The Bulliac Railway Tunnel, situated 20kms north of Gloucester, opened 4 February 1913 as part of the North Coast Line, the major trunk line between NSW and Brisbane. It is a 223m single track tunnel.1
In February 1929 floods caused disastrous landslides along the railway track north of Gloucester rendering it impassable at five places. Two of the landslides occurred at either end of the Bulliac Tunnel dumping tons of rubble and stranding over 200 passengers.2 The situation could have been worse if not for Mrs A W Robinson who was the gatekeeper at Bulliac Tunnel Crossing. When she noticed the landslide on one side of the tunnel she placed detonators on the line and waved a flag preventing the train from entering. Her actions undoubtedly saved lives.3
Railways present inherent risks. In 1952 a tragic incident occurred. Mrs Henrietta Lewis was the gatekeeper and after hearing a car horn went to open the gate to a utility truck. Just as she did a diesel train came out of the cutting and she immediately closed the gate and waved the truck back. Unbeknownst to her, her two year old son had followed her through the gate and onto the track. He was hit by the train and died later that evening.4
Also in 1952, a prisoner under police escort jumped from the train as it came out of the Bulliac Tunnel. He had gone to the toilet and used the lights going out as his chance to escape. The train stopped and a chase ensued. He was eventually caught one and a half miles away.5
Author: Janine Roberts
2 Sydney Morning Herald, 11 February 1929, 12.
3 Northern Star, 26 April 1929, 11.
4 Gloucester Advocate, 23 May 1952, 1.
5 Gloucester Advocate, 12 December 1952, 2.