Main Southern railway line, New South Wales

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Main Southern Line
New Binalong railway station on 1916 deviation
New Binalong railway station on 1916 deviation
Track gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Main Suburban line at Lidcombe
junction Old Main South
Auburn
Clyburn
Clyde
junction Carlingford Line
Granville
junction Main Western Line
Merrylands
Guildford
Yennora
Fairfield
Canley Vale
Berala
Regents Park
junction Bankstown line
Sefton
Chester Hill
Leightonfield
Villawood
Carramar
junction Old Main South
Cabramatta
junction Warwick Farm Racecourse
Warwick Farm
junction Holsworthy line
Liverpool
Casula
junction East Hills line
Glenfield
future South West Rail Link
Macquarie Fields
Ingelburn
Minto
Leumeah
Campbelltown
junction Camden line
Macarthur
southern limit of electrification
junction Glenlee colliery line
Glenlee
Menangle Park
North Menangle
Menangle
Douglas Park
junction Maldon - Dombarton line (incomplete)
Maldon
Picton
junction Picton- Mittagong loop line
Thirlmere
Tahmoor
Couridjah
Buxton
Bargo
Balmoral
Yanderra
Hill Top
Yerrinbool
Colo Vale
Aylmerton
Braemar
Bradken rolling stock works
junction Picton - Mittagong loop line
Mittagong
Bowral
Burradoo
Bong Bong
Berrima cement works
junction Unanderra-Moss Vale line
Moss Vale
Werai
Exeter
Bundanoon
Penrose
Wingello
Tallong
Medway Quarry branch
Marulan
Carrick
Towrang
Murrays Flats
North Goulburn
junction Crookwell line
Goulburn
junction Bombala line
Yarra
Breadalbane
Razorback
Cullerin
Fish River
Gunning
Oolong
Jerrawa
Coolalie
Yass Junction
Yass Town branch
Bowning
Goondah
junction Burrinjuck tramway
Illalong Creek
Binalong
Galong
junction Boorowa branch
Rocky Ponds
Cunningar
Harden
Murrumburrah
Demondrille
junction branch to Blayney
Nubba
Wallendbeen
Morrisons Hill
Jindalee
junction Lake Cargelligo line
Cootamundra
junction Tumut line
Frampton
Bethungra
Illabo
Marinna
junction Hay branch
Junee
Junee Racecourse
Harefield
Shepherds
Bomen
Murrumbidgee River
junction Tumbarumba line
Wagga Wagga
Kapooka
Uranquinty
junction Kywong branch
Bon Accord
junction Westby line
The Rock
junction Oaklands line
Yerong Creek
junction Rand branch
Henty station
Culcairn station
junction Corowa and Holbrook branches
Gerogery
Table Top
Ettamogah
Albury Racecourse
Albury
Murray River and Victorian border
to Melbourne on North East railway line

The Main Southern Railway is a major railway in New South Wales, Australia. It runs through the Southern Highlands, Southern Tablelands, South West Slopes and the Riverina regions.

Description of route[edit]

The Main Southern Railway commences as an electrified pair of tracks in the Sydney metropolitan area. Originally the line branched from the Main Suburban railway line at Granville, passing through Fairfield and Cabramatta to Liverpool. However this section was later bypassed with a more direct route from Lidcombe via Regents Park to Cabramatta. The former route through Fairfield became known as the Old Main South. From Liverpool, the line heads into Campbelltown and Macarthur, the current limit of electrification and suburban passenger services. The electrification previously extended to Glenlee colliery, but this was removed following the cessation of electric haulage of freight trains in the 1990s.

The line continues as a double non-electrified track south through the Southern Highlands towns of Mittagong and Goulburn to Junee on the Southern Plains. Here the line becomes single track for the remainder of its journey south to the state border with Victoria at Albury. The line then continues through northern Victoria to Melbourne.

The line north of Macarthur is maintained by RailCorp. South of Macarthur the line is leased to the Australian Rail Track Corporation until 2064.[1][2]

Development of the line[edit]

In 26 September 1855 the first railway in New South Wales, the Sydney–Granville railway opened. Exactly a year later, a branch was opened from what was known as Parramatta Junction (the present day Granville) to Liverpool. This line was extended to Campbelltown in 1858, Picton in 1863, Mittagong in 1867, Marulan in 1868, Goulburn in 1869, Yass Junction in 1876, Galong, Harden-Murrumburrah and Cootamundra in 1877 and Junee and Bomen (on the north bank of the Murrumbidgee River) in 1878. The Murrumbidgee River Rail Bridge was completed in 1881[3] and the line was extended to Wagga Wagga, Uranquinty, The Rock, Henty and Albury in 1881.[4][5] Victorian Railways' North East 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) gauge line was extended from Wodonga to Albury station in 1883.[6] To accommodate the break of gauge, a very long railway platform was built, the covered platform being one of the longest in Australia.

