Now we are travelling... all the way to the end of the line.
This stop - Curban!
Curban lies 20 rail kilometres north from Gilgandra, 82 kilometres from Dubbo and 555 kilometres from Sydney. Yep, we are not quite at the end of the world, but you can nearly see it from Curban.
This modest village’s existence prior to the coming of the railway also gave lie to the notion that the route was through an uninhabitable landscape. Its school had been established in 1882, nearly two decades prior to the establishment of the railway. In the intervening period, a post office had also been established and was first opened for business on 16 November 1878.
Curban’s station was opened along with the rest of the Coonamble railway on 18 February 1903. Its initial infrastructure was relatively impressive when compared with its branchline counterparts - apart from a platform placed adjacent to the main line, a crossing loop and a further siding were also established.
Further capital improvements followed steadily. In March 1911 a 20 ton cart weighbridge was installed. On 28 June 1912 a new stock siding with room for 31 four-wheeled trucks was brought into use on the up side of the line at Curban, with the points facing the up direction. In January 1914 a five ton gantry crane was installed in the railway yard.
The station’s presence had a somewhat chequered experience. In April 1916 it became an unattended station between 6:00pm and 8:30am. Worse was to come with the withdrawal of the officer assigned to Curban from Monday, 16 December 1918, and the closure of the booking station. This situation continued throughout 1919. However, on 3 February 1920 Curban reopened as a booking station for goods and passengers. Citizens of Curban rejoiced!
This arrangement lasted for forty years into 1960, whereupon the station was closed. However on 1 August of 1963, Curban reopened as a booking office and remained in business until the cessation of passenger rail services at the location on 23 November 1974. Throughout this latter period Curban was also graced by a 5 tonne crane and a small out-of shed, fuelling the need for station staff.
The major product of the district – grain – resulted in 29,100 tonnes of capacity in grain receival facilities being installed. This capacity had commenced in 1930 as a S008 silo - probably the smallest type of concrete silo established near the railway system. In 1960 this silo was extended to enable 5,150 tonnes of grain to be stored. Subsequent expansions have raised the capacity to its current level.
Curban possessed a crossing loop of 269 metres in length, which provided standing room for 139 four-wheel wagons. The slightly smaller siding was removed on 22 March 1978 after 75 years of service. Today, Curban retains its 372 metre loop siding.
Next stop - Armatree.