Newport Workshops

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Overview of the 'West Block' section of the workshops, with the clocktower and admin block to the left and Steamrail Victoria depot to the right in August 2005

The Newport Railway Workshops is a facility in the Melbourne suburb of Newport, Australia, that builds, maintains and refurbishes railway rollingstock. It is located between the Williamstown and Werribee railway lines.

History[edit]

Plans for a workshop at Newport started in the 1860s, to replace the temporary Williamstown Workshops but nothing came of it. It was not until 1880 that work began, when the Victorian Railways purchased annexes used at the 1880 Melbourne Exhibition and erected one of them at Newport, naming it the Newport Carriage Workshops when it began operation in 1882.[1]

Construction of the permanent workshops commenced in 1884, and was completed in 1889.[2] Although the earlier carriage workshop closed at this time, it reopened in 1895 to manufacture signal equipment. The first carriages built by the workshops were completed in 1889, but locomotives were manufactured by the Phoenix Foundry in Ballarat, the first locomotive being built in 1893.[2] The main elements of the workshops are a central office block and clock tower, the 'East Block' for carriage and wagon works, and 'West Block' for heavy engineering and locomotive building.[3] Expansion followed in 1905–1915, and 1925–1930. During World War II the workshops were turned over to military production, with the rear fuselage, and empennage of Bristol Beaufort bombers being built there.[4]

At the peak of operation it was one of Victoria's largest and best-equipped engineering establishments, with up to 5,000 employees on site.[5] The workshops had its own cricket ground, and in the 1920s the game of Trugo is said to have been invented by workers on their lunch hour.[1] In the 1980s the original segments of the workshops were removed from everyday use, and modern workshops built along the eastern side of the site, which remains in use today.

Tenants[edit]

In the Downer Rail section, BL, G, and N class diesel locomotives are undergoing overhauls in August 2007
South end of Newport Workshops, Downer Rail section in June 2008

Current revenue operations are carried out in the eastern section of the workshops by Downer Rail, who carry out work including locomotive and carriage maintenance, and diesel engine, bogie and wheelset overhauls;[6] for customers including Pacific National and V/Line. The workshop also has the only broad gauge underfloor wheel lathe in Victoria. A section of the workshops is leased to Siemens for maintenance of their Siemens Nexas trains.

The original 1880s workshops have been maintained for heritage uses. The 'West Block' area are occupied by a number of railway preservation groups such as Steamrail Victoria, Diesel Electric Rail Motor Preservation Association Victoria and R707 Operations,[7] while the 'East Block' has been retained by the Department of Infrastructure for the storage of disused trams and other rail rollingstock.[3] The Australian Railway Historical Society Railway Museum is located south of the workshops, near North Williamstown railway station.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "3.4.3 Railway Workshops". Hobsons Bay Heritage Study - Volume 1b: Thematic Environmental History. Hobsons Bay City Council. October 2003. Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  2. ^ a b "ARHS Railway Museum: History 1839 - 1900". ARHS Railway Museum. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  3. ^ a b The Railway Heritage Centre of Victoria (Newport Workshops) Proposal December 1999 Australian Railway Historical Society
  4. ^ Lee, Robert (2007). The Railways of Victoria 1854-2004. Melbourne University Publishing. p. page 166. ISBN 978-0-522-85134-2. 
  5. ^ "Public transport history". Department of Infrastructure. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  6. ^ "Newport (Melbourne)". EDI Rail. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  7. ^ Contact Us 707 Operations
  8. ^ About Us Australian Railway Historical Society

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°51′06″S 144°52′55″E / 37.8516°S 144.8819°E / -37.8516; 144.8819