Former Inter-connecting railway (SECV) Morewell

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aus.rail Chief Train Controller

I travel down to Traralgon on a regular basis and am after some information

on the former SEC railway at Morwell

1: When did it open and how extensive was it?

2: What rolling stock was used and does any remain, if so, where?

3: What safeworking, if any, was used?

4: When was electric traction replaced with diesel and why?

5: When and why was it closed?

6: When was it dismantled?

7: Is there any access to the formation?

8: Are there any plans for the formation i.e. bike track, walking trail etc?

 
aus.rail Chief Train Controller

"One Of A Kind"  wrote in message news:

> 2: What rolling stock was used and does any remain, if so, where?

Diesel locos included ex a couple of QR Walkers B-B DH class (when

operated by Cooks Construction), and subsequently 5 Gemco 4wDH, built

in the 80s and used on several tunnel/dam construction projects in

Tassie before going to Vic. The Gemcos were bought because Energy Brix

took over the line's operation from CC. They found the task a bit of a

struggle I think. According to Light Railways magazine (current

issue), the Gemcos are up for sale at the moment. The Walkers locs may

have gone up to Qld, awaiting rebuilding to 2' gauge for sugar working

(not sure though).

>

> 4: When was electric traction replaced with diesel and why?

ISTR cost of maintaining overhead, plus avaliablity of cheap second

hand diesels were factors in that decision. 1980s?

>

> 5: When and why was it closed?

Late 2000 or early 2001 I think. Line needed to be relocated due to

expanded mine operations, decision was taken to use trucks instead.

>

> 7: Is there any access to the formation?

> 8: Are there any plans for the formation i.e. bike track, walking trail etc?

I doubt it. See answer to 5 above.

This is all from memory, but LR magazine has documented the decline

and demise of the ICR comprehensively in recent years.

Cheers, J

 
aus.rail Chief Train Controller

"One Of A Kind"  wrote in message

news:3e479fdf$0$8831$afc38c87@news.optusnet.com.au...

> I travel down to Traralgon on a regular basis and am after some

information

> on the former SEC railway at Morwell

>

I moved to Traralgon (12 months ago today as it happens) and would be

interested to know where specifically this railway ran.

I assume it is the former line that branches off the Traralgon line just

before the Monash Way overpass. It then crosses the Princes Mwy (signed as

"Briquette Railway") and Commercial road before entering the Briquette

factory. From here it runs west behind Powerworks and past the open cut. The

line then turns nor-northwest to pass under the Princes Mwy (the alignment

and a number of trackside signs etc. are easily seen from the Mwy, then over

Commercial Rd, Princes Way and the Traralgon railway and onto, I assume, the

Yallourn power station?

While on the topic of La Trobe Valley railways, does anyone know where the

Mirboo North railway (tramway?) left the main line? I assume in the vicinity

of Tramway Road? Are there any remnants of the line between Churchill and

Morwell?

Also, where did the railway line from Erica and Walhalla meet the main line?

In Moe? Is this alignment that is crossed on Narracan Drive immediately

after exiting THE roundabout? (Anyone who's been to Moe will know what

roundabout I'm talking about. The one that crosses over the main railway

line. That thing is a lot of fun drunk [as a passenger of course.])

Cheers,

Mike

 
gippslander Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland, Vic

Some more detail on this line: It was the last remaining section of an extensive group of narrow gauge railways used by the former SECV from about 1926. The lines were originally used to move coal and overburden in the open cut coal mines, but were gradually replaced by road transport and conveyers. By the mid 1980s, the ICR was the only survivor - its only purpose was to transport briquetting coal from Yallourn to the Morwell briquette factory. The line was closed because of proposed extensions to the Yallourn mine and also due to the fact that the rollingstock and track was in very poor condition - (however it still hauled about a million tonnes a year into the mid 1990's).  There was a very comprehensive history of the line written by J.A. Vines in 1994 - was available in the Melb railfan shop.

The ICR was operated by local transport operator NLC until October 2000 and the track was lifted between Sep-Dec 2001. Its entire track route is on privately controlled mining area and is completely fenced - don't even think about trying to inspect it! The only publicly visible remnant is the rail over road bridge crossing Commercial Rd at Morwell.

Whilst the ICR is sadly gone forever and local roads now have the burden of the coal trucks, part of it lives on as the Walhalla Goldfields Railway (WGR) tourist line. When the concept of reconstructing the 2'6" gauge WGR was first seriously contemplated in 1992, the SECV had made a decision to close the ICR. As the ICR gauge of 900mm was very close the WGR's needs, the WGR was able to negotiate the donation of a John Fowler diesel loco, numerous coal wegons, ballast wagons, track, sleepers and other fittings. The WGR scrapped the coal wagon bodies, had the underframe bogies regauged and the SEC built the two first NBW passenger carriages on these using surplus labour. The ICR closure was saved by Cooks Constructions offering to run the line privately with diesel traction.  

