Open main menu

The North East railway line is a railway line in Victoria, Australia.[2] The line runs from Albury railway station in the border settlement of Albury–Wodonga to Southern Cross railway station on the western edge of the Melbourne central business district, serving the cities of Wangaratta and Seymour, and smaller towns in northeastern Victoria. The line, owned by VicTrack but leased to and maintained by the Australian Rail Track Corporation, forms part of the Sydney–Melbourne rail corridor.

North East
Overview
TypeHeavy rail
StatusOperational
LocaleVictoria, Australia
TerminiAlbury
Southern Cross
Stations12
Services
Operation
Commenced1860 (1860)
Completed1883 (1883)
OwnerVicTrack (leased to ARTC[1])
Operator(s)Passenger: V/Line, NSW TrainLink
Freight: Aurizon, Pacific National
Technical
Line length315.85 km (196.26 mi)
Number of tracks
  • 1 (between Albury and NSW border)
  • 2 (between NSW border and Seymour)
  • 1 (between Seymour and Southern Cross; although track runs parallel to tracks of other lines)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
ElectrificationNone
Route map

km
315.85
Albury
313.67
Bridge over
Murray River
NSW
Victoria
border
310.15
Wodonga
291.11
Barnawartha
282.27
Chiltern
268.50
Springhurst
250.80
Bowser
244.95
Wangaratta
229.73
Glenrowan
215.68
Winton
206.20
Benalla
194.12
Baddaginnie
180.28
Violet Town
169.86
Balmattum
161.98
Euroa
154.18
Creighton
147.20
Longwood
138.51
Locksley
132.17
Monea
126.91
Avenel
120.29
Mangalore
109.65
Seymour
108.13
106.36
Dysart
101.38
101.16
Tallarook
99.44
86.11
Broadford
74.43
Kilmore East
67.72
66.24
Wandong
Heathcote line
to Tooborac
64.40
Heathcote Junction
58.44
Wallan
52.68
Beveridge
44.16
Donnybrook
42.33
38.40
37.05
Craigieburn
32.95
Roxburgh Park
30.26
Coolaroo
Broadstore line
to Maygar Barracks
27.75
Broadmeadows
26.50
24.08
23.51
20.30
17.40
14.19
13.29
Albion
11.89
Sunshine
10.65
10.46
9.44
White City
8.74
Tottenham
6.96
West Footscray
6.24
Middle Footscray
5.35
Footscray
4.88
tunnel under
Bunbury Street
4.66
2.24
0.00
Southern Cross

Unlike other heavy rail lines in Victoria, the line is completely standard-gauge, after standardisation works were done in 2008 to 2010. However, the broad-gauge Tocumwal line runs parallel to the line between Seymour and Broadmeadows.

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
New A 398 leads a B class up Glenroy Bank on the Sydney Express, circa 1900
 
S class 4-6-2 leading the Sydney Limited between Seymour and Melbourne, circa 1928
 
A streamlined S class locomotive hauling the Spirit of Progress near Kilmore East in 1937
 
The Spirit of Progress in the 1970s
 
Junction of the North East and Shepparton lines, site of Mangalore station
 
Standard-gauge Pacific National container freight train near Seymour
 
Steamrail "Farewell Broad Gauge" special, Benalla, 2008
 
Former end of the broad gauge, the break-of-gauge platform at Albury

The Melbourne and Essendon Railway Company opened the first section of the Albury line, from North Melbourne to Essendon, in 1860.[3] Following its takeover by the Victorian Government in 1867, the line was extended by 1872[4] to School House Lane on the south side of the Goulburn River near Seymour, and later that year to Seymour and then to Longwood. Violet Town, Benalla, Wangaratta, Springhurst and Wodonga were reached in 1873,[3] connecting with the New South Wales Government Railways at Albury at a break of gauge in 1883. The design engineer was Robert Watson.

Construction of a standard gauge track parallel with the broad gauge from Albury to Melbourne commenced in 1959, completing the Sydney-Melbourne railway.[5] The first freight train operated on 3 January 1962,[6] the first passenger train on 16 April.[5]

The line was used by prestige passenger services between the state capitals of Melbourne and Sydney, including the Sydney Limited, Spirit of Progress, Southern Aurora, and Intercapital Daylight; but due to declining patronage they were replaced by the XPT from the 1990s.

