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Near Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia
 

The Great Zig Zag

Lithgow

 
 
The Great Zig Zag Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, October 5, 1996
1. The Great Zig Zag Railroad Marker
Inscription. A railway zig zag is a series of reversing ramps used to avoid very steep grades. John Whitton, Engineer in Chief NSW Government Railways 1856-90, chose this as the economical method for the descent from Clarence to Lithgow. Built during 1866-69 by contractor Patrick Higgins, it involved massive rock excavations, a tunnel and three stone arch viaducts. During its 41 years of operation it accelerated the development of western New South Wales and achieved world renown as a major engineering work.
 
Erected 1992 by Dedicated by The Institution of Engineers, Australia.
 
Location. 33° 28.641′ S, 150° 13.262′ E. Marker is near Lithgow, New South Wales. Marker can be reached from Chifley Road 0.1 kilometers east of Petra Avenue. Touch for map. Zig Zag Railway, Clarence Station is 150 km west of Sydney in the Blue Mountains, 10 km East of Lithgow on Chifley Road. Marker is in this post office area: Lithgow, New South Wales 2790, Australia.
 
Regarding The Great Zig Zag. The Zig Zag Railway with its two tunnels, three beautiful sandstone viaducts and many man made ledges hewn in the mountainside was internationally acclaimed as one of the great engineering wonders of the 19th century. Designed by Mr John Whitton,
Steam locomotive approaching passenger train image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, October 5, 1996
2. Steam locomotive approaching passenger train
Locomotives at Zig Zag range from suburban tank engines, to express engines and a mighty 400 Class Beyer Garrett. Additional engines are acquired from time to time and are progressively restored to operating condition.
the then Engineer in Chief of the NSW Government Railways, construction of the Great Zig Zag began in 1866 and it was formally opened in October 1869. All rail traffic travelling west over the mountain traversed the single track Zig Zag. By the tum of the century it was unable to cope with the ever increasing volume of traffic without creating serious bottlenecks. In 1907 construction of the present day ten tunnels and double track main railway line was commenced.
 
Also see . . .
1. Zig Zag Railway, Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia. 19th Century Engineering Masterpiece (Submitted on September 26, 2012, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Zig Zag Railway, Blue Mountains, Australia. High in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney Australia, there is a breathtaking topography of dizzying crags and cliffs through which the Zig Zag Railway line was built in 1869. (Submitted on September 26, 2012, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. Engineering Masterpiece of the 19th Century - A Short History. The Zig Zag Railway was built between 1866 and 1869, and acclaimed a major engineering feat of its time. It was constructed to enable produce to be taken to Sydney from the prosperous farming areas beyond the Blue Mountains and to develop the coal and iron ore deposits found in the Lithgow Valley. (Submitted on September 27, 2012, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Passengers & tourists get a close-up look at the locomotive image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, October 5, 1996
3. Passengers & tourists get a close-up look at the locomotive
The Zig Zag Railway operates steam locomotives every weekend and on public holidays and during the week in NSW public school holidays.
 
 
Additional keywords. Australia
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsIndustry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesRailroads & Streetcars
 
View of cutting hewn in the mountainside image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, October 5, 1996
4. View of cutting hewn in the mountainside
Upon leaving the tunnel the line takes a gradual 800 metre long descent around Mt Sinai though a deep cutting to the Top Road of Zig Zag and No 1 viaduct.
Train entering the cutting image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, October 5, 1996
5. Train entering the cutting
The entrance to the original dead end reversing point is on the right when entering the cutting.
Train entering the Clarence Tunnel image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, October 5, 1996
6. Train entering the Clarence Tunnel
After departing from Clarence station the train enters the 492 metre long Clarence tunnel, built by William Watkins. It is the highest railway tunnel in Australia. It was used a a dump for gas bombs in WWII.
Train entering the short tunnel on a tight curve image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, October 5, 1996
7. Train entering the short tunnel on a tight curve
After passing Cockerton Place the train enters a short tunnel on an eight chain curve.
Sandstone viaduct image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, October 5, 1996
8. Sandstone viaduct
All the viaducts were built by Patrick Higgins.
Sandstone viaduct image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, October 5, 1996
9. Sandstone viaduct
All the viaducts were built by Patrick Higgins.
Locomotive on the viaduct image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, October 5, 1996
10. Locomotive on the viaduct
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 26, 2012, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 1,522 times since then and 84 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week January 6, 2013. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 26, 2012, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on September 27, 2012, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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