Strzelecki railway line
|Type||V/Line passenger service|
|Former connections||Joined South Gippsland line at Koo Wee Rup|
|Opened||24 June 1922|
|Closed||Closed in 4 stages
22 November 1930
7 August 1941
5 April 1950
4 February 1959
|Line length||49 km (30.4 mi)|
|Number of tracks||Single|
|Strzelecki railway line|
The Strzelecki railway line was a 49 km steam-era branch railway line in Victoria, Australia. The line opened in June 1922, branching off the former Great Southern Railway (South Gippsland line) at Koo Wee Rup Station. The main line branched off the current Pakenham line at Dandenong, extending out into the South Gippsland region.
The line was constructed with 60 lb/yd (29.8 kg/m) 'D' steel rail, using sleepers 8 ft 4 in (2,540 mm) long, 9 in (229 mm) wide and 4 1⁄2 in (114 mm) deep, with nine sleepers being used for every 22 ft 6 in (6.86 m), or 20 sleepers per 45 ft (13.72 m) length of rail, laid on a ballast of sand 6 in (152 mm) deep. Track speed for passenger and freight services was 25 mph (40 km/h).
Opening and description
The Strzelecki line opened on 29 June 1922, serving the farms of the Strzelecki Ranges. Sheep and/or cattle loading facilities were provided at all stations except Heath Hill, with goods loading and storage facilities at all stations except Athlone.
Two years after the line opened, two goods sidings, situated between Koo Wee Rup and Bayles, were provided: Plowrights siding and Water Washed Sand siding. Narrow-gauge tramlines ran from both sidings to the main Koo Wee Rup drain, and were used for transporting river-washed sand to the main line. Both Plowrights and Water Washed Sand sidings closed in 1931.
Bayles was the first station on the line, situated in light scrub just south of the township. The following station was Catani, now just a mound of earth where the platform was. Yannathan platform was 11.5 km from Koo Wee Rup, and Heath Hill was a further 2.4 km along the line. Athlone Quarry Siding, 94.14 km from Koo Wee Rup, was opened with the line, but closed three years later. Athlone station was 2.4 km further along the line, followed by Topiram.
The original terminus station at Strezlecki had a 53-foot turntable. After Strzelecki station's closure, no other station on the line was supplied with a turntable, requiring trains to run tender-first in the down direction and returning to Koo Wee Rup engine-first.
The Strzelecki line turned out to be one of the shorter-lived lines in Victoria. The section between Triholm to Strzelecki closed due to a trestle bridge developing a large sway every time a train ran over it, with the cost of repairs deemed uneconomical in view of the light traffic. The section of track from Yannathan to Triholm was closed on 7 August 1941, after flooding of the Lang Lang River resulted in damage to one of the four trestle bridges over the river. Next to close was the section from Bayles to Yannathan, on 15 April 1950. The line to Bayles was kept open until 4 February 1959 to serve a butter factory.