Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company

The Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company was a railway company in Victoria, Australia.

Alexander Thomson, a member of the Victorian Legislative Council, introduced and mentored a bill to incorporate the Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company,[1] which was passed in February 1853.[2] Thomson was one of the directors and presided at the first shareholder meeting.[3]

Work began at the Geelong end in 1854 but progress was slow due to a labour shortage caused by the Victorian gold rush,[4] so the Victorian government hired out 100 prisoners to the company at a daily rate of five shillings each. They were housed in prison hulks moored in Corio Bay.[2]

English engineer and surveyor, Edward Snell, undertook the survey and design of the line, including a station and extensive workshops at Geelong, and a number of bluestone and timber bridges.[5]

On 25 June 1857, the company opened the line from Geelong to a temporary terminus called Greenwich, on the Yarra River at Newport, where passengers had to transfer to a steam ferry for connection to Melbourne.[4] In 1859, train services were extended through from Newport to Spencer Street station after the Victorian Railways opened the Williamstown railway. However, the company continued to operate at a loss, and in June 1860, was sold to the Government of Victoria for £800,000.[4] The Geelong-Melbourne railway then became part of the network operated by the Victorian Railways, which undertook extensive repairs and refurbishment of the line and its infrastructure.[6]

References

  1. "Prospectus of the Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company". The Argus. 29 September 1852. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  2. Harrigan, Leo J. (1962). Victorian Railways to ‘62. Melbourne: Victorian Railways Public Relations and Betterment Board. p. 31.
  3. Serle, Percival (1949). "Thomson, Alexander". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  4. "Geelong & Melbourne Railway Co". Museum Victoria. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  5. Snell, Edward, The life and adventures of Edward Snell, Tom Griffiths (ed), Angus & Robertson and the Library Council of Victoria, Melbourne, 1988.
  6. Harrigan, Leo J. (1962). Victorian Railways to ‘62. Melbourne: Victorian Railways Public Relations and Betterment Board. p. 37.
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