‘Via recta’ – the line that never was

Table of Contents

 


Fast Facts About the Branch

Surveyed Via Recta 1856, Warwick – Maryvale May 1909
Work started 7th December 1909
Opened 30th September 1911
Closed 1st November 1960
Status Via Recta Never fully Completed

 


Background

The Via Recta line was proposed to run a direct link from Brisbane to the Border allowing Queensland to maximize it’s potential for hauling goods traffic in competition to NSW.

Although construction of the line was approved and commenced, the final link between Maryvale and Mt Edwards was never completed.

The annual report of the Commissioner for Railways for the year 1884 which contained one very interesting remark of the Locomotive Engineer for the Southern and Western Line, concerning the direct line to Warwick.

“The trial survey from Spicer’s Peak Road Gap to Rosewood was completed early in June, the distance from the summit of the main range being about 44 miles. The decent of the range being 2,000 feet: the remaining portion of the line to Rosewood is over easy black soil country. An alternative route was tried over the summit of the main range at Swan Creek. As the survey would alter about four miles, run parallel to the trial survey from Spicer’s Peak, and not allow of Harrisville being reached without adopting a very heavy gradient, it was discontinued. A barometrical examination, which has been made of the country from Killarney to Coochin, via Wilson’s Peak and the head of the Condamine River does not show favourable results.”

A map included with the Report was hoped to have the effect of inducing the Government to push on the projected railway from Warwick to St. George without unnecessary delay, for it shows plainly the great effort of New South Wales is making to secure the trade of Queensland’s western and southern territory.

However, as these next news articles from the Warwick Argus will show, not everyone was in favour of the Via Recta Link

SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 1886 – With to-day’s issue of the Argus we present to our subscribers a sketch plan showing the route of the main Southern line of railway from Brisbane to Warwick, the extension to Stanthorpe, and the branch line from Warwick to Killarney. The plan also shows the route of the proposed lines – Rosevale to Warwick direct, and Warwick to St. Geo (WA) rge via Goondiwindi. Though not drawn to scale, it is fairly accurate, having been copied from the map issued by the Chief Engineer’s department last year. It will serve to keep prominently before the people of this district their rights as a community, and will also remind them of the fact that the dawn of the approaching session of Parliament – a session big with the fate of Warwick and the Southern darling Downs – is almost at hand. The £10,000,000 Loan Bill includes a sum of £500,000 for the direct line, and £250,000 for the line to St. George, and we have it on the authority of the present Premier – who is undoubtedly the first Constitutional authority in Australia – that, unless otherwise ordered by Parliament, loans must be expended on the purposes for which they were authorised. Our Toowoomba neighbours oppose both lines – a glance at the plan will show why. Toowoomba imagines itself a barrel; in reality it is only a bunghole, through which the trade of the Southern and Western districts finds its way to port. The provision of another and better trade faucet, as contemplated by the Government railway policy, would break the unjust monopoly Toowoomba has so long fattened upon at the expense of her neighbours. Hence the protests of the “patriotic” people of that town, who one and all seem to share Mr. James Taylor’s vision of a “reduction of ten per cent in rents” (in Toowoomba) as the certain outcome of direct rail communication between the metropolis and the border. It behoves the people of this district to push their claims without regard to the petty selfishness of their jealous neighbour; and we think they can be relied upon to pull together to secure the carrying out in its entirely of the railway system sketched in our supplement. Let them see to it that steps to that end are taken during the coming session.

SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 1886 – (WA) – The “VIA RECTA” – “The Town Talk” man of the Q-Times says:- That the Toowoomba people – or a section of them – are weeping and wailing again. That the trouble this time is the Ipswich to Warwick Railway that they think is monstrous that this line, which according to some of them is to cost millions – should be constructed at present. That, nevertheless, it will be constructed, despite the selfish and ungenerous opposition of the denizens of Redmudsky. That the via recta line will shorten the distance between Brisbane and Sydney, and that is a consideration which will outweigh any arguments against its construction that the Toowoomba people can adduce.

SATURDAY, JULY 3, 1886 – (WA) – THE “VIA RECTA.” – The Rosevale correspondent of the Queensland Times, writes under date 22nd inst., says: – Increased area are to be put under crop in the coming season, in anticipation of the first section of the via recta being nearly completed by the time the crop is fit for harvesting. The surveyors are now camped near the plain; and, although no information can be gleaned from them, still it is well known that the cost of construction of this section will be considerably below the average amount paid for other extensions. The country is all level, and no costly work will be necessary between here and where the section joins the main line. These nineteen miles of railway, I feel certain, will pay better than any other branch in the colony, for all along its course every inch is fit for the plough, and the quality of the soil cannot be excelled. I have learnt from your “Town Talk” man – long may be wield the pen in endeavouring to obtain their rights for the poor industrious toil worn cultivators of the soil – that the knights of Redmud City are determined to obstruct the making of this much needed railway, not only, it seems to me, because it will help us and settle a contented and thriving population on either bank of our stream, but because it will shorten the distance between the Downs and Brisbane by a number of miles, which must attract the attention of our legislators. Besides, what about the border trade, Stanthorpe, St. George, &c? Is that going around to Toowoomba to satisfy the cravings of a few interested individuals? Ah! No, don’t you believe it, Toowoomba! The people of Warwick and Stanthorpe and the farmers of Texas and on the border of New South Wales, are not going to pay extra freight to please any group of speculators who mean to monopolise everything that falls from Ministerial tables. The Toowoomba contingent ought to be content with the Highfields, Crow’s Nest, Beauaraba, and Drayton branches, without wishing to covet the traffic of other districts, at a serious loss and inconvenience to the residents, who are as worthy citizens, and as good colonists, as any other in that are in this country. Wake up Warwick and demand your just rights, and don’t stand by while other people trade on your good nature by endeavouring to make you believe that a one-horse railway will carry the produce of your products by extending to Grey’s range, into Brisbane via Toowoomba. Surely a Ministry who were retained purely and simply on liberal principles will never ignore the urgent wants of a class who are the bone and sinew of this fair colony. I mean the tillers of the soil, who win everything from the earth beneath their feet. Only a few have employment now where thousands will be comfortably housed and fed when this all important railway is finished.

 


Warwick to Maryvale section (Maryvale Branch)

The line was surveyed from Warwick to Maryvale by Mr. Blackman in May 1909. Estimated cost to build the line was £63,424.14.1. Approval to build the line from Warwick to Maryvale was given on 7th December 1909. Mr. William Pagan was the Chief Engineer appointed to oversee the building of this line. Work began on 28th February 1910, and employed up to 164 men, 31 horse and dray teams, and 14 plough and scoop teams.

Premier William Kidston, officially started the work by turning the first sod on Friday 18th March, 1910. During 1910 & 1911, the building of the railway line was delayed on several occasions. Heavy rain during the winter of 1910 delayed the building the earthworks. Then between February and March, 1911 heavy rain caused flooding and washed away some of the earthworks already done.

The line was officially opened by the Premier Mr. Denham on Saturday 30th September 1911. Two ladies held a royal blue ribbon 3” wide across the track while the locomotive passed through it.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 6, 1912 – (WA) – HEAVY STORM on MARYVALE LINE
Between 3 and 4 o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, a slight tornado accompanied by heavy rain of a short duration yield 2 inches. The downpour was responsible for some damage to the railway line near Clintonvale. Some of the corn and soil on one side of the rails were carried over to the other side and for a considerable distance the rails were completely hidden beneath the large deposit of earth.

Mr. Assistant Traffic Manager Ross lost no time in having the line open for traffic.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 1914 – THE MARYVALE LINE – Stranded at Gladfield
(Sunshine Express, December, 1989)

The southern part of the Darling Downs is particularly susceptible to storms and sudden downpours, whilst tornadoes and whirlwinds are not unknown. Damage to the permanent way and communications generally often occurs as a result of these storms.

Following three days torrential rain with intermittent hail the branch track between Warwick and Maryvale was in a bad state early in February 1914, these being frequent slips and washouts.

