IN the last 10 years, the iconic Zig Zag Railway has been hit with two major fires, several floods and now a global pandemic.
Despite the challenges, the star tourist attraction and its volunteers continue to show resilience.
"It's been a real challenge for us and and not an easy one," Zig Zag Railway chairman Ben Lawrence said.
"But I'm grateful to say that a lot of us have stood the test of time and we're really looking forward to seeing our end goal of returning the passenger operations."
To assist with their goal in getting back on track, a further $1 million dollars from the NSW Government's COVID-19 stimulus program was announced on Tuesday, January 19, by Member for Bathurst Paul Toole.
The funding is set to restore the Bottom Points Workshop, the main storage and maintenance facility of Zig Zag's operations.
"This million dollars will allow us to expedite our restoration program here at the workshop and enable us to have a secure facility to maintain and service our trains on an ongoing basis," Mr Lawrence said.
"Security is absolutely an issue for us, we regularly have vandalism attempts and all sorts of issues with our rolling stock granting more work and further delays to our return to operation," he said.
Zig Zag received DA approval for the workshop from Lithgow City Council prior to Christmas, Mr Lawrence said.
"Council has definitely given us the green light from here and we're looking to finalise our design documentation, go out to tender and we'll be getting contractors involved to help us restore this facility," he said.
Mr Lawrence said he was unable to put an exact time frame on how long it would take the Zig Zag Railway to reopen, however hoped it to be by the end of 2021.
"This is an ongoing battle to make sure this railway gets up and runs safely and maintained on an ongoing basis but we're doing the very best we can to return to operation as soon as possible," he said.
He said to see the Zig Zag Railway return to operation will be phenomenal.
"For me it's been a real marathon and certainly for other people in the organisation who have been here longer than I have. The last 10 years has been a big issue for us, we are absolutely chomping at the bit to get back in the driver's seat," he said.
Mr Lawrence said it would also be a positive step for the community after the obstacles they have faced.
"I think to have the steam trains operating again would be a massive achievement after all that has happened, not only last year's fires, but the events of the 2013 fires.
"It will be a huge achievement and hopefully show the resilience of the original community," he said.
The community can also expect to see the return of one special locomotive - 'Yank'.
"Locomotive 218 was made in America in 1943, that's what we call a wartime locomotive and it will be returning to services and is one of our major projects from last year," Mr Lawrence said.
Mr Lawrence thanked Paul Toole and the NSW Government for being "fantastic supporters" of the railway.
Mr Toole said he was excited to announce the funding which takes the NSW Government's total contribution to the Zig Zag Railway over $3.5 million.
"The $1 million is going to go a step in the right direction in ensuring the railway line is going to be reopened," he said.
"We want to see this railway track being reopened. We know how important it is to the local area, to the local community and once again, I've got to congratulate the team that have been working behind the scenes, working very hard to make this happen."
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