Oaklands railway line, Victoria

The Oaklands railway line is a freight only railway line in north eastern Victoria, Australia. The line branches from the main North East railway at Benalla station until it connects with the New South Wales railway network at Oaklands, New South Wales.

Oaklands railway
TypeV/Line passenger service
Line length64 km (39.8 mi) in Victoria and 61 km (37.9 mi) in NSW


The line opened in 1883 as a 32-kilometre (20 mi) branch line to St James along with the extension of the main line to Albury in New South Wales, being extended another 32 kilometres (20 mi) to Yarrawonga on the south shore of the Murray River in 1886,[1] which formed the colonial and later state boundary between Victoria and New South Wales. Under the 1922 Border Railways Act the line was extended another 61 kilometres to Oaklands, New South Wales in 1938, where it formed a break-of-gauge with the existing New South Wales branch line.[1] This break of gauge station included warehouse and other facilities of a military nature which are best located at breaks of gauge. The last regular passenger service on the line was between Benalla and Yarrawonga on 13 October 1979, operated by DERM 55RM.[2]

With the opening of the North East standard gauge line in 1961,[3] the line had standard gauge track at both ends, in addition to the broad gauge via Benalla. Gauge conversion of the line was proposed at various times, including by the Victorian State Government in 2001 with a proposed completion data of late 2003.[4] The last broad gauge train to run on the line was a Pacific National grain service in May 2007.[5]

In 2008, agreement was reached to convert the North East railway line from broad gauge to standard gauge, which would have left the Oaklands branch as an isolated useless spur.[6] The local MP reported that the cost of converting this 125 km (77.7 mi) branch to standard gauge was just over $13m.[7] In October 2008 the Victorian State Government announced that an upgrade would take place.[8] The conversion was completed in December 2009 at a cost of $16.5 million with nearly 50,000 sleepers replaced. The first revenue service on the converted line was an El Zorro grain train on 10 March.[9]


The line carries seasonal wheat harvest (grain) traffic. There is no passenger service. There is a potential for a new source of traffic on the line with the opening of coal mines in the area, with Coalworks having thermal coal reserves of 640,000,000 tonnes (629,900,000 long tons; 705,500,000 short tons) at Oaklands.[10]


(border) Murray River bridge replaced 1989[12]

See also



  1. Sid Brown (March 1990). "Tracks Across the State". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). pp. 71–76.
  2. Chris Banger (March 1997). "Rail Passenger Service Withdrawals Since 1960". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). pp. 77–82.
  3. "VR History". www.victorianrailways.net. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
  4. "BRACKS GOVT ENDS 120 YEARS OF DIFFERENT RAIL GAUGES". Media Release from the Minister for Transport. www.budget.vic.gov.au. 15 May 2001. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
  5. "North East Line to Standard Gauge". Railpage Australia Forums. www.railpage.com.au. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
  6. "Premier of Victoria, Australia - FEDERAL-STATE CO-OPERATION DELIVERS MAJOR RAIL PROJECT". www.premier.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
  7. Ken Jasper MLA, Member for Murray Valley - Jasper supports Oaklands rail line upgrade Archived 18 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  8. "Government announces rail upgrade". The Border Mail. www.bordermail.com.au. 20 October 2008. Retrieved 20 October 2008.
  9. "First grain train on standard-gauge Oaklands Line". Railway Digest. Australian Railway Historical Society (NSW Division): 15. May 2010.
  10. Robin Bromby (6 October 2008). "Coal shaping up as black gold". The Australian. www.theaustralian.news.com.au. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
  11. Street-Directory.com.au
  12. Yarrawonga-Mulwala Tourism - have a holiday at Lake Mulwala, you'll love every minute of it!

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