The train on Monday 2nd February 1914 had evidently run to schedule but the following day, the evening mixed to Maryvale was stranded at Gladfield because of washouts on the line. Gladfield in those days was not a bad place to get stuck; the Maryvale bound passengers and crew could console themselves in the cozy confines of the newly opened Gladfield Hotel adjoining the station while the rain fell outside.

Upon receipt of advice from the train crew at Gladfield, the District Superintendent at Warwick organized a ballast train and repair gang which was dispatched at daybreak from Warwick for the washout at Gladfield.

No attempt had been made by the train crew to continue to Maryvale during the night and the branch train commenced from Gladfield that Wednesday morning, evidently crossing the ballast train at Freestone, which was in those days a staff station with a station master in charge.

Despite a full days toil by the repair gang at the site of the washout, the evening mixed from Warwick has held up for 45 minutes on the outskirts of Gladfield, while the gang pigs tied the track.

 


Engineers report

REPORT OF THE CHIEF ENGINEER, SOUTHERN & CENTRAL DIVISION

Direct Line to Warwick.
30th September 1886

I have the honour to submit, for the information of the Hon. The Secretary for Public Works, the following report giving the result of my recent examination of the trial survey of the proposed direct line between Ipswich and Warwick.

I started from Warwick on Wednesday the 1st instant, and devoted nearly a fortnight to the inspection of the survey, and the various deviations suggested in connection with it, as well as in thoroughly examining the country along the eastern slopes of the Main Range between Spicer’s Peak and the heads of the Brewer, in order to determine the best and most economical route for the proposed railway. I was accompanied during my inspection by Mr. Surveyor C. B. Lethem, in whose charge the survey has been from its initiation to the present time, and received from him much valuable information and assistance in prosecuting the object I had in view.

DESCRIPTION OF ROUTE.

Having travelled from Warwick over the range towards Ipswich, I think it will be more convenient to adhere to the same course in describing the different features of the proposed line.

The survey commences at a point on the Main Southern line near the junction of the Killarney branch, 167 miles from Brisbane, at an elevation of 1490ft. above sea level. It then crosses the watershed between the Condamine River and Campbell’s Gully, traverses Campbell’s Plains and crosses Freestone Creek at 8 miles, where a station will be required to accommodate the settlement in the neighbourhood, as well as that in the valley of Freestone Creek. After crossing this creek the line curves round the north-westerly spurs from Mount Dumaresq, and approaches Glengallan Creek, which it follows up to Maryvale Station, 18 miles from Warwick. Provision will have to be made for stations on Glengallan Creek (11 miles), for the accommodation of the traffic from Glengallan head station, distance about four or five miles, at Gladfield (fourteen miles), and at Maryvale. About a mile beyond Maryvale the line crosses Pine Creek at an elevation of 1758ft., and a short distance further on the ascent of the western slopes of the Main Range may be said to commence. The line rises gradually with an average grade of about 1 in 87, running parallel will Millersvale Creek to the summit near the “road gap” on the northern side of Spicer’s Peak at a distance of 31_ miles from Warwick, the surface height being 2513ft. It is proposed to introduce a tunnel at this point, 12 chains long, the formation height of which would be 2365ft., or 148ft. below the surface. Thence the line has been surveyed on a falling contour of 1 in 66 the eastern slopes of the Main and Liverpool ranges, reaching the foot of the latter near the junction of the Bremer with Boyd’s Creek (366ft.) at a distance of twenty-five miles from the summit, or fifty-six and a-half miles from Warwick. The total height thus to be surmounted in ascending the range is 2000ft., of nearly 800ft. more than by the present line to Toowoomba. Leaving the Little Liverpool Range the line passes through Rosevale and down the valley of the Bremer, joining the main line of the Southern and Western Railway about two miles westward of Rosewood Station and thirty-seven miles from Brisbane. Several stations will probably be required between the foot of the range and Rosewood to accommodate the extensive farming settlement along the valley of the Bremer. The length of the line to construct between Warwick and Rosewood by the route just described would be seventy-three and a-half miles

ALTERNATIVE LINE, VIA JACK SMITH’S GULLY.

With a view to utilise a portion of the Killarney Branch Railway, an alternative survey has been made from Swan Creek Station, six and three-quarter miles from Warwick, by way of Jack Smith’s Gully, to Freestone Creek, where it joins the trial survey at eight and a-half miles. This route, although saving the construction of three and a-quarter miles of line, would increase the through distance by three and a half miles, and would avoid an important district not served by the Killarney Branch.

ALTERNATIVE LINE DOWN RANGE, VIA LONG TUNNEL AND MOUNT FRASER.

It is suggested that this line should leave the original survey at thirty miles from Warwick, turn to the left by one of the heads of Millersvale Creek, and cross the range in the vicinity of Mount Mitchell, where a tunnel would be required 85 chains in length; thence it would follow nearly the same route as the original survey, but at a lower level, to the watershed dividing Warrill Creek and the Bremer; keeping to this watershed it would pass through a low saddle in the Mount Fraser spur, cross the heads of the Bremer, and skirt the ridges between that stream and Boyd’s Creek until in joins the original survey at Rosevale. The feasibility of this line depends upon following a contour of 1 in 60 instead of 1 to 66. The latter was adopted in making the first survey in order to allow an ample margin for reduction in length due to curvature and the necessary easing of the grades on the sharper curves. I believe, however, judging by the experience gained on the surveys already effected, that it is practicable with the steeper contour to secure a ruling gradient of 1 in 50 with a reduction to 1 in 50 on curves of eight chains radius, and 1 in 66 on all curves under that.

The adoption of this line would probably result in somewhat less costly works if the long tunnel is excepted, on account of its being located lower down the slopes of the range, where the spurs are broader and the ravines less precipitous, whilst some nine miles of rough and difficult country along the Little Liverpool ranges would be altogether avoided. The distance by this route would probably be about two miles less than by the original survey.

LINE VIA MOUNT EDWARDS AND FASSIFERN.

This route has been proposed with the object of avoiding the eastern slopes of the main Range and reducing the ascent to a distance of from 10 to 12 miles. It is believed that this can be accomplished by adopting a ruling grade of 1 in 33, which would be reduced on the shaper curves to 1 in 40, so as to equalise the resistance in traction. Trial surveys are now in progress by this route, and from the reports of the surveyor, I have hopes of a favourable result.

Diverging from the trial survey near Spicer’s Peak (2365ft.), the line will follow generally the direction of that survey, but on the steeper contour for about three miles to a point below Mount Mitchell. Thence it will descend the watershed between Warrill and Reynold’s Creek, skirt the northern slopes of Mount Edwards, and, after crossing the last-named creek in the vicinity of Fassifern Station, join the second section of the Fassifern Branch now in course of construction at a point five miles from Harrisville and 47 miles from Brisbane. The elevation at the foot of the range on, this route being 730ft., the total height to be surmounted to formation level at the Spicer’s Peak tunnel is 1630ft. giving an average grade for the 12 miles of about 1 in 39.

The approximate length of line to construct by this route will be 61 miles.

Although opposed on the score of economical working to the general introduction of steeper gradients than in 1 in 50, I am of opinion that where an exceptional difficulty such as the ascent of the Main Range has to be overcome within a reasonable limit of cost, and use of an abnormal gradient is perfectly justifiable, provided it is confined to one particular section of the line where special auxiliary power can conveniently be applied in working the traffic, especially as, in this case, I believe the extra cost of working, if capitalised, would represent but a small proportion of the saving effected in cost of construction. This principle I have clearly admitted in dealing with the question of gradients in my report of the 28th January, 1879, on economical railway construction.

I propose to meet the difficulty of working this incline by providing specially powerful locomotive engines to assist trains in ascending. It has been suggested by the Locomotive Engineer, in order to secure the advantage of using heavier engines than can conveniently by placed on the 3ft. 6in. gauge, that a second line of rails should be laid outside the ordinary ones on a wider gauge. This, I consider, would answer admirably, and although it might not be necessary to resort to such an expedient at first, it would, I think, be well to keep it in view in designing the works, so that it could be adopted at a future time if the use of additional power desirable.

