The Zig Zag Railway – Full Steam Ahead !

The Zig Zag Railway was built between 1866 and 1869, an acclaimed major engineering feat of its time. It was constructed to enable people and 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.

The prodigious feat of bringing the railway from the top of the mountains to the valley below was accomplished by John Whitton, Chief Engineer of the NSW Government Railways. At the time The Great Zig Zag was regarded as one of the engineering wonders of the Victorian age.

In 1910, a ten tunnel deviation was completed and the Great Lithgow Zig Zag closed and the original formation was declared as a reserve by the Crown.

Fifty years later, the Zig Zag Railway was born !

You’ll need to book your tickets online with the Zig Zag Railway or call in to see us at the Visitor Centre, and we can happily assist you with your booking!

Once you have arrived, and had your booking confirmed, choose your seat on one of the beautifully restored carriages.

There are also two static heritage carriages available for you to take a seat, relax, and maybe enjoy some refreshments from the onsite cafe.

There are great views of the sandstone viaducts that form the Zig Zag Railway – these were built between 1866 and 1869.

Some interesting facts: The sandstone for the viaducts was sourced from a quarry in Lithgow – this sandstone was originally pure white, and was a stark contrast to the surrounding landscape. The darker weathered stone we see today is because of the weep holes drilled in to the stone to allow for water drainage from inside the viaducts.

These magnificent viaducts are now over 150 years old, and are actually becoming stronger as the stone continues to settle and cement over time.

Number 1 viaduct has 7 arches.

Number 2 viaduct has 9 arches.

Number 3 viaduct has 8 arches.

There is actually a ‘ half viaduct’ as well, at Top Points. In 1895, the inner side was taken down and the area filled in.

It’s a fantastic trip down to the bottom of the valley, zigging and zagging from Clarence Station to Top Points and finally Bottom Points, and then back to Clarence takes a total of 90 minutes.

Full steam ahead !

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