1612 Bombala Station
Bombala Station is the terminating stop of the Goulburn to Bombala branch line. The original line began from Joppa Junction, south of Goulburn, passing through Tarago, Bungendore, Queanbeyan, Michelago, and Cooma.
In April 1912, the line was extended to Nimmitabel before finally reaching Bombala in November 1921, becoming one of the last rural branch lines extensions to open in New South Wales .
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The entire yard of Bombala Station is 900 meters long, starting from where it leaves the road, all the way to the end of the line, consisting of the loading bank, goods shed, cattle yard, station, turntable, ash pit, gantry crane, and the weighbridge. At one point, the site also consisted of a fully equipped engine shed capable of complete train overhauls.
The entire Bombala-Orbost line was surveyed and pegged with the intention of becoming an interstate railway, but due to the inability of the New South Wales and Victorian state governments to come to an agreement on what gauge of rail to use, the vision never came to fruition.
This stalemate continued into the mid-1930’s when the great depression had fully taken hold, and by this point, it was financially impossible to construct the connecting line, even with an agreement.
Some believe that if the Bombala to Orbost line had become a reality, it would still be operational today, and many of the regional towns would not have suffered the impact of having their only means of rail access closed.
The Bombala branch line connected the south-eastern NSW regional townships to the larger urban centres and enabled easy transportation of regional produce such as wool, cattle, sheep, farm produce, and timber, as well as passengers.
During the steam driven era, 30, 32, and 52 classes were used to haul freight and passengers. If passenger numbers were too low to justify the use of larger engines, FP Paybuses would often be used instead.
From the 1950s onwards 620 series diesel rail motors began to frequent the line as replacements for the ageing and inefficient steam locomotive fleet.
In 1962, steam operations ceased altogether on the Bombala branch line, with 44 and 48 class diesel locomotives hauling rolling stock on the line.
In the mid-1960’s, the railway system became rationalised, and there was a noticeable decline in services to and from Bombala, especially as trucks began to overtake rail as the preferred method of freight transportation.
The last official passenger train to Bombala was in August 1974, with goods services ending in March 1986. The branch line was finally closed in May 1989.
Given the fact that Bombala Station is fast approaching 100 years of age, it remains in relatively good condition, thanks to the work of a team of volunteers, the ‘Friends of the Bombala Railway ‘ as well as John Holland . In 2012, John Holland invested $100,000 in refurbishing the timber footbridge that passes over the station.
Most of the station is open to the public and Friends of the Bombala Railway often have open days, exhibit relics of the past, as well as regular working bees for anyone that may want to get involved. If you are interested in learning how you can help, visit the Friends of the Bombala Railway Facebook Page .
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