Besides the surveys to which I have drawn attention, barometrical observations were also made by the surveyor, with the view of ascertaining the practicability of crossing the range at the head of the Swan Creek, and a trial contour run for several miles on the eastern fall. The result of this investigation showed that the summit level, at this point, was considerably higher than at the Road Gap near Spicer’s Peak; a tunnel nearly half-a-mile in length would require; and the face of the range between Mount Huntly and Spicer’s Peak proved to be of such an unfavourable character that it was deemed advisable to abandon the route.

An examination was also made of the country in the vicinity of Wilson’s Peak with the object of taking the line up the valley of the Teviot Brook, and crossing the range on the head waters of the Condamine River, so as to connect with the Killarney Branch near its terminus. The ascent of the main range in this locality could probably be effected under more favourable conditions than at any other point under consideration, but the line would have to pass for some three or four miles through New South Wales territory, and some heavy work would be called for in following down the valley of the Condamine to Killarney. Although, in the event of a railway being constructed at some future time from Tenterfield in the direction of Wilson’s Peak, this route would prove a very direct one by which to connect Brisbane with the Southern colonies, it would in the meantime increase the distance via Warwick and Stanthorpe by some 25 miles, as compared with the line proposed via Spicer’s Peak and Millersvale; and in view of the contemplated construction of a line from Warwick to St. George, this extra distance would seriously affect the traffic between the Queensland Border and Brisbane.

THROUGH DISTANCES.

The through distance between Brisbane and Warwick by the principal routes above described is as follows : –

1st. Via Rosewood, Bremer, and Spicer’s Peak Road Gap 110 miles
2nd. Via Mount Fraser and Long Tunnel and Mount Mitchell 108 miles
3rd. Via Fassifern, Mount Edwards, and Spicer’s Peak Road Gap (1 in 33 gradient) 108 miles

As the distance from Brisbane by the existing line via Toowoomba to the point of junction of the trial survey near Warwick is 167 miles, the saving effected by the proposed direct line will be between 57 and 59 miles.

CURVES AND GRADIENT.

On the first section between Warwick and Pine Creek the curves and gradients are extremely easy, the minimum curve being 10 chains radius, and the steepest gradient 1 in 50; but, as the latter is only introduced in three places, the maximum length being a quarter of a mile, it is probable that a ruling gradient of 1 in 60 will be adopted for this section in making the permanent survey. From Pin Creek to the summit of the range the maximum gradient is 1 in 50, of which these is an aggregate length of 131 chains, but no continuos grade exceeding half-a-mile. The decent of the Main Range on the eastern side, as already explained, has been surveyed on a contour of 1 in 66 – the intention being to adopt a maximum gradient of 1 in 50, with such allowance as is necessary in order to equate the grades for curvature, and so obtain throughout a uniform resistance to traction. The minimum curve, which will necessarily be made use of to a large extent, will be 5 chains radius. On the last section from Rosevale to the junction near Rosewood, the line is laid out for a gradient of 1 in 66, and easy curves.

On the alternative line from Rosewood via Mount Frasier, it is anticipated that the curves and gradients will be very similar in character to those on the present survey

As already stated, the line projected via Mount Edwards and Fassifern is intended to be designed with a maximum grade of 1 in 33 over a section of about 12 miles. The curves will probably be easier than on the descent to Rosevale, the minimum being fixed at 7 chains. From the foot of the Range to Fassifern, the maximum grade will probably not exceed 1 in 66, and the minimum curve not be less than 10 chains radius.

CHARACTER OF WORKS AND PROBABLE COST.

The country traversed by the line between Warwick and Pine Creek (22 miles) presents no difficulties in the way of construction beyond that fact that no suitable timber, either for bridge timber or sleepers, is obtainable in the district, and it will, I believe, have to be procured at a considerable distance from the works. There is also a scarcity of material for ballast on the first 8 or 10 miles, but beyond this it can be obtained at convenient intervals. I estimate that the cost of this section (22 miles) will average about £4500 per mile.

Beyond Pine Creek the country changes considerably in character; it becomes more and more broken and rugged as the Main Range is approached, and the line crosses numerous deep gullies and creeks. This section (9 _ miles in length) extends to the summit of the Range, and will embrace some heavy earthworks, as well as costly provision for waterways, and cannot, I consider, be estimated under £10,000 per mile. A plentiful supply of ballast will be easily obtainable at various points, and timber of a suitable description for sleepers, fencing, or sawn stuff, is found on the slopes of the Range; but there is, unfortunately, and entire absence of any fit for bridge piles or girders, which will have to brought from elsewhere.

The 3rd section, in which is included the descent of the Main Range, extends from the Road gap at Spicer’s Peak to the banks of the Bremer near Rosevale. The line traverses extremely broken and difficult country, in some places skirting the almost precipitous sides of the mountains, in other piercing the more abrupt spurs and again crossing deep and rocky gorges in some instances exceeding 100ft. in depth. This will involve a continuous succession of important and costly works, deep cuttings and embankments, numerous tunnels, frequent bridges of large dimensions, and long culverts. The earthworks will probably average not less than 50,000 cubic yards per mile, whilst the iron bridges required to span the more formidable ravines will extend to an aggregate length of 3,780 ft. and cost £150,000; in fact, the works required in the construction of this part of the proposed railway will, I believe, be unsurpassed in magnitude by any as yet projected either in this or the neighbouring colonies. Those who have been accustomed to travel over the main Range by the present line between Murphy’s Creek and Toowoomba can form but little idea of the difficulties to be encountered in the construction of this line, the mountains being more precipitous and the range generally bolder and more stupendous in character. In many parts no little difficulty will be met with in the transport of men and material to the site of the works, and a large expenditure will consequently be inevitable to provide temporary roads of access.

I estimate that the line and works on this section will not cost less than £23,000 per mile, and may possibly exceed this amount, as it is extremely difficult, without detailed plans and quantities, to arrive at any close approximation to the cost of works of such magnitude.

The geological formation is basaltic throughout, and although excellent material for ballast is abundant very little stone fit for building purposes is available. Concrete therefore, would probably have to be resorted to largely in the composition of the works, but even this will be expensive on account of the scarcity of suitable sand for the purpose, which will, I anticipate, have to be procured from the country below the Range.

Timber, except for bridge piles, is fairly plentiful.

The 4th section, from Rosevale to the junction near Rosewood, passes over tolerably easy country, and is estimated to cost an average of £5,300 per mile. The junction with the Southern and Western Railway was originally located close proximity to Rosewood Station, but it was found desirable upon further investigation to remove it about two miles more to the westward, in order to cross the flooded ground in the vicinity of Western Creek at the narrowest and most favourable spot. A station in the locality will, moreover, prove a convenience to the neighboring settlement.

The works on the alternative line between the crossing of the range near Mount Mitchell and the watershed dividing the Warrill Creek and the Bremer would, a part from the proposed long tunnel, be very similar in character to those of the surveyed line, but on the lower portion, which avoids the rough country along the Little Liverpool Range, they would probably be lighter. In consequence, however, of the very large amount required in the construction of the tunnel (estimated at £112,000). I do not anticipate that the ultimate cost by this route would differ materially from that of the original line.

On the projected route via Mount Edwards and Fassifern, after leaving the original survey, the works necessary for the construction of the line would be of a much less costly description than by either of the lines along the Main Range. The earthworks would still be heavy, but few bridges would be required, and from the fact of the line following nearly down the watershed, the provision for waterways generally would be comparatively light. The first three miles on this section, running parallel with the original survey, I estimate will cost at the rate of £25,000 per mile; but thence to the foot of the spur the cost will probably reduce to £12,000 per mile. Between Fassifern and Harrisville the line will pass over undulating country possessing no special difficulties in the way of railway construction, and the cost may be put down approximately at £5500 per mile.

