“The tramway (rather than a railway as it had no signalling, not fenced and of light construction with 50 lb rails) was built and operated by the Shire of Kerang from 1889 until Feb 1st 1952 when the Victorian Railways took over. The VR operated it until it stopped the passenger service in Oct 1976 and the freight service in 1978, although it makes reference to the sleeper cutters being affected by the complete closure of the line in 1981. As for crossing the river, the VR did cross the river at Murrabit (about 20 km by road downstream, bridge shown here) and Echuca (90 km upstream). The Murrabit and Echuca bridges had both roads and railway lines on them. These lines went into NSW and effectively cut off some of the traffic that used to go to Koondrook. The Echuca line still operates into NSW both to Deniliquin and Moulamein, 75 km north of Barham. The closest NSWGR came to Barham was about 160 km to the East at Finley and a fair way to the north.
In the station diagram [Damian, from Koondrook, has] for Koondrook (dated Sep 1958) there are two run arounds. One is on the way towards the sawmill (but one track marked as not to be used by locomotives) and another on the tracks than ran back to the goods shed and wharf. There were also a couple of crossing loops still operational in 1958 – one at Hinksons which served a stock loading ramp and just south of Koondrook at the sleeper dump. One other station is shown with a possible loop but had been lifted by 1958, about half way between Koondrook and Kerang. “ (Damian, Koondrook local, March 4th 2008)
The Light Railway News (Published by the Light Railway Research Society of Australia) records on page 13 of the April 1988 (Number 63) issue that “most of this tramway has been lifted, although there are some remains at most of the stations”. The gauge of this line was the Victorian Broad Gauge. Kerang, where the tramway diverged from the mainline, is about 120 kms north / north west of Bendigo in Central Victoria, and 60 kms from Swan Hill. The line from Melbourne to Swan Hill and Piangil is still a fairly busy line (as at 2002), and is unlikely to be closed at any stage in the future, as the Swan Hill region produces large quantities of wheat, canola, rice, and other crops, which are best sent by rail, rather than trucks.
The length of the tramway was about 25 kms (about 15 Miles) in length.
Any readers who have further information regarding the Kerang-Koondrook railway are invited to E-mail me on the Contact Me page. Any information I use in these pages which I have received from someone else, will the attributed to the source from which I received the information.
As is sometimes the case this line was closed and dismantled but today it might have survived as a tourist railway. So I provide this pictorial eulogy of what was once a line worth travelling on.
There are more photos of the Koondrook Tramway in the Koondrook Tramway Photo Gallery.
Koondrook and Kerang are not the only places of interest along the old permanent way. There are a number of old stations and railway formations that can be easily seen where the tramway was next to the Kerang-Koondrook Road. Following are some photos I took around 2001 of some of the features between the townships of Kerang and Koondrook.
Hinkson had a passenger / goods platform, and a siding for loading / unloading of stock (cattle, sheep, etc).
I have not seen a map of Teal Point station and so do not know whether there were any sidings or other facilities there. But in 2001 when I was exploring the area all that could be seen was the basic railway right of way minus track / sleepers and the station itself.
This must have been one of the smallest station buildings and platforms in the whole state! Even a lot of the narrow gauge stations would have been longer than it.
Gannawarra seems to have had a siding at some point in its existence, or maybe a siding was proposed and never built.
It becomes quickly apparent from the above photos that each station was quite different from the other in style even though the buildings were the same basic materials.