The most prominent locomotive to have operated on the Blue Mountains, the 'G-23' --as seen at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
Victoria Bridge, over the Nepean River at Penrith. Whitton designed the bridge for rail and vehicular traffic, and construction of the piers began in 1862
Building a bridge over a river the size of the Nepean was no easy feat in the 1860's--piers had to be built on a solid foundation, and sandstone blocks were quarried from Lapstone escarpment and carted to the site
An artist's impression of the 'Great' or Lithgow Zig-Zag as it looked upon completion--the viaduct arches are a stunning testament of Blue Mountains architecture
A gradient profile of the Lapstone escarpment, showing where the tunnel ultimately by-passed the Zig-Zag, from Railway West Chronicles, p.27
|Building the Blue Mountains' railroad. Note that it is single track. The labour shortage in NSW was so acute that the govt. paid the fares of 500 'navvies' enlisted in England to help build the line--from When We Rode The Rails, p. 40|
When this section of the Great Western Line was opened to great fanfare in 1867, it comprised six stations: ‘Watertank’ (Glenbrook)—so named because all locos needed refilling from Glenbrook Lagoon after their uphill climb—‘Wascoes’ (Blaxland), ‘Springwood’, ‘Buss’s’ (Woodford), ‘Blue Mountains’ (Lawson)—this is why Lawson now claims itself to be the original ‘Blue Mountain’,--and ‘Weatherboard’ (Wentworth Falls) itself. After the western (Lithgow) zig-zag was completed in October 1869, when the first train traversed it and arrived at ‘Bowenfels’, the rail crossing of the
Given the rugged terrain and the basic 'Pulling and Lifting' power available to workers, the line was completed with amazing rapidity.
The Railways always referred to the area as 'Karabar', but NSW Lands Dept. oscillated between the 'r' and the 'h' spelling, as evidenced in Survey Maps and this sign.
The 100ft (30 metres) platform was positioned at the
The G-23 loco emerges from a cutting at Woodford in 1867, pulling the standard number of two carriages. The two smaller 'bogey' wheels at the front allowed speedier travel around curves--from a sketchbook by 'Mountains artist, Jo Booker.
Secondly, thousands of railway workers now witnessed the powerful beauty of the Blue Mountains which previously had remained largely unnoticed, being a mere transit space to the goldfields or sheep stations out west. Now it became a place of residence for fettlers, signalmen, gatekeepers, engineers, stationmasters and the host of other workers and suppliers to the railroads.
Thousands of Railway workers now experienced life in the Blue Mountains. Most lived in 'tent cities', and some even successfully experimented with market gardening near the tracks, as shown in this photograph--from When We Rode The Rails, p 41.
The line as it would've looked passing through 'Karabar', prior to the erection of a platform. A plan for Residential development was soon to follow--photo from When We Rode The Rails, p.41