Bendigo railway line
|Type||V/Line passenger service|
|Line length||164.24 km (102 mi)|
|Number of tracks||Four tracks to Footscray, double track to Kyneton, single line with crossing loops beyond|
The Bendigo railway line is a regional railway in Victoria, Australia, running from Melbourne to Bendigo, on which there are currently 11 stations open. The line was upgraded as part of the Regional Fast Rail project between 2005 and 2006. The Sunbury line is an electrified section of the Bendigo line within metropolitan Melbourne.
Construction of the line was begun by the Melbourne, Mount Alexander and Murray River Railway Company, which was incorporated in 1852. The first thirteen sections of the line were constructed by contractors Cornish and Bruce, who gained a reputation for trying to reduce costs by taking shortcuts on materials and reducing worker's wages.
The Company made almost no progress on the construction of the railway due to an inability to raise sufficient funds, and in 1856 it was purchased by the Victorian Government. Because Isambard Kingdom Brunel was at that time the Inspecting Engineer in Britain for the Victorian Government, some people have claimed that he was responsible for the railway's design. An examination of reports published by the Victorian Parliament has shown that this claim is erroneous. The route and structures were the work of the Victorian Railways Department, under the supervision of Engineer in Chief George Christian Darbyshire, and completed under Thomas Higginbotham.
Originating from Spencer Street Station, the line reached Sunbury in 1859. By 1861 it had reached Woodend and Kyneton, and had been constructed as far as Castlemaine by 1862. The whole line was formally opened at Bendigo on 20 October 1862 by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Henry Barkly. There are substantial wrought iron and masonry viaducts at Sunbury, Malmsbury and Taradale, as well as two tunnels at Elphinstone and Big Hill.
The Lancefield line was opened from Clarkefield (north of Sunbury) to Lancefield in 1881, and extended to Kilmore in 1892 to connect with the Heathcote railway line. This line was completely closed by 1956.
The Daylesford branch line was opened from Carlsruhe (between Woodend and Kyneton) to Daylesford in 1880. In 1887 it was later connected with a line from Ballarat. This Daylesford branch was closed in 1978, but part of it, between Daylesford and Bullarto, is now operated by the Daylesford Spa Country Railway as a tourist railway.
A branch line was built between Redesdale Junction (north of Kyneton) and Redesdale by 1900, but it closed in 1954.
The Maldon line was opened from Castlemaine to Maldon in 1884, and extended as far as Shelbourne in 1891, although it had originally been planned to run to Laanecoorie. The line from Maldon to Shelbourne was closed in 1969 following to bush fire damage. The Maldon branch line closed in 1976. The Victorian Goldfields Railway has restored the line between Castlemaine and Maldon and operates trains over that section.
A branch line was built from Bendigo to Heathcote in 1888, which became a cross-country line in 1890 when connected to a line running from Heathcote Junction on the main North East railway line. The Bendigo–Heathcote line closed in 1958 and the Heathcote Junction to Heathcote branch was closed in November 1968.
Epsom railway station was constructed in 2014 and opened on 12 October of that year between the Bendigo and Elmore stations.
The Bendigo line was extended to Elmore and Echuca in 1864, and across the Murray River into New South Wales in 1876 to connect with the private Deniliquin and Moama Railway Company from Moama to Barnes and Deniliquin. The company was taken over by the Victorian Railways in 1923.
A branch line was built from Elmore to Cohuna in 1910 and it was closed in the 1980s.
In 1996 the passenger service to Echuca was reinstated for the first time since 1983, when a twice-weekly service from Bendigo was started. Since 2007, there is one train to/from Melbourne on weekdays and two on weekends, with the train speed between Bendigo and Echuca limited to 80 km/h because there are a number of unprotected level crossings.
Swan Hill line
The Robinvale line was opened from Bendigo to Inglewood in 1876, Korong Vale in 1882, Boort in 1883, Quambatook in 1894, Ultima in 1900, Chillingollah in 1909, Manangatang in 1914, Annuello in 1921 and Robinvale in 1924. This line currently only handles grain trains.
Under the Border Railways Agreement of 1922, Victorian Railways commenced construction of a railway to Koorakee and Lette in New South Wales in 1924 (the Lette railway line), but this railway was never completed. The Murray River bridge between Robinvale and Euston was instead converted to a road bridge, but it was demolished upon completion of a new road bridge in 2006. However the lift span of the old bridge has been relocated to McGinty Park in Robinvale as part of an historic display. A short branch line was built from Wedderburn Junction (south of Korong Vale) to Wedderburn in the 1880s which closed in the 1980s.
There is currently no passenger service on this line.
This line currently only handles grain trains. Until late 2006, rural rail network lessee Pacific National had mothballed the Mittyack to Kulwin section. There has not been passenger service on this line since before 1984.
Regular V/Line passenger services operate along the Bendigo line. Some services continue beyond Bendigo to Swan Hill and Echuca. Suburban Metro Trains Melbourne services operate to Sunbury as the Sunbury line, the current limit of electrification on the line.
During peak hour, some services terminate at Kyneton station.
Bold stations are termini, italic stations are staffed at least part-time (this has been confirmed).
On 16 July 2014, V-Line Bendigo trains ceased North Melbourne Station as part of Regional Rail Link projects.
Bendigo railway line
- John Maxwell, 'Cornish, William Crocker (1815–1859)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, Melbourne University Press, 1969, p. 464. Retrieved on 11 July 2009.
- John Maxwell, 'Bruce, John Vans Agnew (1822–1863)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, Melbourne University Press, 1969, pp 277–278. Retrieved on 11 July 2009
- "The True Story of the Design of the Bendigo Railway". Engineering Heritage Australia (Victoria). Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "Engineering Works in Victoria". Engineers Australia. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "Railway History in Victoria 1839 - 1900". Australian Railway Historical Society - Victorian Division. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
- "History & Preservation". Victorian Goldfields Railway. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
- "New Murray River crossing at Euston - Robinvale". Roads and Maritime Services. New South Wales Government. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
- "Long Double Track Sections to Provide For High-Quality Services On Bendigo Rail Line". Minister for Public Transport. Victorian Government. Retrieved 2013-02-24.