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Bendigo railway line

The Bendigo railway line is a regional railway in Victoria, Australia, running from Melbourne to Bendigo, on which there are currently 11 stations open. The line was upgraded as part of the Regional Fast Rail project between 2005 and 2006.

TypeV/Line passenger service
Rolling stockVLocity
Line length164.24 km (102 mi)
Number of tracksFour tracks to Sunshine, double track to Kyneton, single line with crossing loops beyond
Route map

The Sunbury line is an electrified section of the Bendigo line within metropolitan Melbourne.



The CompanyEdit

Construction of the line was begun by the Melbourne, Mount Alexander and Murray River Railway Company, which was incorporated in 1852. The first thirteen sections of the line were constructed by contractors Cornish and Bruce, who gained a reputation for trying to reduce costs by taking shortcuts on materials and reducing worker's wages.[1][2]

The Company made almost no progress on the construction of the railway due to an inability to raise sufficient funds, and in 1856 it was purchased by the Victorian Government. Because Isambard Kingdom Brunel was at that time the Inspecting Engineer in Britain for the Victorian Government, some people have claimed that he was responsible for the railway's design. An examination of reports published by the Victorian Parliament has shown that this claim is erroneous. The route and structures were the work of the Victorian Railways Department, under the supervision of Engineer in Chief George Christian Darbyshire, and completed under Thomas Higginbotham.[3]


The line was designed with two broad gauge tracks, high speed alignments cutting through the landscape, substantial bridges and railway stations built of bluestone, and double-headed rail.[4]

Timeline of constructionEdit

Originating from Spencer Street Station, the line reached Sunbury in 1859. On 13 January 1859, the Government Railway from Melbourne to Sunbury was opened.[5]

By 1861 it had reached Woodend and on 8 July 1861 the Sunbury to Woodend section opened.[5]

By 1862 the Woodend to Kyneton section was built. On 25 April 1862 the Woodend to Kyneton section was opened.[5]

Later in 1862, the line had been completed to Castlemaine and to Bendigo. On 7 October the first locomotive reached Bendigo. Another Official Opening was held at Castlemaine on 15 October 1862.

The whole of the Melbourne to Bendigo railway was formally opened at Bendigo on 20 October 1862 by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Henry Barkly.[5]

Branch linesEdit

The Lancefield line was opened from Clarkefield (north of Sunbury) to Lancefield in 1881, and extended to Kilmore in 1892 to connect with the Heathcote railway line. This line was completely closed by 1956.

The Daylesford branch line was opened from Carlsruhe (between Woodend and Kyneton) to Daylesford in 1880. In 1887 it was later connected with a line from Ballarat. This Daylesford branch was closed in 1978, but part of it, between Daylesford and Bullarto, is now operated by the Daylesford Spa Country Railway as a tourist railway.

A branch line was built between Redesdale Junction (north of Kyneton) and Redesdale by 1900, but it closed in 1954.

The Maldon line was opened from Castlemaine to Maldon in 1884, and extended as far as Shelbourne in 1891, although it had originally been planned to run to Laanecoorie. The line from Maldon to Shelbourne was closed in 1969 following bush fire damage. The Maldon branch line closed in 1976.[6] The Victorian Goldfields Railway has restored the line between Castlemaine and Maldon and operates trains over that section.

A branch line was built from Bendigo to Heathcote in 1888, which became a cross-country line in 1890 when connected to a line running from Heathcote Junction on the main North East railway line. The Bendigo–Heathcote line closed in 1958 and the Heathcote Junction to Heathcote branch was closed in November 1968.

Epsom railway station was constructed in 2014 and opened on 12 October of that year between the Bendigo and Elmore stations.

Echuca lineEdit

The Bendigo line was extended to Elmore and Echuca in 1864, and across the Murray River into New South Wales in 1876 to connect with the private Deniliquin and Moama Railway Company from Moama to Barnes and Deniliquin. The company was taken over by the Victorian Railways in 1923.

A branch line was built from Elmore to Cohuna in 1910 and it was closed in the 1980s.

A branch line was built from Barnes to Moulamein and Balranald in 1926. The Moulamein–Balranald section was closed in the 1980s.

In 1996 the passenger service to Echuca was reinstated for the first time since 1983, when a twice-weekly service from Bendigo was started. Since 2007, there is one train to/from Melbourne on weekdays and two on weekends, with the train speed between Bendigo and Echuca limited to 80 km/h because there are a number of unprotected level crossings.

Swan Hill lineEdit

The Swan Hill line was extended north from Eaglehawk (just north of Bendigo on the line to Inglewood) in 1882, reaching Swan Hill in 1890. It remains in use today.

