Rydal Railway Station

1_Rydal_Railway_Station

(1869.) Rydal was the end of the western line until it was extended to Bathurst in 1876. Goods and passengers were offloaded here and then went by wagon or Cobb & Co Coach to their destination.

In later years and until the introduction of motor coaches, people wishing to visit Jenolan Caves came to Rydal by train, then by horse-drawn vehicle to the Caves. As the station was briefly a terminus, it had a crossing loop, two blind sidings and goods shed. The line was duplicated in 1910 but this was removed and operated as a single track since 1998.

The loading gauge is a remnant of the peak wool trade on the rail and is one of the few remaining such structures. It is the only observed timber gauge surviving and is an indication of the importance of the area in wool production. The station also served as a post office and telegraph office from 1870 to 1902. It is a rare example of a combined station/residence. Another part is a public library, run by volunteers. The station was staffed until 1989.

The line through Rydal is still the main western line to Perth but goods are no longer loaded at Rydal. However, for many years the railway station was still an important part of the village. Stock was walked to the train for loading, it was well used by the vegetable farmers, the apple growers and the wool producers. When the village had a shop, people would come from Tarana and Sodwall by train. This was how most goods were delivered to the village including the kegs for the pub, the newspapers and milk supply. There were once lots of fettlers and families living in Rydal even after the line had been extended.

For a time, Rydal was allocated “approximately” 10 tons (imperial) of coal to be used for the signal cabin stove and the waiting room. It was unloaded by any of the local settlers after normal working hours and they were given a flat rate of 4 hours pay to do so. The coal bunker was between the Septic Tank and street side boundary fence some 5 metres away and they did it all by shovel only. In the load of coal was found ballast, gravel, dog spikes and sleeper plates as a lot of the load had been picked up from around the Top and Bottom Yard in Lithgow after it had fallen off an overloaded wagon. All employees who transferred on promotion were allowed to send their furniture and personal effects by rail free of charge to their new position. The occupant of the residence had to make their own arrangements for a supply of coal and pay for it.

The residents of Rydal could find no record of their railway station being officially opened so on Saturday 2 July 2005 they celebrated the opening of their railway station by inviting Transport Minister John Watkins to do the honours and deliver an address. The platform was covered with people for the occasion, many of whom dressed in period costume. The XPT comes through daily but you have to book it to stop for you.

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