Medlow Bath Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Medlow Bath Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Medlow Bath Railway Station Group
Other name/s: Brown Siding; Medlow
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Great Western Highway, Medlow Bath, NSW 2780
Parish: Kanimla
County: Cook
Local govt. area: Blue Mountains


West: RailCorp property boundary to Great Western Highway; East: RailCorp property boundary to Railway Parade; North: Northern edge of the footbridge; South: 5 metres from the south end of the level crossing.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Great Western HighwayMedlow BathBlue Mountains KanimlaCookPrimary Address
Railway ParadeMedlow BathBlue Mountains   Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Medlow Bath Railway Station is significant as part of the early construction phase of railway line duplication on the upper Blue Mountains demonstrating the technological and engineering achievements in railway construction at the beginning of the 1900s. Constructed in anticipation of a boom period in the mountains particularly in connection with large holiday resorts such as the Hydro-Majestic Hotel, Medlow Bath station building is a good example of a Federation free classical railway station. The station building demonstrates typical architectural elements of the standard Federation style island platform buildings that were built between Penrith and Lithgow when the line was duplicated.
Date significance updated: 13 Aug 09
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.


Designer/Maker: NSW Government Railways
Builder/Maker: unknown
Construction years: 1902-1922
Physical description: BUILDINGS
Station Building - type 11, island station building 'A8' design, brick (1902)
Signal Room - gabled roof, timber (c1922)

Island Platform - brick faced (1902)
Footbridge (1901, 1994)

External: Constructed of face brick with corrugated metal gabled roof extending as an awning to both platforms, the Medlow Bath station building is an early phase island building in standard 'A8' Federation style design. It features 6 bays with linear arrangement along the platform with tuckpointed red brickwork with engaged piers between the bays. Other features include rendered and moulded two rows of string courses, moulded cornice, timber framed windows and doors with contrasting decorative trims and sills, standard iron brackets over decorative corbels supporting ample platform awnings, fretted timber work to both ends of awnings and gable ends, timber finials to gable apex, tall corbelled chimneys, timber framed double-hung windows with multi-paned and coloured upper sashes, and timber door openings with multi-paned fanlights with coloured glazing.

Internal: Medlow Bath Station is an unattended station and its interiors are in an abandoned state. The floor layout of the building comprises a booking office, waiting room, ladies waiting and toilets and male toilets with access from the south end of the building. The interiors generally feature custom orb ceilings with ceiling roses, fireplaces, timber floor boards to main rooms and tiling to toilets, beaded dado line and timber bead style moulded cornices. The booking office has grate in fireplace, remnant timber booking desk, and original ticket window extant; ceiling rose has been removed. Waiting room has original ticket window and fitted timber bench seating extant; fireplace grate is missing. Toilet fittings are modern.

External: A small timber building at the booking office end of the station on axis with the platform. Historical evidence suggest that this weatherboard building covered an interlocking frame, which was originally erected as an open frame. It appears to be used as a store room after being taken out of service in 1957. It has a steep gabled corrugated metal roof, rusticated timber boarding with small four-paned windows on three elevations, and a four-panelled timber door with timber awning on the south elevation.

Internal: Signal box has timber boarded lining to walls and ceiling and timber floor boards. The room is empty (levers have been removed). The ceiling has openings for a round chimney (stove missing), hatch, and modern strip lighting.

Typical island platforms running north-south, with the buildings located approximately at the centre.
Original sections of platform retaining walls are unreinforced concrete cast in situ, approximately 400ft (122m) long, with stepped coping bevelled on bottom edge. Platform height has been raised in brick and upper surface of brick coping is rendered in concrete; coping has been cut back in some areas. Platform has been extended at Sydney end (total 600ft) with brickwork laid in English bond and with corbelled coping. Lever bay in Down Main retaining wall has timber top in poor condition. Platform surface is asphalt.
A number of rectangular garden beds and early electric light poles along the central axis of the platform enhance the heritage character and setting of the station; however, treated pine log borders to garden beds and modern flood lights detract from this character. Early electric platform light poles have traditional petticoat base and scroll arms. An early boot scraper is extant in the platform surface at the entrance to the signal box. 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. Two former septic tanks at the Sydney end of the platform building are buried in the platform fill; the tops of the tanks have been lowered to be flush with the platform surface.
Modern level crossing at Sydney end of platform is rare example in the greater Sydney Metropolitan area.

