Leongatha railway station
|South Gippsland Railway Station|
|Line(s)||South Gippsland Railway|
|Opened||17 December 1891
|Closed||24 July 1993|
|133.9 km (83.2 mi) from Flinders Street|
The station opened in 1891 as a terminus, the line being extended to Welshpool the next year. As of 2009[update], the station is the terminus of the former South Gippsland Tourist Railway (Closed operations, January 2016), and has been since regular V/Line passenger operations on the line ceased east of Cranbourne station in 1993.
The track south of Leongatha has been dismantled and turned into the Great Southern Rail Trail. The station precinct includes a well preserved red brick station building, goods shed, water tower and footbridge. The goods shed has since been demolished with a view of converting the unused railway reservation for a shopping plaza, which has not yet eventuated.
The track "down" from Leongatha Station ends at the rear of a petrol station, approx 500 metres away. The Home signal for trains approaching Leogatha from Koonwarra remains, however due to no rail for any significant distance from the signal, it has been decommissioned. From the end of the rail, the reservation is a crushed rock pathway mainly used by bicycles and pedestrians.
Reopening the South Gippsland railway line as far as Leongatha is continuing to feature as a prominent issue for the region. A South Gippsland Shire Council Priority Projects documents released in June 2013 acknowledged that the return of rail as a major community priority where funding and support are sought from all forms of level government. In early 2014, a report into the extensions of the Melbourne metropolitan rail system identified the population growth corridor from Cranbourne to Koo-Wee-Rup along the disused Leongatha line as a key planning priority. The South and West Gippsland Transport Group, a public transportation and rail lobby group established in April 2011 that is closely associated with the South Gippsland Shire Council and local forms of government has continued to campaign for an integrated transport plan in the region, which includes rail at the forefront of the proposal. Previously, the group was classified as the South Gippsland Transport Users Group and had amalgamated with numerous rail lobby groups in 1994 shortly after the rail passenger service to Leongatha was withdrawn in July 1993 and the line to Barry Beach and Yarram was formally closed in June 1992 and dismantled by December 1994. One notable milestone that this group achieved in the past was running a successful campaign that saw passenger rail services reinstated to Leongatha on 9 December 1984. Despite the political promise to revive the railway line for freight and passenger services by the Steve Bracks led Victorian state Labor government in 1999 being abandoned in 2008 by his successor John Brumby, a public community campaign involving the South and West Gippsland Transport Group is continuing to lobby and work collaboratively with key stakeholders and governments to reinstate rail services that focuses on improving transport accessibility in the region.
V/Line bus terminus
Leongatha Railway Station is used as a terminus for the V/Line Road Coach service, and as a stop on the Coach route to Yarram. The railway station toilet facilities have recently become available to V-Line bus passengers, as the buses have no toilets.
Trains from Leongatha
Leongatha is part of the South Gippsland Tourist Railway service, which provides trains for visitors on Sundays and public holidays. In school holiday periods, trains are also run on Wednesdays.
Leongatha is part of the journey for special trains run as "Dream Come True" (Driver Experience), Dinner Trains and Summer Shopping Shuttles to and from Korumburra.
V/Line coach services
A VicLink-issued timetable provided for additional bus services from Spencer Street Station in Melbourne to Leongatha and Yarram. These were promised to compensate for the government not re-opening the railway to Leongatha for passenger services, despite it forming part of a key regional public transport program of the former Labor government back in 2002.
The present timetabled services provide for 8 coach services daily, four of which continue through to the former railway terminus at Yarram. Weekend timetables provide for four services on each of Saturday and Sunday.
The increased timetable had proven popular, with some services needing two coaches to cope with the traffic.
- Sid Brown (March 1990). "Tracks Across the State". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). pp. 71–76.
- Chris Banger (March 1997). "Rail Passenger Service Withdrawals Since 1960". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). pp. 77–82.
- "Regional Network Development Plan feedback hears calls for better country public transport, reopened passenger lines – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. 13 July 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-19.
- "Priority Projects for Support" (PDF). Southgippsland.vic.gov.au. June 2013. Retrieved 2015-08-19.
- "Appendix 2–10 : Information Provided to Aurecon" (PDF). Mpa.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 2015-08-19.
-  Archived 27 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
-  Archived 27 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
- "PTUA Newsletter" (PDF). Ptua.org.au. January 1985. Retrieved 2015-08-19.
|South Gippsland Tourist Railway line|
|← Previous Station||Korumburra|||||End of tourist services||Terminus|
|South Gippsland line|
|← Previous Station||Ruby|||||Koonwarra||Next Station →|