The official opening of the Kandos-Rylstone Heritage Railway has been set for Saturday, September 29, and organisers are pulling out all the stops to mark the occasion.
Kandos Museum and Lithgow State Mine Railway successfully lobbied for the section to be reopened as part of their plan to bring heritage rail tours to the Kandos-Rylstone district to boost the local economy.
And now, after 11 months of work and organising, it’s time for the official opening.
Slated for the Saturday of the coming long weekend, on the railway green at Kandos Station, there’ll be a lamb barbecue, coffee cart, CWA cake stall, market stalls showcasing the region, and music by favourite local band Bushrock.
And to mark the occasion, the KR Railway Pie is set to make it’s triumphant return – based upon a recipe from the archives of Transport Heritage, painstaking research and many a sample tasting.
The restoration of the railcar that will be running regularly along the rail link between the two towns is ongoing.
However, a stand-in for the official opening has been lined up – and it’s a big one.
President of Kandos Museum, Buzz Sanderson, said the largest operational steam train in the Southern Hemisphere will be coming to town.
Affectionately known as the Garratt and weighing in at 255 tons, 6029 is and always draws a crowd from near and far.
“The Rylstone Rambler is still undergoing restoration and is not quite ready, so we have had to borrow a train for the official opening,” he said.
“Together with our partners, Lithgow State Mine Railway, we have been very fortunate in having Transport Heritage NSW join us for this event with the Beyer-Garratt 6029 coming for the first time on the Wallerawang-Gwabegar line.
“It is truly a wonderful thing, a sight to behold.
“We are indebted to Transport Heritage NSW and Phil Davis and David Sommerville, owners of 6029.
“This is going to be a very special event for Kandos-Rylstone and for the wider Mudgee region.”
Special guests include member for Bathurst Paul Toole MP, who championed the project.
Between passengers on the Garratt from Lithgow, shuttle rides from Kandos-Rylstone and return, and on-lookers, around 1500 people are expected for the day.
When the line is re-opened they plan to run it as a Rylstone-Kandos-Rylstone shuttle on weekends and a once-a-month Lithgow to Rylstone run through the Capertee Valley.
Tickets to the official opening from Lithgow and return, as well as Kandos-Rylstone and return, are by NSW Rail Museum and available at www.nswrailmuseum.com.au/events
For further information on the event and stall holder enquires, please visit the Kandos Museum website kandosmuseum.org.au