THE charm of a bygone era will take rail buffs on a trip back in time at Kandos-Rylstone this Saturday.
A $1.1 million project to boost regional tourism has been completed and amid much fan- fair will be officially opened by Bathurst MP Paul Toole.
It was only last October that Mr Toole announced the NSW Government would fund an initiative to reinstate the eight kilometre rail link between the two towns.
To mark the occasion and signal the start of a new era for the Kandos-Rylstone Rail Heritage Precinct, Australia’s most powerful operating steam engine, the Beyer-Garratt 6029 will be heading west of the Great Divide for a series of day trips and shuttle rides.
This includes a day trip leaving Lithgow Station at 9.05am and arriving at Kandos at 10.45am, with the return leg at 2.35pm (arriving back in Lithgow at 4.50pm).
Shuttle rides will leave Kandos for Rylstone and return at 11.45am and 1.15pm.
Mr Toole said reinstating this rail link is expected to increase visitor numbers in the region and as well as adding to the diversity of local and regional activities.
“Funding for rail infrastructure is essential to the prosperity of regional NSW,” he said.
“The funding from the Government has enabled the replacement of 3,500 old timber sleepers with new long-life steel sleepers, as well as the fastening and laying out 1,000 tonnes of stone ballast to support the track.
“Eight kilometres of track has been resurfaced, lifted and aligned into the right position to ensure passengers enjoy a smooth ride.
“New signalling work, including the recommissioning of a level crossing, has also been completed to allow trains to travel safely through to Rylstone.”
Mr Toole said his successful lobbying for the funding came as a result of the Kandos-Rylstone Rail Heritage Precinct Petition, signed by over 1200 people, in addition to wider community support.
The petition formed the basis of the push by the Kandos Museum and Lithgow State Mines Railway to form a rail precinct to attract visitors to the Kandos-Rylstone region.
Long-time local supporter of the project Buzz Sanderson said there would be a carnival atmosphere for this special occasion and looked forward to visitors from far and wide grabbing the chance to ride the historic Beyer-Garratt 6029.
“It’s going to be a special day for many reasons,” he said. “Reinstating this rail link opens up any number of possibilities to drive the local economy and that’s something everyone in the local community is keen to see happen.”