Cougal To Border Loop, Railway Spiral and Landscape | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Cougal To Border Loop, Railway Spiral and Landscape

Item details

Name of item: Cougal To Border Loop, Railway Spiral and Landscape
Other name/s: Border Loop Spiral
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway embankment/cutting
Primary address: railway location (kms):869.381-875.100 Border Loop, North Coast Railway, Cougal, NSW 2474
Local govt. area: Kyogle


The listing boundary is the whole section of line within the property boundaries along the tracks including structures, foundations, formation, etc from Cougal to the north end of the border tunnel.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
railway location (kms):869.381-875.100 Border Loop, North Coast RailwayCougalKyogle  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Australian Rail Track CorporationState Government 

Statement of significance:

The Cougal to Border Loop section of the North Coast Line is a notable engineering achievement, revealing a twentieth century engineering solution that allows trains to pass through the steep topography at the NSW/Queensland border.
Date significance updated: 05 Jul 10
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Physical description: The Cougal Railway Spiral and Landscape consists of the following elements: underbridge - steel RSJ on concrete piers, 869.4km; tunnel - concrete 871.947 to 871.139km - 192m; tunnel - concrete 872.661 to 872.838km - 177m; tunnel - border 874.482 to 875.642km - 1160m; crossing loop - border loop 875.110km - since removed; tunnel at Queensland border 875.5km. The spiral is formed by the whole section of line from Cougal to the Border loop.
Further information: No 1 tunnel 871.947 to 872.139km, 192m, 1930; no 2 872.661 to 872.838 177m, border 874.482 to 875.642, 1160m;
Current use: Elevates the Sydney-Brisbane railway to a higher level by a loop
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: The Border Loop opened on 29 August 1930, connecting NSW and Queensland by rail via Richmond Gap.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The completion of the Cougal to Border Loop section of the North Coast Railway was a major engineering feat in the first half of the twentieth century, being one of several major engineering projects in NSW that allowed continuous railway access between Sydney and Brisbane.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The combination of tunnels, crossing loops, the underbridge and spiral together form a technically significant example of an innovative and successful railway engineering solution.
SHR Criteria f)
The railway spiral at Border Loop is one of only two railway spirals in NSW.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA245State Rail Authority  No

References, internet links & images


Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 4280245

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