On 20 April 1853, a meeting was held at the Royal Hotel in Newcastle to consider the prospect of railway development with a Provisional Committee appointed. The meeting resolved to seek Government aid in the form of land grant for terminals and stations plus capital funds. An Act authorising the Company to build "in or near Newcastle terminating in or near East Maitland or West Maitland and beyond" was assented to on 18 October 1853.
The Hunter River Railway Company experienced a number of difficulties in raising the required capital for its projects. On 2 December 1854 the legislation - "An Act to make provision for the construction by the Government of Railways in the Colony of New South Wales", 1854 (18 Vic., No.40) came into force. The responsibility for railway construction now lay with the Commissioners of Sydney, and Hunter River Railways.
On 18 July 1855 the Commissioners of Sydney, and Hunter River Railways received from the Colonial Treasurer Government Debentures to be paid to the proprietors of the Hunter River Railway Company. On 30 July 1855 the deed transferring all property was formally executed and handed over to the Commissioners by the Deputy Chairman of the Company. (1)
(1) Report from Commissioners of Sydney, and Hunter River Railways for the year ended 30 June 1856 in the Votes and Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly during the session of 1856-7, Volume 3 p. 387.