18 August 2023

It's official: trains are returning to Cooma

| Gail Eastaway
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Cooma Monaro Railway Inc has announced it has received approval to get trains back on the tracks.

Trains will return to Cooma Railway Station and work has begun on track upgrades. Photo: Gail Eastaway.

After almost a decade, Cooma Monaro Railway (CMR) is excited to announce that tourist trains will be returning to the rails of the Monaro.

Last week, the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) notified CMR that its application to be accredited as a rail infrastructure manager and a rolling stock operator had been approved.

This is a huge milestone for CMR and signals the commencement of an exciting chapter for heritage railway in the Monaro.

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While CMR’s first priority is being able to move its rolling stock within the yard at Cooma railway station, the issuing of its accreditation allows it to commence repair work on the track between Cooma and Snowy Junction (the first stage of tourist train operations) and commence preparations for the CPH Rail Motors to return to tourist services on this section.

Sunday (13 August) was a huge day of rolling stock movements in the Cooma yard. It’s the first time in almost 10 years that trains have moved along the rails at Cooma.

Not only were volunteers able to move Locomotive 3203 into its new temporary shelter beside the goods shed, but they were also able to rearrange the heritage wagons so that the current restoration projects MBC22959 and L759 have been moved into more optimal locations for restoration work.

The railway corridor between CMR’s current southern boundary near the Monaro Highway overpass south of Cooma Station and the northern boundary at Chakola has now been reactivated, and track vehicles will now be operating on this section of track.

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CMR asks motorists and others to please be vigilant at level crossings and stay outside of the railway corridor.

Acting president Craig Moore said: “There are so many people that have helped us get to this point, but a special shout out to our safety manager Stuart Thyer, who has been instrumental in the development of our new safety management system and has liaised with ONRSR throughout this process.

“There is still a lot of work to be done with repairs to track and railway infrastructure as well as the activation of our safety management system and training for our volunteers, but we are all super excited by this announcement and we can’t wait to welcome you all aboard our trains in the not-too-distant future.

“Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the success of the Cooma Monaro Railway, and we look forward to some very exciting years ahead.”

CMR would welcome more volunteers to assist with its journey to bring tourist trains back to the Monaro.

Mr Moore has urged anyone interested in trains and railways to join CMR’s amazing group of volunteers.

“We have a diverse range of volunteering opportunities from working on our track, restoring and maintaining our rolling stock, grounds and facilities maintenance, gardens and landscaping, museum, events and administration,” he said.

For information about joining the CMR team, please visit their website.

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