"The Overland" original broad gauge route

 
  DAV01 Station Staff

I travelled frequently on "The Overland" in the 60s but I cannot remember exactly the broad gauge route taken between Spencer Street Station and Sunshine.  Did it go through North Melbourne or turn off before then?  Any information about the route would be greatly appreciated, as would any links to "The Overland" timetables in this era.

Also, "The Overland" into Melbourne used to meet "The Intercapital Daylight" at Sunshine to allow transfer of passengers continuing on to Sydney.  Does anyone remember what used to happen when "The Overland" was running very late (which it often did!)?  I can't imagine "The Intercapital Daylight" being held for any great length of time.

Cheers,

Geoff Davey.

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  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Would have thought the train went via the passenger lines via South Kensington onto Footscray and thence to Sunshine and Ballarat.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
As I recall, having been on it once or twice, it followed the usual route for passenger trains going to or beyond Ballarat, i.e. North Melbourne, Footscray, Sunshine, Bacchus Marsh etc.  But I believe it sometimes went via North Geelong to Ballarat, so it would diverge at Footscray.  Not aware of any turnouts before North Melbourne.

In those days the Overland was notorious for late running, and even today it is known colloquially as "The Overdue".  I found an old website saying that the Up was timetabled to arrive at Sunshine at 8.40 am, while the Down Daylight left there at 8.57, thus giving pax 17 minutes for the transfer if on time.  Don't know what happened when the Overland was significantly late, but can't imagine the Daylight being held for more than just a few minutes.

A bit more info here:  https://www.railpage.com.au/f-p2034887.htm

As an aside, I also found a reference to the Overland once going via Mt Gambier, back in 1954, due to an obstruction on the main West line.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I have travelled on the westbound Overland via North Geelong and Meredith. There was absolutely no fanfare or hoo haa we just turned left at Footscray instead of right and IIRC it only took about an extra 10/15 minutes or so to Warrenheip.

Imagine trying to run a Ballarat service via Geelong and Meredith today!!!
  billjohnston Station Master

It did go to Coburg one night when misrouted at Nth Melbourne. After much shunting at Coburg it returned to Spencer St shunted again and finally left on the correct route a few hours late. This was one of the incidents that led to the introduction of route indicators ( arrows, letters, line of lights etc) in Victoria. As for how long the Daylight was held at Sunshine I don't know if there was a policy but 30 mins was not unknown.
Bill Johnston
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
'It did go to Coburg one night when misrouted at Nth Melbourne. After much shunting at Coburg it returned to Spencer St shunted again and finally left on the correct route a few hours late.'
That would have been fun!

Speaking of the Coburg line reminds me of a story told to me by an old Train Controller!  

Years ago when rail had the capacity to do things and schools travelled by train there was a school excursion from Gippsland to the zoo at Royal Park. The A2 hauled train  was supposed to attach a bank engine at Flinders Street for the grade through Flemington Bridge but this arrangement was overlooked and the Jolimont Pilot E class electric was hastily (and clandestinely) substituted to assist. So far so good. Unfortunately the CTM or Chief Train Controller (whoever) saw the entourage pass Head Office and there was Hell to pay.

Mistakes were made in those days too but there was far greater capacity to minimise delay and inconvenience then.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
... As an aside, I also found a reference to the Overland once going via Mt Gambier, back in 1954, due to an obstruction on the main West line.
Lad_Porter
I recall hearing it was scheduled to go via Ouyen during the track gauge conversion.

If this happened, it would add a third route for the broad gauge "Overdue".
  DAV01 Station Staff

Thank you all for your comments. Interesting "back stories" as always!

On a related topic, did the old dual gauge Spencer Street Platform 1 line continue as dual gauge all the way to Broadmeadows, following the broad gauge route?  I noticed Essendon listed as a timing point on "The Southern Aurora" timetable.

Cheers.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
On a related topic, did the old dual gauge Spencer Street Platform 1 line continue as dual gauge all the way to Broadmeadows, following the broad gauge route?  I noticed Essendon listed as a timing point on "The Southern Aurora" timetable.
DAV01
Whoa! The Southern Aurora never went via Essendon, nor did the SG Spirit of Progress or the SG Daylight.
The SG line went via Bunbury Street Tunnel at Footscray, along the north side of the rail reservation to Sunshine, thence to Albion, and along the goods alignment before going overhead the main BG Craigieburn line, via the Jacana flyover, to the east side of the reservation (on the right for a train heading out of Melbourne, i.e. a Down train.) and staying that side until Wodonga.
Nowadays the only change is that there's no BG line From Seymour to Wodonga.