The original alignment was built under the supervision of John Whitton, Engineer-in-Charge for the New South Wales Railways from 1856 to 1898.[7]

The original single track was duplicated from Granville to Liverpool in 1857,[8] to Campbelltown in 1891,[9] to Picton in 1892.[10] Between 1913 and 1922 the 343 km (213 mi) section from Picton to Cootamundra was duplicated.[11] At the same time, the section between Picton and Mittagong was deviated by a less direct route in 1919 to ease the steep grades of the original alignment, and the old line became known as the Picton – Mittagong loop railway line which is now largely closed. (The Main Southern Railway Deviation, was estimated in the 1914 Act of Parliament to have construction costs of £630,353).[12] Other sections of the original Whitton alignment between Goulburn and Wagga Wagga were also replaced by more curvy sections with lower grades. The section from Cootamundra to Junee, including a rail spiral at Bethungra, was duplicated between 1941 and 1945.[13][14]

Construction of a standard gauge track parallel with the broad gauge track from Albury to Melbourne commenced in 1959, completing the Sydney–Melbourne railway.[15] The first freight train operating on the line on 3 January 1962, followed by the first passenger train on 16 April 1962.[15]

The original wrought iron Murrumbidgee River Rail Bridge at Wagga Wagga was replaced in 2007 by a new concrete and steel bridge.[16][17]

The main line south of Junee was substantially upgraded in 2007 and 2008, including the construction of passing loops up to 7 kilometres (4.3 mi).[18]

The Redbank Tunnel near Tahmoor was replaced by a deviation in 2012 funded by Xstrata to allow expansion of their Tahmoor Colliery under the tunnel which will be sealed.[19]

In January 2013 the Australian Rail Track Corporation opened the Southern Sydney Freight Line between Sefton and Macarthur as a dedicated line for freight services.

Branches[edit]

Several lines branched from the Main South, some of which are in-part or fully closed:

  • The Bombala Line was opened from Goulburn to Bungendore in 1885, Queanbeyan in 1887, Cooma in 1889, Nimmitabel in 1912 and Bombala in 1921.[20] This line south of Queanbeyan served largely pastoral country and therefore it did not have any major freight traffic. The line south of Cooma closed in 1986 and south of Queanbeyan in 1989.
  • The Canberra Branch, an 8 km branch line from Queanbeyan to Canberra, was opened in 1914.[21] A 34 km branch line from Bungendore to Captains Flat was opened in 1940 and closed in 1969, a few years after the closure of the local mines.[22]
  • The Yass Tramway, a 5 km-long line between Yass Junction and Yass, opened in 1892 and closed in 1989.[25]
  • The Burrinjuck Tramway was a 610 mm (2 ft) gauge line which was built in about 1907 from Goondah (between Bowning and Binalong) to Burrinjuck for the construction of the Burrinjuck Dam and closed in 1929, following the completion of construction.[26]
  • The Tumut line was completed from Cootamundra to Gundagai in 1886 and extended to Tumut in 1903,[36] and a branch from it was built to Batlow and Kunama in 1923. The line south of Batlow was closed 1957 and the rest closed after flood damage in 1984.[37]
  • The Yanco- Griffith connection was completed between Yanco and Griffith on the line between Cootamundra, Hillston and Roto in 1922.[40] This line is still served by one passenger train per week.

Passenger services[edit]

Albury station looking south with the standard gauge platform on the left, broad gauge platform on the right

Commuter services[edit]

Electric commuter passenger trains operate between Sydney and Macarthur as part of the Airport, Inner West & South Line. Diesel railcars operate south from Campbelltown to Goulburn on an irregular frequency as part of the Southern Highlands Line.

Country services[edit]

Prior to 1962 travelling south of Albury into Victoria required a change of trains (due to gauge differences between NSW and Victoria) and often an overnight stay. From March 1956 a daylight connection was introduced between Sydney and Melbourne whereby a train from Sydney connected at Albury with a train to Melbourne and vice versa. In 1962 the railway south of Albury was converted to standard gauge, allowing through operation of trains between Sydney and Melbourne. Between April 1962 and August 1991, the Main South was served by the Intercapital Daylight, a locomotive hauled limited stop passenger train. It was operated jointly by the New South Wales Government Railways and the Victorian Railways with the former's air-conditioned rolling stock. Two overnight services also ran, the limited stops Southern Aurora and the Spirit of Progress. Until 1982 locomotives were exchanged at Albury for a locomotive of the respective state that the train was entering.

