ZIG Zag Railway is starting to come to life again, ahead of the planned reopening next year.
The historic Zig Zag Railway near Lithgow was devastated by the 2013 bushfires but looked likely to re-opening in late 2019, but all hopes were dashed once again by bushfires.
Recent heavy rainfall and the COVID-19 pandemic has seen the reopening pushed further back.
So far, seven passenger carriages have been restored and the 218 steam locomotive is back functioning just like it did in its glory days. The tracks have been cleared and stations are being upgraded.
The restoration and future reopening of the historic Zig Zag Railway has been made possible due to an investment of $3.5 million by the NSW Government.
Bathurst MP Paul Toole recently visited the historic tourist attraction at Clarence to inspect the upgrades.
"In the past the Zig Zag Railway used to attract around 60,000 visitors each year, so when we see it return to that level of visitation it will provide a huge economic boost to the local area," he said.
The Zig Zag Co-Op is currently training its new and returning volunteers in preparation for a planned reopening later this year.
Chairman of the Zig Zag Railway, Ben Lawrence, said the dedication of the team of volunteers is what makes the Zig Zag so special.
"Volunteers have given up weekends and weeks of their personal time to rebuild this railway after numerous devastating events," he said.
In the past the Zig Zag Railway used to attract around 60,000 visitors each year, so when we see it return to that level of visitation it will provide a huge economic boost to the local area.- Bathurst MP Paul Toole
"Everything is finally coming together, and you can feel the excitement building as we near closer to reopening."
When originally building a railway line from Sydney to the Central West in the 19th century, it was decided upon the use of two railway zig zags where all trains had to reverse, in order overcome the vertical distance of 170 metres between Lithgow and Clarence.
The Lithgow Zig Zag was constructed as part of the Main Western line and opened on October 19, 1869.
In 1908, work began on the Ten Tunnels Deviation, a double-tracked route that by-passed the two reversing stations and the upper two inclines. Once this was completed, the by-passed section was closed in October 1910.
The Lithgow Zig Zag was later revived in the 1960s when a group of steam enthusiasts were keen to establish an operating steam museum.
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