|Physical description: ||STATION PRECINCT BUILDINGS
Station Building - type 11, initial island/side platform building, brick (1902)
Lamp Room/Store, brick (1902)
Signal Box (1910)
STATION PRECINCT STRUCTURES
Platform - concrete over brick face (1902)
Footbridge - standard steel beam on trestles over main Up line track and platform (1901, 1992)
LOMOTIVE DEPOT BUILDINGS
Roundhouse, 10 road (1913, extended 1973)
- Machine Workshop
- Members Room / Meal Room
- Members Locker Room / Toilet
- Passage Way
Former Chargeman’s office / District Locomotive Engineer’s (DLE) Office (1913)
Former Amenities Building (1930)
Toilet Block (1965)
Air Compressor Shed
Fuel Store , red brick (1970)
LOCOMOTIVE DEPOT STRUCTURES
Turntable, 60ft diameters, steel (1914, 1967)
Ash Disposal Tunnel and Pits (1913)
Locomotive Watering Facilities (1924)
Trestling Foundations (c1913)
Overhead Catenary Masts (1957)
STATION BUILDING (1902)
External: Constructed of face brick with corrugated metal gabled roof extending as an awning in the form of broken back to both platforms, the Valley Heights station building is an early phase type 11 initial island/side platform building in standard Federation free classical style design. It has a 6 bay linear arrangement along the platform with tuckpointed brickwork and engaged piers between the bays. Distinctive features are red face brickwork with rendered and moulded two rows of string courses to both rail elevations, timber framed windows and doors with contrasting decorative rendered trims and sills, standard iron brackets over decorative corbels supporting ample platform awnings, fretted timber work to both ends of awnings and gable ends, two tall corbelled chimneys one of which with terracotta pots, timber framed double-hung windows with multi-paned and coloured upper sashes and toughened glass bottom sashes, and timber door openings with multi-paned fanlights with coloured glazing. A face brick privacy wall screens the Men’s toilet entry at the eastern end of the building. Two roof vents also exist above the toilet bays. All windows and doors are secured by metal gates and grills. An air-conditioning unit has been installed on the fanlight of the Station Master’s office door.
Internal: The station building appears to have maintained most of its original detailing and finishes despite the changes over the time. The original floor layout remains including parcels office and Station Master's office with ticket window looking over the general waiting room, and toilets including an accessible toilet at eastern end. The interiors generally feature custom orb ceilings with ceiling roses, enclosed or adapted fireplaces, moulded picture rails and cornices to the general waiting room, decorative cast iron wall vents, later floor tiling or carpet finish, and timber bead style moulded cornices. All toilet and light fittings are relatively new. The Platform 1 door of the general waiting room and the ladies toilet door have also been fitted with a solid panel at the back.
LAMP ROOM / STORE (1902)
External: A small square shaped brick shed featuring moulded and rendered string course detailing similar to the main station building. It is located on the west side of the station building towards the end of the platform and is separated visually from the main station building by the stairs leading to the footbridge. The shed features a gabled corrugated metal roof with timber bargeboard and narrow eaves with exposed rafters, contrasting rendered moulded trim above two single doors on east and west side elevations and a band of string course throughout all elevations. There are no other openings on the building and the existing doors have been secured by metal gates.
Internal: The former lamp room is currently used as a storage area and features face brick walls with exposed roof truss structure within the corrugated metal roof. The timber boarded door is in the form of a sliding loading door with a fanlight above.
SIGNAL BOX (1910)
The signal box was originally built in 1910, constructed with three storeys, two in brick with the upper level constructed in timber cladding. The building was accessed via an external timber stair, on the western side of the building. It was severely damaged by fire in 1951 and the top floor collapsed. A roof was placed on top of the remaining brickwork and a new frame was placed into service on the ground floor.
The first floor level of brickwork was removed in 1987 and steel / urethane sandwich addition was added at the same time for staff amenities. Use of the signal box was discontinued in 1994 and given to the museum. Corrugated metal roofing fabric is relatively new. The signal equipment including CTC panel and 37 lever interlocking frame inside are extant.
The building currently presents a single-storey box with shallow hipped roof. The face brickwork with engaged piers has been painted over in places and the three arched windows along the railway side are intact, although the panes have been painted over and many are broken. The 1987 steel / urethane sandwich extension addition is extensively damaged by white ants.
