Main Southern railway line, New South Wales

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As originally New South Wales and Victoria had different railway gauges, this meant that all travellers in either direction had to change trains at Albury.  To accommodate these changes, a very long railway platform was needed; the covered platform is one of the longest in Australia.
As originally New South Wales and Victoria had different railway gauges, this meant that all travellers in either direction had to change trains at Albury. To accommodate these changes, a very long railway platform was needed; the covered platform is one of the longest in Australia.

The Main Southern Railway is a major railway in New South Wales, Australia. It runs through the Southern Highlands, Southern Tablelands, South West Slopes and the Riverina regions.


[edit] Description of route

The Main Southern Railway commences as an electrified pair of tracks in the Sydney metropolitan area. Originally the line branched from the Main Suburban railway line at Granville, passing through the suburbs of Fairfield and Cabramatta to Liverpool. However this section was later bypassed with a more direct route from Lidcombe via Regents Park to Cabramatta and then on to Liverpool. The former route through Fairfield became known as the Old Main South. From Liverpool, the line heads in a southerly direction to Campbelltown and Macarthur, the current limit of electrification and electrified passenger services. The line continues as a double non-electrified track south through the Southern Highlands towns of Mittagong and Goulburn to Junee on the Southern Plains. The line is controlled from Junee by the Australian Rail Track Corporation. Here the line becomes single track for the remainder of its journey south to the state border with Victoria at Albury. The line then continues through northern Victoria to Melbourne.

[edit] Development of the line

In 1855 the first railway in New South Wales, the Sydney - Granville railway opened (see Rail transport in New South Wales). On 26 September 1856, the first anniversary of this line, a branch was opened from what was known as Parramatta Junction (the present day Granville) to Liverpool. This line was extended to Campbelltown in 1858, Picton in 1863, Mittagong in 1867, Marulan in 1868, Goulburn in 1869, Yass Junction in 1876, Galong, Harden-Murrumburrah and Cootamundra in 1877 and Junee and Bomen (on the north bank of the Murrumbidgee River) in 1878. The Murrumbidgee River Rail Bridge was completed in 1881[1] and the line was extended to Wagga Wagga, Uranquinty, The Rock, Henty and Albury in 1881.[2] Victorian Railways broad gauge line from Wodonga was extended to Albury station in 1883. To accommodate the break of gauge, a very long railway platform was needed; the covered platform is one of the longest in Australia (photograph to the right).

The section between Picton and Mittagong was replaced by a less direct route in 1919 to ease the steep grades of the original alignment, and the old line became known as the Picton- Mittagong loop railway line which is now largely closed. Other sections of the original Great South Line between Goulburn and Wagga Wagga were also replaced by more curvy sections with lower grades in the early 20th century, including a rail spiral at Bethungra.

[edit] Branches

A branch line were opened from Goulburn to Bungendore in 1885, Queanbeyan in 1887, Cooma in 1889, Nimmitabel in 1912 and Bombala in 1921.[3] This line south of Queanbeyan served largely pastoral country and therefore it did not have any major freight traffic and it was closed in 1986. An 8 km branch line from Queanbeyan to Canberra was opened in 1914.[4] A 34 km branch line from Bungendore to Captains Flat was opened in 1940 and closed in 1969, a few years after the closure of the local mines.[5]

A branch line was opened from Goulburn to Crookwell in 1902; it closed in 1985.[6] A branch line was opened off it from a junction at Roslyn to Taralga in 1926; it closed in 1957.[7]

A 5km-long branch was opened from Yass Junction to Yass in 1892 and it closed about 1958.[8] A 610mm gauge line was built in about 1907 from Goondah (between Bowning and Binalong) to Burrinjuck for the construction of the Burrinjuck Dam and closed in 1929, following the completion of construction.[9] A branch line was opened from Galong to Boorowa in 1915[10] and closed in 1987.[11] A line was opened between Demondrille (14 km "south" of Harden) and Young in 1885, and extended to Cowra in 1886 and Blayney on the Main Western Line in 1888.[12] A branch was built from Koorawatha Junction (31 km south of Cowra) to Grenfell in 1901.[13] This line is now closed beyond Greenthorpe. A branch was built from Cowra to Canowindra in 1910 and Eugowra in 1922, but is now closed.[14]

A branch line was completed from Cootamundra to Stockinbingal and Temora in 1893, Barmedan and Wyalong in 1903, and West Wyalong, Ungarie and Lake Cargelligo in 1917.[15] A line was completed from Stockinbingal to Caragabal in 1916 and Forbes in 1918,[16] which is now part of the main route for freight trains between Sydney and Perth. A branch line was completed from Temora to Barellan in 1908, Griffith in 1916, Hillston in 1923 and the Broken Hill line at Roto in 1931. The line between Hillston and Roto was closed in 1986.[17] A branch line was completed from Barmedan to Rankins Springs in 1923.[18] A branch line was completed from Wyalong to Burcher in 1929.[19] A branch line was opened from Ungarie to Naradhan in 1929.[20]

Another branch line was completed from Cootamundra to Gundagai in 1886 and extended to Tumut in 1903,[21] and a branch from it was built to Batlow and Kunama in 1923. The line past Batlow was closed 1957 and the rest were closed after flood damage in 1984.[22] This branch and the Wagga Wagga - Tumbarumba line climbed the foothills of the Australian Alps, were expensive to maintain and did not have the grain traffic that supported the westerly branches.

