Info Blue Mountains Railway Pages
Cable or Funicular Railways
Aerial Cableways
3 Sisters, Blue Mountains, Australia.
Cable operated railways & tramways in the Blue Mountains, Australia

 

Over the years numerous funicular (cable) railways and tramways have been constructed in the Blue Mountains.  One of these, the Katoomba Scenic Railway, remains in operation to this day as a tourist railway.

Katoomba Scenic Railway| Railway Construction Inclines | Timber Tramlines
Coal, Shale & Chert Mining | Links

 

Coal, Shale & Chert Mining

Katoomba

The Katoomba Scenic Railway is the sole surviving cable railway in the Blue Mountains. At 52ยบ, it is also the steepest incline railway in the world. More info...

Originally, it was part of a network which connected mines at Katoomba, the Ruined Castle, and Megalong Valley with the main railway line at Katoomba.

Take a virtual reality ride into the Jamison Valley!

Hartley Vale

Shale mining operations at Hartley Vale included two cable inclines.  A track runs into the bush just south of the Hartley Vale turnoff on Darling Causeway.  Following the railway formation, it ends near the top of the main incline.

Leura: Gladstone Coal Mine, c1886.

Aerial cableway. The winding house was located in the southeast corner of what is now Fairmont Resort and apparently descended into the valley via the Lawtons Creek gorge. The mine was shortlived. The cableway equipment was moved to Katoomba, & strung  across the Jamison Valley to the Ruined Castle shale mine. It collapsed after a short period of operation. 

Mount Victoria: Blair Athol No. 2 Colliery

You can climb down the incline into the pit.

More information...

Mount Victoria: Chert Incline

The tramway incline was built in 1924 and operated by the Mount Victoria Chert Road Metal & Timber Co. Ltd. Remains are accessible.

More information...  

 


Railway Construction Inclines

Glenbrook Gorge, c1910

A spur line was run from the main line near the eastern portal of old Glenbrook tunnel to the edge of Glenbrook Gorge, where a cable incline descended to the works site.  The spur line route is now a walking track which crosses Explorers Rd just below the primary school.  Bushwalkers can easily find the remains of the winding house and incline, both of which are signposted.   Excellent views of Glenbrook Gorge are also available.

Lithgow Zig Zag Deviation, c1910

Near Mt Sinai, a construction siding and dual track funicular railway were built to provide access to a point between tunnels 9 and 10 on the Lithgow Zig Zag deviation.

Zig Zag deviation construction funicular.

Workers shelter from a blast in a tunnel entrance.

Zig Zag Deviation Funicular, Blue Mountains

Timber Tramlines

Faulconbridge Incline

Around 1910, a cable incline was built at Faulconbridge, by Henry Joyce, to provide access to a sawmill beside Linden Creek.  There must also have been a tramline or track connecting the sawmill to the base of the incline. The remains of a cutting may be seen at the end of a fire trail which runs off Highland Rd.  Lack of visible remains lower down suggest that the line, which used timber rails, was largely elevated on a trestle.

Keen bush bashers may manage to find the sawmill site & the remains of a stationary steam engine. Try not to get lost!

Sawmill steam engine boiler at Faulconbridge Sawmill steam engine boiler at Faulconbridge
Photos: Mark Smith c1995

Baxter's Warrimoo Incline 

The Baxter Brothers  constructed a wooden tramline to haul logs to a steam sawmill near Rickard Rd, Warrimoo. Form of propulsion is not known, but assumed to be steam driven cable haulage.

Baxters, who took over from the Goddard Brothers in the 1920s, mostly used bullocks to haul logs. They operated sawmills near Springwood Golf Club & the highway at Valley Heights.

Logging was carried out in Sun Valley & Long Angle Gully. Main species sought were mountain blue gum, cabbage gum & turpentine.

Baxter's Incline Warrimoo
Photo: Blue Mountains City Library. c1931


Water Board 
(Now Sydney Water)

Flying Fox at Leura

The remains of an aerial ropeway could, until recently, be seen on the eastern side of Leura Falls. It connected with a vehicular track leading to a (now abandoned) sewage plant in the valley. The land corridor still exists, and is shown on some maps as a gap in the National Park.

The author would like to build a new one to carry passengers to & from Federal Pass.


Links

"Funicular" refers to a cable-operated railway.  Both terms are used interchangeably here for the benefit of search engines, and we've slotted in railroad for our American friends.

 

 

 
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Updated: Grant Robinson — 31 January 2015

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