There is one consideration connected with this route which must not be lost sight of – namely, that its adoption will involve the reconstruction of the considerable portion of the first section of the Fassifern branch, as the grades on this, as well as the character of the works generally, are entirely unsuited to the requirements of a first-class main line. The cost of doing this is estimated at about £57,000.

COMPARATIVE TOTAL COST.

Leaving out account the difference in cost due to minor deviations, I estimate that the total comparative cost, based upon the respective mileage rates already quoted for lines by the two principal routes, will be approximately as under: –

1st. Line via Spicer’s Peak and Gap, to Rosewood £9555,875
2nd. Line via Mount Fraser and Fassifern, including reconstruction of first section, Fassifern line £529,625. Showing a saving in favour of a line by the latter route of £426,250; but seeing that the claims of the important settlement along the valley of the Bremer to railway communication cannot be overlooked, and that in any case a branch line will be required, it is only fair, for purposes of comparison, that the cost of this should be deducted from the saving effected by the adoption of the Mount Fraser and Fassifern line.

The cost of such a line may be put down at £81,075, which would leave the difference in the ultimate expenditure in favour of the Fassifern route at £345,175.

I may remark that these estimates provide for a first class permanent way laid with 60lb rails, squared sleepers, and a full complement of ballast. In regard, however, to the proposed incline on the Main Range Section of the Mount Fraser and Fassifern route I would advocate the adoption of a rail of even greater weight – say 75lb. per yard – on account of the heavy engines which will be required to work it, as well as the severe wear and tear due to the application of powerful brakes in descending.

PROBABLE TRAFFIC.

As bearing upon the question of the local traffic which is likely to arise in the district traversed by the proposed line, I would draw attention to the extensive settlement already existing on Campbell’s Plains, as well as that bordering on Freestone and Glengallan Creeks. The traffic from this is at present carried by road to and from Warwick, the distance across to Killarney Branch precluding its being served by that Line.

The country extending from Maryvale to the summit of the Range is at present only used for grazing purposes, but parts of it, especially on the western slopes of the Range, appear particularly well adapted to fruit growing and other agricultural pursuits, and will, at some future time, if brought within reach of railway communication, support a considerable population. In the vicinity of the line at the summit of the range, there are numerous situations admirably adapted for sites of future residences, and, considering the advantages of elevation (2500ft.) and the beauty of the surrounding scenery, there is every prospect, I believe, of this locality becoming hereafter a favourite summer resort and valuable sanatorium for the people of Ipswich and Brisbane.

Between the summit and the foot of the range by either route the line would not secure any local traffic, being in most places inaccessible, whilst the adjoining country is unfit for settlement of any description. On this account the line via Mount Edwards and Fassifern has a great advantage, as the unremunerative portion is limited to some twelve miles instead of twenty-five miles by the other route.

From the foot of the range near Mount Edwards to its junction with the Fassifern Branch the line would traverse land suitable for settlement, from which traffic would eventually be obtained.

As regards traffic on the other route between the foot of the range and Rosewood, I have already pointed out the importance of the settlement along the valley of the Bremer and its claims to railway communication.

Apart, however, from the question of local traffic, the importance of the direct line to Warwick, in connection with the future through traffic between Queensland and the Southern colonies, cannot be overestimated, seeing that its construction will effect a saving in the through distance of nearly sixty miles, as compared with the existing line via Toowoomba. But what I submit to be of equal if not greater moment is the fact that, combined with the contemplated line from Warwick to St. George, it would be the means of securing for this colony the traffic along the south-western border, which otherwise would in all probability be drawn towards New South Wales.

CONCLUSIONS.

After carefully weighing the merits of the various schemes proposed for the direct line both in respect of the engineering features, the probable cost and future working expenses, as well as anticipated traffic, I have no hesitation in advising that the route via Campbell’s Plains, Spicer’s Peak, Road Gap, and Fassifern should be adopted.

The reasons which have led me to this conclusion may be briefly summarised as follows: –
1st. The large saving in first cost of construction, amounting to £426,259, or if allowance is made for the construction of a branch line to Rosevale, a saving in the ultimate expenditure of £345,175.

2nd. That against this saving the extra cost of special locomotive engines to be employed on the Main Range section, together with the capitalised value of their working expenses, will not exceed £32,500.

3rd. The shorter length of unproductive line in respect to local traffic compared with the route to Rosewood.

4th. The shorter length of railway to construct, the lesser magnitude of the works involved, and the consequent greater rapidity with which the line could be completed.

A map is attached descriptive of the various lines referred to in this report.

I cannot close without acknowledging the able manner in which the various surveys connected with this important undertaking have been effected by Mr. Surveyor Lethem. He has had a task of no ordinary difficulty to perform, and to the energy and perseverance displayed by him is, I consider, chiefly duo the successful issue of the field operations.

 


Stations built on the line

Below is a list of stations along the section of line that was built.

m
c
Height above
sea level
Station
(from Warwick)
0 0 1485 Warwick
0 47 Killarney Junction
2 16 1565 Womina
4 9 1585 Sladevale
6 53 1630 Campbell’s Plains
8 76 1694 Freestone
11 57 1632 Clintonvale
15 46 1661 Gladfield
19 1 1688 Maryvale
(from Ipswich)
39 70 616 Mount Edwards
36 2 352 Aratula
34 30 307 Morwincha Watering Station
32 60 290 Fassifern Valley
31 34 303 Warumkarie
29 39 257 Kalbar
26 56 243 Waraperta
23 64 274 Munbilla
22 9 190 Radford
20 54 184 Wilson’s Plains
18 50 175 Harrisville
15 77 157 Churchbank
13 72 240 Flinders
12 73 162 Peak Crossing
11 68 151 Rockton
10 67 150 Hillside
9 73 133 Goolman
8 7 159 Purga
6 71 109 Hampstead
5 21 150 Loamside
2 14 84 Churchill
1 73 Cattle Siding
1 29 Noble vale No.6 Col. Sdg.
1 24 93 Little Ipswich
1 7 Spann’s Siding
1 1 Shillito and Son’s Siding
0 0 57 Ipswich

 


Closure of the line

PUBLIC NOTICE

The following sections of railway will be closed for public traffic on and from 1st November, 1960:

– Beyond Munbilla to Mount Edwards; and the Maryvale Branch.

 


(Warwick) – Inglewood – Texas

Table of Contents

 


Fast Facts About the Branch

Surveyed: 1911
Opened: 3rd November, 1930
Closed: 1st January 1994

 


Background

The line from Inglewood to Texas was surveyed from 17th July 1911 and opened on 3rd November, 1930.

This branch line joined the South-Western Line at Inglewood (between Warwick and Goondiwindi), and headed in a southerly direction towards the New South Wales Border.

1931 – Trucking Yards, Texas. – Trucking yards, suitable for cattle, sheep, and pigs, have been erected at Texas, and are available for use. In addition to freight royalty charges at the rate of 2s. per 100 head of sheep or part thereof and £1 per 100 head of cattle are to be collected. Smaller consignments of cattle are to be charged at the rate of 2s. for every ten head. The minimum charges are 2s. per “IC” wagon and 4s. for other cattle wagons. (Weekly Notice No. 4/31).

 


Timetable

The time-table was as follows:

UP TRAINS DOWN TRAINS
Stations Mondays
a.m.
Thursdays
p.m.
Stations Tuesdays
a.m.
Fridays
p.m.
Warwick dep *3.20 7.25 Texas 6.0 5.5
Inglewood arr 8.30 12.25 Mundoey d d
Inglewood dep †9.15 1.15 Magee d d
Magee d d Inglewood 8.45 7.50
Mundoey d d Inglewood 9.50 8.25
Texas 11.55 4.0 Warwick **3.20 ††11.35

* Connects with the 8.0 a.m. Mail Train from Brisbane.
** Connects with the 5.30 p.m. Mixed Train from Warwick to Toowoomba and 11.00 p.m. Mixed Train from Toowoomba to Brisbane.

