Border Railways Act 1922
The 1922 Border Railways Acts, were Acts passed by the Parliaments of both Victoria and New South Wales, which authorised the construction of cross border railways in the Riverina region of Australia. Despite being located in New South Wales, the region was closer economically to Victoria and its railway network, operated by Victorian Railways. Another complication was that Victorian Railways used the 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) broad gauge, while the New South Wales Government Railways used 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge.
The first 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) line to be built from Victoria into New South Wales was the Deniliquin - Moama line. Permission was granted to the private Deniliquin and Moama Railway Company by the New South Wales Government in 1874 to construct a 72 kilometres (45 mi) long line from Moama on the Murray River north to Deniliquin, connecting with the Victorian railway system at the Murray Bridge, near Echuca. Opened in 1876, it was later purchased by Victorian Railways.
In 1904 when the Victorian Parliament authorised an extension of the Goulburn Valley line 13.2 kilometres (8.2 mi) north from Strathmerton station, to the south bank of the Murray River across from Tocumwal. The line was opened in February 1905, and in April 1906 the two state Premiers (Thomas Bent and Joseph Carruthers) signed an agreement for a final 3.3 kilometres (2.1 mi) extension, into the town itself. The existing road bridge was strengthened and became the responsibility of Victoria, with both states sharing construction costs for the line. Opened in 1908, the profit (or loss) of operating the line would be Victoria's. In the station became a break-of-gauge in 1914 with extension of the NSWGR Tocumwal line.
Impact of the Act
As a result of the predicament of border towns, the Border Railways Commission (made up of representatives of both states) recommended in 1917 in favour of the construction of four additional lines into New South Wales. The most important line was to run from Swan Hill to Balranald. The culmination was the 1922 Border Railways Acts of both states, with the first outcome being that Victorian Railways took over the Deniliquin and Moama Railway Company in 1923 at a cost of £165,000. The actual construction differed from that initially proposed.
- The Balranald line was to have left the Victorian network at Swan Hill, but instead branched from the Deniliquin line at Barnes. Opened in 1926, it is still open today as far as Moulamein for rice traffic. Services beyond there were suspended in 1986.
- The Murrabit - Stony Crossing line was opened in 1928. It left the Yungera line at Kerang station but was not a great success as it ran though marginal land, and closed in 1943.
- The Yarrawonga - Oaklands line opened in 1938 and met the NSWGR Oaklands line at a break-of-gauge. It remains open today for grain traffic and has been converted to standard gauge.
- The line from Robinvale to Lette never officially opened, but the Railway Construction Branch ran an annual train on it from 1932 until it was dismantled in 1943.
Schedule 1 to the Border Railways Act 1922 also provided that two engineers, one of whom shall be appointed by the Government of New South Wales and one by the Victorian Government, shall recommend the sites of two bridges to be constructed between a point 3 miles upstream from Mildura Wharf and downstream to a point near the Wentworth Township. The bridges were to provide for both road and rail traffic. Suitable bridges were built at both Mildura and Yelta, but no railway lines were built.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. "Private Railways". Year Book Australia, 1921. www.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
- Sid Brown (March 1990). "Tracks Across the State". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). pp. 71–76.
- Lee, Robert (2007). The Railways of Victoria 1854-2004. Melbourne University Publishing Ltd. p. 133. ISBN 978-0-522-85134-2.
- "Tocumwal Branch". NSWrail.net. www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
- Lee, Robert (2007). The Railways of Victoria 1854-2004. Melbourne University Publishing Ltd. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-522-85134-2.
- New South Wales: Border Railways Act 1922