Well, I use hurtled euphemistically.
You see we managed to end up behind the 40+ members of the Chrysler car club, who were having a leisurely day out.
So it was a slow and scenic drive.
But, eventually, we arrived at Clarence, where the Zig Zag railway begins, high above Lithgow.
Lithgow is an old mining town and back in 1890 the trains were a vital link to transport the coal to the coast. However, because its an incredibly steep rise from Lithgow on the western plains, to the ridge which leads across the mountains to Sydney, trains were not able to go directly up. Instead they zig-zagged across the near vertical cliff walls. Stopping after each rise and changing direction to take the next climb.
Of course they eventually built a tunnel system and the Zig Zag railway was left in the caring hands of volunteers, and steam and diesel train enthusiasts. Who have maintained it with the love it deserves (why yes, I am a train nerd, I caught it from my Grandfather).
We were supposed to be travelling by steam on Thomas the Tank engine (and yes, this is a full size steam engine with Thomas's smiling face). But Thomas's boiler went phut just before Christmas and they are still struggling to fix it. So he was waiting for us in the sheds, down at the bottom of the valley (along with a world of fun).
Instead we caught the diesel engine. Without doubt one of the most awesome living examples of steam punk I have ever seen in my life. An incredible bit of machinery (yes, train nerd, sorry).
|So exciting to be on a train going at 10kph|
Next stop Chestnut collecting. Yes, they still had painted faces :)