Lachlan Valley Railway

The Lachlan Valley Railway Society is an Australian rail preservation society based in the New South Wales Central Western town of Cowra. It was established in 1974 to preserve and operate former New South Wales Government Railways locomotives and rolling stock.[1] It operates regular heritage train tours to a variety of locations across New South Wales.

Lachlan Valley Railway
Location3 Campbell Street, Cowra
Coordinates33.842486°S 148.696906°E / -33.842486; 148.696906
TypeRailway museum
Nearest car parkOn site


The Lachlan Valley Railway was formed in 1974 initially to preserve locomotive 5917 and four carriages. It soon acquired other locomotives and formed a relationship with the Lachlan Vintage Village, Forbes. It then operated rail tours, including an interstate tours from Parkes to Peterborough in August 1976 with 5917.[2] At that stage, rolling stock was stabled at Parkes locomotive depot.

On 18 June 1977, the society moved its base to the 1923-built Cowra roundhouse.[2] Initially allocated a couple of roads, in 1985 it took over the entire facility when the State Rail Authority vacated it.[3]

In 1979, the LVR commenced operating tours from Sydney to Kiama,[2][4] with a base established at West Ryde in Sydney. However, the site had to be vacated in August 1987 to make way for the Northern line to expand.[5]

In November 1983, the LVR purchased its first diesel locomotive, 4204, and shortly afterwards Australian Iron & Steel shunter D9.[6]

The State Rail Authority ceased services on the Cowra to Blayney section of the Demondrille to Blayney line in 1987 and leased it to the LVR.[7] The line was closed for repairs in 1990 and was reopened in 1993.[8]

In late 1990, the society's subsidiary, Lachlan Valley Rail Freight, successfully tendered to operate wheat trains between Woodstock and Cowra on the Blayney to Cowra line for the Grain Handling Authority.[7] However, since the line was closed for repairs, those services did not start until September 1993. Diesel locomotive 4204 hauled the first of these services.[9] In August 1994 the LVR operated wheat trains from Trajere on the Eugowra line to Cowra with 47 class locomotives.[10]

In June 1999 Lachlan Valley Rail Freight, a subsidiary company, commenced operating trip working services between Port Botany and the Cooks River container terminal in Sydney using 47 class locomotives and former Australian National wagons.[11] In July 1999 Lachlan Valley Rail Freight commenced operating a service between Cooks River and Carrington with 44 and 47 class locomotives for R&H Transport Services.[12] Congestion in Carrington saw the service diverted to the Toll Holdings siding at Sandgate.[13] In January 2000 Lachlan Valley Rail Freight started hiring locomotives from Chicago Freight Car Leasing Australia and Freight Australia, and in September 2000 from Great Northern Rail Services.[13][14] In October 2006, the company was sold to Stephen Heraghty of Bowport Allroads Transport and rebranded as Independent Railways of Australia.[15]

A government decision in 1999 to reopen the Cowra–Blayney section to other users caused LVR to lose its rights to exclusive use of the Demondrille to Cowra line, although its trains were still able to operate on the line. In 2009 RailCorp closed the line, first to Blayney and then Harden. In August 2009 the society hurriedly moved its serviceable rolling stock to Cootamundra and Junee. Since then it has operated steam and diesel trains in other parts of the state; however, those still in Cowra have remained "landlocked" and have had to be moved when needed by road transport.[16] It is planned to reopen a short section of the Blayney line for heritage train operations.[17]

The society's present complex houses more than 55 carriages and locomotives under cover, and is open to visits daily.[17]


The Lachlan Valley Railway Society has approximately 300 members. It is administered by a voluntary board. The society is an accredited rail operator under the NSW Rail Safety Act 2002 meaning it has network access rights on the NSW main line rail network.

Fleet details

The Lachlan Valley Railway Society has in its custody the following locomotives:[18]

Steam locomotives

Steam Locomotives
No. DescriptionManufacturerYearLocationStatusRef
3026 4-6-0 mixed trafficBeyer, Peacock and Company1903Cowra Stored
3237 4-6-0 passengerBeyer, Peacock and Company1892VariousOperational
5367 2-8-0 goodsClyde Engineering1914Cowra Under Restoration

Diesel Locomotives

Diesel Locomotives (Operational)
No. Description Manufacturer Year Location Status Ref
4204 Express Passenger/Goods Engine Clyde Engineering, Granville 1956 Various Operational
4701 Freight Engine A Goninan & Co 1972 Various Operational
4702 Freight Engine A Goninan & Co 1972 Various Operational
4716 Freight Engine A Goninan & Co 1973 Various Operational
PLANET Small Shunting Engine Sydney Water 1958 Cowra Operational
D9 Large Shunting Engine English Electric 1956 Cowra Operational
4903 Freight/Passenger Engine Clyde Engineering, Granville 1960 Branxton Operational
4906 Freight/Passenger Engine Clyde Engineering, Granville 1961 Goulburn Operational