A branch line was completed from Junee to Narrandera, Yanco and Wilbriggie in 1881 and Hay in 1882. The line west of Wilbriggie was closed in 1985.[23] A branch was completed from Narrandera to Jerilderie in 1884 and Finley and Tocumwal in 1898.[24] The Victorian Railways were extended to Tocumwal in 1908, creating a break-of-gauge. The branch from Narrandera to Tocumwal is now closed, although proposed for reopening as part of a standard gauge inland route between Managalore, Victoria; Parkes, New South Wales; Toowoomba, Queensland and Brisbane. A connection was completed between Yanco and Griffith on the line between Cootamundra, Hillston and Roto in 1922.[25] This line is still used by passenger trains once a week.

[edit] Branches south of Junee


A branch line was completed from Wagga Wagga to Tarcutta in 1917 and Tumbarumba in 1921.[26] This was closed in 1974. A branch line was opened from Uranquinty to Kywong in 1929 and closed in 1975.[27] A branch line was opened from The Rock to Lockhart in 1901 and Oaklands in 1912.[28] The Victorian Railways 1600mm gauge line was extended to Oaklands in 1938, creating a break-of-gauge. The line has been closed beyond Boree Creek. Another branch line was opened from The Rock to Westby in 1925 and closed in 1952 and 1956.[29] A branch line was opened from Henty to Rand in 1920.[30] A branch line was opened from Culcairn to Corowa in 1892 and closed in the 1990s.[31] Another branch was opened from Culcairn to Holbrook in 1902 and closed in the 1980s.[32]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Murrumbidgee River Rail Bridge, Wagga Wagga, NSW. Australian Heritage Database. Department of the Environment and Heritage. Retrieved on 2007-01-30.
  2. ^ Main South Line. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  3. ^ Bombala Line. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  4. ^ Canberra Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  5. ^ Captains Flat Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  6. ^ Crookwell Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  7. ^ Taralga Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  8. ^ Yass Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-12.
  9. ^ Goondah - Burrinjuck Line. Retrieved on 2006-12-12.
  10. ^ Boorowa Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  11. ^ Date, Ken; Dominik Giemza (December 2006). "Southern Semaphore Swansong". Railway Digest 44 (12). 
  12. ^ Blayney - Demondrille Line. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  13. ^ Grenfell Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  14. ^ Eugowra Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  15. ^ Lake Cargelligo Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  16. ^ Stockinbingal - Parkes Line. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  17. ^ Temora - Roto Line. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  18. ^ Rankins Springs Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  19. ^ Burcher Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  20. ^ Naradhan Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  21. ^ Tumut Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  22. ^ Kunama Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  23. ^ Hay Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  24. ^ Tocumwal Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  25. ^ Yanco - Griffith Line. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  26. ^ Tumbarumba Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  27. ^ Kywong Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  28. ^ Oaklands Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  29. ^ Westby Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  30. ^ Rand Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  31. ^ Corowa Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  32. ^ Holbrook Branch. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.

Railway Lines of New South Wales
Flag of NSW

Main Lines Broken Hill Line | Main Northern Line | Main Southern Line | Main Western Line | North Coast Line | South Coast (Illawarra) Line
Country Branch Lines Berrima Line | Binnaway-Gwabegar Line | Blayney - Demondrille Line | Bombala Line | BHP Port Kembla | Binnaway-Werris Creek Line | Boggabilla Branch
Canberra Branch | Cobar Branch | Coonamble Branch | Grenfell Branch | Hay Branch | Lake Cargelligo Branch | Medway Quarry Branch | Merriwa Branch
Mungindi Line | Murwillumbah Branch | Naradhan Branch | Oaklands Branch
Parkes - Narromine Line | Picton Loop Line | Pokataroo Branch | Sandy Hollow - Gulgong Line | Skitube | Stockinbingal - Parkes Line | Temora - Roto Line | Tottenham Branch | Troy Junction - Merrygoen Line | Unanderra - Moss Vale Line | Walgett Branch | Wallerawang- Gulgong (via Mudgee) Line | Wallerawang Colliery Branch | Warren Branch | Yanco - Griffith Line
Sydney Passenger Lines Airport & East Hills Line | Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line (Eastern Suburbs Line, Illawarra Line, Cronulla Line)
Bankstown Line | Carlingford Line | Cumberland Line | Inner West Line | North Shore Line | Northern Line
Olympic Park Line | South Line | Western Line (Richmond Line)
Closed Sydney Lines Camden Line | Ropes Creek Line | Royal National Park Line | Rogans Hill Line
Sydney Freight Lines Metropolitan Goods Line | Sandown Line | Southern Sydney Freight Line
Intercity & Regional Lines Blue Mountains Line | Hunter Lines | Newcastle & Central Coast Line | South Coast Line | Southern Highlands Line
Under Construction
or Planning
CBD Rail Link | Epping to Chatswood Line | North West Rail Link | South West Rail Link
Rail transport in New South Wales | Transport in New South Wales |  v  d  e