Vacuum Oil Coy Siding

Industry
Line: Geelong and Warrnambool
Distance from Melbourne: 13.358 km
Track Diagram: View
Opened: June 2, 1955

Known variously as the Vacuum Oil Coy Siding, PRA Siding, or Mobil Siding, it is located just west of Altona Junction to serve the adjacent oil refinery.

In 1949 the Vacuum Oil Company opened their new oil refinery at Altona, situated beside the Geelong railway line at Paisley. Soon after, the company decided to enlarge this facility with a new company, Standard-Vacuum Refining Company (Australia) Pty Ltd formed. The new facility covered 340 acres with the main landmark being the 268 foot high Thermofor Catalytic Cracking Plant. The company also rebuilt the Breakwater Pier at Williamstown for delivery of crude oil which was then piped to the refinery.

The refinery was opened in 1955 by the Prime Minister, R.G. Menzies. Railway sidings were first provided in 1955, and are still in existence. They consisted of a single siding branching off the main line, which faces towards Melbourne. A loop siding is provided halfway along, joining back together for a weighbridge, before it splits into two either side of a tank car filling gantry, before they reach a dead end near Millers Road.

After 1960 the refinery became known as Petroleum Refineries of Australia, owned 65% by Mobil and 35% by Esso. By 1977/78 only bitumen was dispatched by rail from the refinery. By this time the refinery had a production capacity of 4,790,000 tonnes a year. Railway traffic to the siding ceased altogether in the early 1990s. The siding remained after the demised of the traffic, but with the main line points spiked out of use. It is now referred to as the Mobil Refinery.

In May 2010 the siding was refurbished, to serve as an unloading point for spoil trains operated by Metro Trains Melbourne. It was presumably chosen because it was still connected to the main line, and has relatively easy road access for the trucks used to carry the spoil away. As of June 2010 a train had yet to use the siding.

The points at the up and down end of the loop siding were rebuilt with the existing metalwork but new sleepers. Both tracks were relaid with concrete sleepers with some new rail also used, and fine crushed rock being placed either side to provide a walkway. The down end of the siding was rebuilt, instead of ending at the refinery gate and the remains of the weighbridge, the track was slewed towards the north-west, ending at a new set of baulks and a pile of dirt.

The siding was returned to use as of September 2010 as the Metro Infrastructure Works Siding.

Events


June 2, 1955 Siding provided
October 18, 1955 Siding out of use due to alterations (provision of weighbridge)
Line Opened
June 25, 1857 Line officially opened between Geelong and at temporary terminus at Greenwich. A ferry was used the complete the journey to Melbourne
October 3, 1857 Temporary Greenwich terminal and stub line closed. Geelong line now connected to the partially completed Williamstown line. A ferry complete the journey from Williamstown to Melbourne
January 17, 1859 Williamstown line finally completed to Melbourne. Geelong trains can now operate direct to Spencer Street Station
Track Amplified
October 22, 1967 Line duplicated Altona Junction to Laverton

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Diagrams


NOTE: Diagrams are not to scale.

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Photos


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Sources