Buxton, like several other villages along the old loop line to the south of Picton in the Wollondilly region, began life as a railway siding. Most other stations had crossing loops and sidings to allow trains to pass on the line, or to store the extra engines, although Buxton did not acquire one until 1912.
In 1867 the Great Southern Railway was extended from Picton to Mittagong along a steep incline atop the ridge on which Buxton today sits. For the next 50 years this single line was the main track south, until a two track deviation was built through Tahmoor and Bargo in 1919, after which it was known as 'the loop line'. The steepness of the track (up to 1 in 33 between Buxton and Hill Top) meant that extra steam engines were required to haul the trains up from Picton, and to slow them on the return journey.
The village itself dates from 1883 and had grown sufficiently by 1893 for its own platform on the line. However, the population was never large - the earliest settlers mostly farmers who grew orchards on the temperate hills and slopes nearby, or railway workers who commuted to the railway yards at Picton. However, the population was never large - the earliest settlers mostly farmers who grew orchards on the temperate hills and slopes nearby, or railway workers who commuted to the railway yards at Picton.
After the main deviation through Tahmoor, traffic on the line dwindled to almost nothing - being used occasionally for overflow from the main line, and a local service between Picton and Mittagong - soon reduced to a rail motor car which ran until the 1970s. During this period the population of Buxton fell away, and the village's sleepy quietness was only broken by the train on Sundays taking day-trippers to Mittagong and then back to the city. Today, even that train no longer runs, the track having deteriorated so much as to be of no use past Buxton.
Though the railway no longer passes through Buxton, the town still has many links to its railway past. Between Colo Vale and Hilltop the road actually passes over the old permanent way - turned into a road after the old line was detoured to lower the gradient - which explains why it soars over tall embankments and through steep cuttings. About 3 kilometres past Hilltop, you cn stop and peer down at the line as it passes through Bill Hill Cutting, the steepest railway cutting in New South Wales. The cutting is located on the now semi-abandoned loop line between Picton and Mittagong. d
You can also take a ride back to Buxton from Thirlmere aboard a historic Steam Train every Sunday between March and November. A 50 minute experience from historic Thirlmere station to Buxton station and return is plenty of time to reminisce, share your experience, take a few photos and stretch your legs. Whether you're visiting with friends, sharing family stories with kids or parents, it's a great day out, rain or shine. the steam train is operated by Trainworks.