It's been a thrill of a ride...


The Scenic Railway in Katoomba NSW is the steepest passenger railway in the world. With a 52 degree gradient, the train descends 310 metres through a cliff-side tunnel, emerging into ancient rainforest at the Jamison Valley floor. Operating since 1945, the Scenic Railway has thrilled 25 million passengers during 700,000 journeys. The railway was originally constructed in 1880, for a coal and oil shale mining operation, in order to haul the coal and shale from the valley floor to the escarpment above. From 1928 to 1945 it carried coal during the week and passengers on the weekend. The mine was closed in 1945 at which time the railway passed into the Hammon Family hands and has been a privately owned tourist attraction ever since.

In 2012 Grindley was engaged to undertake a construction management role and to deliver a $20+ million upgrade to the railway and associated services. Works included laying of new tracks to accommodate larger Swiss designed railway carriages, upgraded buildings, a new winch and control systems, a complete rebuild of the top and bottom platforms and new restaurant and commercial facilities. To accommodate the new trains, the tunnel needed to be enlarged and this involved hand excavation and installation of 140 ton of mesh reinforced dry shotcrete, with 1.8m, 2.1m and 3.0m long rock bolts.

The Grindley team worked in and around the operating railway from March 2012 to January 2013 at which point the attraction was closed to the public and the team were able to work around the clock to finish the job by Easter 2013. On Good Friday the site opened to the public once again, with the shiny new red carriages carrying 84 tourists each time to the valley floor.