Main Southern railway line, New South Wales
The Main Southern Railway is a major railway in New South Wales, Australia. It runs from Sydney to Albury, near the Victorian border. The line passes through the Southern Highlands, Southern Tablelands, South West Slopes and Riverina regions.
Description of routeEdit
The Main Southern Railway commences as an electrified pair of tracks in the Sydney metropolitan area. Since 1924, the line branches from the Main Suburban railway line at Lidcombe and runs via Regents Park to Cabramatta, where it rejoins the original route from Granville. The line then heads towards Campbelltown and Macarthur, the current limit of electrification and suburban passenger services. The electrification previously extended to Glenlee colliery, but this was removed following the cessation of electric haulage of freight trains in the 1990s.
The line continues as a double non-electrified track south through the Southern Highlands towns of Mittagong and Goulburn to Junee on the Southern Plains. Here the line becomes single track for the remainder of its journey south to the state border with Victoria at Albury. The North East railway line then continues through northern Victoria to Melbourne.
Though the bulk of the line has a maximum gradient of 1.5%, the ruling grade of the line is 2.5% due to short, steep sections of track, Eg. 2.5km from Murrumburruh to Demondrille (in the direction of Albury) and 0.5km of track 5km south of Junee in the direction of Sydney.
Development of the lineEdit
On 26 September 1855 the first railway in New South Wales, the Sydney to Granville railway opened. Exactly a year later, a branch was opened from what was known as Parramatta Junction (the present day Granville) to Liverpool. This line was extended to Campbelltown in 1858, Picton in 1868, Goulburn in 1869, Yass Junction in 1876, Galong, Harden-Murrumburrah and Cootamundra in 1877 and Junee and Bomen (on the north bank of the Murrumbidgee River) in 1878. The Murrumbidgee River Railway Bridge was completed in 1881 and the line was extended to Wagga Wagga, Uranquinty, The Rock, Henty and Albury in 1881. Victorian Railways' North East 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) gauge line was extended from Wodonga to Albury in 1883. To accommodate the break of gauge, a very long railway platform was built, the covered platform being one of the longest in Australia.
The original single track was duplicated from Granville to Liverpool in 1857, to Campbelltown in 1891, to Picton in 1892. Between 1913 and 1922 the 343 km (213 mi) section from Picton to Cootamundra was duplicated. At the same time, the section between Picton and Mittagong was deviated by a less direct route in 1919 to ease the steep grades of the original alignment, and the old line became known as the Picton – Mittagong loop railway line which is now largely closed. (The Main Southern Railway Deviation, was estimated in the 1914 Act of Parliament to have construction costs of £630,353). Other sections of the original Whitton alignment between Goulburn and Wagga Wagga were also replaced by more curvy sections with lower grades. The section between Granville and Cabramatta via Fairfield was bypassed with a more direct route from Lidcombe via Regents Park in 1924. The former route through Fairfield became known as the Old Main South. The section from Cootamundra to Junee, including a rail spiral at Bethungra, was duplicated between 1941 and 1945.
Construction of a standard gauge track parallel with the broad gauge track from Albury to Melbourne commenced in 1959, completing the Sydney-Melbourne railway. The first freight train operated on the line on 3 January 1962, followed by the first passenger train on 16 April 1962.
Several lines branched from the Main South, some of which are closed either fully or in part:
- The Bombala line was opened from Goulburn to Bungendore in 1885, Queanbeyan in 1887, Cooma in 1889, Nimmitabel in 1912 and Bombala in 1921. This line south of Queanbeyan served largely pastoral country and therefore it did not have any major freight traffic. The line south of Cooma closed in 1986 and south of Queanbeyan in 1989.
- The Canberra line, an 8 km branch line from Queanbeyan to Canberra, was opened in 1914. A 34 km branch line from Bungendore to Captains Flat was opened in 1940 and closed in 1969, a few years after the closure of the local mines.
- The Crookwell line opened from Goulburn to Crookwell in 1902; it closed in 1985. The Taralga line was opened off it from a junction at Roslyn to Taralga in 1926; it closed in 1957.
- The Yass Tramway, a 5 km-long line between Yass Junction and Yass, opened in 1892 and closed in 1989.
- The Burrinjuck Tramway was a 2 ft (610 mm) gauge line which was built in about 1907 from Goondah (between Bowning and Binalong) to Burrinjuck for the construction of the Burrinjuck Dam and closed in 1929, following the completion of construction.
- The Boorowa line was opened from Galong to Boorowa in 1915 and closed in 1987.
- The Demondrille to Blayney line opened between Demondrille (six km south of Harden) and Young in 1885, and extended to Cowra in 1886 and Blayney on the Main Western line in 1888. It closed in August 2009.
- The Grenfell line was built from Koorawatha Junction (31 km south of Cowra) to Grenfell in 1901. This line is now closed. A branch was built from Cowra to Canowindra in 1910 and Eugowra in 1922, but is now closed.