Robinvale lineEdit

The Robinvale line was opened from Bendigo to Inglewood in 1876, Korong Vale in 1882, Boort in 1883, Quambatook in 1894, Ultima in 1900, Chillingollah in 1909, Manangatang in 1914, Annuello in 1921 and Robinvale in 1924. This line currently handles only grain trains.

Under the Border Railways Agreement of 1922, Victorian Railways commenced construction of a railway to Koorakee and Lette in New South Wales in 1924 (the Lette railway line), but this railway was never completed. The Murray River bridge between Robinvale and Euston was instead converted to a road bridge, but it was demolished upon completion of a new road bridge in 2006. However the lift span of the old bridge has been relocated to McGinty Park in Robinvale as part of an historic display.[7] A short branch line was built from Wedderburn Junction (south of Korong Vale) to Wedderburn in the 1880s which closed in the 1980s.

There is currently no passenger service on this line.

Kulwin lineEdit

The Kulwin line was opened from Korong Vale to Wycheproof in 1883, Sea Lake in 1895, Nandaly in 1914, Mittyack in 1919 and Kulwin in 1919.

This line currently only handles grain trains. Until late 2006, rural rail network lessee Pacific National had mothballed the Mittyack to Kulwin section. There has not been passenger service on this line since before 1984.

Line guideEdit

Regular V/Line passenger services operate along the Bendigo line. Some services continue beyond Bendigo to Swan Hill and Echuca. Suburban Metro Trains Melbourne services operate to Sunbury as the Sunbury line, the current limit of electrification on the line.

There is double track as far as Kyneton station, with a single track line continuing beyond. The line beyond Kyneton was double track prior to the Regional Fast Rail project in 2005.[8]

During peak hour, some services terminate at Kyneton station.

Bold stations are termini, italic stations are staffed at least part-time (this has been confirmed).

On 16 July 2014, V-Line Bendigo trains ceased stopping at North Melbourne Station as part of Regional Rail Link projects.

Bendigo railway line
0 km
Southern Cross
1.7 km
North Melbourne
3.5 km
South Kensington
Maribyrnong River line
4.9 km
6.6 km
Middle Footscray
7.3 km
West Footscray
9.1 km
9.8 km
White City (Closed 1981)
12.2 km
13.7 km
16.0 km
17.8 km
St Albans
19.5 km
Keilor Plains
24.3 km
32.7 km
Diggers Rest
39.5 km
41.5 km
Rupertswood (Closed 2004)
50.4 km
58.9 km
Riddells Creek
66.2 km
71.8 km
80.1 km
87.3 km
Carlsruhe (Closed 1982)
93.6 km
96.5 km
Redesdale Junction (Closed 1954)
104.2 km
Taradale Viaduct (Back Creek)
110.9 km
Taradale (Closed 1976)
115.0 km
Elphinstone (Closed 1981)
Elphinstone tunnel (385 m long)
120.3 km
Chewton (Closed 1976)
127.3 km
133.0 km
Harcourt (Closed 1981)
145.2 km
Ravenswood (Closed 1981)
Big Hill tunnel (390 m long)
159.4 km
Kangaroo Flat
161.8 km
Golden Square (Closed 1981)
164.2 km


There are substantial wrought iron and masonry viaducts at Sunbury, Malmsbury and Taradale, as well as two tunnels at Elphinstone and Big Hill.

Golden Square RailcamEdit

Railpage operates in conjunction with a local partner a Railcam recording all train movements on the line in digital format. The images are freely available via Railpage Railcam Network, or on the railcam's Flickr Site. Discussions on the implementation of the railcam can also be found online at Railpage. The camera was commissioned in 2016.


  1. ^ John Maxwell, 'Cornish, William Crocker (1815–1859)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, Melbourne University Press, 1969, p. 464. Retrieved on 11 July 2009.
  2. ^ John Maxwell, 'Bruce, John Vans Agnew (1822–1863)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, Melbourne University Press, 1969, pp 277–278. Retrieved on 11 July 2009
  3. ^ "The True Story of the Design of the Bendigo Railway". Engineering Heritage Australia (Victoria). Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  4. ^ "Engineering Works in Victoria". Engineers Australia. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d "Railway History in Victoria 1839 - 1900". Australian Railway Historical Society - Victorian Division. Archived from the original on 2013-03-27. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
  6. ^ "History & Preservation". Victorian Goldfields Railway. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
  7. ^ "New Murray River crossing at Euston - Robinvale". Roads and Maritime Services. New South Wales Government. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
  8. ^ "Long Double Track Sections to Provide For High-Quality Services On Bendigo Rail Line". Minister for Public Transport. Victorian Government. Retrieved 2013-02-24.

External linksEdit