South Line, Tasmania

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South Line
The South Line, travelling north under
the newly completed Brighton Bypass.
Type Heavy rail
Termini Hobart
Bell Bay Line
Western Line
Opened 1876
Owner Government of Tasmania
Operator(s) TasRail
Track length 199.1 km (123.7 mi)
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Route map
Left arrow
Western Line
to Burnie
Bell Bay Line
Bell Bay
Right arrow
Western Junction
Snake Banks
Midland Highway
Epping Forest
Fingal Line
to Fingal
Right arrow
Campbell Town
Antill Ponds
York Plains
Lord's Coal Mine
Eastern Marshes
Left arrow
Oatlands Line
to Oatlands
Summit (
1526 m
1669 yd
Rhyndaston Tunnel
Corrigan's Tank
Lower Jerusalem
Richmond Road
Tea Tree Road
Midland Highway
Briggs Road
Jordan River
Midland Highway
Midland Highway
Transport Hub Sinnbild LKW.svg
Rogerville Siding
Left arrow
Derwent Valley Line
to New Norfolk
Midland Highway
Gunns Timber
Austins Ferry
Cadbury Spur
Right arrow
Main Road
Brooker Highway
Main Road
Grove Road
Tasmanian Transport Museum Heritage railway
Elwick Road
Elwick Spur
Elwick Racecourse
Right arrow
Lampton Avenue
Derwent Park
Risdon Line
Right arrow
Derwent Park Road
Albert Road
Tower Road
New Town
Brooker Highway
Tasman Highway
Left arrow
Riverline (proposed)
to Hobart CBD
Hobart Railyards Sinnbild LKW grau.svg

The South Line, also known as the Main Line and sometimes the North/South Line or the North–South Line, is a freight rail corridor connecting Hobart to the northern ports of Tasmania.[1] The Railway Line was built by the Tasmanian Main Line Company.[1] The route of the railway travels some reasonably poor topography, particularly in the southern section.


When building the railway Line the company had limited finances, the line was built to the 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) Narrow Gauge and included long sections of steep gradients and sharp curves. The final eighteen kilometres of the route from Western Junction to Launceston used the existing Broad gauge alignment of the Launceston and Western Railway, with a third rail being laid for use by the narrow gauge trains. The Railway Line was officially opened on 1 November 1876. As Tasmania has a very competitive Road Transport industry and a modern road network, only limited deviations have been built in the Main line's 125-year history. Although the line still follows the original alignment, the standard of the track has improved by the use of heavier rail welded into long lengths, steel sleepers and better ballast. The line remains in service, and sees multiple freight trains most days, these generally operating Burnie to Boyer and Burnie / Launceston to Hobart and return.[1]


The line commences at the Hobart intermodal Terminal at Maquarie Point, on Hobart's waterfront. The line follows the western side of the River Derwent to Bridgewater, where the river is crossed by the Bridgewater Bridge. From here the line runs generally north east though easy country to Rekuna (between Tea Tree and Campania). From here the often steep and/or twisty climb commences, with little respite for train crews until Rhyndaston and its 1200m long tunnel is passed, some 28 km later. The descent from near Parattah is not as steep or severe as its southern counterpart, although does still include a number of difficult sections including the Tin Dish and Nala deviations which were constructed in the 1930s to lessen gradients, although at the expense of more additional curvature in some sections. North of Antill Ponds, the line roughly parallels the Midland Highway as they both follow the agriculturally rich valley's formed by the Macquarie and South Esk rivers. The South Line finishes at Western Junction near Evandale, where it connects with the Western Line.[1]


A $400,000 feasibility study is currently underway for the possible introduction of commuter trains along the Hobart-Bridgewater end of the rail corridor.[2] The rail corridor will be available for use when the Hobart freight yards are moved to Brighton thus freeing the train lines of most freight trains, although rail freight access to the port at Hobart will be retained for container rail traffic. A state of the art Light rail could then ride the rail corridor creating a new express route to Hobart.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Line". Rail Tasmania. 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  2. ^ "Hobart still on rails". The Mercury. 2007. Retrieved 2010-01-14. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Bus traffic could be diverted to rail". The Mercury. 2008. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-14.