Maintaining two parallel railways has drawn criticism, including inefficiencies in maintaining track, operating trains, and duplicated train control centres.[7] By 2001 the State Government announced the conversion of the broad gauge line to standard,[8] but action was stifled due largely to complex leasing arrangements. Speed restrictions had been applied to the broad gauge line due to track deterioration.[9]

In May 2008 it was announced that the line would be upgraded, with the conversion of 200 kilometres (120 mi) of broad gauge track to standard gauge between Seymour and Albury, a 5 km (3.1 mi) bypass around Wodonga, and upgrades between Melbourne and Seymour including new passing loops.[10] Passenger platforms were to be built on the standard-gauge line, and V/Line locomotives and carriages converted to operate on the line. Costing A$501.3 million, the Victorian Government was to contribute A$171.3 million, the Australian Government A$45 million for the Wodonga Rail Bypass, and the Australian Rail Track Corporation A$285 million and take responsibility for the standard-gauge line under a 45-year lease from Victoria.[11] The project was due for completion by 2010, with passenger services disrupted for up to 12 months.[12]

On 8 November 2008, broad gauge passenger trains ceased after the evening V/Line service from Melbourne to Albury and a special train operated by the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre, the final broad-gauge passenger train from Albury to Melbourne.[13][14] In December 2008 standardisation works commenced, contracted by ARTC to the Southern Improvement Alliance. The first train on the Wodonga Rail Bypass was in March 2010.[15]

In early August 2010 CountryLink decided to terminate all Sydney-Melbourne XPTs at Albury for an indefinite length of time, due to defects in the newly resleepered track. "Mud holes" resulted in speed restrictions on more than 200 kilometres (about 66 per cent) of the line, adding an extra 1.5 hours to the travelling time.[16] Train drivers have blamed the ARTC's $285 million concrete sleeper project for the track issues, stating that the incorrect insertion of 300,000 new concrete sleepers is to blame. They have repeatedly reported freight trains breaking couplings due to the rough track.[17] CountryLink trains resumed in mid September 2010, V/Line trains the following year.[18]

Branch lines south of SeymourEdit

A branch line opened from Heathcote Junction (near Kilmore) to Kilmore in 1888 and to Tooborac in 1890, connecting with a line from Bendigo and Heathcote opened a little earlier. The Heathcote Junction – Heathcote line closed in 1968. A branch line from Kilmore to Lancefield opened in 1892, closed in 1904.

The Mansfield line opened from Tallarook to Yea in 1883, Molesworth in 1889, Cathkin and Merton in 1890 and Mansfield in 1891. It is now closed. A branch line was built from Cathkin to Koriella in 1890 and Alexandra in 1909. This line closed in 1978.

Branch lines north of SeymourEdit

The Shepparton line opened from Mangalore to Toolamba and Shepparton in 1880.

A branch line opened from Benalla to St James in 1883, Yarrawonga in 1886 and Oaklands in 1938, with a break of gauge there until the State Rail Authority line closed south of Boree Creek. An 18 14-mile (29.4 km) branch line from Benalla to Tatong was opened in 1914 and closed in 1947.

The narrow-gauge Whitfield branch line opened from Wangaratta to Whitfield in 1899, closing in 1953.

A branch line opened from Bowser (north of Wangaratta) to Everton in 1875, which was extended to Beechworth in 1876 and Yackandandah in 1891. The line closed in 1954. The Bowser – Everton line was extended to Myrtleford in 1883 and Bright in 1890, now closed. A short line to Peechelba East, which opened in 1928 and closed in 1986, also branched from Bowser.

A short branch line opened from Springhurst via Rutherglen to Wahgunyah in 1879. Services were suspended in 1995.

