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The Maribyrnong River goods lines were opened in 1921 to replace the goods sidings at Footscray. Additional private sidings were later added along the line. The line saw intermittent use until 2006, falling into disuse and being booked out of service in 2008.

Route


Maribyrnong River Junction was where the line left the main line and headed southwards. The junction faced down trains, and access was provided from both the up and down main lines. When quadruplication was completed from Footscray to South Kensington the junction was left connected to the original lines, the new pair of tracks being constructed to the north.

From the junction the line turns south and follows the river, passing under the Dynon Road and Footscray Road bridges, as well under the freight line that itself runs under the Bunbury Street. Beyond Lyons Street the line split into two, one siding going off on a angle to the west until it reached Somerville Road, while the other branch continued south to serve the Pivot superphosphate fertiliser depot. The Maribyrnong River Terminal is located at the 6.8 km post, 2.37 km beyond the junction, and was once the destination of briquette trains from the Latrobe Valley.

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Sidings


Siding 'A" was located west of the main line, between Hopkins Street and the Bunbury Street tunnel freight lines. A loop siding, scotch blocks were provided at each end. It was provided sometime before 1930 but no trace remains today.

Sidings 'B' were located west of the main line south of Napier Street. Two loop sidings were provided, each being protected at each end by a scotch block.

The Colonial Gas Company had private sidings branching westwards from Sidings 'B'. In 1930 it ran into two dead end sidings, with a single dead end stub located to the north midway along the common track. According to the 1953 Victorian Railways General Appendix it was on such a sharp curve that two or more side buffered wagons were not permitted to traverse it due to the possibility of buffer lock.

Cheetham Salt had a single siding branching west from the line. Part of the track for it remains in place today under a level crossing, in addition to longer sleepers where the junction points were once positioned.

The Pronto Ready Mix Concrete Siding is next down the line, branching off on the river side of the main line. A scotch block protected wagons in the siding, which existed in the 1930s but cannot be seen today.

After here the sidings branched into two main sections, the junction points still remain today.

In 1930 the eastern branch was up to 6 tracks wide, and had numerous dead end and loop sidings. A staff lock was located on the mainline points into the area, along with a rodded derail. The branch served the Co-Op Box Company, the Commonwealth Fertilisers and Chemicals Siding (later Pivot Fertilisers?), and the Colonial Sugar Refinery Sidings (CSR, now Sugar Australia?). A single track leading in the direction of these sidings remains in place today through private land.

The western branch then split into two. The centre one was Siding 'C' with three loop roads with crossovers, as well as a dead end siding. At the south end was a goods office, which appears to be still in existence today as a VR portable station building is near the probable location.

There were three more loop sidings along the western side, along with a dead end 'Weedex Siding' extension on the eastern side. From the siding along the west side was two groups of sidings for the State Electricity Commission of Victoria that headed northwards. One of these groups remains in place today.

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Safeworking


The 1953 General Appendix also states that the line was controlled from the South Kensington signal box, using Train Staff and Ticket. The Appendix also said that there was an open level crossing for Footscray Road near Sidings 'B".

By 1989 it was devoid of safeworking, and was worked under siding conditions, by 2007 the line speed was down to 15 km/h for locomotive up to the G, XR, and BL classes. During inclement weather or darkness the speed was reduced to 10 km/h.

On Thursday August 7, 2008 the line was booked out of use due to track condition, with the points booked out of use, point motor fuses removed, and the points clipped in the normal position.

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Photos


Nine of 48 images found displayed. Click them to enlarge.

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Sources