† Connects with 7.40 a.m. Train from Dirranbandi.
†† Connects with the 11.50 a.m. Mail Train to Brisbane.

 


Stations built on the line

Location Miles Chains Feet above sea level
Magee 17 49 910
Mundoey 26 72 967
Texas 34 2 933

 


Description of the line

Particulars of station arrangements and signaling are as under:-

    • Magee – loop siding, 8 chains over points. Rail level platform 150 feet long, side loading bank, 2 feet 6 inches above the rail level, on siding, shelter shed, 12 feet x 12 feet.
    • Mundoey – loop siding, 11 chains over points. Rail level platform 150 feet long, side loading bank, 2 feet 6 inches above the rail level, on siding, shelter shed, 12 feet x 12 feet.
  • Texas – station buildings, 30 feet x 12 feet, containing booking office, waiting shed and ladies room, rail level platform 150 feet long, goods shed 30 feet x 20 feet, with outside platform 30 feet x 12 feet, residence, lamp room and sanitary conveniences, loop siding 11 1⁄2 chains over points with dead end to loading bank, 2 feet 6 inches above rail level, side and end loading to siding and side loading to main line, fork line with dead end 7 chains long from apex.

With regards to signalling, the “Down Stop” signal on the Texas Branch at Inglewood is a 20 feet rail signal, erected on the right side of the line, 440 yards from junction points, and is worked from a lever installed at points.

The “Up Stop” signal at Texas is a 20 feet rail signal, erected on right side of line, 200 yards from points, and is worked from platform.

 


Train services and working

The 1932 Timetable shows only a couple of train services a week on the Texas branch. The services being:-

Mon 184 Up Mixed arrive texas 7.40pm
Tue 185 Down Mixed depart texas 8.55am
Thu 180 Up Mixed arrive Texas 3.40pm
Fri 187 Down Mixed depart texas 5.25am

Trains would arrive in the afternoon and leave the next morning. The branch also took 2 hours and 25 mins to travel

1963 shows:

Mon 180 Up Goods arr 9.15am
Mon 181 Down Goods dep 11.15am
Tue 182 Up Goods arr 4.55pm
Tue 183 Down Goods dep 6.50pm
Thur 180 Up Goods arr 9.15am
Thur 181 Down Goods dep 11.15am

In 1969 and 1970, the timetable showed an additional train in each direction. Hence;-

Tue 180 Up Goods arr 6.10am
Tue 181 Down Goods dep 8.00am
Wed 182 Up Goods arr 1.10pm
Wed 183 Down Goods dep 3.00pm
Fri 180 Up Goods arr 6.10am
Fri 181 Down Goods dep 8.00am

By 1977, Wednesday Trais 182 and 183 were removed from the timetable

And By 1990, all trains were removed from the timetable. Trains were run on a as required basis for grain loading.

 


Closure of the line

The Inglewood to Texas branch line was closed on 1st January 1994.

 

 


 

(Warwick) – Cottonvale – Amiens

Table of Contents

 


Fast Facts about the Branch

Surveyed: 1919
Work started: 1919
Opened: 7th June 1920
Closed: 28th February, 1974

 


Background

The Pikedale Soldier’s Settlement was one of the soldier resettlement schemes after World War I. It resulted in opening up a farming area on the Granite Belt in the Amiens district. From this and the necessity to transport fruit to markets, came the building of the Pikedale (Amiens) railway.

In 1919 surveys were carried out for a rail line connecting the Southern line and Amiens Settlement. Four proposals were investigated and surveyed – from Dalveen, Cottonvale, Stanthorpe and Passmore. Cottonvale was the most direct route and was therefore adopted and construction of the line using 41 lb. rails commenced in June 1919.

Through no engineering feats were required, it was a year before the 12 mile railway was opened on 7th June 1920.

In the interim a rail tractor powered by a 35 h.p. Napier petrol engine was built on a wagon frame at Ipswich Workshops. This was “Rail Motor No.26”, in fact an early attempt to build a successful internal combustion locomotive, and not a rail motor at all. It ran trials on the line shortly afterwards hauling wagons, but the grades proved too much for it and it could not therefore be regarded as a success. The rail tractor was returned to Ipswich and steam engines took over the work.

Because of the light rails and earth ballast, the maximum speed was 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h). For a few years minerals and wool were railed, but fruit was the principal freight conveyed.

Soon after this line was opened, a Royal Train conveying the Prince of Wales detoured from the main line for a short visit to Amiens. The date was the 26th July 1920 and the train was pulled by a B13 class engine, which ran out chimney first, preceded by a B13 Pilot engine tender first. For the return trip, the engines changed over, giving the Prince a chimney first trip both ways!

 


List of sidings between Cottonvale and Amiens

Many of the orchardists and farmers in the district were returned soldiers, and all the stations were named after World War I battles in which Australians fought.

Most of the sidings had a little waiting shed and a loop siding. All stations were unattended except Amiens.

Location Miles Chains Feet above sea level
Things of note
Fleurbaix 2 20 3004
Pozieres 4 7 3103 This siding was the highest portion of railway line in Queensland. A small village lies opposite to this siding. There was a shed, a loading bank and a large open sided loading shed. Freezing rooms were located at the west end of the loop.
Bullecourt 5 77 3012 Near this siding is an interesting formation of granite.
Passchendaele 7 72 3025
Bapaume 9 12 3056 Was on a slight curve and had a log loading bank in front of a galvanized iron storage shed.
Messines 10 50 2931
Ameins 12 25 2842 2842 – Was a little larger than some of the other sidings. The only additional siding beside the loop was a dead end siding. A station building was provided and a small goods shed. During the fruit season a station mistress was in charge.

 


Description of the line

This was a light railway some 12 miles (19 km) long, branching off the Southern line at Cottonvale, on which for economy the Government proposed to operate rail tractors powered by in internal combustion motors, a proposal, which almost came into being.

The line was built cheaply and run cheaply, the line was a simply a means of getting fruit to the main line for attaching to fruit trains heading to Brisbane. For several years the line was restricted to small steam engines such as the B13 class, but as time went by the C17 class engines eventually took over, and were eventually taken over themselves in 1967 by the 60 ton diesels.

Only during fruit seasons did trains run on other days. To assist loading of the fruit, porters would travel on the train and the fruit would normally be loaded direct from the farmer’s lorry to the rail wagon. The wagons would be detached on arrival at Cottonvale and be picked up within a short time by a through Brisbane bound fruit or goods train.

Before this branch line had been built, the station called The Summit (between Cottonvale and Stanthorpe) was the highest section of railway line in Queensland being 3035 feet. After the building of this branch line, the sidings of Pozieres became the highest at 3103 feet and Bapaume was second highest 3056 feet.

This line was not built for passenger services. Though several ridges are crossed, there are no significant earthworks, and the track is not ballasted. The line runs west for half its length, then turns southwest.

 


Train services and working

Signalling on the line is practically non-existent as normally there was only one train on the branch at a time. The safeworking was by Ordinary staff and ticket in one section from Cottonvale to Amiens.

The through load for a C17 in the steam days was 220 tons each way.

 


Closure of the line

The Branch Line Railway from Cottonvale to Amiens was closed to public traffic on and from 28th February, 1974.

(Warwick) – Hendon – Allora – Goomburra

Table of Contents

 


Fast Facts about the Branch

Surveyed: 1884 (Hendon – Allora), 1907-1910 (Allora – Goomburra)
Work started: 1895, 2nd October 1911
Opened: 21st April 1897, 23rd April 1912
Closed: Mothballed 1995, 30th June 1961
Status: Line is currently Closed.

 


Background

In 1859 the district received its name from the aboriginal word “gnallora,” meaning a waterhole, the “gn” was removed from the name leaving “Allora”.

After the first land sale in 1861, a blacksmith, General merchandise store, general store and a butcher soon began business. Cobb and Co. established a staging station and a small school were opened.

