THE first major purchase for the planned Bathurst Rail Museum has been made – a former Sydney suburban train carriage.
The Bathurst Regional Council project will see the historic Bathurst Railway Institute building on Havannah Street transformed into a train museum.
Not only will the $2.5 million museum give a nod to the city’s railway past, but it will be housed in the building where former prime minister and Bathurst identity, Ben Chifley, once worked as a train driver instructor.
And the restored and renovated CBA 547 carriage, purchased by council for $85,000, will form part of the museum’s courtyard.
The CBA 547 started life as a passenger carriage on the Sydney suburban network in 1905.
After electrification of the metropolitan network, the first class ‘end platform’ carriage began travelling to the Blue Mountains, Newcastle and Wollongong.
Mayor Gary Rush said while council continues to progress plans for the development of the Bathurst Rail Museum the carriage will be located at the Visitor Information Centre.
“It will help raise awareness of the rail museum project, he said.
Once work on the museum is complete, the carriage will be moved into place in the courtyard outside the facility.
Cr Rush said the carriage will be used to showcase some of the country’s rail history and will also be used as a function and educational centre.
“I’m sure that it’s going to become a showpiece of the railway museum,” he said.
As news grows of the rail museum, Cr Rush said the idea has been “tremendously well supported”.
“More people will come to Bathurst as a result of the railway museum, there is a general Australia-wide fascination with railway, and particularly trains,” he said.
“Bathurst is really rich in cultural facilities, especially museums.
“The museum will also house a mix of permanent and temporary exhibitions that tell the story of the development of rail in Bathurst and inland NSW.”
A meticulous reproduction of the Bathurst to Tarana line featuring 3500 metres of train track will be among the museum’s other exhibits.
The currently disused Railway Institute building will undergo major renovations and extensions as part of the project.
The State Government has contributed $200,000 toward the museum, and Cr Rush said council will continue seeking financial support from the state and federal governments.