Help sought to solve a great railway mystery

THE call is out for Coffs Coast residents to help close a mysterious chapter in Australia's railway history.

For more than 20 years, the Old Casino Museum has displayed photos of Rail Motor No 1 - the first internal combustion powered train to operate in NSW.

When the train was withdrawn from service, the carriage was rested north of Boambee Creek in the 1930s.

It's here where the train's official history ends.

The mystery of what happened to the railmotor, and if any part of it remains, has now ignited the interest of historians and train buff.

Coffs Harbour resident Warwick Mead, a curator at Old Casino Museum, has assessed the carriage's last known resting spot but says there is little in the way of clues.

"Passengers on the early northern line trains would have passed the site, so we're hoping someone may know something," he said.

Rail Motor No 1 was built in Sydney in 1915 and began transporting people and cargo on the Grafton-Murwillumbah railway in 1919.

Mr Mead said the rail motor was ground-breaking technology during the age of steam-powered trains.

"It pioneered self-propelled train travel and was a forerunner to the old tin hares and the XPT of today," Mr Mead said.

"If it still exists in any shape or form, it would be one of the most significant historical vehicles in Australia," he said.

Anyone with information can contact Warwick on 0423 733 207.

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