The South Mail operated overnight between Sydney and Albury until it ceased in June 1985. In August 1986 the Southern Aurora and the Spirit of Progress were merged into the Sydney/Melbourne Express. In August 1991, airline deregulation and falling patronage saw the Intercapital Daylight replaced by a coach service between Melbourne and Albury, connecting with the Riverina XPT at Albury. In November 1993 the delivery of additional XPT rollingstock saw the introduction of a through overnight XPT service between Sydney and Melbourne, replacing the Sydney/Melbourne Express, and the Riverina XPT extended to Melbourne from December 1994.[48]

As at February 2013 CountryLink services operated on the Main South line were:[49]

  • Sydney to Canberra - 3 in each direction per day
  • Sydney to Griffith - 1 in each direction per week
  • Sydney to Melbourne - 2 in each direction per day

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Memorandum between The Commonwealth of Australia & The State of New South Wales & Australian Rail Track Corporation Limited Australian Rail Track Corporation
  2. ^ The Agreement in Summary Australian Rail Track Corporation
  3. ^ "Murrumbidgee River Rail Bridge, Wagga Wagga, NSW (entry AHD15910)". Australian Heritage Database. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  4. ^ "Albury Railway Precinct". Department of Environment and Heritage. 
  5. ^ "Main South Line". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  6. ^ T. Richards (1883). The Union of the railway systems of New South Wales and Victoria: Celebration at Albury, on the 14th June, 1883. New South Wales Government. 
  7. ^ C. C. Singleton. "Whitton, John (1820–1898)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. 
  8. ^ "Liverpool Railway Precinct". Department of Environment and Heritage. 
  9. ^ "Campbelltown Railway Precinct". Department of Environment and Heritage. 
  10. ^ "Picton Railway Precinct". Department of Environment and Heritage. 
  11. ^ "Goulburn Viaduct (Mulwaree Ponds)". Heritage Council of New South Wales. 
  12. ^ "MAIN SOUTHERN RAILWAY DEVIATION - PICTON TO MITTAGONG ACT". NSW Legislative Assembly. 
  13. ^ "Picton Railway Precinct". Department of Environment and Heritage. 
  14. ^ "Bethungra Spiral". Heritage Council of New South Wales. 
  15. ^ a b "VR timeline". http://www.victorianrailways.net/. Mark Bau. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  16. ^ "Wagga Wagga" (pdf). Railway Lattice Bridge and Viaducts. Institution of Engineers. Archived from the original on 2006-12-31. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  17. ^ "Iron Lattice Girder Railway Bridges" (pdf). Endangered Places. National Trust of Australia. Archived from the original on 2006-10-08. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  18. ^ "Main rail line to get better passing loops". Border Mail. 10 June 2007. 
  19. ^ "Rail tunnel will soon be history". Wollondilly Advertiser. 15 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "Bombala Line". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  21. ^ "Canberra Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  22. ^ "Captains Flat Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  23. ^ "Crookwell Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  24. ^ "Taralga Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  25. ^ "Yass Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  26. ^ "Goondah–Burrinjuck Line". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  27. ^ "Boorowa Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  28. ^ Date, Ken; Dominik Giemza (December 2006). "Southern Semaphore Swansong". Railway Digest (Australian Railway Historical Society NSW Div) 44 (12). 
  29. ^ "Blayney – Demondrille Line". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  30. ^ "Grenfell Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  31. ^ "Eugowra Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  32. ^ "Lake Cargelligo Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  33. ^ "Stockinbingal – Parkes Line". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  34. ^ "Temora – Roto Line". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  35. ^ "Rankins Springs Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  36. ^ "Tumut Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  37. ^ "Kunama Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  38. ^ "Hay Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  39. ^ "Tocumwal Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  40. ^ "Yanco – Griffith Line". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  41. ^ "Tumbarumba Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  42. ^ "Kywong Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  43. ^ "Oaklands Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  44. ^ "Westby Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  45. ^ "Rand Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  46. ^ "Corowa Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  47. ^ "Holbrook Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  48. ^ Banger, C. The Intercapital Daylight, 1956–1991 Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin June 2001
  49. ^ CountryLink Southern timetable CountryLink 11 October 2009