Piangil railway line

The Piangil railway line is a broad-gauge heavy rail line in northwestern Victoria, Australia. It branches off the Deniliquin line just north of Bendigo in a northwesterly direction through Pyramid Hill and Kerang to the border town of Swan Hill, then roughly parallels the New South Wales border to Piangil and Yungera. The line today is only open to Piangil, although passenger services only operate up to Swan Hill.

Piangil
The line near Pyramid station
Overview
Other name(s)
  • Yungera
  • Swan Hill
TypeHeavy rail
StatusOperational between Piangil and Bendigo, closed beyond Piangil.
LocaleVictoria, Australia
TerminiYungera
Bendigo
Services
Operation
Completed1926 (1926)
OwnerVicTrack
Operator(s)Passenger: V/Line
Freight: Pacific National
Technical
Line length225.2 km (139.9 mi)
Number of tracks1
Track gauge1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
ElectrificationNone
Route map

0.00 km
Southern Cross (SSS)
Zone 1
5.6 km
Footscray (FSY)
Zone 1
25.1 km
Watergardens (SDM)
Zone 2
39.4 km
Sunbury (SBY)
Zone 2
164.2 km
Bendigo (BDG)
Zone 13
172.1 km
Eaglehawk (EAG)*
Zone 13
Myer's Flat (Closed)
Woodvale (Closed)
Sebastian (Closed)
195.0 km
Raywood (Closed)
Tandarra (Closed)
213.3 km
Dingee (DGE)
Zone 17
221.2 km
Prairie (Closed)
231.09 km
Mitiamo (Closed)
Mologa (Closed)
251.4 km
Pyramid (PYD)
Zone 21
Mincha (Closed)
267.8 km
Macorna (Closed)
Tragowel (Closed)
South Kerang (Closed)
291.9 km
Kerang (KER)
Zone 25
Stony Crossing line
and Kerang–Koondrook Tramway
Fairley (Closed)
308.2 km
Lake Charm (Closed)
318.6 km
Mystic Park (Closed)
Tresco (Closed)
332.1 km
Lake Boga (Closed)
Pental (Closed)
347.3 km
Swan Hill (SWH)
Zone 31
359.3 km
Woorinen (Closed)
368.5 km
Pira (Closed)
376.1 km
Nyah West (Closed)
385.0 km
Miralie (Closed)
389.4 km
Piangil (Closed)
Coonimur (Closed)
Natya (Closed)
Kooloonong (Closed)
Koorkab (Closed)
Yungera (Closed)

History

The line was opened from its junction with the Deniliquin line, just north of Bendigo, to Raywood in 1882. It was progressively extended to Mitiamo in 1883, Pyramid and Kerang in 1884, and Swan Hill in 1890.[1] The line from Swan Hill was later extended, to Piangil in 1915, Kooloonong in 1920, and Yungera in 1926. The section from Kooloonong to Yungera was closed in 1957, and from Piangil to Kooloonong in 1981.[1] Parts of the former route beyond Piangil, including all of it beyond Kooloonong are preserved in the Piangil Yungera Railway Bushland Reserve.[2][3]

The Koondrook branch line, built and operated by the Shire of Kerang, was opened in 1886. It was acquired by the Victorian Railways in 1952 and closed in 1981. Under the 1922 Border Railways Act, a branch opened from Kerang to Murrabit in 1924, which in 1928 was extended across the New South Wales border at the Murray River to Stony Crossing. Passenger services on the section beyond Murrabit had ended by 1932, and all services were suspended in 1943. Passenger services to Murrabit had ceased by the end of 1941. The line to Murrabit closed in 1961.[4]

The last passenger service from Swan Hill to Woorinen, a service for school children that was paid for by the Victorian Education Department and run by a 102hp Walker railmotor, was withdrawn on 17 December 1976. The last passenger service from Swan Hill to Piangil ran on 24 December 1976, again using a 102 hp Walker. Both services were replaced by buses.[5]

