11 July 2015

A small correction: never say never

About four years ago on this blog I ran through all of the railway proposals associated with the Coonamble railway that I was aware of. None of these ever made it to fruition, of course, though several from Gilgandra made eminent sense. 

There was even one branchline suggested with Eumungerie as its junction. It was to run to Quambone, via Collie. By the late 1920s the proposal had developed to reach Walgett. If this line had been built it would have been the main spine of the branchline, with the line to Coonamble being treated as a spur.

Anyway, I remembering sucking up a big breath and suggesting in one of those blogs that 50 years of railway boosterism on the Castlereagh region ended around 1930.  Events of the following 15 years (the Great Depression and the Second World War) brought a temporary end to railway expansion and by the time Australia had recovered from these two great interruptions, other modes had made significant incursions into the Castlereagh's passenger and freight transport task.

So I better correct the record...

I have just uncovered a newspaper report from the Gilgandra Weekly of 10 July 1947.It shows a pretty developed proposal to build a railway from Eumungerie to Walgett via Collie, Quambone and Carinda.  The mayoral minute at the centre of the proposal suggested it would be 'tapping a vast area of fertile lands suitable for closer settlement'.

In August 1947 the railway leagues in the centres of Walgett, Collie, Quambone and Carinda journeyed to the 'authorities in Sydney with a view to securing approval for the proposed railway'.  This delegation had the support of Dubbo Municipal Council and other public bodies.

It would have been a fair undertaking to pursue in postwar Australia.  About 320 kilometres of new railway would be needed, and a fair portion of the land to be traversed was already settled (bringing compensation to landholders into question).

The reception this proposal received in Sydney is unknown, but it can be guessed at. The 20 years which had elapsed since it had been considered in the late 1920s had done its chances only harm.  Road transport was now the favoured mode. And if you look at Quambone, Collie and Carinda on Google maps these days, roads did none of these small country towns any favours.

Ciao for now!