Abandoned Railway Sidings of the Monaro

Jincumbilly Close Angle

Jincumbilly Siding, Bombala Line: Opened 21st November, 1921/Closed 9th March, 1975

Limited Edition print available here

An alternate route to the Snowy Mountains through the Monaro region is via Cooma, Nimmitabel and the Snowy River Way to Dalgety and Jindabyne. I have taken this route a few times to photograph the remote abandoned rail sidings. Located in the rain shadow of the Snowy Mountains, the Monaro region is characterised by rolling, largely treeless hills. Too cold for reliable crops this is classic grazing country for cattle and sheep. These abandoned rail sidings pay testament to the remote and difficult life the settlers of the area endured.

Jincumbilly rail siding features a 120m platform with a small well preserved waiting room designed as a shelter from the howling gales that can whip across these plains. The remains of two passenger wagons have been moved to the neighbouring property.

This remote siding was of great importance during World War II. All supplies came and went by goods trains, due to petrol rationing. The men who enlisted left on the steam train, and those who returned were announced by the train tooting all the way from Holts Flat siding.

Outside of the war years the train was the lifeblood for the small farming communities scattered around Monaro. Goods trains took provisions to Bombala and Delegate, such as superphosphate, tractors and harvesters, and on the return journey they hauled local produce, predominantly wool, to market.

During the winter of 1949, Monaro had two unusually heavy snow falls about 10 days apart. Roads were cut, stock buried and everything was in crisis. The reliable steam train continued until the 1st August when it was lost in a huge snow drift. The locals arrived to help dig the train out. The Bombala end of the rail sent a fettler’s bogie to rescue the passengers, luggage and mail from the goods van at the back of the train.

 

Jincumbilly Dig

Steam Train being dug from the snow near Jincumbilly Siding in the big snow fall of August 1949 Photo: Dave Goodyer Collection

 

Holts Siding 2

Holts Flat Siding, Bombala Line: Opened 21st November, 1921/Closed 9th March, 1975

Limited Edition print available here 

The 88m platform and shelter stand on the up side of the line, opposite a loop siding. The truncated platform and small building are in poor condition and of need of restoration. The area is sometimes used for grazing, and as a result the yard is not badly overgrown.

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