Before the railway was introduced to Allora, there was daily Royal Mail Coach Service between Warwick and the town. It departed Warwick at 5 a.m., and returning every evening at 10.15 p.m. It was also a stopping place for the Royal Mail Coach between Brisbane and Warwick.

In 1869, the railway authorities were exploring the usability of coal that was discovered at Allora. They had used two tons and were asking for two more. It had been used at the Ipswich workshops, and as fuel for the engine in one trip from Ipswich to Dalby. Allora Coal has been pronounced by some to be superior to the best Newcastle coal. No arrangements had yet been made for working the mine but by 1875 two coal mines had been opened between Allora and Hendon. The coal was more suitable for gas production than for coking.

(Warwick Argustus) Saturday, November 13, 1869 – (E&T) – The Coal at Allora. The shaft at Allora is 40 feet deep, and the seam is 3 ft, 6 in thick. The miners opinion that if the shaft was sunk about 40 ft deeper a much thicker and a more valuable seam would be discovered.

The residences of Allora were not pleased when the railway to Warwick bypassed their town by some 6 km to the west in 1871. They had naturally assumed that Allora would be the main intermediate station on the new line. Despite this early setback the local settlers commenced to agitate for a branch line connecting this prosperous agricultural centre with the main line rail head at Hendon. Because of the nature of the black soil country separating the town from the railhead, access was difficult after heavy rain, and the movement of the seasonal grain harvest was often seriously hampered.

During 1874 the construction of a tramway from Hendon to Allora was proposed to the Legislative Committee. It estimated that £3000 was required to defray that expense of this construction. However in 1881, a branch line from Hendon to Allora was suggested and the line was first surveyed in July 1884.

On March 24, 1885, the Warwick Argustus reported that “That the Allora people have declined the tramway with thanks, and have surrendered their claim to a line from Hendon to junction with the via recta at Ross’ Corner.”

On Thursday, October 11, 1888 The Minister for Railways was presented with a petition bearing 250 signatures asking for construction of a branch railway from Hendon to Allora, a distance of between three and four miles. A survey was made some years ago by Mr. Phillips, who estimated then that the cost would be about £6000. The deputation thought it might be estimated at £6,500, including station buildings at Allora. The Minister was reminded of what he was able to see on his recent visit, and also of the fact that Mr. Miles had promised assistance to build a tramway.

Despite steady lobbying, Allora had to wait over two decades before a concrete proposal emerged. Little enthusiasm was held in government circles for the financial prospects of such a short branch line and when the proposal was finally approved in 1895, “guarantee railway” provisions were enacted to ensure the new line met working expenses.

The new line was 3 miles 22 chains in length. There was only one siding, at two miles from Hendon. It was intended to have an engine with carriages and goods van stationed at Allora to work the traffic on the branch. There were to be two trains each way daily.

(Warwick Argustus) Wedneday, April 21, 1897 – The little branch opened for business, the principal contractors, A. Overend and Company, having completed the section for the princely sum of £5,256 ($10,512). The first mixed train trundled down the light track to make the first of many connections with the main line. The contract for the construction of the Allora Station House, platform and Goods Shed was awarded to J. Garget.

 


Timetable

The time-table was as follows:

UP TRAINS DOWN TRAINS
Stations a.m. p.m. Stations a.m. p.m.
Allora dep 11.0 2.55 Hendon 11.45 3.40
Hendon arr 11.15 3.10 Allora 12.0 3.55

Allora trains connected with the morning trains from the Border to Brisbane and from Toowoomba to Warwick, and also with the mail train from Sydney to Brisbane. The following rates and fares were charged for traffic sent over the branch, viz:

GOODS.
M, A, and B Classes, per ton…… 1s 8d
Other Classes, per ton …… 2s 6d

LIVE STOCK.
Four-wheeled Wagons, each 2s 6d
Six-wheeled Wagons, each 5s 0d
Eight-wheeled Wagons, each 6s 0d

PASSENGERS.
1st Class – Single, 9d; Return, 1s 2d
2nd Class – Single, 6d; Return, 0s 9d

 


The Goomburra extension

A decade later, up the fertile valley of Dalrymple Creek beyond Allora, the large pastoral holding “Goomburra” was repurchased by the Government to enable subdivision and disposal to new settlers. The country was particularly well suited to cereal cropping and dairying, and prospects for closer settlement were encouraging indeed.

To foster development of the area, proposals were aired for a branch line extension of the Allora line for some eight miles up the valley. Besides, encouraging growth within the closer settlement area, it was envisage by some that the new line would ultimately be extended to the new Maryvale line in the next valley over the thence via the direct line proposal over the main range to the Fassifern line and Ipswich.

To avoid costly resumptions and disruption in the main town area, the new line was surveyed from the Hendon end of Allora station by way of Darling Street to the town’s eastern outskirts. Despite proposals to relocate the passenger station to the new line, the station at Allora was retained in its original position, necessitating back shunt movements to gain access to and from the new branch. As a further cost cutting measure, ballast was dispensed with and the new track was packed with earth.

The branch line from Allora to Goomburra was officially opened on Friday 23rd August 1912. For this occasion, special trains were run, both from Toowoomba and Warwick, and carried large contingents of passengers from all wayside stations. “

The newspaper of the day says:

“A good proportion of the population of Allora joined the train here – 12 fully laden coaches finally setting out for the run along the magnificent valley, which was looking its best in its garniture of early spring verdure. Unfortunately for all concerned, the heavy train proved too much for the engine on the steep pinch between Kital and Berat, and a double trip to Berat was necessary. So great was the weight of its crowded human freight, that twice on the journey the powerful engine refused its task on the pinches, and as many times the train had to be split in half and hauled along in sections. However, it was a glorious day and a holiday and, despite these delays, Goomburra was reached in good time.”

The opening of the rail link revolutionized life at Goomburra, bringing a daily mail service and a regular shopping link. On Christmas Eve a special train was run from Goomburra to Allora and it was quite a social occasion.

The ceremony of the district was also boosted by the rail link. The timber stands at the top of Goomburra were more easily exploited as the logs were brought to Goomburra Railhead by bullock team and railed to Sharpe’s Mill in Allora. It also resulted in an extension of dairying, as the cream was railed to the Allora Butter Factory. Many thousands of bags of wheat added to the freight railed away.

 


Stations built on the line

The following names were adopted for the stations at the under mentioned mileages on the Hendon – Allora, Allora – Goomburra line:

Location Miles Chains Feet above sea level
Hendon 0 0 1,506
Kates Siding 2 ? ?
Allora 3 49 1,539
Kital 6 32 1,568
Berat 8 21 1,654
Kunda 9 74 1,688
Goomburra 12 0 1,694

 


Description of the line

Laid with 41 lb (19kg) rails in earth and cinder ballast, the branch track was maintained by a single fettling gang based at Allora. For much of the route, the line was unfenced from parallel public roads, and the progress of trains was often slowed by stock grazing on the track. Washaways and gullying often occurred after heavy downpours when black soil from adjacent paddocks would wash onto the tracks. Damage was usually minimal however, and services were rarely disrupted for long.

From Hendon, the line diverged by a triangular junction at the Toowoomba end and passed by the fettler’s cottages and through a patch of poplar box trees before emerging into the wheat paddocks of the Dalrymple Creek valley.

At a motley collection of farm buildings, the line curved to the north, joining the Warwick-Allora back road just south of Kates. With the buildings of Allora clearly in sight, the road was followed, then crossed on the level before the branch’s principle engineering feature, a ten span timber trestle bridge over a black soil gully, was negotiated. Then came Allora’s fixed Distant signal, a level crossing by the butter factory and an ‘S’ curve snaking past the factory and a fuel depot into the station yard. The Distant signal was intended as a warning, as it was necessary for Goomburra trains to back in and out of the station at Allora, at times fouling the Home signal. Allora was the only town of any note served by the line, the population of 900 persons having decreased somewhat in recent years.

