Mansfield railway line
|Type||V/Line passenger service|
|Former connections||Joined North East line at Tallarook, Alexandra line branched off at Cathkin.|
|Opened||1883 to Yea, extended|
from Yea in 1889
reaching Mansfield in 1891.
|Completed||1891 to Mansfield|
Branch to Alexandra in 1909.
|Closed||8 November 1978|
|Number of tracks||Single|
The Mansfield railway line was a branch line in the Goulburn Valley of northern Victoria, Australia, branching from the main North East line at Tallarook station and heading east into mountainous territory.
The first stage of the line was opened from Tallarook to Yea in 1883, being extended in stages from 1889 though Molesworth, Cathkin, Merton and Maindample to reach Mansfield in 1891, located 117 kilometres from the junction. A short 7 kilometre long branch was also opened from Cathkin to Koriella in 1890, being extended another 7 kilometres to Alexandra in 1909.
The line was a result of a decade of local lobbying, and provided improved access for agricultural products from the region to Melbourne markets. The line was quite scenic and included a 200 m tunnel near Cheviot and a viaduct over an arm of the Lake Eildon reservoir near Bonnie Doon, which was rebuilt in 1955 as part of the enlarging of the reservoir.
The last regular passenger service operated to Mansfield on 28 May 1977 by 280hp Walker railmotor 91 RM. It was replaced by a bus service via Yarra Glen, but was rerouted via Whittlesea after road upgrades were carried out. By this point the track had deteriorated beyond Yea, and after March 1977 the majority of services beyond this point were buses.
The line was closed on 8 November 1978 along with the branch line to Alexandra. The line was quickly dismantled following closure, preventing any chance of tourist services from operating along the line despite some interest being shown. Many bridges along the line were also removed with only the uprights remaining. The line has since been reopened as a 134 kilometre bike trail, the Goulburn River High Country rail trail. The trail was funded by the Federal Government and local councils.
- Sid Brown (March 1990). "Tracks Across the State". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). pp. 71–76.
- Mansfield Historical Society. "History of Mansfield". home.vicnet.net.au. Archived from the original on 22 May 2006. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
- "Rail Trails News - Old Railway at Bonnie Doon". www.railtrails.org.au. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
- Chris Banger (March 1997). "Rail Passenger Service Withdrawals Since 1960". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). pp. 77–82.
- "Mansfield Line". www.vicrailstations.com. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
- "Goulburn River High Country Rail Trails - Trail Description". www.railtrails.org.au. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
- "$14 million Project Announced to Complete Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail (Vic)". Railtrails Australia. 29 April 2009.