The Blue Mountains’ historic Zig Zag Railway is now back on track thanks to a $3.6 million restoration of its locomotive workshop.
The official grand reopening is today thanks to local councils choo-choo-choosing to work together collaboratively with Crown lands and the Zig Zag Railway co-op.
The workshop restoration, funded by the NSW Government through Crown Lands, has included replacement of major structural components, new cladding for walls and roof, installation of stormwater drainage, and fire safety upgrades.
The complex project has been chugging along through a range of challenges, requiring teams to work through difficult logistic and access issues given the workshop’s location alongside the main Sydney train line.
Passenger services have resumed at the Zig Zag Railway to the delight of locals and visitors, but reinstatement of the workshop was key to the railway’s continued operations and maintenance of its locomotives and carriages.
The railway has been moving for 154-years and first opened on 18 October 1869 as part of the Main Western rail line serving mountain runs until 1910 when a track deviation was installed.
The not-for-profit Zig Zag Railway Co-op resurrected the heritage-listed railway in 1975 but was stalled by severe bushfire damage in 2013 and 2019 and storm damage.
The fires and storms damaged the locomotive workshop, trains, passenger and accommodation carriages, rail lines, about 3,500 sleepers, electrical equipment and the railway’s office including decades of records.
Zig Zag Railway and its dedicated volunteers restored the railway and rebuilt its safety management system, network rules, procedures and rail policies to get accreditation to resume passenger services by the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator.
Minister for Lands and Property Steve Kamper said:
“The NSW Government contributed over $5.9 million through Crown Lands and the Department of Regional NSW, which includes $3.6 million to help restore the locomotive workshop, as well as additional funding to construct a car park, pedestrian crossing and amenities block to support the fantastic work of the railway’s volunteers.”
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison said:
“I was lucky to attend the re-opening of the Zig Zag railway in May this year and it was great to see this iconic tourist attraction welcome back families and rail enthusiasts alike after several setbacks including bushfires, floods and storm damage.
"The restoration and opening of its locomotive workshops today will ensure this much-loved historic railway will be able to showcase Australia’s steam train era to a new generation of young trainspotters."
Parliamentary Secretary for Heritage Trish Doyle said:
“It’s great to see the Zig Zag railway’s workshop back on track, keeping its trains and carriages running so this restoration project was critical to its continued operations.”
“This tourism icon attracts up to 80,000 visitors each year so having it back in full operation will boost tourism, business and jobs in the Blue Mountains and Lithgow regions.”
Zig Zag Railway CEO Daniel Zolfel said:
"Rebuilding of the workshop has been a special project not only for Zig Zag Railway but the people who delivered the work. Without this team we absolutely wouldn't have been able to undergo such a large scale and intricate project.”
“Having the workshop back to its former glory will allow Zig Zag to maintain its rolling stock including steam locomotives, diesel locomotives and carriages and give it the ability to recommission additional locomotives and carriages in its fleet.”
Jonathan Symons | Minister Kamper | 0407 488 158