Valley Heights station has an island platform in elliptical curved form, which is wide at the centre and narrow at both ends of the platform. This form is typical of Blue Mountains stations dictated by the topography and the deviation of the railway line. The platform is concrete faced (possible rendered over brick retaining wall) with concrete projecting edge at the top and asphalt finish to the deck. Modern platform furniture including light fittings, signage, timber bench seating and aluminium palisade fencing at both ends of the platform are other features along the platform.
FOOTBRIDGE (1901, 1992)
Valley Heights Station footbridge is a modified standard steel beam bridge supported on steel trestles extending from the street ramp over the highway and over the Up main tracks with stairs to the island platform between the main station building and the lamp room. The sections beyond the Up main tracks over the highway are a later addition constructed in c.1992 of concrete beam with concrete columns. With the exception of original steel structure and trussed stair stringers (balustrade), it appears that all components of the bridge have been replaced during the 1992 upgrading works.
ROUNDHOUSE (1913, extended 1973)
External: The roundhouse building comprises of a 1913 main roundhouse and a c1973 workshop annex. The roundhouse consisted of 10 bays for the stabling and servicing of steam locomotives, which remains intact to date. The design style of the building incorporates a symmetrically shaped, peaked roof profile with a relatively small ventilating ridge or clerestory gable roof at the centre of the roof peak, approximately 2 feet (600mm) above the main roof. The roundhouse is approximately 65 feet 4 inches in depth (front columns to rear wall). It is constructed with an Oregon timber structural frame with hardwood timber supporting posts (ironbark). The roof is covered by corrugated iron which was originally covered with asbestos tiles or slates, and later with super 6 corrugated fibro.
Internal: Flooring is bedded dry pressed common brick, topped in cement slurry, and there is a section of the flooring where the original brickwork is exposed in bay 10 adjacent to the easternmost wall. The brickwork of the pit walling was originally bagged with lime slurry and featured drainage outlets to all pits. Some of the pits have since been infilled in association with the change to electric over steam locomotives. Smoke chutes were provided at the front and rear but the front were removed prior to 1950 leaving only chutes on the southern or western side of the building enabling ventilation as all locomotives were first taken into the shed. Further ventilation is aided by the clerestory roof.
The end walls are fully sheeted with corrugated iron, as is the rear wall below the 7 foot level. Above the iron on the rear walls are Oregon timber window frames, in a multi light awning style (hopper) operated on Austral stays. These sashes alternate with multi light fixed sashes. The bulk of the window frames had been removed for repair and reinstatement. Some windows have also been removed at the western portion of the roundhouse, in association with the construction of the lean to additions.
MACHINE WORKSHOP (1973)
The workshop is constructed in timber and clad in corrugated iron wall and roof sheeting. Sited to the rear of bay 1 of the Roundhouse as an annex, the rail line and track has been extended into the workshop allowing access to rolling stock for repair. The workshop also features a single storey concrete element at the rear and southern side, currently used as a tool store. This is to become a welding bay. The workshop houses machinery used for the restoration of exhibits, e.g. lathes, drills, gantry crane, mills and grinders etc.
MEMBERS’ ROOM / MEAL ROOM
The members' room is located to the rear of Bay 5. Like most of the 1960s lean to additions, the room is clad externally in corrugated sheeting and also features timber framed vertically proportioned and double hung hopper windows. Internally the room is clad in hard board sheeting with plasterboard ceiling. Examination of the fabric of the room suggests a further extension to the rear though the dating of this further addition is unknown. The room is used largely as a meeting and meal room for members, with full kitchen facilities installed.
MEMBERS LOCKER ROOM / TOILET
The walls and roofing of the shower and toilet are clad in fibro sheeting, with a timber structure supporting the roof cladding. The walls and roofing of the locker room are clad in hard board sheeting, some of which is hanging down exposing insulation. The area is currently used for storage of ladders and other materials.
The walls and roofing of the corridor are clad in corrugated iron, with timber structure supporting the roof cladding. The area is currently used as a store; however the space was originally constructed as an external access from the rear of the roundhouse on the south side of the site. The timber door is extant however unused.
