Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Wauchope: The North Coast Line

Wauchope is a town of 7,500 people located 455 km north of Sydney by train on The North Coast Line. The town that grew up on the banks of the Hastings River saw its first train arrive in town in 1915 because of one thing, timber. In fact, timber was the sole reason for the NSWGR North Coast Line passing through Wauchope and not the larger town of Port Macquarie only 19 km to the east. Back in the day, more timber was railed by train from Wauchope's railway yard than any other town in Australia, and timber from the Wauchope area was used in the construction of the Sydney Opera House.

The Hastings River Railway Bridge, just a few hundred metres north of Wauchope Railway Station. 2007

As far as trains go, Wauchope Railway Station sees a flurry of them pass through town each day, apparently. Although every time I have stopped at Wauchope Railway Station on my visits to Port Macquarie I have failed to see one. Unless a stationary NPRY cement wagon sitting in the railway yard counts. In 2007, it was a surprise to still see one of these wearing the old red State Rail Authority logo from the 1980's.

NPRY cement wagon number 82032 as photographed in Wauchope railway yard, 2007.

Six XPT services stop at Wauchope daily on their way north to Grafton, Casino and Brisbane, and with the holiday hotspot of Port Macquarie located a relatively short distance away by a connecting bus service, Wauchope is a popular station for visitors keen to explore all that the New South Wales Mid North Coast has to offer.

Wauchope Railway Station yard on a quiet September evening back in 2007

I remember stopping at Wauchope Railway Station early one evening during my visit to Port Macquarie back in 2007 while driving to an open air theatre production at Wauchope's Timbertown Historical Village. I was hoping I might be able to photograph a passing freight train heading either north to Brisbane or south to Sydney. All I saw however was the same cement wagon I had photographed days earlier still standing in the same siding. Oh well, I guess what they say is true. Train watching is like fishing. Sometimes you catch one, the rest of the time you don't. But you can read all about my Train Tripping adventure along Australia's east coast in my book Train Tripping Eastern Australia. If travelling to Sydney on the XPT, my window seat guide to all you will see on your journey will turn your train trip into a real railway adventure of your own.

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