Border Loop railway formation and landscape | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Border Loop railway formation and landscape

Item details

Name of item: Border Loop railway formation and landscape
Other name/s: Cougal To Border Loop, Railway Spiral and Landscape
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Landscape - Cultural
Category: Historic Landscape
Location: Lat: -28.3529558795 Long: 152.9621466460
Primary address: 871.00 (kms) Border Loop, North Coast Railway, Cougal, NSW 2474
Local govt. area: Kyogle
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Gugin Gudduba


The listing boundary is within the rail property boundaries along the tracks including structures, foundations, formation, etc commencing to the south at the approximate rail distance of 871km from Sydney, and to NSW/QLD border to the north.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
871.00 (kms) Border Loop, North Coast RailwayCougalKyogle  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government21 Oct 98

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: 19 Jul 13
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.


Construction years: 1930-1930
Physical description: The Cougal Railway Spiral and Landscape consists of the following elements: underbridge - steel RSJ on concrete piers, 873.217km (Note: the bridge at 869.4km crosses O'Gradys Creek; the bridge at 873.217km comprising 5 x 20.12m steel spans and forms part of the spiral is the correct bridge)
tunnel - concrete 871.947 to 872.139km, 192m
tunnel - concrete 872.661 to 872.838km, 177m
crossing loop - Border Loop 875.110km, no longer extant
tunnel on border with Queensland 875.482 to 876.642km, 1160m

The spiral is formed by the whole section of line from Cougal to the Border loop.
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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0102702 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

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: Heritage Office
Database number: 5011937

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