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- Rail transport in Victoria - Wikipedia
- Rail transport in Victoria
The suburban network expanded to the east from Princes Bridge to Richmond in , then later to Brighton and Hawthorn by the early s. In Colonial Parliament passed The Railway Construction Act , which authorised fifty-nine new lines to almost every corner of the colony, and thus became known as the Octopus Act.
The proposed lines would serve both new agricultural towns and support suburban land speculation.
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In the A2 class steam locomotive was introduced. There were locomotives in this class and they were Victorian Railway's main passenger locomotive until the arrival of the diesel electric B class in Electrification of the Melbourne suburban network was also carried out, with the first train running in Despite the World War I , significant extensions of rail lines were carried out, particularly in the wheat growing areas in the north west and west.
The new lengthy parallel lines were considered to be cheaper to operate than the numerous short spurs such as those in the Goulburn Valley. From to , the Better Farming Train made 38 tours promoting improved agricultural practices. The Victorian Railways biggest steam locomotive H Heavy Harry entered service in ,  at a time when the railways were struggling with the needs of the war effort.
On 14 July the VR entered the diesel era , with the delivery of the first B class mainline locomotive,  with the commissioning of the first mainline electrification scheme in Australia in July to Warragul. In the s the break of gauge at Albury was eliminated, with the opening of the North East standard gauge line in At the same time the sixties was also the end of steam, with the demolition of the massive North Melbourne Locomotive Depot on 20 January On 20 July the Laverton derailment occurred, killing one passenger, in what was the last railway passenger fatality not involving a road vehicle.
The s saw corporatisation of the Victorian Railways carried out, with the railway commissioners replaced by VicRail and later government authorities.
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New liveries on trains were unveiled, as elderly "red rattlers" were replaced by new trains. It was also the end of an era, with freight trains having their guards vans and guards abolished from , and the carriage of livestock ended in New locomotive were also introduced, with the G and N classes enabling the retirement of many of the 1st generation diesels. Cuts continued to the rail network, with larger centralised silos in the north western area of the state, and replacement of traditional safeworking systems by systems that required no local staff saw further stations de-manned.
The s saw costs further reduced on the rail network. Guards were removed from passenger trains in , and driver only suburban trains commenced running in , with the last suburban train crewed by a guard running in November Victorian Premier Steve Bracks negotiated a premature end to the "under-rail" Victorian country Broad Gauge network lease just minutes before the caretaker mode began before the state election of November Part of the negotiation involved Victoria contributing money for the track to be upgraded and standardised and for Wodonga to be bypassed.
Today, the state consists of four networks: The trunk railway lines of Victoria are double track, some built as such, and others duplicated later on. Early sections of the suburban network were double track , with later additions being single track that were later duplicated. The Bendigo and Geelong—Ballarat mainlines were both built as double track in the s, but were singled in the s and first decade of the 21st century respectively. The north-east line to Seymour was duplicated in the mids  and remains so today, the Gippsland line to Moe was duplicated in the s in conjunction with increased briquette traffic,  and the busiest country line in the state to Geelong was progressively duplicated from to Few railway tunnels exist in Victoria, with the exception of the Melbourne City Loop.
The longest tunnel before the opening of the loop was on the Fyansford Cement Works Railway near Geelong , where a metre long tunnel existed on a narrow gauge quarry railway. On the interstate railway corridors there are independent sections of track due to the use of both broad and standard gauges in the state, these sections being from Melbourne to Seymour and on to Albury constructed in the s , and Melbourne to Geelong completed in The gauge issue also sees dual gauge track used, in areas including Maryborough , North Geelong, and various freight terminals in Melbourne.
Efforts to eliminate the gauge issue were proposed many times in the intervening years, with a Royal Commission in deciding " that the gauge of 4-ft. By the s, interstate traffic was suffering from the break-of-gauge at the New South Wales state border, and a parallel standard gauge line was opened from the Melbourne to join the New South Wales system in , along with a bogie exchange depot to allow wagons to operate across the broad and standard gauge networks.
