The Blue Mountains presented a seemingly impenetrable barrier to the early white settlers of New South Wales. With assistance from the indigenous inhabitants, who had been crossing the range for millennia, Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson found a viable crossing in 1813 and Surveyor Cox rapidly exploited this to built a road crossing for Governor Macquarie in 1815. When the construction of a railway was mooted in the 1840s and 1850s, the barrier again seemed impenetrable, but surveyors under John Whitton revealed a suitable alignment, largely following Coxs road, but utilising innovative technology to ascend and descend the mountain escarpments, the zig-zag.
Mark Langdons new book, Crossing the Blue Mountains, details the planning, construction and operation of the Blue Mountains railway from Penrith to Wallerawang. Using material from a wide variety of original sources, he recounts the difficulties of finding a suitable alignment, the design and construction of the zig-zags, and their ultimate replacement by double track deviations, themselves major feats of civil engineering. The story is enhanced with many period photos, many previously unpublished, with original and specially drawn track diagrams, biographical details of the principal personages and a full bibliography. This work is the definitive work on Whittons masterpiece, and it belongs in every enthusiast historians library.
This volume follows the Eveleigh Press A4 format.
Publisher: Eveleigh Press
Author: Mark Langdon