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Visitors flock to take a ride on the Zig Zag Railway

May 28, 2023

In a remarkable comeback for Australian heritage, the historic Zig Zag Railway in Clarence hosted close to 2000 visitors in its first weekend open in almost 11 years.

Despite the cool  weather, enthusiastic visitors flocked to the railway over the weekend to experience this treasured piece of Australian history.

Nestled in the picturesque Blue Mountains, the Zig Zag Railway has long been revered as a significant cultural and engineering landmark. 

The railway first opened in 1869 and operated for over a century before closing its operations in 2012 due to rising costs and complex regulatory requirements. Bushfire and flood damage later damaged the site. However, thanks to the determined efforts of restoration teams and passionate volunteers, the beloved railway has been given a new lease on life.

Zig Zag Railway Acting CEO Daniel Zolfel said the rebirth of the railway would not be possible without the volunteers behind it, along with the support of the local community and all levels of government. 

“It’s an honour and a privilege to lead the Zig Zag  Railway into the next chapter as a national icon,” Mr Zolfel said..

“Some of my earliest and fondest memories are of Zig Zag and one of the driving forces behind me getting involved initially as a volunteer was so that I could leave it behind for my own children,” he said.

Braving the crisp conditions families, history buffs, and railway enthusiasts alike eagerly awaited to share in the historic event.

Visitors were greeted with the sight of beautifully restored steam locomotives and vintage carriages proudly waiting on the platform. The steam engines, which had been carefully refurbished to their former glory, emitted soft hisses and plumes of smoke.

As the first trains chugged their way along the steep, winding tracks, passengers revealed in the breathtaking vistas of the Blue Mountains. The Zig Zag Railway’s unique route, featuring sharp bends and steep inclines, provided a thrilling experience. 

During the weekend, visitors had the opportunity to explore the railway’s rich history. Knowledgeable guides, some of whom had worked on the railway before its closure, shared captivating stories and anecdotes with visitors.

From tales of courageous railway workers to the challenges faced during the restoration process, the past came alive in the hearts and minds of those present.

The first open weekend in over a decade served as a reminder of the power of community and the importance of preserving Australia’s unique heritage.

The Zig Zag Railway will run three trips on Saturdays and Sundays every fortnight. The journey takes 90 minutes and traverses the seven-and-a-half kilometre track, travelling through tunnels and over the viaducts with two stops along the way.

Zig Zag Railway’s Daniel Zolfel steering it’s maiden ride

 

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