Tuesday 16 April 2019

A visit to Cooma

A visit to Cooma

Last week, I was returning back to Junee from the coast, and decided that I would break the journey at Cooma, and have a look around the railway station.

In happier times, the ARHS (ACT Division) ran a train of 3 railmotors to Cooma in 1987.  Here they are at the station

When I lived in the ACT area,  I visited Cooma regularly, but  normally on my way to somewhere else, and almost always in a hurry.  This was my first opportunity with a digital camera, and time to explore.

Cooma station is on the branch line, south of Goulburn.  The station was opened in 1889, and as befitting an important station, received a Whitton station building.  An extension of the line south of Cooma reached Nimmitabel in 1912, and finally to Bombala in 1921 (the same year as the line reached Tumbarumba).  Services south of Cooma ceased in 1986, and the last trains to Cooma finished in 1989 - just in time for the station' Centenary.

The line was built for agriculture - livestock, timber, and wool were the main outgoing commodities, although the Snowy Mountains Scheme used the line in the 1950s-70s for transportation of much material needed for dam construction

The "closure" of the line was blamed on the standard of the bridge at Numeralla, although the railways were looking for an excuse to shutdown unprofitable lines.

The Cooma Monaro Railway group has taken over the Cooma station, and lines north and south. They were running CPH railmotor trains about 10km north to Chakola until a few years ago.  More information on the  group at the website  http://www.cmrailway.org.au/

What has Cooma got to do with Wagga?

As the railway to Cooma closed before any major rationalization of the station, the station and its surrounds are effectively a time capsule.  There are many details that would have disappeared from Wagga, that could be seen at Cooma, particularly the signalling.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy this excursion further up the mountains

Looking south.

Station rear - a container and a skip are indications that there is work occuring by the CMR volunteers on refurbishing the station

In 1987, the rear of the station looked like this.  Note The lineside poles serving the signal box, have gone in the recent picture

Signal frame in the Cooma Signal box. Colours are red for signals, blue for locks, and black for points.
Platform scales

original type luggage cart

Platform seat
The CMR group had installed a number of descriptive plaques around the station, and yard to identify specific items.  Whilst slightly water damaged, the plaques had excellent information.

Part of the fueling point.
Another of my 1987 pictures shows the standard of the fueling point when it WAS in service.  Whilst  the plaque pictured above mentions the 12000 gallon diesel tank, it isn't there now.  
Buffer at the dock may be similar to the one that has disappeared from Wagga
Engine Shed, signal, water column, water tank and paybus.  The coal stage is out of sight at the other end of the engine shed

Barracks - or Crew quarters.


Goods shed

Another view of the engine shed.  I understand that the CMR's CPH railmotors are stored in here
Just to the south of the station, the line crosses the Polo Flat road.  Polo Flat was once the site of the transshipment for  Snowy Mountains Scheme equipment, and supply delivery
FP11 Paybus.  Looking a lot worse for wear.

Water Column.  This is the style used on the Tumbaumba branch

Signal details

Signal details

Signal details

This signal is similar to the ones removed in 1983 at Wagga
Compensation pivots used to even out the effects of temperature changes in point rodding.  May only be a small thing in modelling, but their inclusion will do much for making a scene authentic.  Note, they are not always painted silver

Point throw, and point indicator
Much of the signal wires were supported on these posts, and pulleys
The 1987 railmotor tour crosses Ingalara Creek on the railway north of Cooma.  The bridges over this creek, Bredbo River, and Numeralla River were significant structures.  
The 1987 railmotor tour on the line north of Cooma. 
 The ARHS ran these railmotors on many of the NSW branch lines in 1987, on their 'Farewell Southern Branchline" tour.  One of these was the Tumbarumba line, out as far at Ladysmith.  The railmotors were I believe was the last train on the line
As a passenger on a rail tour, often one gets a chance for a photo run-by.  All the interested passengers will get off the train, and form a photo line.  The train will then backup a distance, before returning.  Before the use of video cameras, this was normally a quick process.  Now with video cameras, and mobile phones, the train had to back off a long distance, and continue steaming well after the last carriage has disappeared out of the view finder.  Anyway, here are the happy people scrambling back to the train after a successful photo run-by .  I am glad I finally get to share these images

Until next time.  Drive safely this Easter


  1. Nice story to go with the photos Rob. I only ever got to drive through the area once on our way to Victoria back in 1985, and caught a glimpse of a DEB set from the highway heading to Cooma just on sunset. I was a much younger lad then, and one without a camera, but the image stayed with me forever. Thanks for sharing these photos. I sure appreciated seeing them.

  2. Hi Rob - I am contemplating modelling the Tumbarumba station and yard as a small scale display to go with the rail trail that is being created. Would like to see if you are interested in taking a novice through what you may have done along these lines - cheers Ron

    1. Thanks Ron for your interest. In general yes, happy to guide, although my blog is not really the forum for a one-to-one. I covered a few of the Tumbarumba station area structures in earlier Blog posts, and you should be able to search for them via the search option at the top of this blog. My articles are I hope easy to follow, but do assume the reader has some basic modelling skills. Suggest you call me on 69 24 1029

      BTW, another Blogger, (see -> Branching out NSWGR) is modelling the Tumbarumba station more accurately than me.