FOOTBRIDGE (1901, 1994)
A standard concrete slab structure supported on original brick abutments and two steel trestles with new stairs to the platform and bridge with new concrete deck over the tracks spanning between the Great Western Highway and Railway Parade. The footbridge marks the northern end of the station. A concrete level crossing with relatively new fabric is also located on the southern end of the station. 1994 metal balustrades provides safety along the edges of the stairs and the bridge.

NSW Railway heritage listed sites contain significant collections of stored movable railway heritage, including furniture, signs, operational objects, ex-booking office and ticketing objects, paper records, clocks, memorabilia, indicator boards and artwork. Individually, these objects are important components of the history of each site. Together, they form a large and diverse collection of movable objects across the NSW rail network. Sydney Trains maintains a database of movable heritage. For up-to-date information on all movable heritage items at this site, contact the Sydney Trains heritage team.

Key items at this station include but are not limited to:
Two timber bench style seats in the waiting room.

Other than small plantings along the platform no notable landscape features have been identified. The existing plantings are not considered significant.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Station Building - Good externally, however; internally it is in poor condition. Some minor deterioration of timber gables.
Signal Room - Moderate condition.
Island Platform - Very Good
Footbridge - Very Good
Date condition updated:03 Dec 08
Modifications and dates: c1922 - 1909 interlocking frame covered by timber Signal box
1926 - additional siding built
1942 – platform raised and extended at the Sydney end
1957 - line electrified
1981 – platform building connected to septic system
1994 - footbridge upgraded with new deck, stepway, and the superstructure cleaned and repainted.
2017 – platform resurfaced in asphalt. Light pole footings upgraded and height of septic tanks lowered.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Railway Station, Signal Box


Historical notes: The single track main line from Katoomba to Blackheath was opened in 1868. A halt stop was established at Medlow Bath in 1881. Its initial name was Brown Siding, because of Brown's pioneering sawmill close by in Railway Parade. The station became Medlow in 1883 and Medlow Bath in 1903 with the opening of Mark Foy's Hydro.

The 1881 platform was 30 metres (100 feet) long and was situated on the down side of the single line where the present station is located. Additions to the station buildings were made in 1899, but duplication of the line in 1902 prompted the replacement of the original platform by the present island platform. The existing buildings date from that time and like most stations between Emu Plains and Lithgow, Medlow Bath received a standard Federation style brick building.

Also on the platform is a small timber signal box. An open interlocking frame was erected on the platform in 1909 but evidence suggests that the frame was not covered by the existing structure until c1922. It was taken out of service in 1957 but continued to be used as a store. It is now a rare example of a separate platform level signal box.

An additional siding was built in 1926 and in 1942 the platform was extended at the Sydney end.

