Australia's first railway, to Port Melbourne, closed 30 years ago today

 
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia


Did freight stop before or after the last passenger service?

Was this closed under a liberal or labour government?

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  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Labor.
We cannot even blame Kennett for this one...................
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
I think I am going to go against the trend here on this one. While I think it is important to commemorate this anniversary, as Australia's first proper railway the Port Melbourne line is of a high historical significance, no argument. However I do believe the right call was made at the time.

Closure of the Port Melbourne and St Kilda railway lines has since allowed for a mass transformation of Southbank that would have struggled to happen if there was still a heavy rail line dominating the local area. This part of Melbourne (including Crown, but not exclusively Crown) has been instrumental in the local economy.

The majority of the Port Melbourne and St Kilda Railways of course were retained for use as light rail, a purpose I personally believe they are perhaps better suited to.

If the state had of been as well off then as it is now, then perhaps both lines could have been transformed as an underground railway from Southbank (just past the Southern end of the Sandridge bridge) to their outer extremities, but at the time, Victoria was known as the rustbucket state for a reason, they could never have afforded to do it. In a cruel twist, there is a chance in the future that the next time we see heavy rail through Port Melbourne it will be underground, but for now, C and A class trams on the 109 will have to do.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Australia's second railway closed 30 years ago. Australia's first railway closed a significantly longer time ago then 1987. In fact Australia's first railway was in 1831. 4 years before Melbourne was even Melbourne.

Just because it didn't have loco's does not mean it wasn't a railway and if your going to call that 4km long line a railway then the AACo's railway which had 3 lines on iron rails should equally be considered a railway.

edit: Sorry I typed 1931 originally instead of 1831.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
James974
James, that isn't the best thought out route, who is going to use your Webb Dock station? Question An extra stop with almost no passengers just means longer trip times for long suffering commuters.

You've also overlooked the HUGE new development that will be built to the north of your route at Fishermans Bend. It has approval from both political parties and will be to the north of the freeway. Your route will be very nice for a couple of thousand people living and working in Garden City, but in a couple of decades time, about 100,000 people will either live or work in the new area. Surely it would be smarter for a very expensive new railway to serve that area instead?
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
James I have to agree with Bogong on this one. Anybody can draw a line on a map and say "here, build this" but it actually needs to serve a need. The line you propose basically covers an area already well covered by bus and tram routes. Sure that isn't a train, but as I said earlier, that is the appropriate transport mode for that area.

When the Fishermens Bend development starts to get underway in the next 10 years, with high density residential developments (unlike Garden City which is medium to low density) then there will be a very real demand for a new underground railway to service THAT area.

A prudent government (Either side, I don't really care) would be wise to be planning for this to happen not too long after 2026 when Metro Tunnel comes on line.  

Build a new underground line, call it Metro Tunnel 2, start at Newport, go under the water, first station in the heart of the Fishermens Bend development, then under the CBD, Fitzroy and Collingwood and appearing near either Victoria Park Station, or Clifton Hill Station. Then the outer options are open to either a new line at Doncaster or higher frequency to Mernda. It would also provide the ability to again allow a freight rail connection to Webb Dock (although don't expect it to retain any of the old Webb Dock Line).

All that said, funding a project of this magnitude will not be easy, it will be considerably longer than Metro 1, and go under a much more substantial body of water.

This proposal, if it were to happen, would seem to provide more proof that the old Port line was right to be closed. If the new Port Melbourne line (Fishermens Bend) is to be built some time after Metro 1, then that would not likely open until the late 2030s at the earliest. That would be over 50 years after the closure of the old line, on a very different alignment, serving a much denser population and underground.
  True Believers Chief Commissioner

It wasn't meant to be taken seriously. Of course this alignment is stupid.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

Converted, rather than closed, would be a better term.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
No worries James. Pie in the sky proposals can be interesting, especially if they are properly thought out so they can pay their way by serving the greatest number of people in the most affordable way.

So hopefully your next dream proposal will have stations in places where people can use them rather than places like Webb Dock which would have no passengers using it for decades into the foreseeable future.

That said, while I agree with Gman that there is a strong need for a line from the city through the Fishermans Bend development, under the lower Yarra to Newport, I disagree that money would be wisely spent on a new line from the city to the Clifton Hill area. The current route is adequate for the two existing lines it serves and improved signalling could increase its capacity if needed. (Although that may change in the highly unlikely event that a Doncaster line is ever built.)
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
At Least its not a rail trail.....
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

You Victorians can disagree all that you want but facts are facts. There was another private railway in Newcastle called the beach line which has recently been unearthed during the new light rail construction.

