How disappointing, when you pass by a country railway station, one you’ve known as a child, only to find the old weatherboard building has been demolished and in its place, a modern glass and steel shelter. Gone are the ticket office, the waiting room, and even the toilets. Some stations even had a signal box, you could stand there while you waited for your train and watch the signalman pull the levers back and forth. Those days have gone. Now signalmen and signalwomen sit in front of computer screens, in air-conditioned offices in the city, and control the whole rail system from a keyboard. They call it CTC or Centralised Traffic Control.
At Bundanoon on the NSW, Southern Highlands, the station master, station assistant, and signalman have long gone. But the beautiful old weatherboard station is still there. So is the signal box, which is a part of the station. Just near the station, the goods shed still stands. The station still has a waiting room, toilets, and a picture gallery of yesteryear.
A local told me that the people of Bundanoon fought hard to save their station from demolition. Not only did they save it, but the station has also been beautifully restored back to its original splendor. At night it’s a sight to see. My guess is that a lighting designer was called in to work alongside the electricians. The station is the centerpiece of the town.
Recently we were on our way to Queanbeyan for the National Morris Minor Rally, to celebrate the 70th year since the first Morrie rolled off the production line. We caught the 16:01 Opal service train (M-F) from Central to Bundanoon, arriving there at 18:29 for dinner in the local Chinese restaurant. After dinner, we explored the station, then continued our journey to Queanbeyan aboard the Sydney to Canberra service that departed at 20:17.
If you plan to catch the train and stay overnight in Bundanoon the closest accommodation to the railway station is the Bundanoon Hotel. There’s also a selection of Airbnbs and BnBs. All accommodation is popular, as Bundanoon lies about halfway between two major cities – Sydney and Canberra. So book early.