THOSE who dress in period costume for the celebration of rail at Gunnedah Railway Station this Saturday will have the chance to win a rail trip for two adults and two children to anywhere in NSW courtesy of NSW TrainLink.
Local residents are invited to embrace the year 1879 in dressing for the occasion, which will mark 140 years since the first train arrived in Gunnedah.
The train driver was Robert William Sanderson, a former teamster who hauled coal from the Maitland pits to the Morpeth wharves.
Among the many visitors to town for the celebration will be Mr Sanderson's great granddaughter, Pamela, who will be asked to cut the celebratory cake.
Gunnedah Mayor Jamie Chaffey will unveil the new interpretative information board installed in the railway garden and Gunnedah Shire Band will present parts of their award-winning repertoire for the entertainment of visitors.
The whole population of 300 residents turned out to see the first train steam into the railway station on September 11, 1879, and organisers are hoping for a large turn-out on Saturday, from 9am to 2pm.
The Red Cross will serve Devonshire teas, while the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Support Group will man the barbecue. The Gunnedah & District Historical Society will have a display, along with Gunnedah Rural Museum volunteers who will fire up a steam motor and display a vintage rail trike and platform trolley, along with other machinery. There will be give-away bags for the kids with temporary rail tattoos as a novelty.
One of the highlights of the occasion will be the arrival of a vintage rail motor at the station, with Patterson Rail volunteers offering train rides from 9:30am on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are on sale at the station.
The Gunnedah Railway Hotel has always played an important part in catering for weary travellers, and everyone is welcome to wander over for refreshments and a catch-up.
A call has gone out for former employees or their descendants to attend the ceremony, which promises to be a historic occasion for the Gunnedah community.