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New South Wales, Australia's Richmond Vale Railway Museum Reopening



By Krystal Sellars

March 4, 2018 - In New South Wales, Australia, the trains are running again at Richmond Vale Railway Museum, which opened on Sunday for the first time since a fierce bushfire tore through the property in September.

More than 50 former employees of the Richmond Main Colliery gathered at the museum for a reunion on Saturday, before public operations resumed on Sunday.


Some of the veterans who attended the reunion at Richmond Vale Railway Museum on March 3.

Photo by Kevin Parsons

The reunion marked 50 years since the colliery ceased shipping coal in 1967, and had been postponed from late last year due to the bushfire.

A significant piece of the mine’s history was handed over at the reunion.

A bell that is believed to be the original Richmond Main miners’ lodge bell was presented to the museum by Stanford Merthyr resident Brian Mould.


Richmond Vale Railway Museum chairman Peter Meddows, Judith Dibden and Port Waratah Coal Services general manager Shaun Seers after the presentation of the original miners lodge bell at the colliery reunion at Richmond Vale Railway Museum on March 3.

Photo by Kevin Parsons

Mould came into possession of the bell via his friend Ross Roderick, whose father-in-law owned the bell, and knowing of Mould’s keen interest in mining history, Roderick passed it onto him.

The bell was used to alert miners about strike action and meetings in the mine’s early days, before telephones or radio.

It is believed a young man rode around Kurri Kurri on horseback to ring the bell and spread the word.

Mould said many mining lodges in the Northern Coalfields would have used the bell system, and it would have been phased out around the 1950s, when Cessnock radio station 2CK introduced its mining news bulletin at 6pm each night.

Mould said he was proud to return the bell to its home.

“It’s where it originated, so it should be its final resting place,” he said.

“It was so important to the miners, it shouldn’t be lost to history.”

The museum reopened to the public on Sunday, with more than 200 people through the gates.


Passengers waiting for the first trip at the station at Richmond Vale Railway Museum's reopening on March 4.

Photo by Kevin Parsons

Museum chairman Peter Meddows said it was a fantastic response, and could not have happened without the hard work of volunteers and the companies who have supported the bushfire recovery effort.

“It’s been absolutely unbelievable,” he said.

The September 13 blaze left the museum with an estimated $1 million damage bill, with two kilometres of track, stainless steel passenger cars, a 100-year-old break van and at least 30 hoppers among the losses.

Meddows said businesses including Swietelski Rail, the Australian Rail Track Corporation, Ben's Rail and Civil, Goldsprings and Daracon Group (to name a few) have donated more than $300,000 worth of goods and work to get the museum up and running again.

The Rebuilding Richi appeal has raised more than $26,000, and donations can still be made at

While train services have resumed on the Mulbring Road branch towards Leggetts Drive, rehabilitation continues on the final 400 meters of the track at the Pelaw Main end of the branch.

The museum will be open for the first three Sundays of the month and school holiday Sundays.


Its reopening came just in time to host the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express events as part of the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival on March 23 and 24. Bookings are essential via the Kurri Kurri Visitor Centre on 4936 1909. - Your Foremost Source for Coal News