Friday, February 3, 2012

David Caughey reminiscences, The Richmond Kurrajong Railway.

I travelled to high school at Parramatta on the train. In 1933 I caught the train after riding my pony over from Hermitage Road where we lived. I put the horse in the Station Master's Paddock and caught the 06:20hrs train in the morning. The first train after school was 18:20hrs from Parramatta and it arrived at Kurrajong at 19:50hrs. The trip took ½ hour from Richmond to Kurrajong; it was slow when you were stopping at all the little stops.

At other times it wasn’t uncommon for me to ride my push bike to Richmond, but in the afternoon I would put my bike on the train for the ride home. I remember there was a landing out through the door and on the edge of the landing there was a chain that formed part of the handrail. I used to chain my bike to it, a lot of kids did that.

The railway carried a lot of fruit and vegetables in covered wagons. In the end, trucks carrying the vegetables direct to the markets substantially reduced the amount of freight on the line.

It gave a good ride with plenty of soot and rickerty rick. If you were meeting anyone at Kurrajong you would stand on the station there and hear the Pansy's whistle blowing as it came up the hills through the bush. It was an institution then.

Kurrajong was a very big holiday place in its day. In the 1940’s, guest houses were everywhere, there must have been 20 or 30 of them. They were scattered along Comleroy Road up to Kurrajong and Kurrajong Heights. They would put 6 carriages and another engine on to help in holiday times as it was a climb to the platform.

The railway served a great purpose when it first started. The carriages were open right through and had the roll back type seats that you could roll over to face the direction you were going. There were racks up the top to carry your luggage, I think towards the end they even had a toilet on some of the carriages, it was very modern then.

Tiger Kelly was the guard and he was from Richmond. We always got to know the guards but not the engine drivers. They wore a normal railway uniform, waistcoat and cap. Kurrajong had a Station Master and a Porter. The last Station Master at Kurrajong was Frank Brown and Roy Reverger was the assistant. Frank lived in the station masters’ house in Kurrajong.

The trip cost 2/- for a weekly ticket, that was when I started to work. We used to get a railway pass for school. When I went to Richmond on the train I remember it used to cost 9d and the whole trip to Sydney was about 3/- or 4/- I think.

Pansy made about 6 or 7 trips a day. It was fairly well patronised until the late 40’s when private cars became popular and Jim and Roly MacMahon started buses up. They ran their buses from Kurrajong to North Richmond.

The dams in Peels paddock gave way during flood times and took the railway line with it. The line was fixed a couple of times but it closed due to cost. There was a pretty big protest meeting when the government announced the lines closure. I often think that it would be such a novelty today, it's a shame it ever closed.


Paraphrased from


  1. Hi Andrew
    There was a great little book made by the tourist railway association kurrajong(TRAK)has some great old photos you might find usefull for signals structures landscapes and trains
    the book was called Pansy the richmond to kurrajong railway
    hope its helpfull dave

  2. YesYesYes, I saw that book on the internet and I must follow it thru and buy it. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. If you have any problems getting a copy let me know and ill lend you my copy