NSW’s most significant heritage trains and carriages will be better protected and preserved under a new plan to move heritage assets from across the State to a new undercover facility at Chullora in Sydney’s west.
A lack of available space has meant heritage rolling stock located at Eveleigh and Broadmeadow were being left out on open sidings exposed to the weather making them harder to restore and preserve.
The facility at Chullora will house locomotives, carriages and rolling stock as well as other heritage items all undercover.
The workshops at Chullora will offer secure undercover storage for the heritage fleet, heavy lifting cranes, turntable facilities and the space needed to undertake restoration.
Chullora will offer a one stop shop for maintenance and restoration, which is only partially available at existing sites.
It also means most of the collection is together, making it easier to manage in the centre of Sydney, whilst enabling better access for volunteers to work on the rolling stock.
Moving to Chullora will mean Transport Heritage NSW will no longer have assets at Eveleigh including the Large Erecting Shop or the Broadmeadow Roundhouse precinct.
To ensure the Chullora site is suitable and ready, the NSW Government has committed an initial $8 million to make this a world-class heritage maintenance and storage facility.
The new facilities will also offer temporary storage for operators needing to stable heritage trains close to Central, making it easier for heritage operators to offer the increasingly popular experience of riding on a heritage train.
While the Eveleigh and Broadmeadow sites’ link to the State’s rail history are well known, the site at Chullora also had a strong heritage having been an important location for railway maintenance for more than 70 years.
Although the moveable heritage collection will no longer have a presence at Eveleigh and Broadmeadow, the Government is committed to the preservation of important buildings including the Large Erecting Shop and Broadmeadow Roundhouse which will be adapted for new uses.
It is important to note that this proposal does not impact on the continuation of the NSW Rail Museum at Thirlmere, an important part of NSW rail heritage.
Today’s announcement builds on the success of the NSW Government’s approach to heritage transport over the past five years which has included the establishment of Transport Heritage NSW, a not for profit registered charity supported by volunteers and funded by the NSW Government, dedicated to preserving and making more accessible our precious transport heritage.
Since the formation of Transport Heritage NSW in 2013, attendance at the NSW Rail Museum and heritage railway events right across NSW is up substantially.
Transport Heritage NSW‘s commitment to preserving heritage transport has resulted in a notable increase in locomotive restorations, with more heritage trains running on the network.
That’s a testament to the hard work of dedicated volunteers who want to preserve this important history and share it with others.
Today’s announcement will secure the future for these volunteers and for our rail heritage.