Proposed upgrade and extension

In April 2008 it was announced that the Swan Hill – Piangil section of the track, along with six other lines, would be upgraded under a $23.7 million package of improvements to the Victorian core grain network.[6]

In October 2010, the Victorian government released a report into public transport options for the north-west of Victoria, which analysed nine proposals for improving services to the city of Mildura. One alternative investigated was an extension of the railway from Swan Hill to connect to the Mildura railway line at Ouyen.[7][8]

Passenger services

Some Bendigo V/Line passenger trains extend their services to Eaglehawk on weekdays. Dedicated Swan Hill passenger services serve the remainder of the operating stations on the line (as well as Eaglehawk).

Swan Hill services

Swan Hill
Overview
Service typeRegional rail
StatusOperational
LocaleVictoria, Australia
Current operator(s)V/Line
Route
StartSwan Hill
Stops15
EndSouthern Cross
Distance travelled347.3 km (215.8 mi)
Average journey time4 hours 40 minutes
Service frequency2 return services daily
Line(s) usedPiangil
On-board services
Class(es)First and economy
Disabled accessNo
Catering facilitiesYes
Technical
Rolling stockN set
Track gauge1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
ElectrificationNone
Track owner(s)VicTrack
Route map
Swan Hill V/Line Service
h:mm
0:00
0.0 km
Southern Cross (SSS)
Zone 1
0:07
4.9 km
Footscray (FSY)
Zone 1
0:24
24.3 km
Watergardens (SDM)
Zone 2
0:55
66.2 km
Gisborne (GIS)
Zone 3
1:07
80.1 km
Woodend (WED)
Zone 4
1:16
93.6 km
Kyneton (KNT)
Zone 6
1:24
104.2 km
Malmsbury (MMY)
Zone 7
1:40
127.3 km
Castlemaine (CME)
Zone 9
2:00
159.4 km
Kangaroo Flat (KFT)
Zone 12
2:08
164.2 km
Bendigo (BDG)
Zone 13
continues as Echuca V/Line Service
2:25
172.1 km
Eaglehawk (EAG)
Zone 13
2:54
213.3 km
Dingee (DGE)
Zone 17
3:23
251.4 km
Pyramid (PYD)
Zone 21
3:52
291.9 km
Kerang (KER)
Zone 25
4:40
347.3 km
Swan Hill (SWH)
Zone 31
Standard timetabled journey
from Southern Cross

Two services operate daily in each direction between Swan Hill and Southern Cross. In metropolitan Melbourne, services only stop at Watergardens and Footscray stations, setting down passengers only on services to Southern Cross and picking up passengers only on services to Swan Hill. Outside Melbourne, all services do not stop at Macedon, Riddells Creek and Clarkefield. Malmsbury is only served by one weekday service to Swan Hill, and Kangaroo Flat is not served on weekdays. All services stop at all other operating stations, both picking up and setting down passengers.

Incidents

On 5 June 2007, a fatal crash occurred between a semi-trailer and a train at a level crossing near Kerang. Eleven people died, all of whom were passengers on the train.

References

  1. Sid Brown (March 1990). "Tracks Across the State". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). pp. 71–76.
  2. "Piangil - Yungera Railway Bushland Reserve". Parks Victoria. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  3. Macfarlane, Neil (18 June 2015). "Submission to VEAC State Wide Assessment of Public Land" (PDF). Mid-Murray Field Naturalists Inc. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  4. Hennell, David. "Poonboon" (PDF). The Times online. Australian Timetable Association Inc. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  5. Chris Banger (March 1997). "Rail passenger service withdrawals since 1960". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). pp. 77–82.
  6. "$43m to upgrade rail freight lines". business.theage.com.au. Archived from the original on 6 December 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  7. Victorian Government press release - "NORTH WEST PUBLIC TRANSPORT REVIEW REPORT RELEASED", 13 October 2010
  8. North West Public Transport Review
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