Centennial celebration for the Picton to Mittagong Railway line

Life-long Tahmoor resident James Whitfield has spent the last 76 years in admiration of the Picton to Mittagong railway line.

"My very first memory is when I was three years old," Mr Whitfield said.

"[My family] lived at Tahmoor, not far from the station, and my dad was away at the war in New Guinea.

"My memory is my mum pushing me in a stroller.

"She pushed me through a dirt track that went to the station and I remember there was a steam train that came in.

"Dad got off the train in his army uniform, he was home from the war safe, and that has stayed in my mind all these years."

Mr Whitfield said he'd had a close affiliation with Tahmoor Station ever since.

The railway enthusiast and history buff doesn't go anywhere without his trusty camera.

To mark the centenary of the Picton Mittagong railway line Mr Whitfield has published a book with more than 300 original photographs.

The book entitled Picton to Mittagong Main Line Railway Centenary 1919 - 2019 documents the evolution of the railway in 200 pages of mostly colour photographs.

The book is a celebration of 100 years of railway history in the area.

When Mr Whitfield was seven years old he regularly traveled to Sydney for medical treatment.

The boy used to catch the train with his father.

One day his dad lifted him up so he could see inside the steam engine which was full of smoke, fire and coal.

"It was a big thing for a seven year old boy," he said.

Mr Whitfield said he was interested in the history, and in particular the architecture, of the railway.

He said the region had changed dramatically in the past 50 years.

The gentleman said the original single-track line went through Thirlmere but the steep grades meant there was a pressing need to build an alternative route.

With a significant bridge at the Bargo river and four tunnels the development of the Picton Mittagong railway line was an expensive endeavor.

The Picton to Mittagong line was built by workers who lived in tents on the side of the railway.

Mr Whitfield said the people who worked on the railway would've faced difficulties living in tents with few medical supplies, freezing winters, lack of food and sanitary issues.

"It would've been really, really tough," he said.

July 13 marks the centenary of the Picton to Mittagong Railway line.

Celebrations will be held at Tahmoor and Yerrinbool on the day to mark the event.

Copies of James Whitfield's book will be available at the Tahmoor Station on July 13.

It will also be available at the Tahmoor Newsagency, Tahmoor Garden Centre, Picton Post Office and Collectables Picton.

Online orders can be made at jameswhitfield@bigpond.com.

Cost is $30 per book.


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This story 100 years of history full steam ahead for railway line first appeared on Southern Highland News.