This also started before the sandringham railway and was opened in 1852 or 53. These lines used steam engines.

https://newcastlelive.com.au/our-history-exposed/
http://www.nbnnews.com.au/2017/10/03/burwood-coal-line-remains-exposed-on-hunter-street/
  woodford Chief Commissioner



Did freight stop before or after the last passenger service?

Was this closed under a liberal or labour government?
bevans
The rail service was closed, the lines themselves largely still exist but are used by trams instead of trains. It takes only 12 minutes to get from Port Melbourne to Southern Cross.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

You Victorians can disagree all that you want but facts are facts. There was another private railway in Newcastle called the beach line which has recently been unearthed during the new light rail construction.

This also started before the sandringham railway and was opened in 1852 or 53. These lines used steam engines.

https://newcastlelive.com.au/our-history-exposed/
http://www.nbnnews.com.au/2017/10/03/burwood-coal-line-remains-exposed-on-hunter-street/
simstrain
Just a comment, the above line has yet to appear in any rail histories I have seen, so to be accused of being ignorant of it is ridiculos. Would I regard you as being stupid for not knowing there was a butchers shop, Bakery and a school in Errey's rd Violet Town, Of course not, you have most likely never seen the place and there now is not a single sign that there was anything there.

woodford
  historian Deputy Commissioner

You Victorians can disagree all that you want but facts are facts. There was another private railway in Newcastle called the beach line which has recently been unearthed during the new light rail construction.

This also started before the sandringham railway and was opened in 1852 or 53. These lines used steam engines.

https://newcastlelive.com.au/our-history-exposed/
http://www.nbnnews.com.au/2017/10/03/burwood-coal-line-remains-exposed-on-hunter-street/
simstrain

Well, the usual description of the Sandridge (Port Melbourne) railway is that it was Australia's first *steam* railway. The qualification is important, as it is recognised that there were other 'railways' in Australia before this line.

Apart from Newcastle, there was the SA Goolwa - Port Elliot line. This has been described as Australia's first *public* railway. Notice the qualification. You shouldn't also forget the Port Arthur human powered tramway.

Your referenced articles are about the Burwood railway.

According to the current definitive history of the Newcastle coal railways, 'Coal, Railways, and Mines', the Burwood *tramway* (from the authorising act) was opened in the first week of June 1854. It was horse worked until steam engines were introduced around the beginning of December 1857.

The other early railway/tramway in Newcastle (the AA Coy) appears to have introduced steam engines in July 1857.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

You Victorians can disagree all that you want but facts are facts. There was another private railway in Newcastle called the beach line which has recently been unearthed during the new light rail construction.

This also started before the sandringham railway and was opened in 1852 or 53. These lines used steam engines.

https://newcastlelive.com.au/our-history-exposed/
http://www.nbnnews.com.au/2017/10/03/burwood-coal-line-remains-exposed-on-hunter-street/
Just a comment, the above line has yet to appear in any rail histories I have seen, so to be accused of being ignorant of it is ridiculos. Would I regard you as being stupid for not knowing there was a butchers shop, Bakery and a school in Errey's rd Violet Town, Of course not, you have most likely never seen the place and there now is not a single sign that there was anything there.
woodford

There is a rail history covering this line (and the other coal lines in the Newcastle area):

Coal, Railways and Mines (2 Volumes)
Brian Andrews,
Iron Horse Press, 2009.

Unfortunately, the two volume set costs $200. I can well believe that it's not been widely read.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

The Australian equivalent of the Stockton and Darlington?  (Stockton UK.)
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

For a start I never called anybody ignorant or stupid woodford. I am attempting to opening you up to new information about Australia's actual first railways in Newcastle.

I said you can disagree all you want in relation to all the disagrees I got on my first post in this thread and then I have posted links to documentation from sources stating that the a pit was the first railway in Australia regardless of the fact that it was gravitational.

Before 2007 it was assumed that the A pit was just a wooden wagonway but since the discovery of iron track confirmed to have been of similar design from the same manufacturer to coal railroads in NE england it should be noted as the first actual railway in Australia. Several places do so such as the ARHS whose documentation confirms it to be the first railway in Australia and wikipedia.

The federal government haven't updated there history books and need to do so. I also posted about the uncovering of a separate railway to AACo's in Newcastle that was also operational before the sandringham line. Like a lot of railway history in NSW these railway lines were forgotten about and either destroyed or buried in time. Recent discoveries have bought these railways back into the light.

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