Edit: P.S. You may have seen a time at Essendon for the old BG Spirit of Progress.
  DAV01 Station Staff

On a related topic, did the old dual gauge Spencer Street Platform 1 line continue as dual gauge all the way to Broadmeadows, following the broad gauge route?  I noticed Essendon listed as a timing point on "The Southern Aurora" timetable.
DAV01
Whoa! The Southern Aurora never went via Essendon, nor did the SG Spirit of Progress or the SG Daylight.
The SG line went via Bunbury Street Tunnel at Footscray, along the north side of the rail reservation to Sunshine, thence to Albion, and along the goods alignment before going overhead the main BG Craigieburn line, via the Jacana flyover, to the east side of the reservation (on the right for a train heading out of Melbourne, i.e. a Down train.) and staying that side until Wodonga.
Nowadays the only change is that there's no BG line From Seymour to Wodonga.

Edit: P.S. You may have seen a time at Essendon for the old BG Spirit of Progress.
"Valvegear"


I'm glad you edited your post because I had indeed been looking at a much older Spirit timetable rather than the later Aurora.

Thank you for your detailed response - much appreciated.

Cheers.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Courtesy of Mark Bau's VR website:

The Overland Timetable for 1954.

http://www.victorianrailways.net/timetables/1954/1954ttipage34.html

AND

The timetable for 1928.

http://www.victorianrailways.net/timetables/1928country/35_36.html

http://www.victorianrailways.net/timetables/1928country/37_38.html

The Overland always set down, TWICE at Sunshine at around 8:40 am.

Imagine this great, long, up to 19 carriage train stopping at Sunshine and holding up the very frequent METRO trains these days, although today the parallel RRL track would assist. However the Overland was a slow train and would be an inconvenience and a train controllers nightmare to everything east of Ballarat these days.

Mike.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
However the Overland was a slow train and would be an inconvenience and a train controllers nightmare to everything east of Ballarat these days.
"The Vinelander"
I have paced it on a number of occasions, and even the run from Spencer Street to Parwan Loop was pretty slow. From there to Ballan was an absolute dawdle, and there was always plenty of time to leave Ballan after the train, and comfortably beat it to Ballarat station.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
However the Overland was a slow train and would be an inconvenience and a train controllers nightmare to everything east of Ballarat these days.
I have paced it on a number of occasions, and even the run from Spencer Street to Parwan Loop was pretty slow. From there to Ballan was an absolute dawdle, and there was always plenty of time to leave Ballan after the train, and comfortably beat it to Ballarat station.
Valvegear

Agreed Exclamation

When I first moved to Ballan in 1986 through till the early 1990' I used to drive down to Bank Box Loop to watch the Overland on black Thursday (Easter)as it snaked its way along from Bacchus Marsh.
The X & S class were screaming as they hauled the 19 carriages up the bank and into Bank Box on the main line.

My car had a digital speedometer in those days and as I paralled the train towards the crossing on the downside of Bank Box, I can report the train was travelling at 23KPH through the loop on the main line.

Mike.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Would the OH&S fairies even contemplate a double stop for anything anywhere these days.Question
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
Thank you all for your comments. Interesting "back stories" as always!

On a related topic, did the old dual gauge Spencer Street Platform 1 line continue as dual gauge all the way to Broadmeadows, following the broad gauge route?  I noticed Essendon listed as a timing point on "The Southern Aurora" timetable.

Cheers.
DAV01
Just to clarify further - the dual gauge track diverged at the start of the then new flyover.  The SG went over the flyover, while the BG continued straight ahead to North Melbourne.
  DAV01 Station Staff

Courtesy of Mark Bau's VR website:

The Overland Timetable for 1954.

http://www.victorianrailways.net/timetables/1954/1954ttipage34.html

AND

The timetable for 1928.

http://www.victorianrailways.net/timetables/1928country/35_36.html

http://www.victorianrailways.net/timetables/1928country/37_38.html

The Overland always set down, TWICE at Sunshine at around 8:40 am.

Imagine this great, long, up to 19 carriage train stopping at Sunshine and holding up the very frequent METRO trains these days, although today the parallel RRL track would assist. However the Overland was a slow train and would be an inconvenience and a train controllers nightmare to everything east of Ballarat these days.

Mike.
"The Vinelander"


Thanks for these links, Mike.  I spend hours drooling over the photographs on that fabulous site, but I haven't explored the vast number of documents as much as I should!
  DAV01 Station Staff

Thank you all for your comments. Interesting "back stories" as always!