The gatekeepers cottage is now privately owned.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Communication-Activities relating to the creation and conveyance of information Signalling and safe working-
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 Building the railway network-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Evolution of design in railway engineering and architecture-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Moving people to events and leisure activities-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Medlow Bath Station Group is of historical significance as part of the early construction phase of railway line duplication on the upper Blue Mountains demonstrating the technological and engineering achievements in railway construction at the beginning of the 1900s. It was built in anticipation of a boom period in the mountains, particularly in connection with large holiday resorts such as the nearby Hydro-Majestic Hotel.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Medlow Bath station building is a good example of a standard design island platform building and demonstrates typical architectural elements of Federation period standard buildings that were built between Penrith and Lithgow following the duplication of the railway line. It maintains its overall architectural quality and setting and some rare interior fixtures and fittings, including fireplaces, internal ticket window frame, and fitted timber seating in the waiting room. Platform gardens and early electric light poles contribute to the heritage character and setting.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The place has the potential to contribute to the local community's sense of place, and can provide a connection to the local community's past.
SHR Criteria f)
The timber signal room is a rare example of a separate platform level signal box as the majority of the signal rooms along Blue Mountains Line are incorporated into the main station building
Interior fixtures and fittings in the platform building are now rare, including fireplaces, internal ticket window, and fitted timber seating in the waiting room.
Level crossing access to the platform is now rare in the greater Sydney Metropolitan area.
SHR Criteria g)
The station building is one of the early examples of a large number of standard railway designs that were commonly used in the 1910s-20s after a decade from the construction of Medlow Bath station building.
The 1901 superstructure of the footbridge is a typical example of standard steel beam structure supported on trestles and brick abutments with later concrete deck and steps. The footbridge was identified as an item of moderate heritage significance in the comparative analysis from the 2016 ‘Railway Footbridges Heritage Conservation Strategy’.
Integrity/Intactness: The station building has a high degree of integrity externally and internally, however; the interiors are deteriorating due to lack of use. The timber signal room is intact. The footbridge is relatively intact as it retains its original steel superstructure. Platform gardens and early electric lighting are traditional elements that contribute to overall integrity, although treated pine log borders to garden beds and modern flood lights detract from heritage character.
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.

Recommended management:

1. Conservation principles: Conserve cultural heritage significance and minimise impacts on heritage values and fabric in accordance with the ‘Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance’. 2. Specialist advice: Seek advice from a qualified heritage specialist during all phases of a proposed project from feasibility, concept and option planning stage; detailed design; heritage approval and assessment; through to construction and finalisation. 3. Documentation: Prepare a Statement of Heritage Impact (SOHI) to assess, minimise and prevent heritage impacts as part of the assessment and approval phase of a project. Prepare a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) prior to proposing major works (such as new additions, change of use or proposed demolition) at all places of State significance and all complex sites of Local significance. 4. Maintenance and repair: Undertake annual inspections and proactive routine maintenance works to conserve heritage fabric in accordance with the ‘Minimum Standards of Maintenance & Repair’. 5. Movable heritage: Retain in situ and care for historic contents, fixtures, fittings, equipment and objects which contribute to cultural heritage significance. Return or reinstate missing features or relocated items where opportunities arise. 6. Aboriginal, archaeology and natural heritage: Consider all aspects of potential heritage significance as part of assessing and minimising potential impacts, including Aboriginal, archaeology and natural heritage. 7. Unidentified heritage items: Heritage inventory sheets do not describe or capture all contributory heritage items within an identified curtilage (such as minor buildings, structures, archaeology, landscape elements, movable heritage and significant interiors and finishes). Ensure heritage advice is sought on all proposed changes within a curtilage to conserve heritage significance. 8. Recording and register update: Record changes at heritage places through adequate project records and archival photography. Notify all changes to the Section 170 Heritage & Conservation Register administrator upon project completion.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage registerSRA s.170 Register Station group    

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA11State Rail Authority  No
Heritage and Conservation Register State Rail Authority of NSW199396Paul Davies for SRA  No
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 City Plan Heritage  Yes
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes
Railway Footbridges Heritage Conservation Strategy 2016 NSW Government Architect’s Office Heritage Group  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenARHS2009Historical information prepared for S170 update project
WrittenCroft and Walker1982Heritage Study, Blue Mountains
WrittenDavies, Paul1978A History of New South Wales Railway Architecture, 1890-1915
WrittenJack, R.I, University of Sydney1999Blue Mountains Heritage Register Review
WrittenKaldy, Elaine1983Medlow 1883 and Now
WrittenR.T. Taaffe2008Supplementary advice, 13th November
WrittenSingleton, C.C1949Australasian Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin, vol 23, 142, Aug
WrittenTaaffe, R.T1990The Use and Selection of Materials in Railway Signal Box Construction 1912-1990
WrittenTropman and Tropman1992Heritage Study Review, Blue Mountains

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: 4801011

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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