With the use of the ICR assets, WGR was able to commence passenger train operations at Thomson in 1994 and now carries 30,000 tourists each year. Following the dismantling of the ICR, the WGR purchased more coal wagons and near new sleepers which were used in the construction of the new yard at Walhalla. Puffing Billy also bought some ICR ballast wagons.

The Fowler loco is named 'Spirit of Yallourn' in recognition of its 40 year life on the ICR - it is now the WGR's main loco and has hauled most of the works and passenger trains over the last 9 years. We are quite proud that a little of the ICR lives on in active service at Walhalla, only 30km away from Yallourn.

Rob

 
zipitidoodah Chief Commissioner

The line was dismantled (at least, the bit that goes under the Princes Freeway) early last year (2002) / late 2001.

The line signed "Briquette line" is not the SECV line. It branches off at Morwell Yard/station and goes to the briquette factory (Energy Brix), where it stops. According to some old maps, it used to go around to the eastern side of Hazelwood Power Station.

The SECV narrow gauge went from Yallourn to Hazelwood Power Station / Morwell Open Cut and this is the one that went under the freeway. It doesn't join up with the briquette line.

The Mirboo North railway (not tramway) line branched off from Morwell Station in the up direction (i.e. backwards, so trains from Melbourne had to turn around) and went down the middle of what is now Maryvale Ct. This is the reason that the median strip down the middle of the road is so large. The last goods train ran in 1974 (?) and pass in 1971 (?) and the Morwell Open cut has since expanded over part of the alignment.

In Moe: there were three branch lines from Moe.

1. The one that you can see the alignment of under the bridge is the old line to Yallourn power station, broad gauge. It was electrified and E and L class electric locos ran on this line (?).

2. The Erica/Walhalla line was narrow gauge and the alignment (I think) ran roughly between where Moore St and Saviges Rd are now. There is a good site on this railway: http://www.netspace.net.au/~wrussell/narrow/walhalla.htm.

3. The Thorpdale line branched off halfway along Narracan Drive between Moe and Newborough and basically followed the Narracan Creek to Narracan and Thorpdale.

If you want maps, there are plenty of maps on the net that have old lines on them. If you go to the Coles website (I'm not advertising  Smile ), go to Store Locations under About Coles, and use the map feaure they have (search for Morwell). The map is slightly (!) outdated, so it still has some of the old lines on it.

Cheers

 
greg Locomotive Driver

Location: Sydney, Australia

The line signed "Briquette line" is not the SECV line. It branches off at Morwell Yard/station and goes to the briquette factory (Energy Brix), where it stops. According to some old maps, it used to go around to the eastern side of Hazelwood Power Station.

- zipitidoodah

is this siding still in use today?  If so, where are the briquettes railed to?

 
gippslander Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland, Vic

In answer to query, this line has been out of use for 12months, when briquette haulage by rail ceased. There is little prospect of it being used again for this purpose, but it is in close proximity to a major industrial precinct (including a proposed $1b magnesium smelter). Wait and see!

Rob

 
bevans - Administrator Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia

In answer to query, this line has been out of use for 12months, when briquette haulage by rail ceased. There is little prospect of it being used again for this purpose, but it is in close proximity to a major industrial precinct (including a proposed $1b magnesium smelter). Wait and see!

Rob

- Robert Ashworth

Rob, was this line ever electrified? Also, railway maps for the state are available on Railpage at http://www.railpage.org.au/maphistory

Regards,

Brian

 
michaelgreenhill - Administrator That's Numberwang!

Location: Melbourne

It used to be electrified, the L's used to run trains into there. I presume they took down the catenery after it closed.

 
bevans - Administrator Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia

It used to be electrified, the L's used to run trains into there. I presume they took down the catenery after it closed.

- michaelgreenhill

Michael, where did the L's run to from the siding at morwell?

BE

 
gallop3 Deputy Commissioner

it was electrified but the ls never got to yallourn as it was narrow guage

from memory

they had funny looking locos a bit like baby pennsy e44s

dont know who made them

they used to run a continuous shuttle running brown coal from the yallourn open cut to the power station at morwell

this line actually went over the main line and highway not under

the trackage at the open cut was portable so it ran underneath the giant dredges to load coal

cheers

ian

 
gallop3 Deputy Commissioner

the l classes ran to the briquette siding which is on the south east side of morwell towards hazelwood ponds

the traffic from here went to maribyrnong siding for the newport power station not the new one the old coal powered one

the port melb loading used to be put on the front of one of these blockies and dumped in jolimont yard for the port melb pilot to pick up at 5am

cheers

ian

 
michaelgreenhill - Administrator That's Numberwang!

