Mungar … now there’s a name that doesn’t quite roll off your tongue. It’s not even a very attractive sounding name and, unless you’re a Queenslander by birth or by choice, you’ve probably never even heard of it before.
Today it’s just a little village on the back road from Maryborough to Tiaro but there was a time when it was quite an important railway junction … one of two junctions on the north coast line between Gympie and Maryborough … and mainline trains regularly stopped at Mungar.
Branchline trains coming from Gympie and heading for the busy Monto branch left the mainline at Mungar and could enter the branch without running into the station and trains could run direct from the branch onto the mainline heading back towards Gympie.
Trains coming from, or going back to, the north could run directly onto the branch too but they could only access the northern leg of the triangle by running through the station on the back road.
Trains from the south could also access the back road and a small goods yard.
The rather attractive wooden station was manned and there was a loop off the mainline to allow trains heading north and south to pass … but things changed when modernisation caught up with Mungar.
This is what Mungar looked like on 13 March 2011. At least the platform is still in place.
QR in their wisdom mothballed the Monto branch a few years ago and finally closed it on 30 June 2010.
At the time this article was prepared the track was still in place along the branch line and if a train did come in from the branch it could still access the main line via either leg of the triangle.
The signal guarding access to Mungar station limits from the branch was still switched on and local residents using the main road still halt at the stop sign even though there hasn’t been a train through there in years … and local police have been known to book people who didn’t obey the Stop sign.
Of course the mainline still gets plenty of use but when we were there the loop and back road hadn’t seen a train in quite a while.