Craigieburn railway line

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Craigieburn railway line, Melbourne
Craigieburn line map
Line details
Commenced 1860
Completed 1872
Stations 15
Tracks Double track throughout
Used by Metro Trains Melbourne, V/Line, freight
Service pattern Stopping all stations
Rolling stock Comeng, Siemens
Connections Flemington Racecourse, Albion-Jacana lines
Former connections Upfield line at Somerton (Roxburgh Park)
Railways in Melbourne

The Craigieburn railway line is the suburban electric railway inner section of the main North East railway line serving the northern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. It has 15 stations across Myki ticketing zones 1 and 2. Prior to electrification it was called the Broadmeadows railway line.


The line rises steadily after leaving North Melbourne until after Essendon, then drops a little to cross Moonee Ponds Creek, and soon after encounters the Glenroy Bank, a continuous rising gradient of 1 in 50 for nearly 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) that taxed locomotive-hauled trains in the days of steam. After Glenroy, it continues to rise to the end of the suburban line and beyond. Earthworks are, however, generally moderate.

The almost-continuous gradients were a factor when, in 2003, an unmanned suburban train rolled the length of the line from Broadmeadows to the city, and crashed into a stationary but loaded passenger train waiting to depart Southern Cross Station (then Spencer Street). No one was killed or seriously injured.[1]


The line is double track throughout, and controlled by automatic block signalling. It has numerous level crossings and many grade-separated road and rail bridges. Terminating facilities are at Kensington, Newmarket (by shunting onto the Flemington Racecourse line), Essendon, Broadmeadows and Craigieburn. Only Essendon, Broadmeadows, and Craigieburn are normally used. Train stabling is at Broadmeadows and Craigieburn.


H 220 leads the Albury Express out of Melbourne, past the signal box at Essendon, circa 1949. (Victorian Railways photograph)

The line from North Melbourne to Essendon was opened by the Melbourne and Essendon Railway Company in November 1860. Soon after, the company opened a branch from Newmarket to Flemington Racecourse. Both lines closed after only a short time, in July 1864. The Victorian Railways reopened the Flemington Racecourse line (including the Essendon line as far as Newmarket) in November 1867, and in January 1871 to Essendon.

In April 1872, the line was extended to a temporary terminus outside Seymour, awaiting completion of a bridge over the Goulburn River. In December 1894, through services were provided from Essendon to Brighton Beach on the Sandringham line.

Automatic Block Signalling started to appear on the line in 1918, with Kensington to Essendon being converted in June of that year, and North Melbourne to Kensington in October. In May 1919, Flinders Street to Essendon and the Sandringham line were the first lines to be electrified in Melbourne, apart from a test installation on the Flemington Racecourse line.

In January 1924, an extra pair of tracks, including a flying junction, opened between North Melbourne and Kensington, enabling the separation of passenger and goods traffic in the busy section. Further works were carried out in 1929, when the double track Albion - Jacana freight line was opened,[2] permitting freight trains to avoid the line via Essendon. Automatic Block Signalling was extended to Broadmeadows in November 1965.

On 30 September 2007 electrification was extended from Broadmeadows to Craigieburn.[3] Previously, passengers for Craigieburn travelled on V/Line diesel services, but Metcards were accepted.

Broadstore Branch Line[edit]

A branch line was provided during the Second World War to Broadstore, commencing at the north-east of Broadmeadows station, opening on 12 October 1942,[4] and remaining in place until 1982;[4] the tracks were not lifted until after 1991.[4] The Broadstore Line was unelectrified, and extended in a directly easterly direction for approximately 1.6 km towards the Upfield Line terminating at the Maygar Barracks in Campbellfield. At one time, according to Forsberg, it had a branch that supplied a migrant hostel.[4] The Broadstore Line is clearly marked on the 1980 map of Victorian Railways.[5]

Line guide[edit]

Brick buildings at Kensington
The line near Ascot Vale
V/Line Sprinter near Roxburgh Park
Terminus of the line at Craigieburn

Bold stations are where trains terminate; italic stations are staffed; stations with an asterisk (*) are staffed during the morning peak only.

Branches from the City Loop at Southern Cross and Flagstaff.

Craigieburn railway line
0.0 km Flinders Street (FSS) Zone 1
Flinders Street Viaduct
1.2 km Southern Cross (SSS) Zone 1
City Loop
2.9 km North Melbourne (NME) Zone 1
Upfield line
Moonee Ponds Creek
Sunbury and Werribee lines
4.7 kmKensington (KEN)
5.6 km Newmarket (NKT)* Zone 1
Flemington Racecourse line
7.0 kmAscot Vale (ASV)*
8.1 kmMoonee Ponds (MPD)*
9.2 km Essendon (ESD) Zone 1
10.4 kmGlenbervie (GBV)
11.0 kmStrathmore (SME)
Moonee Ponds Creek
12.5 kmPascoe Vale (PVL)
14.1 kmOak Park (OKP)
15.8 kmGlenroy (GRY)
16.6 kmJacana (JAC)
Western Ring Road
Albion - Jacana freight line (standard gauge)
Albion - Jacana freight line (broad gauge)
18.1 kmBroadmeadows (BMS)
Broadstore branch line
19.3 kmCoolaroo (CLO)
Upfield line
23.0 kmRoxburgh Park (RXP)
Aitkens Creek
27.0 kmCraigieburn (CGB)
North East railway


  1. ^ "Eleven injured in runaway train drama". Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  2. ^ "VR History". Retrieved 22 June 2008. 
  3. ^ "Public transport - Craigieburn Rail Project - News and publications". Retrieved 22 June 2008. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Broadstore Line 1991". Mike Forsberg. Retrieved 6 October 2009. 
  5. ^ "Railway Map of Victoria, 1980". Retrieved 6 October 2009. 

External links[edit]