Today the standard gauge network consists of the two main interstate lines, and a number of branch lines in the far west of the state. Conversion of the regional and suburban passenger networks is not envisioned. The Victorian loading gauge for vehicles is sized between that of British and American practices.
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Wagons may be up to Victoria uses a mix of railway signalling practices: British route signalling with home and distant signals 2 position signalling and American speed signalling 3 position signalling. Semaphore signals were used on the very first railway lines, but only a bare minimum were provided as the time interval system being relied upon instead.
The design of the signals also progressed, with the disc type siding signals first introduced in ,  and the lower quadrant somersault type main line signals adopted in ,  both of which are still in use today. Green was not adopted as the All Right colour until , with white being used before this time. The safeworking of trains between stations on the early lines was time interval working,  where a train would be allowed to leave a given time after the train before it. With heavier traffic this method became unsafe, with Staff and Ticket working on single lines adopted from , and telegraph block working from on double lines.
Telegraphic block working was then replaced with Winters Block working between and ,  a system that is a predecessor of the Double line Block system which is still used today. Later years saw variations made to the Staff and Ticket system, with busier lines provided with Electric Staff working which provided greater safely when more trains ran. Heavier suburban traffic on the Melbourne network saw a greater strain on the block working then used, which required a large number of manned signal boxes to enable trains to run close together. Introduced from , the system was based on American speed signalling practice with GRS2A upper quadrant mechanical signals with two arms able to indicate up to 5 different speed aspects to train drivers.
A variant of the Automatic Block System , Automatic and Track Control ATC has since been introduced, which provides the same benefits as ABS on single lines of track, while still ensuring only one train in a section at a time. Centralised Traffic Control was also introduced in the s on the new standard gauge line to Albury,  and then on the main interstate line to Adelaide, allowing trains to be directed from a distance. Today little mechanical signalling remains, with local signal boxes controlling signals abolished from many areas as part of the Regional Fast Rail project.
Rollingstock in Victoria has used air braking since tests of continuous train brakes were carried out in In Victoria groups of locomotives of the same design are classed together by letter, in a system introduced in In some cases locomotives have been renumbered to keep number blocks continuous, and in some cases there is no correlation between the number blocks used for the steam and diesel locomotives of the same class letter.
The first locomotives used in the state were small steam locomotives , and by the end of the 19th century tender engines were used on goods, and configurations for passenger workings. As the size of train increased, so did the locomotives. The wheel arrangement became popular for passenger and mixed traffic work with the D3 and A2 classes , and the arrangement on goods with the K , J and C classes lasting into the s.
Although they were of more modern design, their advantages were overshadowed by the simultaneous arrival of the first diesels. Electric locomotives were first acquired with the electrification of the suburban railways, the E class suburban engines acquired in and —29, followed by the L class from when the mainline to Traralgon was electrified for briquette traffic. Dieselisation occurred from with the F class shunter , but the B and S classes of and revolutionised main line operations. By the s the first generation locomotives were approaching the end of their lives, with the electric locomotives withdrawn by ,  and the modern N and G classes allowing the withdrawal of lower power T and Y classes.
Freight operations have seen the re-powering of the G and X classes , as well as the restoration to service of stored locomotives, now up to 50 years old. Early passenger services were operated with 4 and 6 wheeled "dogbox" passenger carriage with small compartments and no side corridors.
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Later years saw the provision of side corridors to provide access down the train, and onboard toilets. Sleeping carriages was first introduced in ,  and dining cars from Larger bogie rollingstock started to appear from the turn of the 20th century,  with the E type carriage stock introduced on The Overland ,  and smaller W type carriage stock on intrastate trains. The first air conditioned carriage was introduced in , when one of the E type carriages was fitted.
On the Melbourne suburban network Electric Multiple Units were introduced speeding up services. Experiments were also made with various diesel and petrol railcars for use smaller branch lines, with the DERM being the most successful, remaining in service from to A fleet of Walker railcars was also introduced in the s, along with Z type saloon carriage stock  for both intra and interstate trains.
