To be updated shortly
To be updated shortly
May 2013 – Sleeper replacement is ongoing with 80 new sleepers installed at the Lowanna section with another 640 sleepers waiting to go in once the accreditation for track machines is approved. Our existing accreditation has enabled us to do some projects with 1.6km of track cleared at Lowanna with a further 1.6km planned in the coming months. This has been carried out with our hydraulic slasher attachment on the excavator. The process of clearing drains and weed control is ongoing. Ongoing negotiations with the Department of Education concerning the conditions of an easement on our rail corridor allowing access to Lowanna Public School. We also have repaired the small sleeper inserter at Lowanna with new braking system, repairs to hydraulic systems, new floor, new horn and hazard lights. Training for 4 members in Certificate II, Rail Infrastructure has been completed to ensure we comply with our accreditation. These courses are not cheap but necessary. Now that this has been done we are training mainline workers at Lowanna to recover some of the costs and help with repairs on the line.
September – We now have 600 timber sleepers at Lowanna ready to be installed as soon as the accreditation for the track machines is approved by the regulator. This donation from ARTC with transport from Coffs Harbour Hardwoods is greatly appreciated. This is a huge step forward. To comply with our security plan the last section of fencing to separate the track from the rest of the Lowanna Station area is completed. This includes 3 new gates to enable access to the track by hi-rail excavators and sleeper inserter. Another task has been completed. Coffs Harbour City Council has awarded Glenreagh Mountain Railway a $7,000 grant for woody weed control along the rail corridor at Lowanna. This will enable us to tackle the heavily weed infested areas which without this funding would not be possible. We have applied for a further $10,000 for track materials to get the 3.2km of track ready as soon as possible. We are again very grateful to Council for their ongoing support of the project.
The Coffs Harbour Veteran and Vintage Car Club and Glenreagh Mountain Railway in conjunction with Coffs Harbour City Council held its annual historic motoring event called the “Station to Station Run” on the 28th of July. It ran from Coffs Harbour Railway Station to the Lowanna Railway Station. The event linked the beautiful Coffs Harbour coastline with the equally spectacular rainforest-clad hinterland with the challenging run starting from the Coffs Harbour Jetty winding its way up the 500m elevation past scenic views to the restored historic Lowanna Railway Station. This year the event was joined by the Vintage Tractor Group who came up on the Saturday and camped overnight before joining in the activities at Lowanna Railway Station. It was highly successful and plans are being made for next year’s event.
May 2012 – We have been involved with some of our neighbours along the line in the Moleton and Lowanna areas for some time now and matters are still proceeding, hopefully to a satisfactory conclusion for all parties. There is a common misconception among our neighbours that it will be many years before any railway operations re-commence and they seem to regard the rail corridor as their own backyard. Consequently we are in discussions with two of our neighbours in an effort to have them remove property and fences illegally placed on GMR land. We hope to be conducting formal surveys in July to establish exactly where our boundaries are located. In one other case, a neighbour at Lowanna is trying to establish access to her land locked property through the rail corridor but does not accept the solution we have proposed.
We seek good relations with our neighbours but the Board has an obligation to protect the integrity of GMR’s property. The legality of an easement originally provided by State Rail to the Departmentof Education for access to Lowanna Public School remains unresolved and is with our lawyers for further negotiation. At issue is responsibility for maintenance of the road and in GMR’s case, the recovery of past rents and the establishment of rents in the future.
We continue to negotiate Right of Carriageway agreements with Coffs Harbour City and Clarence Valley Councils and also with Forest NSW to protect our infrastructure at road crossings and to obtain indemnities against any acts of those organisations responsible for the roads and their crossings. Agreement has been effectively completed with Clarence Valley Council and we are optimistic that agreement with Forests NSW is also not far away. Negotiations with Coffs Harbour City Council have proved more difficult as some agreements already appear to exist and further investigation is required.
Thanks to Coffs Harbour City Council Heritage Grant, we have reinstalled the station toilet in the Lowanna Railway Station. This means we now have two toilets which will be enough for major events planned for this year at the station.
September 2012 – In August Glenreagh Mountain Railway, in conjunction with Coffs Harbour Vintage Car Club and Coffs Harbour City Council we held the first Station to Station Vintage Car Rally from Coffs Harbour Jetty (near the railway station) to the Lowanna Railway Station. We expected 40 cars and over 80 vintage cars were involved. It was a huge success with a Show and Shine as well as a display of railway machines and an all day BBQ. This will be an annual event and it is expected numbers will increase next year. The planning for next year’s event has started already.
A huge thank you must go out to Gordon and his team of workers at Lowanna who put a big effort into getting the Station looking its best, with re-painting, getting the gardens looking the best they can and new curtains by Tessa in the new loo.Special thanks should go to Colin Sambrook, Clare and the team for their efforts at these events and others in providing the catering and also to Maureen and Tessa for manning the souvenir stall. They are making a valuable contribution to our income.
Glenreagh Mountain Railway has a Fire Management Plan and as part of this plan we have undertaken major hazard reduction in and around both our Lowanna and Glenreagh Depots. These have led to fire breaks being slashed along the line keeping the grass mowed around our major assets.
We have had no further response from two of our neighbours concerned about the location of our boundaries since our last correspondence with them some months ago. However we intend to visit the location of both properties which are in the Moleton area, later this year with a registered surveyor to mark out our boundaries. No progress has been made concerning the GMR easement provided to Lowanna Public School and we are awaiting further actions by our lawyers, Slater & Gordon.
Lowanna railway station and yard are shown below in photos.
The new storage shed was built in 2011 near the station.
The station was repainted in its original colour in late 2010. Before this repaint it was in a older 1960s paint scheme. Working bees and funding also enabled a new roof to be installed in 2010.
Lowanna is the western depot for GMR, with a team of volunteer active in maintaining the station area and railway perway. A steam era water tank from nearby Ulong station was moved to Lowanna in 2010 which was then mounted next to the station for display. The work shed located down the hill from the station, was built in 2011 and is used by GMR.
The Little Nymboida River Brige Fire
In 2006 we unfortunately experienced a fire on the Little Nymboida Bridge. This bridge is located approximately half way between Lowanna and Ulong stations.The perpetrators were not found. Below are some shots of this fire and the emergency services people and police who attended. As you can easily see a significant ammount of damage has resulted.
The fire damaging the bridge
Firecrews putting out the fire
The damage afterwards and assessing the issues