South Maitland Railway - Weston To Pelaw Main "Link Line" and Flood Workings

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Weston To Pelaw Main "Link Line" and Flood Workings

In 1936 a connection between the South Maitland system and the nearby J & A Brown owned Richmond Vale Railway was constructed from Pelaw Main Colliery to the SMR at Weston. This line was used by JABAS for any gas coal from its 3 Abermain collieries and Stanford Main No.2 Colliery at Paxton that was to be shipped at the company's coal loader at Hexham, any coal that was to be shipped at the Dyke at Newcastle still had to travel over the SMR to East Greta Junction & the NSWGR to Newcastle. The trains were worked by South Maitland Railways from these collieries to an exchange siding adjacent to Pelaw Main Colliery, where the trains were then worked by the RVR to Hexham. With the opening of the coal preparation plant at Hexham the traffic over the line increased as the small coal that was to be washed also travelled over the link line. The line fell out of use after the closure of rail operations at Abermain No.2 Colliery in December 1963 & the connection with the SMR was lifted in August 1964, the line was lifted during 1973.

This connection to the Richmond Vale Railway provided an alternative connection to the Main north line at Hexham and was used as an alternate route to move the coal from the various Cessnock area collieries (including those not owned by JABAS) when the South Maitland lines were flooded at East Greta Junction during the 1949-1952 & 1955 floods. During these floods RVR & SMR locomotives worked trains over both networks, with the SMR locos being serviced at the JABAS loco shed at Pelaw Main Colliery. During some of these floods when the SMR loco fleet was trapped at East Greta, locomotives were also hired from the New South Wales Government Railways.

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