Armidale Bicentennial Railway MuseumPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Peter Williams

The museum was established as bicentennial project in 1988 to commemorate the men who built the Great Northern Railway Line.

The Main North line, formerly known as the Great Northern Railway (GNR), was the original mainline between Sydney and Brisbane. The first section of the Main North line was built in 1857 from the port of Newcastle to East Maitland via Armidale as the Hunter River Railway Company's line.  The line required a change of train due to the break-of-gauge at Wallangarra.  The line was then extended to Victoria Street, Maitland in 1858. It was extended to Singleton in 1863, Muswellbrook in 1869, Scone in 1871 and Murrurundi in 1872.

The GNR was then extended beyond Scone to Werris Creek and West Tamworth in 1878, Armidale in 1883, and reached the Queensland border at Wallangarra in 1888.  The Newcastle rail network remained independent of the main network radiating from Sydney until 1889, when the line between Sydney and Newcastle was completed with the opening of the Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge. Thus Newcastle was connected by rail with Wallangarra before it was connected with Sydney, such was the difficulty and expense of reaching and bridging the Hawkesbury River.

The Sydney to Newcastle section, Homebush to Waratah, had difficult topography to overcome, including crossing the Hawkesbury River, traversing the Mullet Creek bank and constructing the Woy Woy Tunnel. From the south, the line was opened between Homebush and Hornsby in 1886, then extended to Hawkesbury River in 1887. From the north, the line opened between Waratah and Gosford in 1887.  Progress in the construction of the last section between Hawkesbury River and Gosford occurred when the Woy Woy Tunnel opened in 1887, then Mullet Creek to Gosford in 1888 and finally Hawkesbury River to Mullet Creek in 1889 when the original Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge was built.

In 1892, the line was duplicated from Strathfield to Hornsby, and electrified in 1926 as part of the Bradfield electrification scheme. The line was further electrified to Gosford in January 1960, Wyong in April 1982 and Newcastle in June 1984.  Freight trains were hauled by electric locomotives until March 1998.


Address:Brown Street , Armidale Railway Station , Armidale, 2350
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -30.514565
Long: 151.651249
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Technology


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Tuesday 6th December, 1988
Front Inscription

Plaque :


This Museum Is A Voluntary
Bicentennial Project Initiated
By Mr Brian O`Shea, Bridges
& Buildings Inspector And S.R.A. Staff

The Museum Is To Commemorate
The Hard Work Of The Men Who
Built The Great Northern Railway
Line Which Was Completed To
Wallangarra On 16 - 1 - 1888

Opened By
Mrs Thelma McCarthy
Vice Chairman, Bicentennial Council
6 - 12 - 88

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au