Tocumwal railway station
Station platform from the eastern (disused standard gauge) side
Tocumwal is a closed railway station in the town of Tocumwal, New South Wales, Australia. It was once the break-of-gauge between the broad gauge Victorian Railways Tocumwal line from the south, and the standard gauge New South Wales Government Railways Tocumwal line from the north, but only the line from Victoria is opened today.
Local agitation for a railway to Tocumwal dates as far back as 1899, when a deputation visited Melbourne, with the Minister for Railways supporting the project. The railway line from Strathmerton was opened to the south bank of the Murray River at Tocumwal on 28 February 1905. However, the railway was not extended north into Tocumwal itself and the current station until 1908, due to the lack of agreement between the two state governments. Later, broad gauge lines into New South Wales were built under the 1922 Border Railways Act.
In April 1906, the Premiers of the two states agreed that the line would be built by Victoria, the road bridge over the Murray would be rebuilt, NSW would acquire the land for the extension, while they would jointly fund the works. Work commenced in 1907 on the short extension, the first train running on July 8, 1908. Facilities included a weighbridge, 53 feet (16 m) long turntable, passenger and goods platform, and goods shed.
New South Wales extended their standard gauge line from Finley southwards to Tocumwal in 1914, providing their own separate facilities on the eastern side of the station yard. At the time, controversy arose into whether broad or standard gauge track should be used for the extension, with residents north of Tocumwal wanting the break of gauge to be located in their towns.
In 1915, Tocumwal was the site of early tests with third-rail devices to enable standard gauge and broad gauge trains to share the same tracks. While the track was usable, it was not adopted due to the complexity, but other third rail systems have since emerged. In 1941, the New South Wales station platform was removed to make way for gantry cranes, with the platform relocated to the east side of the Victorian building, where it remained until closure. Control and management of the combined station was transferred to the New South Wales Railway department in 1942, Tocumwal having been a Victorian station before this time.
Victorian passenger services to Tocumwal ended on 8 November 1975, with the last train operated by T class diesel locomotive T324 and passenger carriages 3AS–31BE–2AE–22CE. Before this time, the Strathmerton – Cobram section of the line was operated as the "branch line", with a 102hp Walker railmotor connecting with the main line train. A bus service was then introduced for the Tocumwal branch, connecting with the Cobram service. By 1977/78, the service between Cobram and Tocumwal was being operated by a VicRail owned station wagon, driven by the Cobram station master.
The last regular passenger service from New South Wales ran in November 1983, which ran three days a week as a railcar shuttle from Narrandera. The last goods train was in June 1986, traffic ceasing in September 1986 and the line closed in 1988.
The Victorian line was closed in January 1990, due to bushfire damage to wooden bridges, and was not reopened until February 1995. The same year, Gray's Container Terminal opened in the station yard across from the platform, with regular trains operating to Melbourne, carrying containerised freight. The line has also been a regular destination for heritage passenger trains, by groups such as the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre.
In 1996, the Berrigan Shire Council obtained a lease over the station building, with a grant of $10,000 made available for restoration work. It is now the site of a small railway museum displaying the history of the local area.
Bridge over the Murray
The bridge over the Murray River opened in 1895, and was constructed by the NSW Public Works Department. It has three spans, the centre span having an opening lift for navigation. Initially provided for road traffic only, it was strengthened for rail traffic in 1908, and was used for both road and rail traffic until November 1987. A concrete road bridge was provided for road traffic a short distance upstream, with the old bridge used for rail traffic only since that time.
When opened, monthly lifting of the centre span was carried out for testing purposes. When the bridge was made a rail/road bridge, the span was always kept down unless river traffic needed it. By 1930, river traffic declined, and so by 1944, the monthly lifting was altered to yearly. In 1951, it was proposed to keep the span closed, the last lift for river traffic being in 1933, and no maintenance lifting having been carried out for a decade. In September 1977, both state governments agreed to keep it fixed, and removed requirement for being able to lift it. Easter 1995 celebrations including operation of the lift span.
- Various Contributors (2007). Tocumwal 150 Years.
- Bob Whitehead (2008). Tocumwal Railway Centenary.
- Early Tests of Third Rail Devices at Tocumwal Buckland, John L. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin March, 1949 pp8-9
- Chris Banger (March 1997). "Rail Passenger Service Withdrawals Since 1960". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). pp. 77–82.
- "Tocumwal Branch". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- "VICSIG - Infrastructure - Line Data Tocumwal line". www.vicsig.net. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- "Roads, ports and freight - Studies into potential intermodal locations". www.transport.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- "Seymour Railway Heritage Centre - Tours 2008 - SRHC Picnic Train - Seymour to Tocumwal". www.srhc.org.au. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- "Tocumwal Bridge over Murray River". www.rta.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
|Closed station navigation|
|Tocumwal line (VR broad gauge)|
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|Tocumwal line (NSWGR standard gauge)|
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