The International Steam Pages

Lithgow ZigZag Blitzed

The famous preserved railway in NSW's Blue Mountains has suffered severe damage in the October bush fires. This is necessarily an interim assessment as at 19th October 2013. A 27th October 2013 update is available here, clearly while the damage is severe, it could have been even worse.

Bob Farquahar reports:

Unfortunately we have sustained severe damage in the Bottom Points depot area.

  • The locos have been able to resist the ember attacks, but our wooden carriage fleet not so.
  • All accommodation cars in the depot area destroyed
  • All wooden carriages in '0' road (that part of the original Bottom road formation) destroyed
  • One (maybe two) Railmotor cars destroyed.
  • The office inside the workshop destroyed with severe damage to the workshop area below it.
  • The carriages inside the shed have survived (the ones brought down from Edgecombe last week)
  • Bottom Points station and signal box have survived
  • Not sure about Top Points station or signal box at this stage
  • Not sure about Edgecombe siding.
  • No assessment made about sleeper/track damage as yet.

The rural fire service have performed excellent work in the Clarence area and the Clarence station precinct appears to be intact. Some homes in the fringe area of Clarence affected by fires.

Shane O'Neill adds:

I have just returned home after spending about 6 hours there working to make some order of the mess. Dave Honer and I recovered as much of the brass/copper items from the burnt out shells of the six cars along O road. The only lockable area in the depot is at the back of the paint store. So we dumped the items – door floor strips, handles, luggage support brackets (many of these warped beyond use, unfortunately). Looters are a real and present danger as they were present on Friday and were sent packing, but they will be back!

There was about six of us there with others recovering what they could in the workshop area under the mezzanine area. All locomotives undamaged.

What we have found is the actual depot structure survived very well. It was where the mezzanine area was hit by the massive fireball from outside as all the carriages in a line blew-up in affect. So the fire erupted into the office and I would think all our machinery in that area is a write-off. 2016 is a total wreck unfortunately. Scrap only. But 2051 next along is OK. We think a ‘copter dropped a bucket of water on the depot as there is no other explanation for the fact that the damage ends at the very end of 2016. 

Michael Forbes estimates the damage at about $M4.

These are Shane's pictures:

The first four show the devastation in the Bottom Points area:

This shows the interior of railmotor 2016

Rob Dickinson