standing on the NSWGR tracks. I remember being a little apprehensive about this but to some extent I believed that the safeworking had to work. But I remember looking both ways continuously until the loco moved out onto the crossing, and even then behind me.

This would have been in the early 1960s and I think the Maitland Road crossing may still have been in use, but maybe not. I got a photo of the loco from the Hetton Bellbird sidings (0-8-2T no 14, I think), but possibly not at the same time.

I think the ramp for the ferry is still visible just next to the present bridge, and this would have been quite close to the rail crossing, which from the aerial photo posted earlier would have been behind the present "Hungry Jack's".

I note the signal box diagram shows Maitland Road on the river side as the "Pacific Highway" which shouldn't apply west of the bridge (or ferry).

M636C
  OK2RUN Assistant Commissioner

I think the ramp for the ferry is still visible just next to the present bridge, and this would have been quite close to the rail crossing, which from the aerial photo posted earlier would have been behind the present "Hungry Jack's".
M636C
M636C

The rail crossing would have been further to the north than behind Hungry Jack's/The Oak.
Looking at first link below, crossing would be approx. in center of image, you can make out the area where the Hetton Bellbird sidings were. The next link is closeup view of the possible location. Third link shows Hungry Jacks/Oak area in more detail.
http://www.nearmap.com/?ll=-32.817891,151.678298&z=17&t=k&nmd=20101125
http://www.nearmap.com/?ll=-32.818028,151.679057&z=19&t=k&nmd=20101125
http://www.nearmap.com/?ll=-32.823702,151.682702&z=18&t=k&nmd=20101125
  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle
The old punt landing was here:
http://www.nearmap.com/?ll=-32.827514,151.69017&z=21&t=k&nmd=20101125

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: awsgc24, freightgate, wurx

Display from: