Victorian Government
Narrow Gauge Railways

train photograph location map

Alphabetical list of Stations
Colac to Crowes
Moe to Walhalla
Upper Ferntree Gully to Gembrook
Wangaratta to Whitfield

Rolling Stock
Parts of a Locomotive
Locomotive Allocation
Some WWW links
Moving a Station

Please Note: The information on all these pages is © copyright by me, Bill Russell. I do not mind people using this information for publications or websites providing the source is acknowledged. To do otherwise is theft, even if it is for a school project, or Wikipedia. Compare this site with some parts of Wikipedia. I know that imitation is flattery, but really. Contact me

The government owned Victorian Railways had five narrow gauge railway lines . All were 2' 6" (762 mm) gauge, and except for one, were steam hauled using the latest 1890s technology. The exception was a horse drawn tramway between Welshpool and Port Welshpool.

Victoria is the state in the South-East corner of the Australian continent. The approximate location of the four lines are on the map. (I took some liberties for clarity.) This page provides links to the four steam railways. The information is derived from Victorian Railways documents, personal knowledge, suggestions and information supplied by Peter Medlin (whom I think has done more research than anyone else) and the books Speed Limit 20 by Edward A. Downs.; The Beechy by Norman Houghton; and Weekly Notice Extracts 1894 - 1994 by Jungwirth and Lambert. Thanks to Alex Ratcliffe for the loan of historical documents and constructive criticisms.

In spite of using the latest 1890s technology, all bogie rolling stock, automatic (chopper) couplings, and Westinghouse air brakes, the lines were constructed cheaply using second hand rail. The lines curved around hills and valleys rather than using bridges, cuttings and embankments to save money. I know of one case where sawdust was used as fill in an embankment.

Small MCB type automatic couplers replaced the chopper (hatchet style) couplers in the 1930s. Other non-automatic couplings were hook and chain as in use on the broad gauge government railway and link and pin . Provided that they are set-up automatic couplings will automatically couple if two locomotives or vehicles are pushed together. They are not entirely automatic as the shunter has to ensure that they are set-up correctly; connect the brake pipe and release the hand brakes.

The distances shown for each station are as accurate as I can determine. However various Victorian Railways (internal) publications showing precise distances vary in the distances shown. Initially distances were measured in miles, chains and links. (80 chain = 1 mile, 100 links = 1 chain).

There are a couple of other complications. When the VR converted to metric distances it changed the zero data to a spot in Spencer St. (now Southern Cross) Station yard rather tan a point on #1 platform Flinders Street Station.. As well, when the north eastern standard gauge line was built the whole line took the S.G. measurements (via Albion) thus lengthening the distance.

The metric distances on these pages are a direct conversion of the imperial measurements I use. Railway documents will probably disagree with them.

The Puffing Billy Preservation Society has restored all of the available section of the UFTG to Gembrook railway between Belgrave and Gembrook. This is now operated by the Emerald Tourist Railway Board. The excellent Puffing Billy Home Page. is worth visiting. These pages contain additional historical information.

I hope that you enjoy these pages. They document an important part of Victoria's history. All railways were an important part of the community they served, and these were no exception. If you have any questions or comments about these pages you may email me, Bill Russell. I will reply.

If you want more details of the rolling stock or station layouts for modelling try the link below. Mark Bau's site contains a wealth of information.

If you are interested in more details of timber tramways in Australia try the Light Railways Research Society site

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