Lost Railways:
Royal National Park Line

Jctn. (Loftus) to The Royal National Park. Length: 1.9 km. Opened: 9 Mar 1886. Closed: 11 June 1991. A section was re-opened as tourist tram line: 1 May 1993.

Built specifically for us by the Military, the line linked the station of Loftus on the Illawarra Line to an Army Camp in Royal National Park. The line opened shortly after the main line and at various times served the army camp, park visitors and residents of nearby Grays Point. At its peak, 25 services were provided on weekends. When electric trains were introduced in 1926, this branch was included in the electrification.

The Scouts Platform was introduced in 1946 to serve the nearby NSW Scouts Jamboree of that year. The original terminus station boasted a 10-car island platform, goods bank and five sidings. Services were reduced in the 1960s and 1980s, and by the mid 1980s only two trains a week serviced the line. Following the 1990 Cowan Bank collision, it was used to test whether automatic sanders could insulate a train's wheels from the track circuit (they could). It was also used for driver training; track irregularities from wheel skids are still visible is places.

In 1978, the Royal National Park station was closed to make way for an improved national park visitors centre. A new station was constructed adjacent to the site, and opened in time for the park's centenary the following year. In 1991, a signalling problem caused the suspension of services. When it was found that $400,000 would be required to bring the line up to an acceptable standard, it was officially closed. At the time, patronage was an average of three people per train. Two years later the line was taken over by the Loftus-based Sydney Tramway Museum, which now uses it to run tourist trams.

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