Diesel locomotives (Scrapped, Static & Under Restoration)

  • 45 class: 4502, 4528 (45s2) both stored by pop
  • 47 class: 4703, 4707, 4708 & HTV2000 ex 4719 with 4715's cab on the 2nd end (Stored at Cowra)[19]
  • 80 class: 8014 Scrapped for parts


  • CPH railmotors CPH12 (Operational), CPH24 (Operational), CPH25 (Operational), CPH16, CPH31 at Cowra
  • 620/720 set: 638/738 at Cowra, 629/729 at Rothbury (leased from Goodwin Alco Group)
  • DEB set: PF901, PF907, PF909, HPF953, HPF959, TFR852, TM853, TCR861, TM857 & TCR862 at Cowra

(PF903, HPF957, HPF958, TC751, TM803 and TBR855, to be restored, are owned by a member; all are ex Hunter Valley Railway Trust.)

Passenger Rolling stock

  • ABS Dining car: 2304
  • FS Economy car: 2029, 2091, 2126, 2130, 2133
  • MFS Economy car: 2028, 2121
  • XFS Economy car: 2015 (Leased from 3801 Ltd)
  • RBS First/Buffet car: 2160
  • EAM Sleeping car: 1831 (stored Cowra)
  • MBV Lounge Car: 931 (stored Cowra)
  • MCE Corridor car: 114 (stored Cowra)
  • MHG Crew/Workshop Van: 11604 (stored Goulburn)
  • FHG Power/Guards Van: 31772
  • EHG Guards/Luggage Van: 2409
  • OAM Twinette Crew Sleeping Car: 2329 (ex NAM 2329)
  • OAN Roomette Crew Sleeping Car: 2378 (ex LAN 2378)
  • OAS Twinette Crew Sleeping Car: 2261 (ex ODS 2261)
  • OAH Twinette Crew Sleeping Car: 2237 (ex RDH 2237)
  • OSS Lounge/Bar Car: 2271 (ex SDS 2271)
  • OSH Lounge/Bar Car: 2223 (ex BHA 2223)
  • ORS Dining Car: 2300 (ex ABS 2300)
  • OPV Power/Guards Van: 2402 (ex PHV 2402)

Notable Tours

Blue Suede Express, Sydney - Parkes - Sydney

ABBA Express, Sydney - Parkes - Trundle - Sydney

Richmond Shuttles, Richmond - Mulgrave - Richmond


  1. Lachlan Valley Railway Society Co-op Ltd Archived 10 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine NSW Rail Heritage
  2. Woodland, Tony (1989). Lachlan Valley Railway Society (a pictorial history) Volume 1: 1974 - 1977. Elizabeth: Railmac Publications. pp. 4, 27. ISBN 0 949817 98 8.
  3. "Keeping the spirit alive" Railway Digest September 1995 page 44
  4. "Byways of Steam: Cowra" Roundhouse January 1980 page 24
  5. "And LVR Moves West" Railway Digest September 1987 page 291
  6. "LVR" Railway Digest February 1984 page 69
  7. "LVR to carry wheat from Woodstock" Railway Digest January 1991 page 9
  8. "Lachlan Valley Railway Re-opens Blayney to Cowra Line" Railway Digest November 1993 page 503
  9. "The Lachlan Valley Railway's Wheat Haulage" Railway Digest October 1993 page 420
  10. "The Lachlan Valley Railway commences operations on the Cowra - Eugowra line" Railway Digest September 1994 page 31
  11. "LVR Commences Sydney Freight Operations" Railway Digest July 1999 page 12
  12. "Lachlan Valley Rail Freight Expands Sydney Based Operations" Railway Digest September 1999 page 10
  13. "Lachlan Valley Rail Freight - ELs commence working Newcastle - Sydney freight" Railway Digest March 2000 page 33
  14. "GNR Power in Sydney" Railway Digest October 2000 page 33
  15. Stephen Heraghty Macarthur Regional Organisation of Councils
  16. Cowra to Demondrille Line Closure Lachlan Valley Railway
  17. "Cowra & the Lachlan Valley Railway Society". SA Track & Signal. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  18. Learn About the Train Archived 2 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine Lachlan Valley Railway
  19. 47 Class Vicsig
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