The Power Station and Oil Lines served two uses - supplying coal and briquettes to the Victorian Railways and State Electricity Commission power station, and fuel and oil products to various terminals in the Spotswood area.

The line

The line was opened to serve the Newport power station on July 5, 1914. After World War II the line was upgraded in conjunction with the expansion of the power station, with power signalling commissioned on December 17, 1948 and electrification commissioned on September 13, 1954. This was to permit trains hauled by L class locomotives to run from the briquette factories at Yallourn and Morwell in the Latrobe Valley to run through to the power station, where the briquettes fired the boilers. On January 20, 1971 overhead wiring and some signalling was decommissioned, probably in conjunction with the closure of the power station.

When dark or foggy only one engine was permitted on the entire line from Spotswood, the oil lines being restricted to one engine at all times. The line itself snaked though the oil terminals. The line branched into two at the up side of Hall Street, the oil lines running to the left (north), power station lines to right (south). The oil lines served a variety of oil terminals in the area. The longest branch was the Holden oil wharf line, first running east to the shoreline, then north along the river and under the Westgate bridge, to an oil terminal in Yarraville on the other side of Stony Creek.

The main power station line had three sidings on the southern side of the line, located between Hall Street and Douglas Parade. They were 1040 ft, 935 ft, and 1020 ft long, with scotch blocks at the up end and catchpoints at the down end. A balloon loop and numerous other sidings existed at the power station, with 2 or more 20-ton I trucks with auto couplers not allowed around the loop due to the tight curves.

On January 26, 1954 flashing lights added at Douglas Street on the power station line. In 1979 lever crossings on the line with flashing lights were at Hall Street, and Burleigh Street (on the Caltex siding). The Douglas Street crossing with the oil wharf line was unprotected.


Power stations

Newport A Power station was built at the mouth of the Yarra at Newport between 1913 and 1918, to supply electricity for the suburban railways which were being electrified at the time. It also supplied power to Melbourne consumers until the SEC opened their main power station at Yallourn in the Latrobe Valley in 1924.

A second power station, Newport B, was built alongside by the SEC after World War II. Both stations operated together, along with Newport C which was opened in 1950. Newport A was transferred to the SEC in 1951.

A coal dump to serve the station was built at Paisley in 1949, served by the SEC Siding. The SEC stopped using the dump in the early 1970s. The now elderly power stations at Newport were closed and demolished, and after protests from local residents the current gas powered generator was built to the north of the former stations. The former site is now public park, and part of the coal sidings at the north end are vacant land.


Oil terminals

Shell expanded into a new bulk handling facility when the company purchased 15 acres at Newport, close to both water transport, where the Port Of Melbourne Authority constructed a wharf and railway sidings. The company purchased the land in 1914. The first three storage tanks were built here by 1916. Tankers berthed at nearby wharves and the products were pumped to the storage tanks. Four gallon tins and the cases to pack them in were manufactured here and the products were distributed by horse-drawn tankers from the facility.

Oil sidings in the area included:

- Sleigh siding

- Shell Company siding

- Mobil Oil siding

- Holden Oil Dock line

- Spotswood Oil Wharf siding

- Caltex Company siding

From the oil line, the Sleigh siding was parallel to the power station line towards Douglas Parade, and was a dead end headshunt located after a loop siding. The Shell sidings were beside the main oil line at the Hall Street end, and comprised a number of sidings and crossovers.

Another branch went slightly northwards, the Caltex siding crossed Burleigh Street between Drake Street and Douglas Parade before entering their terminal. A branch of this went to the east, branching off again to the Ampol (now Mobil) siding which continued to the east, and the oil wharf lines turn to the north again to the Holden Oil Dock.

The Holden Oil Dock line was opened in 1926-27 for the Vacuum Oil Company, who met the cost of construction by the VR. Branching from the Oil Wharf line at Douglas Parade the line continues north for two kilometres, crossing Stony Creek by a 33 opening bridge.


Remains today

The most visible section of the line still visible today is the tracks running parallel to the main suburban lines at Spotswood, running as far as Hall Street. The route taken by the line is still open land today, except for a small portion when the power station line which it is now occupied by a warehouse on Douglas Parade. A few small sections of track remain through the railway reserve, as well as a handful of stanchions.

At the power station little remains, most of the area being demolished and turned into parkland, or covered by the current power station.

Track in the Caltex siding still remains set in concrete on private property, and the Mobil siding has a loading platform still in place. Also in this area some cuttings still exist despite rubbish being dumped in them, a number of sleepers also remaining buried in the ground. Former level crossings can still be made out, with the road surface being of different construction.

The Holden Oil Dock line has been removed, but some small sections of track remain in level crossings in the area alongside the Yarra River. The trestle bridge over Stony Creek also remains, carrying an oil pipeline and access roadway.


Further reading

See also



Nine of 24 images found displayed. Click them to enlarge.

Remaining rotten sleepers

April 25, 2009



  • Hobsons Bay Heritage Study
  • Electric Railways of Victoria - S.E. Doorman and R.G. Henderson
  • Hobsons Bay Heritage Study - David Helms - September 2003