Found at the 352.300 km from Sydney is the historical and still operational NSW railway station of Murrurundi.
Murrurundi railway station is located on the operational Main North line and the station which was opened in 1872, remains intact and is of historic significance, as it is allowing people to see a link to the early development of the NSW railway system in the Upper Hunter Valley area. The Main North Line (formerly known as the Great Northern Railway) runs from Sydney heading north and passes through the Central Coast, Hunter and New England region and use to extend as far as Wallangarra on the Queensland border – now truncated to Armidale. The official main route between Brisbane and Sydney then became the North Coast Line when it was opened in 1930 taking much traffic away from the former Main North Line.
Before the arrival of the railway, the small village of Murrurundi with a limited economy and people living in the surrounding areas. With the coming of the railways, this saw Murrurundi became an important railway centre with a second class station building and locomotive depot which was later demolished in 1965. Opening in 1891, the nearby Murrurundi locomotive depot provided banking locomotives to assist passenger and goods trains in climbing the steep approaches to the Ardglen tunnel in the Liverpool Ranges. See the rail grade map below to see how the range’s grade was steep on both sides.
The 1891 era depot originally saw a timber engine shed with 4 roads, a barracks building, coal stage, turntable and an ash pit. In 1899 a newer engine shed, another coal stage and water tank were added and an 18m turntable was built at the site.
Down the line in 1926 a bad crash killed 26 people on a train. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murulla_rail_accident
The layout of the Murrurundi station and yard is of a composite nature as it comprises rather unusually of three individual structures: built in 1872 a type 3, second class building and a brick,Type 18 double, gabled roof building. There are adjoined by an infill type of structure dating from around 1891. The Type 3 building is rendered brick with a hipped, corrugated, galvanised iron roof with two chimneys and a cast iron, cantilevered awning. The windows are timber, double hung sash with stone lintels and sills. The doors are timber and panelled.
The other station building Type 18 has a double, gabled roof of corrugated, galvanised iron (possibly suggesting two separate buildings adjoined). The platform side of the building includes a short verandah of corrugated, galvanised iron extending partially over the platform and supported by timber braces. The rear section of the structure (with its own gabled roof) is longer than the platform-side of the building, extending a few metres towards the Sydney end of the platform, from which an awning extends to the platform face of the building. The awning is constructed of corrugated, galvanised iron and has been enclosed at the side with an entrance from the platform.
The internal layout inside saw railway refreshments room, two bedrooms, a waiting room, post office, Station Master’s office and booking office created. Other facilities include a parcels office, kitchen, store, Assistant Station Master’s offices, and two additional offices. The original building layout provided for separate men’s and ladies’ toilet facilities. In the precinct area 2 water tanks were added in 1912 and 1913. Other design changes to the station included the addition of a parcels room in 1879 and in 1891 saw a separate toilet block added but they are now in 2013 disused. In 1895 and again in 1912 the station platform was extended and widened to accommodate bigger carriages. The station is here seen in 1962 – http://www.flickr.com/photos/state-records-nsw/2868307041/ Historical building plans from 1888 show a 3-bedroom timber Gatekeeper’s cottage built within the station precinct to provide accommodation for the workers. The signal box dating from 1917 is a timber weatherboard construction with a non-standard roof. In the station yard a goods shed and loading bank were built to service for the goods in and out of the town.
When operational and with depot the station was extremely busy. It saw local goods/produce from the surrounding districts that were previously transported by road moved via the more efficient rail network. Murrurundi used to have more frequent services in the past but with the rationalisation of country rail services, it is served by daily stops when passengers need to alight or get onboard by Countrylink Xplorers, which are found going from Sydney to Armidale and Moree and return.
As Murrurundi station remains operational for the local residents, it is managed now by TrainsNSWLink. The station was noted as been painted in 2004 in overall cream and brown and by 2012 it was painted in overall heritage red and cream.
More notes on the Murrurundi station and yard history can be found here – http://www.murrurundihistoricalsociety.com/Railway6.php