By the s country passenger services were run down, and older wooden rolling stock was now approaching their use by date. As a result, the N type carriages were introduced from ,  followed by the converted H type stock from Early wagons were built on four wheeled under frames, but from bogie vehicles begun to appear.
The last four wheeled open wagons were built in ,  but were not scrapped in large numbers until the s when new bogie wagons replaced them.
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After World War I road competition increased, until in legislation was passed to regulate trucks competing with rail on specific routes. By , the only remaining general containerised freight services on the intrastate network were operated to Warrnambool, to Dooen, to Merbein and Donald, and to Tocumwal, all originating from the Port of Melbourne and running between three and five times per week. Other intrastate rail traffic was primarily specialised bulk freight, including mineral sands between Hopetoun, Hamilton and Portland in the state's west; export rice between Deniliqiun and the Port of Melbourne; paper between Australian Paper Mills in Maryvale and Melbourne; and steel to BlueScope Steel plants at Hastings and Somerton.
The first railways in Victoria were operated by private companies, but when these companies failed or defaulted, Victorian Railways took over. The Victorian Railways was initially known as the "Department of Railways" from the first appointment of staff in , and on 1 November the Victorian Railways Commissioners Act established the "Victorian Railways". This situation remained until May when the Railways Amendment Act passed the management of the Railways from the Victorian Railways Commissioners to a Victorian Railways Board,  with rebranding as VicRail following in While several rail services were replaced by road coach services, West Coast Railway successfully tendered to operate the railway line to Warrnambool , becoming the first private operator in Victoria.
This allowed new rail freight operators to establish operations in Victoria. Specialised Container Transport commenced operating trains to Perth in ,  and Great Northern Rail Services started intrastate operations. Privatisation of the Public Transport Corporation commenced under the Kennett Government of the s. These separate bodies were all sold separately in The government temporarily resumed control of its systems through receivers and decided to retender the metropolitan rail network to a single operator; Connex won the contract and took control of the entire metropolitan system in February In December Pacific National announced plans to sell or close its grain transport and Portlink rural container business operations in Victoria.
In Gippsland the Orbost line was constructed as an extension of suburban lines between and to Bairnsdale , and extended eastwards to Orbost in The North East line originated from a suburban line to Essendon in , being extended to Wodonga by , connecting with the New South Wales Government Railways at Albury at a break-of-gauge in The Bendigo line was completed in , with extensions were opened to Echuca in , and Swan Hill in ,  followed by a number of lines throughout the north-west corner of the state.
Rail transport in Victoria - Wikipedia
The Main Western line had its beginnings in the first railway line from Melbourne to Ballarat, the Geelong-Ballarat line that opened in Further branch lines followed to Portland and other western towns. The line formed the first intercolonial railway line in Australia , when it was extended to the South Australian Railways at Serviceton in Up until the s the Ballarat line was on the main route between Melbourne and Adelaide, as well as The Overland services to Adelaide, until the One Nation Program rerouted the main interstate line via Geelong and Maroona as standard gauge.
The Warrnambool line was started when the Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company opened the Geelong line to Newport in , being extended to Spencer Street station in A small number of private railways have also existed at various times. Other country branch lines were also built by private companies: In addition to the main Victorian rail network of the Victorian Railways and successors, a number of narrow gauge private railways and tramways have also existed for logging and mining purposes.
Rail transport in Victoria
Most logging tramways operated in the Otway Ranges , Gippsland ,  and the inner east of the Great Dividing Range ; primarily between the s and the s, with only one surviving into the s. Organised railway preservation commenced in Victoria with the formation of the Puffing Billy Preservation Society in , and operating under the Emerald Tourist Railway Board from The demise of the last of the steam locomotives in Victoria commenced in the s, with the Australian Railway Historical Society and Association of Railway Enthusiasts working with the Victorian Railways to have a number of locomotives preserved for the future.
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