FORMER CHARGEMAN’S OFFICE / DISTRICT LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER’S (DLE) OFFICE (1913)
External: The former office building has recently been restored and now accommodates the museum displays. It is constructed of an Oregon timber frame, supported by brick piers and with A gable roof clad in corrugated steel sheeting. It is rectangular in shape and features simple bargeboards and timber framed louvered ventilation window to the gable ends. A skillion roofed corrugated steel verandah supported on steel round posts covers the front of the building over a concrete slab. The front elevation is fenestrated by three identical timber doors with fanlight. The windows on the rear elevation are also timber framed with a box frame hardwood sill.
Internal: The office maintains its original layout of three rooms that originally were separate but now are connected to each other by door openings. The internal features include tongue and grooved hardwood floor with carpet finish, timber weatherboard wall cladding to full wall height with a splayed and chamfered profile, simple timber skirting and timber board ceiling linings. Security bars are fixed to the interiors of the windows in order to ensure the safety of the collections. Metal picture rails are fixed to the walls for the exhibition of the picture collections. The light fittings are modern pendant style.
FORMER AMENITIES BUILDING (c1930, extended 1960)
The building is constructed of rusticated weatherboard with a hipped, corrugated steel roof. Originally rectangular, the building now forms a U-shape with wings and a courtyard. Double-hung windows with multi-pane fenestration are generally vertically proportioned (some in groups) and the frames are timber box frame type with hardwood sills. The main entry is via a projecting skillion roofed partially enclosed porch with original timber framed and glass panelled doors. A brick chimney is the only feature of the roofscape. A metal picket fence separates the courtyard from the track, which is used for the visitors’ locomotive experience within the yard.
Internal: Internally the walls and ceilings are lined with plasterboard panels with Oregon timber architraves and skirtings. The floors are concrete with linoleum and carpet finish. The internal doors are later fabric and are made of lightweight hollow core panels with timber frame. The amenities building consists of five rooms, used in the current facility as a library, museum shop for the sale of books, souvenirs and ephemera, a general storage room, a refreshments room, model railway room and one room is used for local Historical Society displays. The building has been adapted and extended from the former amenities facility which was a much smaller building incorporating a locker room, meal room and office facilities.
TOILET BLOCK (c1965, extended 2006)
A rectangular part face brick part timber framed utility building with corrugated steel gabled roof. It comprises male, female and disabled toilets with privacy walls/partitions to the front. Floors are concrete with tile finish and the fittings are generally new. The majority of the partition walls were replaced as part of the 2006 restoration works and the building was repainted.
AIR COMPRESSOR SHED (2005-6)
The air compressor shed is located at the top of the bank adjacent to the Main Western Line and overlooking the Roundhouse. The simple building, which features concrete block flooring, steel structural framing and galvanised iron wall and roof cladding, with pitched roof form, is of recent construction. The building features two roller doors to the western elevation, with aluminium louvered ventilation at the eastern elevation. The shed building replaced an earlier termite damaged building of the same purpose on the site.
FUEL STORE (1970)
The building is of 1970s red brick construction, with flat roof form, sited to the rear of the open storage yard behind the machine workshop and roundhouse. The building houses dangerous and flammable liquids and accordingly is set well back from the main building zone at the site. Internal access was not available (2009).
WORKSHOP SHED (2008)
New large steel framed corrugated steel shed with corrugated steel gabled roof featuring a lantern along the ridgeline for additional ventilation and light. Sections of the roof are of clear corrugated sheeting for improved light. The shed is essentially a large single space in portal style framing with large multi-paned steel windows on both long side elevations while the narrow elevations featuring roller doors to allow easy entry for the locomotives via two sets of siding.
TURNTABLE (1914, 1967)
The 60 foot turntable enables the locating of locomotives onto the respective roads in the roundhouse or for the turning of the locomotives. The turntable is constructed in steel and features timber sleepers at the perimeter of the turning circle. The element is manually operated and is still in use. It is the third such turntable to be used at the site, having been relocated from Katoomba in the 1960s.
Examination of the fabric of the infrastructure suggests some repair to the steel plating of the turntable. The turntable pit originally featured tracks on the northern side of the circle, enabling the locomotive to overshoot the turning circle with no damage to the locomotive. The tracks and associated timbers however were removed after the circle was damaged as a result of vandalism.
