920m / 3017ft, 2:43 from Sydney, 2:20 from Parramatta
With the completion of the Lithgow Zig Zag in 1869, the
Western railway's terminus moved from Mt Victoria to Bowenfels. The Blue Mountains had
Whilst the railway would continue west, ultimately crossing the entire continent,
Lithgow proved to be an important destination in itself due to coal
& iron ore deposits.
To this day, the region is a major producer of black coal. Some fuels local power
stations such as Wallerawang and Mt Piper, much is taken to Sydney and Pt Kembla, by rail,
for shipment to overseas.
Since electrification in 1957, much of the traffic over the Blue Mountains has used
this form of power. Diesels have now returned to favour for
freight due to their superior power.
||The Indian Pacific, its locomotive painted in an Aboriginal design, makes its way
|Locomotive depot & turntable at Lithgow.
Locomotive Drivers Of Lithgow
Photo: D Martin
|A tour of Blue Mountains would not be complete without a look at Lithgow.
In particular, be sure to visit:
- Bowenfels railway station, now restored as a tourist information centre, historic photo
gallery & restaurant complete with operational dining car. Designed by John Whitton, it
is regarded as one of the finest examples of railway architecture of its day, along with
the adjacent station master's cottage.
Bowenfels & Visitor's Centre
- Lithgow Tourism
- State Mine Railway Heritage Park - steam railway and museum. Exhibits include coal &
shale mining equipment, steam equipment, rolling stock. Located amongst the remains of the
State Mine Heritage Park
Information - external site.
In the 1870's, passenger trains were making the journey from Sydney in 5hrs 45min. In
the 1877 trial, the Baldwin U105 did it in 5hrs.
|The 1998 timetable gives the following times for weekend services:
- Countrylink XPT: 2:21
- Cityrail "The Summit" express: 2:26
- Cityrail standard: 2:43
|What's possible? These are estimates:
- Talgo pendular train: saving of 5 to 9 minutes
- Active tilt train: saving of 10 to 18 minutes
- Track realignment to ease curves: minor to substantial saving.
Passenger services continuing west from Lithgow include the
CountryLink's Central West XPT to Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo, and the Indian Pacific
trans-continental service to Adelaide and Perth. CountryLink also operate road coaches
from Lithgow to numerous locations.
Where to from here?