South Morang railway line (Melbourne)
The South Morang railway line is a line serving northern suburbs of Melbourne on the Melbourne suburban railway network. One of the maintenance centres for suburban trains is located at Epping, which was the terminus of the line until April 2012, when it was extended to a new station named South Morang.
Like the rest of Melbourne's suburban railway network, the South Morang line is a broad gauge (5'3"1,600.199 mm) line electrified at 1500 volts DC with overhead catenary. The South Morang line shares its route with the Hurstbridge line for the first few stations from the city, and is double track throughout.
The line past Clifton Hill travels through fairly flat country, and there are few earthworks or bridges of much substance on the line.
An exception is the bridge over Merri Creek between Rushall and Merri stations.
Just before the line crosses this bridge is also the sharpest curve on a mainline in Victoria, with a radius of 121 metres396.982 feet
6.015 chains. When originally opened, the railway went from North Fitzroy to Merri and Clifton Hill, and later a connection was made between the Merri and Clifton Hill legs to create a triangle. This third leg is the only one still open, but because of the bridge over the Merri Creek just north of the triangle, the curve had a very restricted space to fit in.
Rushall sits next to Merri Creek, which limits its catchment area to the south-west side of that creek. Therefore patronage is low.
Merri was opened with the line in 1989 with the name Northcote, and was renamed Merri in December 1906.
Northcote was opened with the line to Reservoir in October 1889, with the name Middle Northcote, and had its name shortened to just Northcote in December 1906, at the same time as the next station up the line was renamed from Northcote to Merri.
Northcote had a goods yard on the up side of the line at the down end of the station, and from this ran a siding to the Northcote Brick Company's quarry 500m804.674 km
Croxton was opened with the line to Reservoir in October 1889.
Thornbury was opened with the line to Reservoir in October 1889. Nearby is the workshops of the Melbourne tram network, and from the workshops a test track runs adjacent to the railway to just short of Thornbury's down platform.
Bell, adjacent to Bell Street, a major east-west arterial road, opened with the line to Reservoir in October 1889, with the name Preston Bell Street. The name was shortened to Bell in August 1905.
Bell has a short siding used for occasional storage of track machines, the last remnant of the former goods yard, and two crossovers allowing trains to terminate there, although these are only used for emergencies or planned track maintenance.
Preston was opened with the line to Reservoir in October 1889, with the name Preston Murray Road or Preston Murray Street. The name was shorted to Murray Road in August 1905, and changed to Preston in December 1909.
The station is next to Preston Market.
Regent was opened with the line to Reservoir in October 1889, with the name Preston Regent Street. The name was shorted to Regent in August 1905.
Reservoir, originally named Preston Reservoir, opened with the line in October 1889, being the temporary terminus of the line. The line was extended to Whittlesea two months later. The station is close to a reservoir built in 1864 on the Yan Yean pipe line.
Goods sidings and sidings used for stabling suburban trains were closed in December 1986, with the signalbox and crossovers closing in May 1988.
In June 1996 the station was upgraded to "premium station" status.
Ruthven was opened in August 1963, around the time that electrification was being extended on the line.
Keon Park, then named Keonpark, was opened in December 1929 at the same time as the line was being electrified. The name was altered to two words by February 1972.
Keon Park is the end of the double-track section of the line, although duplication is being extended to Epping in the latter half of 2011. It also has a crossover at the up end allowing services to terminate here, although this is only used for emergencies and planned track maintenance, and will be removed when duplication is extended.
Until January 1986, sidings serving private industries existed just past Keon Park.
Thomastown was opened with the line to Whittlesea in December 1889. From December 1929 to November 1959 Thomastown was the end of the suburban electrified network, with the line beyond being served by the steam then diesel trains running to and from Whittlesea.
Thomastown was a Staff Station and had a passing loop until June 1988, when the line was converted to automatic power signalling. The station has only a single platform, although this will change with the extension of duplication to Epping in the latter half of 2011.
Rail Motor Stopping Place No. 8 opened in May 1927, and closed with the electrification of the railway beyond Thomastown in November 1959.
The first "station" at Lalor opened on the north side of Mann's Crossing (between Hurtle and Tramoo Streets). It was a Rail Motor Stopping Place, number 77. It was renamed Lalor in February or July 1952.
In November 1959 electrification was extended from Thomastown to Lalor and the line beyond closed. For this, a new station was built a bit further north, and the original Lalor station closed.
The station was converted to an island platform in November 1964 in conjunction with reopening to Epping, although the points at the north end of the station were not put into use for another 24 years, in conjunction with conversion to automatic power signalling.
The original Epping station opened with the line to Whittlesea in December 1889. This station, situated at the end of Railway Road, closed in November 1959, along with the line north of Lalor. However, five years later, the line from Lalor to Epping was reopened and electrified, although a new station was built a bit further north-east, just before the Cooper Street level crossing. The line continued for a short distance beyond the crossing, and a train was stabled overnight on this section of track. This station had only a single platform, and no sidings.
In conjunction with the closure of the railway workshops near Flinders Street station, a new workshops for suburban trains was built at Epping, and the line was resignalled with automatic power signalling. In conjunction with this project, a new station was built at Epping on the same site. The new station had an island platform, and a stabling yard, wash plant, and workshops was built on the north side of the station.
In conjunction with the reopening of the line to South Morang in April 2012, a new station was built on the east side of Cooper Street, and the line lowered to go under that road. The new station was opened, along with duplication from Keon Park, in November 2011. Epping has therefore had four different stations on three different sites.
South Morang opened with the extension of the suburban electrified service in April 2012. It is on the alignment of the original line to Whittlesea, but is on a different location to the original South Morang station. The station has an island platform.