The GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY
later The MAIN NORTHERN LINE
The first section of the Main Northern Line, linking New South Wales and Queensland, was constructed from the Port of Newcastle to Maitland, by the Hunter River Railway Company in 1854, employing both plant and workers brought out from England. The line was extended to Victoria Street Maitland in 1858 in preparation for construction of the railway westward, towards a proposed route to the Queensland border, via Armidale, through northern inland New South Wales. The line reached Singleton in 1863, Muswellbrook in 1869, Scone in 1871. Reaching Murrurundi in 1872.
any extension of the line would be faced with the barrier of the Liverpool Range. The government wanted to build a narrow, ventilated tunnel close to the surface of the range with the idea that passengers would de-train at Murrurundi and be conveyed through the range to Ardglen in narrow gauge horse-drawn trams.
The chief engineer John Whitton, favoured a deep ventilated tunnel to accommodate standard gauge trains. His strong representation led to two years of Parliamentary debate. Compromise was eventually released with approval being given for a tunnel of standard gauge, but unventilated and close to the surface.
HISTORY of MANILLA N.S.W.