A branch line opened from Wodonga to Tallangatta between 1889 and 1891, Shelley in 1916, Beetoomba in 1919 and Cudgewa in 1921.[19] A connection from Albury was added near Wodonga, creating a turning triangle to enable the Sydney Limited and its successor Spirit of Progress with their observation cars to be turned as complete trains. The line closed beyond Bandiana in 1981,[5] and the connection to Wodonga later removed, with only standard gauge traffic continuing to use the line via Albury.[20]

Passenger servicesEdit

The entire line is utilised by V/Line Albury trains, which stops at every station between Albury and Seymour, and NSW TrainLink Southern services to and from Sydney (Central), which makes limited stops on this section. Outside this section, all passenger trains make scheduled stops at Seymour, Broadmeadows and Southern Cross, and no other station.

Seymour and Shepparton services use the adjacent broad-gauge tracks on the Tocumwal line.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Background - Organisation of Australia's Railways". Department of Transport and Regional Services. Retrieved 3 March 2008.
  2. ^ Turton, Keith W. (1973). The North East Railway. (A Lineside Guide) Melbourne to Wodonga. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). ISBN 0-85849-013-7.
  3. ^ a b Sid Brown (March 1990). "Tracks Across the State". Newsrail. Vol. 18 no. 3. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). pp. 71–76.
  4. ^ The Centenary of the Opening of the Railway to Seymour, Turton, Keith W. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, April;May 1972 pp73-95;101-109
  5. ^ a b c "VR timeline". www.victorianrailways.net/. Mark Bau. Retrieved 3 March 2008.
  6. ^ Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, March 1962 pp35-39
  7. ^ "Derailment of Freight Train 1SP2N and the Subsequent Collision of Passenger Train 8318". Australian Transport Safety Bureau: Investigation Reports. 1 November 2006. Retrieved 3 March 2008.
  8. ^ Victorian Auditor General (August 2006). "Rail Gauge Standardisation Project". Victorian Auditor General's Office. Archived from the original on 3 September 2007. Retrieved 8 February 2008.
  9. ^ V/Line: V/Line Voice Issue 32, February 2008
  10. ^ "$500m rail link upgrade for Victoria". news.ninemsn.com.au. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2008.
  11. ^ "Premier of Victoria, Australia - FEDERAL-STATE CO-OPERATION DELIVERS MAJOR RAIL PROJECT". www.premier.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 30 May 2008.
  12. ^ "Full steam ahead - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". www.abc.net.au. Retrieved 30 May 2008.
  13. ^ Victoria MacDonald (8 November 2008). "Historic day as a railway era comes to an end". The Border Mail. Albury-Wodonga: Fairfax Media.
  14. ^ "Seymour Railway Heritage Centre - Tours 2008 - The Last Broad Gauge Passenger Train from Albury". Seymour Railway Heritage Centre. Retrieved 9 November 2008.
  15. ^ VICTORIA MACDONALD (16 March 2010). "A bypass milestone as freight train ambles in". The Border Mail. www.bordermail.com.au. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  16. ^ BRAD WORRALL (10 August 2010). "XPT passengers forced onto buses". The Border Mail. www.bordermail.com.au. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
  17. ^ BRAD WORRALL (11 August 2010). "V/line mud 'chaos'". The Border Mail. www.bordermail.com.au. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
  18. ^ BRAD WORRALL (13 September 2010). "Trains back on track". Prime Wodonga. wodonga.iprime.com.au. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
  19. ^ Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, June 1960 pp91-93
  20. ^ "Cudgewa Line". www.vicrailstations.net. Retrieved 9 June 2008.

Further readingEdit

  • Turton, Keith W. (1973). The North East Railway. (A Lineside Guide) Melbourne to Wodonga. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). ISBN 0-85849-013-7.
  • John C. Jennings and Robert K. Whitehead (July 2005). Seymour - A Railway Town. Seymour and District Historical Society. ISBN 0-9751658-0-1.
  • Turton, Keith W. (1973). Six And A Half Inches From Destiny. The first hundred years of the Melbourne-Wodonga Railway 1873-1973. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). ISBN 0-85849-012-9.
  • Covell, C.M. (November 1967). "Some Impressions and Reflections of the North-Eastern Line". Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin. pp. 230–244.

External linksEdit