Swinging off the main line at the Hendon end of the yard, the Goomburra line struck east along the southern side of a town street. The residence in this part of the town were well used to the sight of a PB15 running along beside the grassy footpath on the twice weekly trip to Goomburra, and cars were parked accordingly. At the eastern end of the street, the New England Highway was joined and followed past the town showground before the paths crossed at an unpretentious open level crossing.

The highway here headed south, with the railway striking east through the wheat paddocks towards the distant peaks of the Great Divide.

Kital was a small shed in the black soil paddocks at an unsealed road crossing, beyond which a short climb ensued at 1 in 44, leading the tracks around a farm on a hill to join the Allora-Goomburra road. This steep inch, although responsible for the downfall of the first train, fell with the loaded wheat trains from Berat and Goomburra and was of little inconvenience, particularly to the little trains of latter years. The line was unfenced from the road the short distance into Berat, comprising the wheat shed, railway station and ganger’s house (which also housed the postal agency and P.M.G. exchange until 1963). A school was located down the valley towards Dalrymple Creek, but closed in 1944.

East of Berat, the Goomburra road was followed as a range of dry hills covered in mountain coolibah and ribbon gum closed in to the south. At one point, the line passed between the road and the front fence of a delightful old ramshackle farmhouse, it’s unpainted walls and fence covered in cactus, flowering creepers and bougainvillea. Just beyond this house was Kunda, a small shed at the base of a dry hill serving nothing in particular. The line’s second bridge of any note was crossed here, a nine span trestle fording a small heavily eroding gully. Another short pinch steepening to a 1 in 40 ensued as the line and road veered around the base of a forested hill passing the site of a ballast pit excavated to supply material during the line’s construction. Once around the hill, the wheat shed at Goomburra loomed in the distance with the pale blue jagged peaks of the Great Divide as a backdrop. The terminus was just short of the village, which comprised a church, hall, school and several houses clustered around the intersection of the two roads leading further up the valley and the road at Gladfield in the next valley over.

 


Train services and working

Until April 1956, when the branch engine based at Allora was withdrawn, the line enjoyed an extensive train service, particularly on the Hendon leg. Prior to about 1924, the engine and branch crew were based at Goomburra, and worked one daily trip to and from Hendon, and two other daily trips between the junction and Allora. These trips connected with the Wallangarra mail trains and sundry mixed and goods trains on the main line. Although each was technically termed a mixed train, they were in times of low traffic merely engine and van trips catering for passengers, luggage, parcels and light consignments.

In 1924, the engine and crew were transferred from Goomburra to Allora, the service beyond Allora being subsequently reduced to Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The branch engine also squeezed into its hectic day the occasional banking duty assisting a main line train up the demanding Toolburra bank into Hendon.

By 1954, the service between Allora and Hendon had degenerated to a goods train with passenger accommodation only on a daily basis Monday to Saturday, and the branch engine was spending more time in its role as Hendon banker. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the engine would run to Goomburra in the morning on the goods train, conveying empty cream cans for distribution at Kital, Berat, Kunda and Goomburra. On the return trip to Hendon, cream was loaded in the cream wagons, which were detached into the butter factory on arrival at Allora, where the crew and engine would retire for a well earned rest. On the off days, when the train did not work out to Goomburra, a single return working to Hendon departing in the morning and leaving for Allora in the afternoon was the norm. Hendon in those days was a lively location, with the branch engine shunting its goods train in the yard while main line goods and mail trains trundled through.

In 1956, this all came to an end when the small out depot of Allora closed and the engine and crew were transferred elsewhere. From Goomburra the line was worked from Warwick based engine and crews, the new train service comprising a return goods train with passenger accommodation to Goomburra on Mondays and Thursdays, and a return run to Allora on Wednesday (also with passenger accommodation and subject to cancellation). During the wheat season, the tri weekly service was augmented by specials, though these mainly terminated at Allora. In 1959, the service to Goomburra was restored for a short time to Monday, Wednesday, Friday running, but this reverted to twice weekly (Monday, Thursday) frequency in 1960.

After the closure of the Goomburra line in 1961, the truncated branch to Allora was served by a twice weekly goods train, at first on Mondays and Wednesdays. Usually worked as a diversion of the Warwick-Toowoomba pick-up train, the Allora train running days were amended on a number of occasions. In 1984, the branch train service was reduced to weekly frequency (Thursday only). With off season loading almost non existent, the operation of train services into Allora on a regular basis would seem to be somewhat unwarranted and pruning of this remaining service was highly likely.

Prior to 1961, PB15s and B15s were the main engine used on the branch. Following strengthening of the 10 span bridge between Hendon and Allora, main line engines were permitted to work the branch, diesels being introduced in 1966. In 1970, the operation of trains without the brake van in rear was permitted; the weekly goods train usually towed back to Hendon after running up to Allora in the usual order. Grain specials continued to run during the season, commonly from Toowoomba running to and from the branch via the northern leg of the Hendon fork line. At times, main line trains work a switch trip to Allora to clear the silo. When the wheat is moving, things can be quite hectic, as evidenced by the activity on Thursday, 17th September, 1981, when two special grain trains operated into Allora in addition to the regular goods train.

Up until the closure of the Goomburra extension, the line was worked as two ordinary sections as follows:

Hendon – Allora
Allora – Goomburra

Nothing fancy was provided in the way of signaling. Allora being protected by a fixed Up Distant signal and Up Home signal, with a Down Home signal on the Goomburra branch. Goomburra had no signals whatsoever.

 


Closure of the line

Following the construction of the direct highway through Cunningham’s Gap in the 1930s, the effects of road competition were felt in the Allora district rather early in the piece. By the new road, Allora was brought within 160 km of Brisbane, about fifty miles less than the corresponding distance by rail. Goomburra was even more seriously placed, and traffic slowly leaked away towards other transport modes. The crunch came on 30th June, 1961, when the train service ceased altogether beyond Allora. Local road carriers quickly took over the cream transport and the branch rails languished in the weeds and grass until they were removed in late 1961. You can still make out the alignment, but no rail infrastructure remains.

Following this closure, the Goomburra settlement has declined even further, with the destruction of the school by fire in 1971 and closure of the postal agency in 1981.

The Hendon to Allora section remained open until 1995 when it was mothballed by Queensland Rail. In Christmas 2010, the bridge outside Allora has the approaches washed away by flood waters. Since this time no work has been completed on the line and the future remains uncertain.

 


More Images

Warwick – Killarney

Table of Contents

Fast facts about the Branch

Opened: Killarney Junction – Emu Vale 2nd June, 1884.
Opened: Emu Vale to Killarney 24th August, 1885.
Closed: Killarney Junction – Killarney 1st May, 1964.

Background

1879, JULY 31 – £50,000 is set aside for the construction of the branch line.
1880, JUNE 5 – Government decides to proceed with trial survey.
1880, JULY 17 – Surveyor N. Amos started the survey of the line.

The railway line opened from Killarney Junction (near Warwick) to Emu Vale on 2nd June 1884. The section of line was laid with 42 lb rails.

On JUNE 25, 1885 the Warwick Argustus reported that Warwick to Emu Vale cost of construction was £54,845. The gross earnings of the branch from June 2nd to December 31st amounted to £1,241 16s 9d, leaving the net receipts £94, 4s 3d, equal to 172 per cent on the capital expended in construction, building, &c. It must, however, be remembered that the cost of maintenance was only charged to revenue during a portion of the period dealt with in returns before us.

(Warwick Argustus) DECEMBER 31, 1884 – The number of passenger tickets issued at the different stations was as follows: – Hermitage 110, Swan Creek 1,022, Mount Sturt 299, Yangan 863 and Emu Vale 2,049. These figures we think justify the hope that as soon as the branch is completed to Killarney, and its heavy timber traffic from that district is secured, it will not only pay working expenses but also interest on the money expended in its construction.

(Warwick Argustus) AUGUST 22, 1885 – A Special Train ran on 22nd August 1885 for the opening of the extension as follows: –
Warwick, depart 9.35 a.m.
Killarney, arrive 11.30 a.m.
Killarney, depart 3.40 p.m.
Warwick, arrive 5.20 p.m.

