Port Melbourne railway line
|Port Melbourne railway line, Melbourne|
|Fate||Converted to tram route 109|
|Connections||St Kilda line|
|Railways in Melbourne|
The Port Melbourne railway line is a former suburban railway in Melbourne, Australia. The line was the first significant railway in Australia and was opened by the Melbourne and Hobson's Bay Railway Company to carry passengers arriving in Victoria at Station Pier, and to alleviate the high cost of shipping goods using small vessels up the Yarra River to Melbourne.
Work began on laying the railway in March 1853 under the supervision of the company's Engineer-in-Chief James Moore. Trains were ordered from Robert Stephenson and Company of the United Kingdom, but the first train was locally built by Robertson, Martin and Smith, because of shipping delays. Australia's first steam locomotive was built in ten weeks and cost £2,700.
The line was opened in September 1854 (three years after the discovery of gold at Ballarat) and ran for 4km from the Melbourne (or City) Terminus (on the site of modern day Flinders Street Station), crossing the Yarra River on the original Sandridge Bridge to Sandridge (now Port Melbourne).
The opening of the line occurred during the period of the Victorian gold rush - a time when both Melbourne and Victoria undertook massive capital works, each with its own gala opening. The inaugural journey on the Sandridge line was no exception. According to the Argus newspaper's report of the next day: "Long before the hour appointed ... a great crowd assembled round the station at the Melbourne terminus, lining the whole of Flinders Street". Lieutenant-Governor Sir Charles Hotham and Lady Hotham were aboard the train - which consisted of two first class carriages and one second class - and were presented with satin copies of the railway's timetable and bylaws.
The trip took 10 minutes, none of the later stations along the line having been built. On arriving at Station Pier (onto which the tracks extended), it was hailed with gun-salutes by the warships HMS Electra and HMS Fantome.
By March 1855, the four engines ordered from the UK were all in service, with trains running every half-hour. They were named Melbourne, Sandridge, Victoria, and Yarra (after the Yarra River over which the line crossed).
The line was closed in 1987, along with the St Kilda railway line and replaced by light rail. The last passenger service ran on 10 October 1987 and the last freight service run to Montague on 16 October, with the official opening of the light rail line being on 18 December 1987.
Melbourne tram route 109 now operates on the converted track. The section from Southbank Junction to Port Melbourne was converted to light rail, requiring the conversion from broad gauge 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) used by the Melbourne rail network to standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) tram track as well as reducing the overhead voltage from 1500 V DC to 600 V DC required for the trams. Additionally, low level platforms were built on the sites of the former stations to accommodate the trams which contained steps to street level. Low floor trams have since been introduced to the route.
Bold stations are termini.
|Port Melbourne railway line|
- Sandridge Railway Trail: rail map, notes and history
- "Victorian Railways 1950s map" (PDF). Victorian Railways Resources.
- Chris Banger (March 1997). "Rail Passenger Service Withdrawals Since 1960". Newsrail (Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division)): pages 77–82.
- "Traffic". Newsrail (Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division)): page 22. January 1988.