Lake Macquarie History

Adamstown Railway Station - Adamstown Belmont Railway - Fernleigh Track

Adamstown Railway Station was opened as a single platform fronting the 'Homebush to Waratah' Railway on 15 August 1887. Its construction name was 'Lambton'. The station is located 161.12 kilometres from Sydneys Central Station and is at an altitude of 15.8 metres. Following duplication of the tracks and installation of new signalling equipment the Newcastle Morning Herald on 19 November 1892 commented, 'Adamstown is now an important junction, as the Redhead and New Lambton lines branch off the Government railway near the station.'

A new signal box on the up (to Sydney) side and adjacent to the level crossing gates became operational from 19 January 1919.

From 6 April 1948 the down (to Newcastle) relief line was extended back behind the down platform to a point near the underbridge over the railway to Raspberry Gully and Waratah Colliery. As a result of complaints from near contiguous residents the down relief line was placed out of use by mid July 1999. Removal of electric overheads and wiring from the relief line commenced on 7 June 2003. The tracks were lifted by 24 June 2003.

The South New Lambton Branch was connected with the main line at Adamstown in March 1888. It was altered in March 1889 following duplication of the line from Adamstown to Hamilton. Following the end of the collieries known as 'New Lambton' in New Lambton , this branch became the New Lambton Branch serving the New Lambton C Pit until it closed in 1912. It was kept open to serve the Ebbw Vale and Shortland Collieries until they were abandoned in 1935. During the early 1940s it was used for the loading of coal transported by road. From April 1943 the branch was used by the Commonwealth Government in connection with the Army facilities at Adamstown. On 5 March 1945 the connection to the New Lambton Branch at Adamstown was removed and the tracks subsequently lifted. Houses were later built on the passage of the railway to form the eastern frontage of Bailey Street Adamstown. The valley of the collieries later became Hum’s Industrial Area which in the early 2000s was developed into a housing estate.

The junction with what was to become the Belmont Line was in place by the end of 1890. It was declared open to traffic as far as Redhead from 2 September 1891. However further legal wrangling continued to plague its early operation. The last train from Lambton Colliery at Redhead came off this branch onto the main line at Adamstown on 19 December 1991. The crossover between the tracks to the south of Adamstown Station is a reminder of the former connection to the Belmont line.

photo: station staff adamstown

Station staff and fettlers pose for the camera of Ralph Snowball in this early 20th century view (about 1904-1905 period) of Adamstown Station looking south. The house on the hill in the background is 'Mt Pleasant', the home of James Ruttley and family. St. Pius X School now occupies much of this height reduced site. Ruttley owned small collieries in the area including Shortland and Crofton No1.The three semaphore signals testify to Adamstowns status as both a mainline and junction station. The signal on the right controls mainline traffic going south, the middle one caters for trains going onto what was originally to be the Redhead Coal Mining Companys line (A reorganised company, the New Redhead Coal Mining Company actually built the line with the South Burwood Coal Company building a branch off this line to serve its colliery.), later the Belmont line, the signal on the left is for traffic going onto the New Lambton Branch now a part of Bailey Street. Awnings attached to the station buildings were partly due to strong representations made by the Mayor of Adamstown to the Railway Commissioners during 1903-1904. He was concerned for the comfort and safety of holiday makers and picnickers, up to 2,000 of who crowded onto the stations platforms. During the life of passenger services to Belmont, Adamstowns Stations destination boards carried the reminder, 'Change here for the Belmont Line'. Main station buildings on the down platform (towards Newcastle) stood until February 1984 when they were demolished as part of the SRAs 'facelift' to coincide with the opening of electric train services to Newcastle. Photo. Ed Tonks/Ken Shilling Collection. From 'Adamstown via Fernleigh'.

photo: adamstown rail accident

Six coal hopper wagons bearing the markings of BHP JD (John Darling) and two CHG brake vans were involved in a runaway accident at Adamstown on 28 February 1955. The coupling broke as the empty train was approaching Fernleigh Tunnel. No longer restrained, the brake vans and wagons ran down the hill towards Adamstown. Quick warning blasts were sounded from both the locomotive and the guards van. The guard, Nicholas Nicholas was slightly injured when he jumped from his guards van just before the impact. The aftermath was recorded by Sydney rail enthusiast, Ed Downs. Between the footbridge and the wrecked wagons the verandah of the then Commercial Hotel (now the Gates) can be seen. The site of the wreckage is now part of the Adamstown Station car park. The location at or near this point had something of a history of runaways.One took place during 1944 with an earlier one involving a loaded coal train occurring on 23 January 1911 . On 27 September 1890, when the branch line was under construction, three wagons, two of which were loaded with stone, broke away and crashed into the contractors locomotive at the branch lines junction with the 'Sydney to Homebush Railway'.Photo. Ed Downs from 'Adamstown via Fernleigh.'The compiler, Ed Tonks, acknowledges 'Coal, Railways and Mines' by Brian Robert Andrews as a source of some of this information.

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