The second section from Emu Vale to Killarney was opened on 24th August 1885. Mr. John Garget was the contractor for both sections. The opening of this line proved to be a great boon to farmers and timber millers alike.

The line had been surveyed to Wrights Hill at South Killarney, but the Government of the day decided that the expense of building and future maintenance of the line across the Condamine River and its flood plain was to great. Because this, the terminus was constructed at North Killarney, some considerable distance from the town. A turntable was installed there (believed to have come from Warwick (Millhill)), so engines could be turned around for the return trip to Warwick.

The decision to terminate the line on the Northern side of the river eventually caused the business center of the town to relocate itself, and the town split into two halves.

The railway brought great prosperity to the town and served the area well for nearly eighty years.

(Warwick Argustus) SATURDAY, MARCH 27, 1886 – Killarney Branch Railway – Due to insufficiency of traffic one of the two trains which now run daily between Warwick and Killarney is to be discontinued, and the timetable to be rearranged.

(Warwick Argustus) SATURDAY, MAY 22, 1886 – Killarney Branch Line – We hear that in consequence of the amount of goods traffic offering on the Killarney line being often beyond the capacity of the engine power, vexatious delays at times occur in getting timber and farm produce to market. Consignors complain also that trucks are not always supplied as promptly as they might be. A Killarney correspondent says the trucks loaded with timber are often left behind at that station, the engine driver saying that he can not take more than 70 tons of goods per day; and our correspondent thinks that this could be obviated without loss if the Traffic Manager would put on an extra train on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

A flood in January 1887 completely destroyed the high-level railway bridge over Emu Creek. Luckily a locomotive was on the Killarney side of the bridge to enable passengers to the shuttled from Killarney to the bridge, and then they had to walk the river to board another train into Warwick. This flood also damaged the Yangan Bridge at Swan Creek.

By MARCH, 1887 the bridge over Swan Creek had been repaired, and trains started to run daily between Emu Vale and Warwick. The work of restoring the Emu Vale bridge was to be pushed on as rapidly as possible, but it was not intended to resume communication with Killarney in the meantime.

(Warwick Argustus) TUESDAY, JUNE 14, 1887 – (WA) – KILLARNEY BRANCH. It is nearly five months since rail communication with Killarney was interrupted by the destruction of the Emu Creek bridge during the flood of January last. Two months after the disaster a sort of “scratch” service was arranged The new bridge is to be ready by the end of the month.

(Warwick Argustus) TUESDAY, JUNE 14, 1887 – (WA) – YANGAN RAILWAY BRIDGE. – There are to be seen in this district some very fine examples of railway engineering. We have tunnels, big cuttings, long timber bridges, stately stone viaducts ; but the greatest curiosity we possess most undoubtedly is an extraordinary structure which spans Swan Creek, just beyond Yangan, on the Killarney branch. It was once a bridge, and is a courtesy so termed even now. It was sadly battered by the flood of January 21, although it has since been in the hands of engineers and maintenance gangs, still being traces of that memorable time in which Science was knocked out by Nature in one round. The piles were knocked out of plum and the superstructure strained. A gang of men with blocks and tackle pulled the pile back to perpendicular, and a pile drawing apparatus was employed for some time smoothing off the inequalities ; but the result, even with the assistance of numerous wedges placed under girders and sleepers, was not a conspicuous success. The track was not only crooked, but is was about as level as a piece of the Downs corduroy country so famous for many things, but chiefly for testing buggy springs. In this condition the bridge was reopened for traffic. The passing trains have since improved the level somewhat, but the structure is still in a very ricketty state. The engineer in charge of course regards it safe for traffic, or the train would not be allowed to cross, but it is significant that the driver never crosses it at a greater speed than four miles an hour ; and the bubbles which encircle each pile as the train passes above are calculated to make passengers feel just a trifle uneasy. It may be all right, but – well we think a new bridge should be erected, or the present one strengthened, with as little delay as possible.

(The Warwick Examiner Newspaper) JANUARY 12, 1910 – Cream supplies from the Killarney line last week amounted to 1788 gallons.

Traffic on the Killarney line last week included; 6127 bags of wheat, 1296 bags of maize, 278 bags of barley, 45 bags of oats, 199 bags of prairie seed, 1578 bags of chaff, 61 cases of fruit, 818 packages of vegetables, 235 bags of potatoes, 22 bales of wool, 429 sheep, 32 cases of eggs, 42,240ft. sawn timber, 210 tons coal, 12 packages of cheese, 31 boxes of butter.

 


Timetable

On and after MONDAY, 2nd June, 1884, the following Time Table will come into operation until further notice: –

UP TRAINS DOWN TRAINS
Stations Noon p.m. Stations a.m. p.m.
Warwick dep 12.0 5.0 Emu Vale dep 7.0 2.30
Killarney Junction 12.5 5.5 Yangan 7.22 2.52
Hermitage 12.27 5.27 Mount Sturt 7.31 3.4
Swan Creek 12.44 5.44 Swan Creek 7.51 3.21
Mount Sturt 1.1 6.1 Hermitage 8.8 3.38
Yangan 1.13 6.13 Killarney Junction 8.28 3.58
Emu Vale arr 1.33 6.33 Warwick arr 8.33 4.3

 


Stations built on the line

The stations and sidings along the line were:

(Distances are from Warwick)

Location Miles Chains ft above sea level
HERMITAGE: 4 m 66 ch 1575 ft
GLENCAIRN: 6 m 25 ch, 1592 ft.
KARCARUDA: 8 m 21 ch, 1622 ft.
MOUNT STURT: 10 m 1 ch, 1702 ft.
YANGAN: 12 m 48 ch, 1705 ft.
ROCKBRAE: 13 m 76 ch, 1726 ft.
EMU VALE: 16 m 18 ch, 1674 ft.
DANDEROO: 19 m 3 ch, 1658 ft.
WIYARRA: 20 m 24 ch, 1697 ft.
TANNYMOREL: 23 m 7 ch, 1697 ft.
GRAYSONS SIDING: 24 m 13 ch, 1774 ft.
KILLARNEY: 27 m 56 ch, 1697 ft.

 

divider

Train services and line workings

It was noted in a 1963 working timetable: “In order to reduce cost of maintenance, the maximum speed on this branch is 20 miles per hour, and that only on straight and level pieces of the road, but must be reduced to FIFTEEN miles per hour in daylight and TEN miles per hour at night when the line runs along the main road. The maximum speed of Rail Motors is 25 miles per hour.”

1930 WORKING OF KILLARNEY JUNCTION
Killarney Junction is now being worked as part of Warwick station yard.

When necessary to dispatch a train from Warwick for Killarney or Maryvale Branches, a porter must proceed by tricycle to Killarney Junction to make the road for the branch line, and the driver, when leaving Warwick, must be in possession of the Warwick-Millhill train staff, which will be collected from the driver on arrival at Killarney Junction and taken back by tricycle to Warwick. Similarly when a train is arriving at Warwick from Killarney or Maryvale Branch a porter must take out the Warwick-Millhill train staff to Killarney Junction, pull off the branch signals to admit the train, hand the driver the Millhill-Warwick train staff, and return to Warwick after replacing the branch signals and making the road for main line traffic.

 


Mount Colliery Tramway

In 1893 Coal was discovered on the bank of farm Creek near Tannymorel Railway Station.
Following this, in 1896 – William Roach and William Lanigan established Mount Colliery on Hurdle Creek, about 5 km from Tannymorel.

By 1905, Mount Colliery was delivering 12 tonnes of coal per day.

A branch line to the coal mine at Mt. Colliery was constructed from Tannymorel in 1908.This light tramway, used horses hauling coal trucks, until upgraded for steam trains, the first running on 12th June, 1910. The line was closed on 1st May, 1964. Coal was transported by road to Warwick until the mine closed in 1967.

 


Closure of the line

The branch line from Killarney Junction to Killarney was closed on 1st May 1964.