Members of the Goulburn Crookwell Heritage Railway walked out of the John Holland Country Regional Network office in Bathurst last week content.
It has been close to five years of negotiations for the GCHR members who have petitioned the active use of the Crookwell station tracks.
However, the lack of track activity is by no means a representation of the multiple loyal and passionate railway volunteers who joined in on the celebrations.
In a few weeks the GCHR will receive a Heritage Operators Licence and Safety Interface Agreement, which will allow the Crookwell Station to operate track vehicles for training and maintenance purposes.
A signed copy from Transport New South Wales is all that the GCHR is waiting for.
The group plan to have trikes, a two- or four-person vehicle, running on the track with further plans to have vehicles travelling as far out as McAlister and Roslyn stations.
GCHR committee member and rail heritage officer Peter Simpson described this as a monumental turning point for the rail and Crookwell community.
“It is a community asset and it’s something we see as one heck of a tourism draw card,” Mr Simpson said.
We’re looking at becoming a centre for heritage track vehicles in NSW.Peter Simpson
Members of the GCHR travel from Cowra, Canberra and the South Coast, a testament to what he describes as a magnetic attraction to heritage rail.
“This should ignite interest locally. It will not just the heritage of the building and infrastructure there will now be actual operations,” he said. “We’re looking at becoming a centre for heritage track vehicles in NSW.”
The GCHR plans to run every fortnight in an attempt to control the impact of the rail trail to agricultural land.
Mr Simpson said members had consulted with local operators who were in support of the plans and would include access to updated information on the track’s schedule.
He also thanked the ongoing support of the Upper Lachlan Shire Council over the years.
The track will be approved by a regulator to meets the required standard of transporting passengers as part of the license.
The Crookwell station and yard precinct covers 612 square metres. The last commercial operation in Crookwell was in March 1984.