The Main Line

Back in steam days, theĀ double track main line reached as far as Kelso, where a single line crossed the Macquarie RiverĀ into Bathurst. The City is one of those in the river valley, with the Macquarie flowing through the town. This meant a drop from the general elevation of the Western slopes down Raglan bank, resulting in banking engines being retained until 1972.

The sight of the Central West Express heading out through the rolling hills was something to behold. Each journey would have passed several freight trains, including double headers back then.

Of course, many of us made the trip out to Raglan and Tumulla at the end of steam days, obtaining a glimpse of what once was in that part of the world.

There was plenty of steam power, although trains were rather slow and the track wound around the hills. Perhaps that is why in later years it was reduced to single track and many trains rerouted via Cootamundra.

4538 leads 5917 nearing the summit of Raglan Bank

There is extensive coverage of this section of line, including double headers on the Central West Express. After Bathurst the line was mostly single track to Orange and only the last section from Spring Hill was suitable for high speed running, making the Express journey to Orange rather slow.

Shooting the West features many great images on the Western main line and you can read the story of a footplate ride on 3811 back when the Central West Express was steam hauled.

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