Oberon Tarana Heritage Railway Inc. Tourism Project
The Oberon Tarana Heritage Railways Inc. (OTHR for short) was formed in 2005 and commenced work in mid 2006 with 15 members. OTHR’s membership has grown to over 250 with members located in New South Wales and interstate.
The key objective of OTHR is to restore as a tourist project the 24.3 kms of a unique pioneer railway line that runs from Oberon to Tarana on the main western line. The track has the equal steepest gradient of any line in the state as well as the tightest curves. It passes through some of the most spectacular scenery on the Central Tablelands, through tall eucalyptus forests and high railway cuttings and for part of the journey it follows a rocky creek containing a 50-metre waterfall. On the route to Tarana the line edges down into the Tarana valley with its sweeping vistas and the picturesque Fish River.
Stage One of the Track Restoration
The first stage of the track restoration is the 5.3 kms of line between Oberon Station and Hazelgrove Siding. Progress so far includes:
- Restoration of all embankments between Oberon and Hazelgrove
- Cleaning the line between Oberon and Hazelgrove
- Replacing over 4 kilometres of unsuitable sleepers
- Building four major level crossings with the assistance of Oberon Council
- Restoring two cattle stops
- Replacing unsafe sections of railway line
- The group has purchased 2 73-class diesel locomotives which will be the motive power of the tourist trains, with passengers to ride in 1890’s vintage end-platform carriages which are at Oberon on a long term custodial loan from the Rail Transport Museum in Sydney.
- OTHR has also acquired a selection of goods wagons which will form a static display very typical of what was used on the line when it was running between 1923 and 1979.
- It is planned to complete all line restoration work and then restore the Hazelgrove Siding with a replica station and an enlarged platform.
- After a period of consolidation, work will commence on extending the line from Hazelgrove to Carlwood Siding.
This tourist project has received enormous support from the Oberon and district community.
- So far our volunteers have spent well over 30,000 hours of donated labour time and machinery has been loaned to the project with a commercial hire value of around $250,000.
- The majority of the work has been carried out by volunteer members who come from all over New South Wales.
- Oberon Council through the financial support, donated machinery and labour has shown substantial support for the project.
- Many Oberon and district businesses have financially supported the project, have donated or loaned machinery and equipment to work on the line, have donated accommodation for our visiting fettlers or provided transport for our replacement sleepers, or moving our locomotives free of charge.
OTHR’s achievements have been marked by the Office of Rail Heritage with two major awards.
On 30 July 2008 the CEO of RailCorp, Rob Mason, presented OTHR with the “Community Relationship Building” award. The citation stated, “Getting started and establishing a key community relationship or engagement strategy, showing evidence of building up a profile of a rail heritage within a local community support, and transforming this into community support for an event program, joint project or positive outcome and demonstrated examples of sustainable community based relationships which have enabled members of the public to enjoy rail heritage experiences.”
In July 2007 OTHR won an Office of Rail Heritage award in the category “Rail Heritage, Conservation, Preservation, Restoration or Reconstruction Project” for its work in gaining accreditation from the Independent Transport Safety and Reliability Regulator and its efforts during the past year in restoring a unique pioneer rail line as a tourist railway.
The most recent award was the Central NSW Councils, Country Energy Shiny Halo Award for ‘Taking action to build a resilient future for Central NSW’, presented to OTHR in 2010.
Administration and Organisation
- OTHR is administered by a Committee of Management that meets monthly. A monthly meeting for all members is held at 7.30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every second month (February, April, June, August, October and December) at the Oberon RSL Club.
- OTHR’s large website contains a wealth of information about the railway’s history, historical photographs of the steam trains and diesels that ran on the line and photographs of the restoration work being carried out. Visit OTHR.
- Membership of OTHR is just $15 per person, and is an easy way for the community to show their support to the project. Full details about membership is available on the OTHR website.
- Working bees are held during the first week of each month and are fully catered by OTHR’s Catering Committee. For further details about the working bees contact OTHR.
- For further information about the railway contact OTHR on .