Newport Workshops

The Newport Railway Workshops is a facility in the Melbourne suburb of Newport, Australia, that builds, maintains and refurbishes railway rollingstock. It is located between the Williamstown and Werribee railway lines.

Overview of the 'West Block' section of the workshops, with the clocktower and admin block to the left and Steamrail Victoria depot to the right in August 2005


Plans for a workshop at Newport started in the 1860s, to replace the temporary Williamstown Workshops but nothing came of it. It was not until 1880 that work began, when the Victorian Railways purchased annexes used at the 1880 Melbourne Exhibition and erected one of them at Newport, naming it the Newport Carriage Workshops when it began operation in 1882.[1]

Construction of the permanent workshops commenced in 1884, and was completed in 1889.[2] Although the earlier carriage workshop closed at this time, it reopened in 1895 to manufacture signal equipment. The first carriages built by the workshops were completed in 1889, but locomotives were manufactured by the Phoenix Foundry in Ballarat, the first locomotive being built in 1893.[2] The main elements of the workshops are a central office block and clock tower, the 'East Block' for carriage and wagon works, and 'West Block' for heavy engineering and locomotive building.[3] Expansion followed in 1905–1915, and 1925–1930. During World War II the workshops were turned over to military production, with the rear fuselage, and empennage of Bristol Beaufort bombers being built there.[4]

At the peak of operation it was one of Victoria's largest and best-equipped engineering establishments, with up to 5,000 employees on site.[5] The workshops had its own cricket ground, and in the 1920s the game of Trugo is said to have been invented by workers on their lunch hour.[1] In the late 1980s, the original segments of the workshops were removed from everyday use, and modern workshops built along the eastern side of the site, which remains in use today.[6]

On 15 January 2000, ownership of the workshops passed from the Public Transport Corporation to Clyde Engineering.[7]


In the Downer Rail section, BL, G, and N class diesel locomotives are undergoing overhauls in August 2007
South end of Newport Workshops, Downer Rail section in June 2008

Current revenue operations are carried out in the eastern section of the workshops by Downer Rail, who carry out work including locomotive and carriage maintenance, and diesel engine, bogie and wheelset overhauls;[8] for customers including Pacific National and V/Line. The workshop also has the only broad gauge underfloor wheel lathe in Victoria. From 2018, it will build the High Capacity Metro Trains.[9] A section of the workshops is leased to Siemens for maintenance of their Siemens Nexas trains.

The original 1880s workshops have been maintained for heritage uses. The 'West Block' area are occupied by a number of railway preservation groups such as Steamrail Victoria, Diesel Electric Rail Motor Preservation Association Victoria and 707 Operations,[10] while the 'East Block' has been retained by the Department of Infrastructure for the storage of disused trams and other rail rollingstock.[3] The Newport Railway Museum is located south of the workshops, near North Williamstown railway station.[11]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "3.4.3 Railway Workshops" (PDF). Hobsons Bay Heritage Study - Volume 1b: Thematic Environmental History. Hobsons Bay City Council. October 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 May 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2008.
  2. ^ a b "ARHS Railway Museum: History 1839 - 1900". ARHS Railway Museum. Archived from the original on 29 September 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2008.
  3. ^ a b The Railway Heritage Centre of Victoria (Newport Workshops) Proposal December 1999 Australian Railway Historical Society
  4. ^ Lee, Robert (2007). The Railways of Victoria 1854-2004. Melbourne University Publishing. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-522-85134-2.
  5. ^ "Public transport history". Department of Infrastructure. Archived from the original on 20 May 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2008.
  6. ^ "Works". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society. September 1990. p. 284.
  7. ^ "Miscellaneous" ARHS Bulletin issue 751 May 2000 page 196
  8. ^ "Newport (Melbourne)". EDI Rail. Retrieved 18 February 2008.
  9. ^ 1,100 Jobs with 65 New Trains Built in Victoria, For Victoria Premier of Victoria 12 September 2016
  10. ^ Contact Us 707 Operations
  11. ^ About Us Australian Railway Historical Society

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

  Media related to Newport Workshops at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 37°51′06″S 144°52′55″E / 37.8516°S 144.8819°E / -37.8516; 144.8819