Location: Melbourne

Wait wait wait wait, we are talking about the Briquette siding, arent we? The line that branched off from Morwell goods yard and followed the line east for a couple of hundred metres before branching south and crossing over Commercial Road and then the freeway?

 
gallop3 Deputy Commissioner

i think the thread has got mixed up

there was originally an electric ng railway operated by the sec with their own locos which ran between yallourn open cut and the morwell power station

the biquette siding is yeh exactly as you describe it

they are completely different locations one is east the other is west of morwell

the freeway wasn't there when i was working at traralgon

the old tramway as they used to call it went over the top of the main line

at the bottom of the hill heading west before you climb to hernes oak

loop

i think it was 3ft guage but i might be wrong there but it was electrified as well

cheers

ian

 
gippslander Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland, Vic

i think the thread has got mixed up

there was originally an electric ng railway operated by the sec with their own locos which ran between yallourn open cut and the morwell power station

the biquette siding is yeh exactly as you describe it

they are completely different locations one is east the other is west of morwell

the freeway wasn't there when i was working at traralgon

the old tramway as they used to call it went over the top of the main line

at the bottom of the hill heading west before you climb to hernes oak

loop

i think it was 3ft guage but i might be wrong there but it was electrified as well

cheers

ian

- gallop3

Ian is quite right - we are talking about a broad gauge briquette line from Morwell station to the briquette factory, which is quite different to the narrow gauge ICR, which was 90cm.  The broad gauge line had the wires taken down in the late 90's. (the ICR was built because after the Morwell briquette factory was constructed, the SECV discovered that Morwell coal wouldn't work - so for the next 40 or so years it had to be transported 15km from the Yallourn open cut mine - at high cost to briquette pricing.

Rob

To confuse matters further, there was another line from Moe to Yallourn, which primarily served the Yallourn briquette factory which closed in 1971.

 
zipitidoodah Chief Commissioner

If you really want to get confused, have a look at the maps of Victorian railways and you'll see lots of lines going around Morwell, Yallourn, Hernes Oak and Moe!

The last briquette train I saw was in Moe late 2001, heading to Melbourne at about 4:10pm.

 
freightgate Chief Commissioner

Location: Albury, New South Wales

To confuse matters further, there was another line from Moe to Yallourn, which primarily served the Yallourn briquette factory which closed in 1971.

- Robert Ashworth

Rob, was this line also electrified?

 
gallop3 Deputy Commissioner

yes

 
freightgate Chief Commissioner

Location: Albury, New South Wales

yes

- gallop3

What other sidings in the gippsland area were or still are electrified?

How far did the electrification extend into Gippsland?

 
zipitidoodah Chief Commissioner

Nothing is electrified any more. The electrification ends at Warragul (not sure if it's actually turned on, but it doesn't get used). There was another thread a while ago talking about electrification, you could have a look at that. Someone mentioned that they thought the overhead between Pakenham and Warragul would be dismantled this year.

 
freightgate Chief Commissioner

Location: Albury, New South Wales

Nothing is electrified any more. The electrification ends at Warragul (not sure if it's actually turned on, but it doesn't get used). There was another thread a while ago talking about electrification, you could have a look at that. Someone mentioned that they thought the overhead between Pakenham and Warragul would be dismantled this year.

- zipitidoodah

Thanks, but how far did the elctrification extend into Gippsland?  Was Warragul the end point on the network for some time?

is there a book available (mail order) or such covering the victorian and nsw electrification?

 
gallop3 Deputy Commissioner

originally the wire ran out at traralgon

the old gippslander used to run with an l class to traralgon where a t class

was substituted for the trip to bairnsdale

the branch fom moe to yallourn was electrified as well

cheers

ian

 
freightgate Chief Commissioner

Location: Albury, New South Wales

originally the wire ran out at traralgon

the old gippslander used to run with an l class to traralgon where a t class

was substituted for the trip to bairnsdale

the branch fom moe to yallourn was electrified as well

cheers

ian

- gallop3

Ian, was there any particular reason, (other than passenger) the wires ran to Traralgon?  What briquette freight was operating out of that location?  Further, when did services "under the wires" cease to Traralgon? Can anyone help me here?

 
freightgate Chief Commissioner

Location: Albury, New South Wales

originally the wire ran out at traralgon

the old gippslander used to run with an l class to traralgon where a t class

was substituted for the trip to bairnsdale

the branch fom moe to yallourn was electrified as well

cheers

ian

- gallop3

Finally, in the spirit of clearing up any other issues with sidings and branches in Gippsland, the Maryvale siding as shown on the map here:

http://www.railpage.org.au/maphistory/1990.pdf

Was this ever electrified?  Over what distance does the siding run and is it still in regular use?

 
gallop3 Deputy Commissioner

no maryvale was never electrified

they had their own loco actually its a long time ago but i think it wasnt much bigger than a rail tractor ( this is during the late 70s)

actually i think i only saw it once

we just used to drop the paper wagons off at maryvale and i guess they picked up on day shift

there was no briquette trains from traralgon

warragul crews used to run the blockies between morwell and marybyrnong

most of the traffic out of traralgon back then was the timber trains from orbost which used to pick up the mayvale loading

the timber went to westall where it was picked up by truck and delivered

direct to housing sites

the maryvale loading which went to port melb was dropped at jolimont yard during the night and the port melb pilot ex dynon would pick it up

about 5am

hope thi is sufficient its hard to remember seeing itsprobably 25 years ago

cheers

ian

 

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