- The Lake Cargelligo line opened from Cootamundra to Stockinbingal and Temora in 1893, Barmedman and Wyalong in 1903, and West Wyalong, Ungarie and Lake Cargelligo in 1917.
- The Potts Hill line branched off just north of Regents Park and served the pumping station at the Potts Hill Reservoirs. It opened in 1912 and closed in 1966.
- The Stockinbingal to Parkes line was completed from Stockinbingal to Caragabal in 1916 and Forbes in 1918, and is now part of the main route for freight trains between Sydney and Perth.
- The Temora–Roto line was completed from Temora to Barellan in 1908, Griffith in 1916, Hillston in 1923 and the Broken Hill line at Roto in 1931. The line between Hillston and Roto was closed in 1986.
- The Rankins Springs line was completed between Barmedman to Rankins Springs in 1923.
- The Tumut line was completed from Cootamundra to Gundagai in 1886 and extended to Tumut in 1903, and a branch from it was built to Batlow and Kunama in 1923. The line south of Batlow was closed in 1957 and the rest closed after flood damage in 1984.
- The Hay line was completed from Junee to Narrandera, Yanco and Wilbriggie in 1881 and Hay in 1882. The line west of Wilbriggie was closed in 1985.
- The Tocumwal line was completed from Narrandera to Jerilderie in 1884 and Finley and Tocumwal in 1898. The broad gauge Victorian Railways line from Shepparton was extended to Tocumwal in 1908 creating a break-of-gauge interchange. The branch from Narrandera to Tocumwal closed in the 1980s, although proposed for reopening as part of an inland route between Mangalore, Parkes, Toowoomba and Brisbane.
- The Yanco-Griffith connection was completed between Yanco and Griffith on the line between Cootamundra, Hillston and Roto in 1922. This line is still served by one passenger train per week.
- The Tumbarumba line was completed from Wagga Wagga to Tarcutta in 1917 and Tumbarumba in 1921. It climbed the foothills of the Australian Alps, but was expensive to maintain and did not have the grain traffic that supported the westerly branches. It closed in 1974.
- The Kywong line opened from Uranquinty to Kywong in 1929 and closed in 1975.
- The Oaklands line opened from The Rock to Lockhart in 1901 and Oaklands in 1912. The broad gauge Victorian Railways line from Benalla was extended to Oaklands in 1938 creating a break-of-gauge interchange. The line has been closed beyond Boree Creek.
- The Westby line opened from The Rock to Westby in 1925 and closed in 1956.
- The Rand line opened from Henty to Rand in 1920.
- The Corowa line opened from Culcairn to Corowa in 1892 and closed in the 1990s.
- The Holbrook line was a short line which opened from Culcairn to Holbrook in 1902 and closed in the 1980s.
Sydney Trains operates electric commuter passenger trains between Sydney and Macarthur. The section between Macarthur and Glenfield is operated as part of the T8 Airport & South Line, the section between Glenfield and Granville along the Old Main South line is operated as part of the T2 Inner West & Leppington Line, and the section between Liverpool and Lidcombe via Regents Park is operated as part of the T3 Bankstown Line.
Prior to 1962 travelling south of Albury into Victoria required a change of trains (due to gauge differences between NSW and Victoria) and often an overnight stay. From March 1956 a daylight connection was introduced between Sydney and Melbourne whereby a train from Sydney connected at Albury with a train to Melbourne and vice versa. In 1962 an additional Standard Gauge track was built from Albury to Melbourne alongside the existing Broad Gauge line, allowing through operation of trains between Sydney and Melbourne. Between April 1962 and August 1991, the Main South was served by the Intercapital Daylight, a locomotive hauled limited stop passenger train. It was operated jointly by the New South Wales Government Railways and the Victorian Railways with the former's air-conditioned rolling stock. Two overnight services also ran, the limited stops Southern Aurora and the Spirit of Progress. Until 1982 locomotives were exchanged at Albury for a locomotive of the respective state that the train was entering.
The South Mail operated overnight between Sydney and Albury until it ceased in June 1985. In August 1986 the Southern Aurora and the Spirit of Progress were merged into the Sydney/Melbourne Express. In August 1991, airline deregulation and falling patronage saw the Intercapital Daylight replaced by a coach service between Melbourne and Albury, connecting with the Riverina XPT at Albury. In November 1993 the delivery of additional XPT rollingstock saw the introduction of a through overnight XPT service between Sydney and Melbourne, replacing the Sydney/Melbourne Express, and the Riverina XPT extended to Melbourne from December 1994.
- Sydney to Canberra - 3 in each direction per day
- Sydney to Griffith - 2 in each direction per week
- Sydney to Melbourne - 2 in each direction per day
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- "Stockinbingal – Parkes Line". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 11 December 2006.
- "Temora – Roto Line". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 11 December 2006.
- "Rankins Springs Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 11 December 2006.
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- "Kunama Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 11 December 2006.
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- "Tocumwal Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 11 December 2006.
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- "Holbrook Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 11 December 2006.
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