On a related topic, did the old dual gauge Spencer Street Platform 1 line continue as dual gauge all the way to Broadmeadows, following the broad gauge route?  I noticed Essendon listed as a timing point on "The Southern Aurora" timetable.

Cheers.
DAV01
Just to clarify further - the dual gauge track diverged at the start of the then new flyover.  The SG went over the flyover, while the BG continued straight ahead to North Melbourne.
"Lad_Porter"


Thanks - it's all making sense to me now!
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
However the Overland was a slow train and would be an inconvenience and a train controllers nightmare to everything east of Ballarat these days.
I have paced it on a number of occasions, and even the run from Spencer Street to Parwan Loop was pretty slow. From there to Ballan was an absolute dawdle, and there was always plenty of time to leave Ballan after the train, and comfortably beat it to Ballarat station.

Agreed Exclamation

When I first moved to Ballan in 1986 through till the early 1990' I used to drive down to Bank Box Loop to watch the Overland on black Thursday (Easter)as it snaked its way along from Bacchus Marsh.
The X & S class were screaming as they hauled the 19 carriages up the bank and into Bank Box on the main line.

My car had a digital speedometer in those days and as I paralled the train towards the crossing on the downside of Bank Box, I can report the train was travelling at 23KPH through the loop on the main line.

Mike.
The Vinelander
You could probably hear it for 10 minutes or more before it got to where you were waiting.

Makes you wonder why it didn't go via North Geelong normally, even though 20 miles or so further, it wouldn't have taken much more time.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
The 1954 timetable shows the Overland departing at 8:00 pm. That was later changed. I can't lay my hand on a WTT I have somewhere, but memory says the Overland departed at about 8:40 pm during the mid to late 1970's.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The 1954 timetable shows the Overland departing at 8:00 pm. That was later changed. I can't lay my hand on a WTT I have somewhere, but memory says the Overland departed at about 8:40 pm during the mid to late 1970's.
Valvegear
I think that is correct.
Was it to do with connecting off the southbound Intercapital Delight which was done at Spencer Street?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
However the Overland was a slow train and would be an inconvenience and a train controllers nightmare to everything east of Ballarat these days.
I have paced it on a number of occasions, and even the run from Spencer Street to Parwan Loop was pretty slow. From there to Ballan was an absolute dawdle, and there was always plenty of time to leave Ballan after the train, and comfortably beat it to Ballarat station.

Agreed Exclamation

When I first moved to Ballan in 1986 through till the early 1990' I used to drive down to Bank Box Loop to watch the Overland on black Thursday (Easter)as it snaked its way along from Bacchus Marsh.
The X & S class were screaming as they hauled the 19 carriages up the bank and into Bank Box on the main line.

My car had a digital speedometer in those days and as I paralled the train towards the crossing on the downside of Bank Box, I can report the train was travelling at 23KPH through the loop on the main line.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Coming east was just as bad dragging up the Adelaide Hills with couple of 900s. There were cases when the Trans was late and the SAR could/would not hold the Overland where busses from Pirie (IIRC) direct to Murray Bridge were able to make the connection.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

I'm sure I read somewhere that the Overland once or twice was diverted via Maryborough and Castlemaine, and even via Inglewood and Bendigo. Possibly during 1994/5 SG conversion?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I'm sure I read somewhere that the Overland once or twice was diverted via Maryborough and Castlemaine, and even via Inglewood and Bendigo. Possibly during 1994/5 SG conversion?
Carnot
Not saying that it never happened. It is news to me but if correct confirmation would be nice.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
... As an aside, I also found a reference to the Overland once going via Mt Gambier, back in 1954, due to an obstruction on the main West line.
I recall hearing it was scheduled to go via Ouyen during the track gauge conversion.

If this happened, it would add a third route for the broad gauge "Overdue".
Bogong
I doubt it ever did actually go that way, there were only two freights (each way?) that diverted via Ouyen at the start of the gauge conversion period.
The Overland was withdrawn and bus-stitute during the gauge change closure. Sadly the overland lost patronage during that closure that it never recovered from.
The withdrawal was slated as needed to gauge convert the consist!
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
This thread has generated a lot of interest, so here are some of the links I found.

Connection at Sunshine:  http://www.comrails.com/library/timetables/Eastern%20States%20Express%20Psgr%20Timetable%2019710801.pdf

Via Mt Gambier:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/13175590@N00/14461012921

Mt Gambier to Wolesley:  http://msts.steam4me.net/routes/files/SAR_Adl_Hills_SE_readme.pdf

The devil is in the detail, and you have to look for it, but interesting reading nevertheless.

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