ASH DISPOSAL TUNNEL AND PITS (1913)
The ash disposal tunnel is a below ground level structure constructed between the running rails of the access and departure roads with two covered ground level pits. The tunnel was constructed to facilitate the removal of ash from the smoke boxes of the steam locomotives. This required the ash to be raked and shovelled out by hand. The ash would then drop into the tunnel and a narrow gauge line with hand operated trolleys was provided in the tunnel for removing the ash as it dropped from the pits. The pits were in use until 1957 when steam operations ceased in the Mountains. The tunnel is extant, along with the internal track work for the trolley and recent landscaping works have uncovered two sets of stone stairs either side of the tunnel entry. The external entry was painted, and it is also likely that the internal brickwork was originally painted or lime washed.
LOCOMOTIVE WATERING FACILITIES (1924)
The complete assemblage of the watering facilities still awaits re-instatement. The water tank has been relocated from ELCAR Workshops and is a 5,000 gallon example. Of standard local design, the tank is of high technical significance and is representative of the many tanks formally seen at depots around the former NSWGR system. The tank would likely have been constructed by the railways in Newcastle. The water column is of a standard pattern though of later design and is representative of the post WWII railway. The restoration of the column on its restored piers and adjacent to the 1914 drainage pit is proposed in near future.
The current track diagram is a remnant of the former depot layout from the steam era. They are proposed to be restored by reconnecting the arrival and departure roads to a more closely resemble the trackwork of the steam era.
TRESTLING FOUNDATIONS (c1913)
These are remnant foundations of the former coaling plant and demonstrate the scale, design and context of the former coaling plant.
OVERHEAD CATENARY MASTS (1957)
The remnant overhead masts are a type of overhead system used in the form of the 46-class electric locomotives demonstrating the arrival of modern motive power in the depot. The masts in the yard are of the first generation design; fabricated, riveted, mild steel preserved with a micaceous paint system.
The following moveable items have been observed at Valley Heights Station:
- A safe (ID # 749) with no brand name dating possibly from the 1960s is located in the booking office.
- Two early timber bench style seats in the General Waiting Room.
- An early ticket window desk in the ticket office
There are a large number of moveable items that belong to the Valley Heights Museum. A Seth Thomas clock has been observed in the model rail room of the Former Amenities Building.
Apart from a couple of garden beds with shrubs and small plantings along the north and south ends of the platform there is no landscaping at the station. The existing station landscaping is not considered significant.
The locomotive depot site has built up gradually with deposits from the ash spoil dump and the site features large concrete retaining walls reinforced with railway sleepers along the southern portion of the site adjacent to the access road. The site incorporates a number of established mature tree and shrub plantings as well as many new plantings dating to the period of occupation of the current tenants. There are also a high proportion of established trees concentrated on the southern side of the Roundhouse. Plantings include a wide variety of native and non indigenous species, including wattle, eucalypts, angophora floribunda (rough barked apple), grevillea and callistemon (bottlebrush) as well as some pine and cedar species.
POTENTIAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL FEATURES
There is high archaeological potential within the locomotive depot site due to the existence of remnant sidings, ash tunnels and trestles foundations.
|Modifications and dates: ||27 Nov 1911- station destroyed by bushfire,
1912 - repairs to station buildings destroyed by bushfire,
1914 - new roundhouse and depot brought into use,
1924 - additional water supplies at depot,
1925 - improvements to facilities, including ash tunnel for locomotive ash handling,
1949 - upgrading facilities for crew amenities,
1957 - electric locomotives take over from steam locomotives as bank engines,
1960s - improvements to allow for servicing and repairs to electric locomotives, members room/meal room lean to addition to Roundhouse, northern wings added to former amenities building (visitor centre and refreshment rooms)
1973 - machine workshop annex added
1987 - the first floor level of brickwork at signal box was removed in 1987 and a steel / urethane sandwich extension added,
1988 - reduced use of bank engines as larger electric locomotives are used on main line work,
1992 - footbridge, upgrading work, concrete deck and stairs,
1993 - depot closed.
1990s - extensive repairs to roundhouse
2007-2008 - new work shed constructed near ash disposal tunnel, former amenities building (refreshment room and visitor centre) repaired and refurbished, ongoing work in roundhouse, chargeman's office (museum) repaired and refurbished, ash disposal tunnel cleaned and restored, amenities (toilets) repaired and refurbished
2009 - Original water column is in the process of being reinstated
N.d - Station building, some internal alterations, brick screen to lavatories at southeast end. Barge boards replaced.