Byellee to Monto railway line

Byellee to Monto Branch Railway was a branch railway that branched off the Boyne Valley west of Gladstone in Queensland, Australia. However, the Boyne Valley region was predominantly a dairying region and a railway had little justification. However a branch was justified in 1906 on the basis of large traffic in timber, fuel, limestone and flexing ores. Progressively opened between 1910 and 1931 the line branched from the North Coast line at Byellee a short distance west of Gladstone and struck a south-westerly route via Many Peaks and Mungungo to Monto.

The last regular train ran in 2002, and the final train on the line was a steam special run from Monto to Maryborough in 2005. From 2012, conversion of the corridor to a multi-use rail trail was discussed, and Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail Inc. was formed in July 2018. The first section of trail comprising 32 kilometres from Builyan to Kalpowar was opened on 11 September 2021.

RouteEdit

Byellee to Many PeaksEdit

The first section from Byellee (previously known as Boyne Valley Junction) to Many Peaks was opened on 25 July 1910 and sidings were established at Beecher, Burua, Talaba, Calliope River (now Calliope), Taragoola, Barmundu, Boynedale, Wietalaba, Nagoorin, Ubobo, Hellens, Littlemore and Builyan. Governor Fitzroy named Calliope after HMS Calliope which was anchored in Port Curtis (now Gladstone) harbour in 1854. The line was built to transport low grade ore from Many Peaks to Mount Morgan for processing. A train of copper flexing ore ran to Mount Morgan daily and a mixed train to Gladstone and return ran four days a week. Cream and agricultural goods provided the major source of revenue when the Many Peaks mine closed in 1918.

To BarrimoonEdit

The next stage took the line via Golembil to Barrimoon on 17 August 1926. Although there was a sixteen-year gap in building, the route traverses steep mountainous country. A ten-kilometre (six-point-two-mile) section beyond Golembil required the construction of six tunnels totalling 730 metres (2,400 ft) to negotiate a 239-metre (784 ft) climb of the Dawes Range.

To MungungoEdit

On 7 July 1930, the line was opened via Kalpowar, Dakiel, Bancroft and Crana to Mungungo (then known as "Waratah" ) only 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) from Monto. It was announced that Waratah would be the terminus, but settlers insisted that Monto must be linked with Gladstone. Kalpowar was a timber milling settlement en route to Monto.

To MontoEdit

On 6 July 1931 the line finally reached Monto via Bukali thus completing a semi circular inland link between Maryborough and Gladstone via the already completed line running north west from Mungar Junction through Biggenden, Gayndah, Mundubbera and Eidsvold. The line was suspended from use in 2002. It awaits the possibility of coal transport from the Monto region to Gladstone port.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • Triumph of Narrow Gauge: A History of Queensland Railways by John Kerr, 1990 Boolarong Press, Brisbane
  • "History of Monto & Upper Burnett" by H N C Bandidt 28 July 1988

External linksEdit