The Outpost Train   

Drivers leaving the M4 Western Freeway at Mamre Road, St Mary's (In Sydney's outer western suburbs) might find themselves doing a 'double take' as they are confronted by what appears to be a complete railway station just north of the expressway. Located at the corner of Hall Street and Mamre Road, almost within sight of the freeway, yet a good couple of kilometres shy of the nearest running line, a number of railway items are on show for all to see. Dominating the attractive 'South Creek' Railway Station here is a railway themed display organised and maintained by the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia, St Mary's Outpost Sub-Branch Inc.

South Creek was the original name of what is now St Mary's township, and the station and carriages host the local facilities of the Association. The creek for which the station and region were named actually runs past the museum, which essentially fronts the St Mary's RSL Club. It is a small, yet surprisingly diverse collection of equipment, featuring:

  • Former BHP Newcastle 0-4-0T steam locomotive Number 16;
  • Tulloch double-deck EMU trailer car T4823;
  • ODS2257 (ex-OFS2257), an RUB Daylight Express carriage; and
  • EPT1481, a 1913-vintage wooden-bodied guards van (formerly EHO669,
  • converted for use DEB Set railcars for a time and renumbered 1481 during 1966 before being condemned in 1982).

    This collection, in its current display form was assembled from a variety of sources (some local), while the station itself also features a number of classic luggage trolleys, platform lamp posts and indicator boards.

    Although it is not known how ODS2257 and EPT1481 came to St Mary's , T4823 and BHP 16 both possess an established history with Western Sydney. The Porter-built 0-4-0T (builders number 6596 of 1920), although originally built for BHP Newcastle, was sold during 1962 (along with sister engine 12) to the Emu Plains Sand & Gravel Company for service at that operator's quarry on the Western bank of the Nepean River, just North of Emu Plains Railway Station. The pair worked the quarry until closure in 1967 (although it reopened for a period sometime later) and 16 eventually found its way into the collection of the NSW Rail Transport Museum at Thirlmere, where it was used as a depot shunter for a time.

    Tulloch trailer T4823, meanwhile, is believed to have been one of two such carriages acquired by the Museum of Fire at Penrith in the late 1980's/early 1990's. For a few years both were a fixture on the dairy siding leading out of the northern side of Penrith Yard, until disposed of more recently. T4823 is also believed to have then spent some time as part of the nearby McDonalds, while the second car, T4833, is now on a vineyard near Londonderry.

    The Outpost itself, although the recipient of limited government funding, is primarily a volunteer support organisation that works to offer veterans of all conflicts basic entitlement advice, claims assistance and advocacy services as well as a wide range of Welfare and Education services. The impeccable presentation of the collection is down to a regular working bee held by members each week that places the maintenance and cleaning of the station precinct as a priority.

    Our thanks to Chris Walters, Editor, 'The Railway Digest' for this fascinating insight on the origins of the 'Train'.

    Honour the Dead
    But Fight Like Hell for the Living

     © St Mary's Vietnam Veterans' Outpost ABN 88 139 839 090, The Train, Cnr Hall St and Mamre Rd, St Marys NSW; PO Box 3049 South St Mary's 2760; Phone: +61 (0)2 9833 4711, +61 (0)2 9833 4700;