Bell Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Bell Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Bell Railway Station Group
Other name/s: Mount Wilson
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Chifley Road, Bell, NSW 2786
Parish: Clwydd
County: Cook
Local govt. area: Blue Mountains

Boundary:

North: 5 metres from end of the platform; South: 5 metres from end of the platform; West: RailCorp property boundary to Chifley Road; East: RailCorp property boundary to Sandham Road.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Chifley RoadBellBlue Mountains ClwyddCookPrimary Address
Sandham Road Unknown  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Bell Railway Station is of local significance for its historical associations with the development of nearby Mt Wilson village, and the development of tourism in the Blue Mountains area throughout the late 19th and early 20th century. The extant station building dating from 1911 is a good representative example of the standard Federation period island platform buildings built between Penrith and Lithgow when the line was duplicated. As part of the last construction works of railway line duplication along Blue Mountains, the station is significant for its ability to demonstrate the technological and engineering achievements in railway construction at the beginning of the 1900s.
Date significance updated: 19 Jun 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.

Description

Designer/Maker: NSW Government Railways
Builder/Maker: NSW Government Railways
Construction years: 1889-1911
Physical description: BUILDINGS
Station Building - type 11, including signal box (1911)

STRUCTURES
Island platform - brick faced (1911)
Level crossing - (c1879)

STATION BUILDING (1911)
External: Constructed of face brick with corrugated metal gabled roof extending as an awning to both platforms, the type 11 station building features 9 bays with linear arrangement along the platform with tuckpointed brickwork and engaged piers between the bays. The most southern bay is enclosed by fibrocement panels, which housed the interlocking lever frame of the signal box (no longer extant) between 1911 and c1971. Other features include rendered and moulded band of string course, 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, 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. The building is no longer in use, and all window and door openings of the building have been covered by security mesh.

Internal: The station building is internally in very poor condition and the majority of its finishes have been either removed or deteriorated. It appears the building has maintained the original floor layout including former signal room (timber framed addition) combined with the Station Master's office and ticket office, general waiting room, ladies toilets with waiting room, and male toilets at the northern end. The interior finishes are custom orb ceilings with ceiling roses to the offices and plasterboard ceiling to the other spaces, enclosed or adapted fireplaces, timber and tile flooring, and timber beaded style moulded cornices.

ISLAND PLATFORM (1911)
Island platform in elliptical shape curved at both ends. The platform is brick faced with concrete deck and asphalt finish with modern light fittings, signage, timber bench seating and aluminium palisade fencing at both ends of the platform are other features along the platform. Coping has been raised in brick and cut back.

LEVEL CROSSING (1985)
A standard timber pedestrian level crossing at grade at the Sydney end of the platform over the Down and Up line tracks

MOVEABLE ITEMS
Two early timber bench seats have been observed within the former waiting room.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Station Building - Good externally, very poor internally
Platform - Good
Level crossing - Good
Date condition updated:16 Nov 09
Modifications and dates: 1879: Level crossing installed.
23 Aug 1879: New platform and waiting shed built.
1881: Platform lengthened.
1910: New station building ordered.
1957: Line electrified
1971: Station unattended, points clipped and locked.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil

History

Historical notes: The Western line through Bell opened in 1869. The station opened in 1875 as 'Mt Wilson' aiding in the subdivision and development of the nearby village of the same name. A waiting shed was erected in 1877, which was later enlarged to accommodate a station officer.

The station was relocated to its present site in 1889 and renamed 'Bell'. The station is named after Archibald Bell Jnr (1804-83) who, in 1833, discovered a new stock route across the Blue Mountains from Richmond to Lithgow, known as the 'Bell's Line of Road'. The station is located at the intersection of the railway and road and was the starting point for horse-drawn coach tours to Mt Wilson following its establishment as a popular tourist destination (Forsyth, 2009).

The section through Bell was among the last to be duplicated, with duplication from Hartley Vale to Bell opening in 1911 and from Bell to Zig Zag in 1910.

The current brick platform building was completed for duplication. A feature of the station design was the inclusion of an outdoor lever frame, later enclosed as a signal box at one end of the structure, which was typical for this type of building. Virtually every station between Penrith and Lithgow received the same style of Federation structure when the Western line was duplicated between 1898 and 1912.

The associated Railway Residences were sold during the 1970s and 1980s.

The station remains as an unattended station providing rail access to the village of Mt Wilson.

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-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Impacts of railways on urban form-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Bell Railway Station is historical significance for its associations with the development of nearby Mt Wilson village, and the development of tourism in the Blue Mountains area throughout the late 19th and early 20th century being the starting point for horse-drawn coach tours to Mt Wilson.

As part of the last construction works of railway line duplication along Blue Mountains, the station is significant for its ability to demonstrate the technological and engineering achievements in railway construction at the beginning of the 1900s.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Bell Railway Station Building is a good example of a ' type 11' design (standard A8-A10) island platform building and demonstrates typical architectural elements of the Federation period. It maintains its overall architectural quality and setting despite its poor condition internally.
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 history.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The level crossing is relatively rare in the context of Blue Mountains where the majority of the stations have subway access.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Bell Railway Station is a good representative example of the standard 'type 11' station buildings that were built between Penrith and Lithgow following the duplication of the railway line in the early 1900s.
Integrity/Intactness: The Station building is intact externally however, it has lost its internal integrity.
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.

Listings

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 Study1999SRA13State Rail Authority  No
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 City Plan Heritage  Yes
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenARHS2009Historical information prepared for S170 update project
Management PlanNSWR1911Signal Diagram Circular 139
WrittenSharp, S.A.1982The Railway Stations of NSW 1855-1980
WrittenTaaffe, R.T.1990The Use and Selection of Materials in Railway Signal Box Construction 1912-1990

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: 4801013


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