Longstroke Chief Train Controller

Location: Sunny Ballarat
Does anyone have any information about the Waubra line.

I know it was a branch off near the Sulky Loop and ended at Waubra (obviously) but thats about it.
Question

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  Rodo Chief Commissioner

Location: Southern Riverina
The junction point was Waubra Junction just south of the old Sulky siding. The line served the Ballarat Racecourse then went on to Learmonth and Waubra. Chaff and oaten hay were major traffics on the branch but not having lived in the Ballarat region I know only a lttle about it.

I believe it closed in the 1970s.
  Zen Dave Junior Train Controller

Location: Canberra - Q2
First part of the line opened in 1881, to "Racecourse".  Junction was south of Sulky.  In 1888 the Waubra line opened, with the junction north of the Sulky junction, on the Racecourse line.  "Stations" were Pisgah, Midas, Blowhard, Learmonth, North Learmonth, Addington and Waubra.  I think my source is the grades book of 1927.  Both the Racecourse branch and the Waubra branch were still open then.

Cheers
  sthyer Deputy Commissioner

Don't remember when it closed, but it may have been a bit earlier than the bulk of the closures in the 70's. Certainly the rails were ripped up by the end of the 70's which are my first memories of the area.
The line left the existing Ballarat-Maryborough line at the current site of Sulky loop, it angled away from the main line and used to cross the main road where the road starts to climb up to cross the main line. It isn't highly obvious any more, but is traceable.
On the Sunraysia Hwy at Learmonth, the line came in from the right on the southern edge of town, crossed the road (there is a commemorative set of wagon wheels mounted there) and ran around the side of the town. Beyond Learmonth, the line stays to the left of the road and skirts the hill that the road goes over. Waubra station used to be on the southern edge of town. It used to be easy to spot due to the tall water tower in the yard. The tower was relocated to the then WCR East Ballarat Depot in the late 1990's and is still there today.

Stuart T
  4BJ Chief Commissioner

Location: Backside almost trackside at Hawthorn near Mitcham
The Waubra line was intended to continue to Avoca and beyond.  The idea at the time was the Avoca was to be another Maryborough.  Presumably money and/or enthusiasm ran out and Waubra is as far as things went.
  Longstroke Chief Train Controller

Location: Sunny Ballarat
I might have to go for a ride out there one of these days once exams are over.  Smile

Any idea if there are any remains of any of the platforms left.
  Barrington Womble Photo Nazi

Location: Banned
The Waubra line shut in 1968 after the chaff mill that was its lifeline, burnt down (Oddly enough the person who owned the mill, also owned one in Kingston which burnt down on the same night). I think the line remained open to the racecourse, but only until 1970 when it was shut completly.

As for remains...
Not too sure about Racecourse, but:
Midas; a platform mound remains.
Pisgah; No idea.
Blowhard; Passenger platform remains.
Learmonth; Ditto.
Addington; Platform mound remains, a newish house has been built next to it.
Waubra; As previously mentioned the water tower is now gone. However a 53' turntable pit with central pivot, loco servicing pit, passenger and goods platform mounds remain and a large windmill lays on the ground close to the site of the water tower - this was used to pump water into the tower from a large hole in the ground which also still exists (be aware - its not fenced AFAIK and is not easy to spot).

Two roads have also utilised the alignment.

Waubra Junction Rd; although it doesn't actually run on the line, it does take you to the former rail crossing with what was once the main road between Ballarat and Creswick. The rails are still in the roadway here. The alignment has been used as an access road to the former station site, which is where Sulky loop is located.

Branchline Court; This runs off from Gillies Rd towards the racecourse on the alignment itself. This road is quite new (about a year old), and is for a new housing estate. I do not know whether this road goes to the racecourse proper though.

Happy hiking
  Aura Train Controller

Location: Ballarat
The Waubra line was intended to continue to Avoca and beyond.  The idea at the time was the Avoca was to be another Maryborough.  Presumably money and/or enthusiasm ran out and Waubra is as far as things went.
"4BJ"
                                                                                                             I am not sure about this. An old timer told me it was planned to go via Lexton to junction at Amphitheatre, which would have been shorter to join Avoca and Ararat line. The oldest chemist shop in Victoria is run by the Lalors at Avoca, descendents of Peter Lalor. There was around 50,000 diggers in thre Avoca and Maryborough area at the time. I well recall seeing trains at Learmonth and Waubra.
  ARG706 Chief Commissioner

Location: SA
The line opened in October 1888 and closed in January 1968. The source I'm looking at also notes the track has been dismantled
  Dreadnought Assistant Commissioner

Location: Oooh, look! [Pointing upwards] An eagle!!
There was a short "booklet" produced for the Waubra Historical Society IIRC about the line - it did go into quite some detail and is well worth finding.  SLV have a copy for perusal.

Waubra was originally called Springs - Waubra wasn't even mentioned on the original line surveys or for some years after.  If searching for old information, you may want to use that.

As stated earlier, most of the line (Racecourse to Waubra) closed in 1968 but the Waubra Junction to Racecourse soldiered on until 1970 when it was closed as a). the racecourse wanted the site of the station for additional car parking/facilities and b). the CRB were rebuilding Creswick Road and didn't want to put in a second level crossing at Waubra Junction.

The line is shown fairly clearly most of the way in the VicMap 1:30000 series of maps.  The old chaff mill and platform at Learmonth were still there last time I looked (a couple of years ago) and there is a set of railway wheels on a short bit of track on the Ballarat side of Learmonth on the north side of Learmonth Road as a memorial to the line.

There were also the piles of a couple of trestles and the fairly low formation visible near Addington.
Cheers,
Frank S
  Aura Train Controller

Location: Ballarat
Interesting!. I always wondered about the pub at Waubra which had the name 'Springs Hotel' on it. Also just out of Learmonth, a sign beside the highway and railway stated this was the Great Dividing Range. Weather patterns would change about there, and even if cold and blustery in Ballarat it could become sunny blue skies.It was always a bonus to see a train at Learmonth, with the lake in the background. It is a long main street also, which had a station at both ends of town.
  RussellV Beginner

There is a video of the "last train to Waubra".  It says that the date was 29 Jan 1968.  It was made up of cars attached to normal passenger service which were detached at Ballarat and taken out to Waubra by J501.  29/1/1968 was a Monday.  Unusual for a special to not be on a Sunday. The video is at

Last Train to Waubra January 1968 Victorian Railways by reidgckA bunch of people travelled to Waubra on a "mixed" on 31 Jan 1968.  My few photos of it show the consist of one four wheel wagon and one PL car. 501 again did the honours.
The video of 29/1/1968 shows a number of wagons in sidings at intermediate stations.  I do not recall if they were still there on the day of the mixed. I certainly don't recall that we picked them up.  Perhaps there was another last train to clear the line?
Stephen Watson and Ian Johnson - trainsandtrams.com - produced a nice map of history of VR.  It lists the Waubra line as closing on 31/1/1968.

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