A METICULOUS reproduction of the Bathurst to Tarana railway line has been generously donated to Bathurst Regional Council by the Hennessy family.
Paul Hennessy, a self-confessed model railway enthusiast, says he’s spent six years recreating the rail line.
The 3500 metres of track features the Bathurst station and building yards, Kelso, Raglan, Brewongle and Locksley stations, the Tarana Bridge, the three-arch bridge at Brewongle and the branch line to Oberon (from Tarana).
It also features buildings dotted along the railway line, fence lines, telegraph poles and cattle grazing in paddocks alongside the tracks.
The layout of the model is based on the 1950s, when Bathurst was recognised as an important railway town.
Mr Hennessy, his wife Bonny and daughter Siobhan officially handed the huge model railway over to Bathurst Regional Council yesterday.
Mr Hennessey had passed the railway on Siobhan, who made the donation.
“A railway enthusiast suggested it’s the biggest and the best rail layout in Australia,” he said.
Mr Hennessy hired master modeller John Brown from the Central Coast to live on his property to undertake the mammoth task of constructing the model railway.
Up to 20 trains can be run at a time on the line and Mr Hennessy has included models of some of the most well-known locomotives: The Spirit of Progress, the Flying Scotsman, the Santa Fe and Locomotive No. 1 from 1855, which was the first train to run in NSW.
“It [Locomotive No.1] has sound and was built by another master [modeller]. It ran from Central Station to Parramatta,” Mr Hennessy said.
Mr Hennessy’s daughter donated the railway to council in honour of her great-uncle MHC (Dick) Locke OBE, a former deputy mayor of Bathurst City Council and shire president of Turon Shire Council.
“It would be an outrage if you described it as a train set. It’s a work of art,” Bathurst mayor Gary Rush said.
“We intend to look after it in the long term and give it the special attention it deserves.”
Cr Rush said council is investigating options for a permanent location for the model railway where it can “be incorporated into a space that would provide enjoyment for the general public”.