The Sulphide Corporation, at Cockle Creek, Newcastle, was one of the oldest companies in Australia, however its smelter was closed recently by Pasminco. Their diesel shunting locomotive was destined to be sold for scrap until they accepted our offer to preserve it at Dorrigo. The retrieval of this locomotive was extremely difficult, being inside a shed, sitting on rails 2 feet off the floor with its bogies removed and disassembled, straddling an inspection pit and without road crane access! An extraordinary team effort by our Newcastle Members saw the locomotive extracted successfully to become possibly the last remnant of this enduring company.
The largest rail vehicle in the Southern Hemisphere, Special Heavy Load Wagon NZZA 800, has been donated to the Museum by its combined owners Pacific Power, Eraring Energy, Macquarie Generation, Delta Energy and Transgrid. This massive articulated vehicle was used to transport power station transformers and main generator inner stators weighing up to 385 tonnes, giving the vehicle a gross weight of 600 tonnes! It carried this weight with 12 bogies, or 48 wheels, and at a maximum speed of 20 kph.
The final transfer of the top half of the Dorrigo branch line is now complete with all 97 Titles being transferred from the State Rail Authority to the Museum. These Titles make up the line from Dorrigo to Ulong, a distance of 35 kilometres or just over 21 miles. The Museum can now proceed with confidence in planning use of the line.
In recent years some of the Museumís collection was located, and isolated, at Glenreagh, the junction station for the Dorrigo line. The only way to rescue these vehicles economically was to road transport them to Dorrigo, a round trip of over 200km, climbing from sea level to 2500 feet high. With considerable effort the Museum used its own prime mover, low loader and volunteers to safely transport the 43 vehicles and their contents, over 60 truck loads, to Dorrigo where the vehicles are being stabilised for later restoration.
Another stage of heavy earthworks has been completed on the Museum display site, this stage being 13 metres wide by over 400 metres long, the earthworks being a cut into the hillside of over 4 metres high! This was achieved with our own self-elevating scraper and D6 bulldozer, finished off with a hired laser-controlled grader for a smooth finish. Construction of our display roads 9 & 10 has commenced along with some of the unusual trackwork from Sydney. Incidentally the earthworks carried out by the Museum, in floor area, is now over ten times the size of the initial earthworks started by the Army in 1986.