Flemington Racecourse railway line
|Type||Melbourne suburban service|
|System||Metro Trains Melbourne|
|Line length||7.8 km (4.8 mi)|
|Number of tracks||Double track|
The Flemington Racecourse railway line is a suburban electric railway line in Melbourne, Australia. The line has two stations, Showgrounds and Flemington Racecourse, both in Public Transport Victoria ticketing Zone 1.
The Flemington Racecourse line is a short branch off the Craigieburn line that serves the Melbourne Showgrounds and Flemington Racecourse. The line is fairly level and has only minor earthworks. It has one level crossing and one rail-over-road bridge.
The line has no regular services, as it only opens for special events: racedays at the racecourse such as the Melbourne Cup or Oaks Day, and large events at the Showgrounds such as the Royal Melbourne Show itself in September, or the Big Day Out in January. It is otherwise used to store trains between peak hours.
At times, services are quite intense, with trains running as frequently as every four minutes. Services are usually operated to either the Showgrounds or the Racecourse, though both stations are served on the rare occasion that there are major events at both places. Trains generally run express through Kensington and Newmarket stations.
The Flemington Racecourse branch from Newmarket was opened by the Melbourne and Essendon Railway Company in February 1861, but closed three years later, in July 1864. The line was taken over by the Victorian Railways and reopened in November 1867.
The line was electrified in 1918 for testing of electric trains, and therefore became the first electrified line in Melbourne. The first electric train ran a test trip from Newmarket to Flemington Racecourse station in October 1918.
Automatic signalling, using two-position signals, was provided in September 1919. The line also had sidings serving the Newmarket sale yards and other industries, and the line was operated as a siding most of the time, the points being connected to adjacent point levers and the signals being put out of use. When passenger services were operated on the line, the points were connected to the signal boxes and the signals were brought into use. This arrangement finished in the 1980s or 1990s when the sidings were closed.
The line is double-tracked throughout, although a third track used to be available for down trains from the Showgrounds platform to the Racecourse, but it is now blocked at the Showgrounds end and used as a siding.
The Flemington Racecourse line has Melbourne's only example of two-position automatic signaling, apart from the Hurstbridge line between Greensborough & Hurstbridge. The short line has three mechanical signal boxes, including the Flemington Racecourse box opened in 1895.
Terminating facilities are provided at both the Showgrounds platform and the Racecourse. Stabling facilities are provided at the Racecourse. The Showgrounds has only one platform, on the up track, as trains terminate at the Showgrounds when that station is in use. However, down trains can be routed via the platform then back to the down line to the Racecourse if necessary.
Showgrounds station is an intermediate station on the line, and is named for the adjacent Melbourne Showgrounds. The station is only open during special events, such as the annual Royal Melbourne Show. The station has turnstiles for entry to the Melbourne Showgrounds, and a Ticketek booking office for show admission tickets located on the platform.
A wooden station building is located at the station for selling rail tickets. The station is equipped with myki vending and top-up machines and validators.
Three signal boxes are located at Showgrounds - Epsom Road box to control trains at the up end, Showgrounds Junction box to control trains at the down end, and Showgrounds Rostrum box (above the station platform )to controls all movements into platform.
Flemington Racecourse station is the terminus of the line, and is named for the adjacent racecourse. The station is only open on race days and during other special events, such as the annual Melbourne Cup during the Spring Racing Carnival. At other times it is used to stable trains between peak hours.
Some have suggested, including a former lord mayor of the City of Melbourne, that the line is under utilised in periods outside of events at the racecourse and showgrounds (most of the year) and should be extended to the west to service suburbs such as Maribyrnong (including a new housing estate being proposed by the State Government) and Keilor whilst also servicing the nearby Victoria University campus and the Highpoint Shopping Centre.
Flemington Racecourse railway line
|All stations are wheelchair accessible. Services may terminate at an intermediate station in bold.|
|All stations shown. Route map is not to scale.|