A piece of Tumbarumba’s rich railway history will be restored with the backing of the Hyne Community Trust.
The platform and track will host a railway guards van, restored as a museum piece, which featured on the Tumbarumba line until 1974.
According to Hyne Community Trust Director Bernadette Alleyn, the project is a testament to the Tumbarumba community’s spirit.
“In addition to the Historical Society, this project engages the Mens Shed and the Rail Trail Committee, who are all working closely to bring this project to fruition.”
“The train carriage itself is already drawing much attention at its current location,” she said.
The train is being restored with the help of a team of 25 volunteers led by Ron Sommer at the local Men’s Shed.
“It was destined to be sold, but with the support of the Hyne Community Trust, we will display this beautiful piece of history at the start of the ever-popular rail trail, where it will also be a museum.”
Ms Alleyn has been a Trust Director since 2020, and is encouraging residents to learn about the history of the carriage and the original rail line, which will display images which showcase the town’s resilience following the devastating bushfires.
Tumbarumba was one of the town’s worst hit from the 2019/20 bushfires, with images showcasing the town’s resilience inside the carriage.
The carriage, known as a ‘guards’ van’, was at the end of the train.
It included a bathroom, seating area, kitchen for the replacement crew, and a pair of periscopes so the guard could view along the top of the train and see signals.
There is further restoration work to complete before the platform work commences, and the train can be moved into its forever home for the Community to enjoy around May 2024.
The experienced Project Manager Ron Sommer is also the President of the Tumbarumba Men’s Shed and a Committee Member of the Historical Society.
Mr Sommer acquired the guard’s van in 2020, donated by NSW scrap metal company Sell and Parker, who also funded its freight to Tumbarumba.
Mr Sommer was keen to get the carriage as a project for the Men’s Shed with no plans for the museum.
“Following the bushfires, we needed a big, hands-on project for men in the Community to support mental health.”
In the months following the fires, the world entered the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Little did we know that this would be even more important during COVID periods of isolation from intra and interstate families.”
“It has been an epic restoration project, as seen from the photos.”
“For example,” he said, “we had to repair all the rust and replace the rotten floor.”
“To do that, we had to remove the walls and to do that, we had to remove the roof!”
But the result is spectacular.
“As it all comes together, we had to erect a temporary sign at our site because it attracted so much attention and question.”
“That’s when we knew we couldn’t sell it. Not only does it represent the proud, hard work of many volunteers, but its history is also connected to our town and the rail trail.”
“With several local committees working in alignment, our plans to turn the guard’s van into a museum, located at the Rail Trail for the public to enjoy, can now come to fruition thanks to the Hyne Community Trust for the platform’s funding to accompany it.
“We have about three more months of restoration work to undertake; then, the Men’s Shed will also coordinate the work for the platform ahead of an official opening next year.”
“In addition to the Hyne Community Trust, our local Committees and, of course, the many volunteers we work closely with,” Mr Sommer said.
The Hyne Community Trust was established in 2007.
To date, it has provided over $700,000 to the Tumbarumba region, focusing on initiatives providing lasting benefits to the Community.
The Hyne Community Trust is now closed for applications and will open again in June 2024.
To learn more about the Trust, visit the Hyne Timber website.