Strzelecki railway line
|Strzelecki railway line, Victoria|
|Opened||24 June 1922|
|Closed||Closed in 4 stages
22 November 1930
7 August 1941
5 April 1950
4 February 1959
|Length||49 km (30.4 mi)|
|Former connections||Joined South Gippsland line at Koo Wee Rup|
|Rail transport in Victoria|
|Strzelecki railway line|
The Strzelecki railway line was a 49 km steam-era branch railway line in Victoria, Australia. The line opened in June, 1922, branching off the former Great Southern Railway (South Gippsland line) at Koo Wee Rup Station. The main line branched off the current Pakenham line at Dandenong, extending out into the South Gippsland region.
The line was constructed with 60 lb/yd (29.8 kg/m) 'D' steel rail, using 9 sleepers of 8 ft 4 in (2,540 mm) long, 9 in (229 mm) wide and 4 1⁄2 in (114 mm) deep with 9 sleepers being used for every 22 ft 6 in (6.86 m) or 20 sleepers per 45 ft (13.72 m) length of rail, laid on a ballast of sand 6 in (152 mm) deep. Track speed for Passenger and Freight services was 25 mph (40 km/h).
Opening and description
The Strzelecki line was opened as a branch off the main line at Koo Wee Rup Station, opening on 29 June 1922. The line served the farms of the Strzelecki Ranges. Upon opening in 1922 sheep and/or cattle loading facilities were provided at all stations except Heath Hill, and Goods Loading and storage facilities at all stations except Athlone. Two further goods sidings were provided upon opening, situated before Bayles station, the Plowrights siding and Water Washed sand siding. Once a narrow gauge tramline ran north west for 3.2 km from Plowrights to the main Koo Wee Rup drain and used for transporting river gravel to the siding. Both Plowrights and Water Washed sidings closed in 1931.
Bayles was the first station on the line, situated in light scrub just south of the township. The following station was Catani, now just a mound of earth where the platform was. Yannathan platform was 11.5 km from Koo Wee Rup. This was followed by Heath Hill a further 2.4 km along the line. Athlone Quarry Siding, 94.14 km from Koo Wee Rup, was opened with the line, but closed 3 years later. Athlone station, 2.4 km further along, opened after the opening of the line. .
Topiram is the next station. Triholm, 106.6 km from the junction, was the terminus of the line after the line beyond closed from 22 November 1930. Beyond Triholm, the line entered steep grades and sharp curves.
The original terminus station at Strezlecki had a 53' turntable. After Strzelecki station's closure, no station on the line was supplied with a turntable, requiring trains to run tender-first in the Down direction and returning to Koo Wee Rup engine first.
The Strzelecki line turned out to be one of the shorter-lived lines in Victoria. The section between Triholm to Strzelecki closed due to a trestle bridge developing a large sway every time a train ran over it, and the cost of repairs deemed uneconomical in view of the light traffic level. This was followed by the section of track after Yannathan to Triholm being closed on 7 August 1941 following flooding of the Lang Lang River, resulting in damages to one of the four trestle bridges over that river. Next to close was the section from Bayles to Yannathan, on 15 April 1950. The line to Bayles was kept open until 4 February 1959 to serve a butter factory.
- Strzelecki Railway Mitchell, Frank Green over Red Box Hill December, 1968 pp4-6