Port Melbourne railway line, Melbourne

VictorianRailwayLineInfobox
type = mel
name = Port Melbourne
yearcommenced =
yearopened = September 1854
yearcompleted =
yearclosed = 1987
fate = Converted to tram route 109
lengthkm =
stations =
tracks = Double track
users =
servicepattern =
RollingStock =
connections = St Kilda line

The Port Melbourne railway line is a former suburban railway in Melbourne, Australia. The line was the first significant railway in Australia and was opened by the Melbourne and Hobson's Bay Railway Company to carry passengers arriving in Victoria at Station Pier, and to alleviate the high cost of shipping goods using small vessels up the Yarra River to Melbourne.

Construction

Work began on laying the railway in March 1853. Trains were ordered from Robert Stephenson and Company of the United Kingdom, but the first train was locally built by Robertson, Martin and Smith, because of shipping delays. Australia's first steam locomotive was built in ten weeks and cost £2,700.

Opening

The line was opened in September 1854 (three years after the discovery of gold at Ballarat) and ran for 4km from the Melbourne (or City) Terminus (on the site of modern day Flinders Street Station), crossing the Yarra River on the original Sandridge Bridge to Sandridge (now Port Melbourne).

The opening of the line occurred during the period of the Victorian gold rush - a time when both Melbourne and Victoria undertook massive capital works, each with its own gala opening. The inaugural journey on the Sandridge line was no exception. According to the Argus newspaper's report of the next day: "Long before the hour appointed ... a great crowd assembled round the station at the Melbourne terminus, lining the whole of Flinders Street". Lieutenant-Governor Sir Charles Hotham and Lady Hotham were aboard the train - which consisted of two first class carriages and one second class - and were presented with satin copies of the railway's timetable and bylaws.

The trip took 10 minutes, none of the later stations along the line having been built. On arriving at Station Pier (onto which the tracks extended), it was hailed with gun-salutes by the warships HMS "Electra" and HMS "Fantome".

ubsequent history

By March 1855, the four engines ordered from the UK were all in service, with trains running every half-hour. They were named "Melbourne", "Sandridge", "Victoria", and "Yarra" (after the Yarra River over which the line crossed).

The line was taken over by the Government of Victoria in 1878 to become part of Victorian Railways. The line was electrified in the 20th century.

Closure

The line was closed in 1987, along with the St Kilda railway line and replaced by light rail. The last passenger service ran on October 10, 1987 and the last freight service run to Montague on October 16, with the official opening of the light rail line being on December 18, 1987.cite journal
year = 1997
month = March
title = Rail Passenger Service Withdrawals Since 1960
author = Chris Banger
journal = Newsrail
publisher = Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division)
pages = pages 77–82
] [cite journal
year = 1988
month = January
title = Traffic
journal = Newsrail
publisher = Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division)
pages = page 22
]

Melbourne tram route 109 now operates on the converted track. The section from Southbank Junction to Port Melbourne was converted to light rail, requiring the conversion from broad gauge RailGauge|1600 used by the Melbourne rail network to standard gauge RailGauge|sg tram track as well as reducing the overhead voltage from 1500V DC to 600V DC required for the trams. Additionally, low level platforms were built on the sites of the former stations to accommodate the trams which contained steps to street level. Low floor trams have since been introduced to the route.

Line guide

Bold stations are termini.

References

* [http://museumvictoria.com.au/railways/pdf/sandridge_railway_trail.pdf Sandridge Railway Trail] : rail map, notes and history
*Cite web |url=http://www.vrhistory.com/VRMaps/Vic1950.pdf |title=Victorian Railways 1950s map |publisher=Victorian Railways Resources |format=PDF


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