constructed by the Melbourne and Essendon Railway Company, the line was
opened to Essendon on the 1st November 1860. There were 5
intermediate stations, Kensington, Newmarket, Ascot Vale, and Moonee
Another station was built at
"Saltwater river" on the city side, and served as the stopping
point for racegoers in 1859. This station was closed in 1867 after
the Flemington Racecourse spur opened from Newmarket on February 28,
1861. This preceded the Melbourne Cup by 8 Months, the first
being held in November of that year. In 1883 another station was
opened on this line to serve the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds.
In mid 1864 the line was
closed, when the Melbourne and Essendon Railway was refused money from the
government, for them to continue. The line was sold to the
government for $45,000 in 1867, at that stage it was in a serious state of
disrepair beyond Newmarket. The Flemington Racecourse line was
re-opened in time for the 1867 Melbourne Cup and after 7 years, in 1871, the line was
finally re-opened to Essendon.
Onward to Broadmeadows
'North East line' was extended in sections beyond Essendon in
1872-73. The line was open as far as Wodonga on November 21, 1873.
Broadmeadows was the only other station at this time, others were
Glenbervie (1922), Strathmore (North
Essendon - 1890), Pascoe Vale (1885), Oak Park (1956), Glenroy
(1887), Jacana (1959) and Broadmeadows (1873).
Electrification was commenced in 1913, with the building of the
Newport Power station, and then the subsequent substations were
built along the line. The first trains along the
Flemington Racecourse Line from Newmarket on October 6 1918, which
was used for training purposes. The first train from Flinders
Street to Essendon ran on
| May 28, 1919. That train then ran to
on the only other electrified line at that time.
The Overhead was extended to its present
terminus at Broadmeadows, and opened on September 4, 1921.
Public Transport lead to the suburban system being split to be sold as two separate
The Broadmeadows Line went to (now
), and the
Flemington Racecourse Line went to (now
was announced as the successful bidder for Bayside Trains on Friday, June
25, 1999. Control of the system was subsequently handed over in
late August. Melbourne Transport Enterprises (MTE) won the Hillside
Trains Franchise in July 1999. MTE is the result of a partnership
between CGEA and ALSTOM.
The Future, Craigieburn and the
Over the years, plans have been
put forward to extend the overhead to Craigieburn. Now that a Labor
government has been elected, it seems that the this may finally go ahead.
Plans have also been made
for a spur line to Melbourne Airport, branching just after Broadmeadows,
but this has been put on the backburner, with other routes currently being
considered. The plan would see the line upgraded to 3 tracks from
Newmarket through to Broadmeadows, to allow express running of Airport
trains at 130km/h.
extension or no extension, these are certainly exciting times on the
Trains, Tracks, Travelers, Marc
A MUST HAVE book for all railfans!