The city of Melbourne has a large network of railway lines, for both suburban passenger, interurban and intercity passenger, and freight services. A number of goods only lines also exist, in addition to a large number of open and closed goods sidings and branch lines.
Melbourne - Geelong - Warrnambool
|The Geelong Railway was originally built joining the Williamstown Railway, but is now considered the main line. It carries freight and passenger services out of Melbourne, as well as suburban traffic as far as Werribee.|
|The Maribyrnong River line was opened in the 1920s to replace the goods sidings at Footscray station. A number of private sidings were also added, the line remaining in use until the early 2000s.|
Power Station and Oil Lines
|These goods lines at Spotswood were opened to bring coal to the Newport 'A' Power Station and as well as to despatch fuel from various private oil depot sidings to the rest of the state. Coal traffic ended in the 1970s and the line was closed by the 1980s.|
|The Altona line branches from the main line outside Newport, and was opened in the 1890s as a private railway to aid land development. In the 1980s the line was extended to Laverton and the main Werribee suburban service redirected along it.|
Historically the majority of the railway lines in the west of Melbourne were built to link the city with the rest of Victoria. The exception was the Altona line, built by private interests to aid the sale of land they owned at Altona, and the Williamstown line that was built to serve the then major port at Williamstown. As traffic grew additional lines were built to separate freight from passenger traffic.
Major traffic sources early on included the port of Williamstown and Melbourne; Melbourne Yard; various private sidings in the Spotswood, Newport, Brooklyn, and South Kensington areas. Stations with goods yards included Werribee, Laverton, Newport, and Yarraville. By the 1960s the Dynon area emerged as the major freight handling centre, and suburban goods yards and the port of Williamstown went into decline.
Today freight traffic uses the Geelong line as far as Newport, where it travels along the line via Brooklyn, then through Tottenham Yard and under Footscray station to the Port of Melbourne and the Dynon area. A limited number of freight services use the passenger lines via Yarraville.
Country passenger traffic uses the main lines from Spencer Street Station to Footscray, where the Geelong line branches off to the south. The lines towards North and Western Victoria continue on to Sunshine. Suburban passenger services run from central Melbourne to Werribee on the Geelong line via the loop through Altona, as well as along the short stub to Williamstown.