North Bendigo Detail

Commencement of Contract 2630 - 0M 7C 23L.

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The Bendigo-Echuca Line was opened in 1864 and it was from this line that the Wandong, Heathcote and Sandhurst Rail Line branched to connect Bendigo with the North Eastern Rail Line at what became known as Heathcote Junction. Many things change over time and this line and the North Bendigo area certainly weren't spared any changes.

Unlike today, where there has been only one line since 1989, the contract plan shows two separate lines running parallel from Sandhurst (Bendigo) Station to a point beyond Nolan Street where they went their separate ways. One was the Bendigo-Eaglehawk-Swan Hill Line, and the other was the Bendigo-Echuca Line. The actual connection point of the Wandong, Heathcote and Sandhurst Line was to the Echuca Line, North of Nolan Street, past where the Swan Hill Line curved to the West. This area is generally referred to as North Bendigo. However, the Weekly Notice records its name as Bendigo Cattle Yards Junction until renamed North Bendigo Junction in 1912 - before the Workshops existed - North Bendigo Cattle Yards Junction, North Bendigo Junction, and Bendigo Workshops Junction. Its role in local railway operations changed considerably over the years.

O'Keefe's contract commenced adjacent to the line at 102M,25C, 32L, from Melbourne, via Sandhurst [Bendigo]. A short section, running parallel to the Echuca line, provided connection to the main line nearer to Nolan Street.

The Signalbox in the area was one of four associated with Bendigo Station and was named Bendigo "D" Signalbox. Decommissioned in May, 1990, it still stands at Nolan Street today and is being used for private purposes. In its day, it would have been very busy at times, controlling train movements associated with the Swan Hill Line, the Echuca Line, the Wandong, Heathcote and Sandhurst Line, the Bendigo Cattle Yards, and North Bendigo Workshops - all on the North side of Nolan Street. There were sidings on the Bendigo side of Nolan Street during the Signalbox's life - Caltex Oil Coy Siding on the West side of the line, a Goods Platform on the East side with track to Robert Hutchinson's Mill Siding and also a dead end siding extending towards Bendigo in the name of Tomlins, Simmie Coy, extending across the Lansell Street foot crossing. After closure of the Heathcote Line in 1958, it continued with controlling movements to and from Carr Fowler Siding, VIMA Siding, Rangelea Siding, along with

The safeworking section in 1898 is shown as Bendigo Cattle Yards Junction-Eaglehawk.

The Caltex Oil Coy Siding may have been the Electric Supply Coy Siding mentioned in 1905 as the signal post for that siding is Post 30 and there would have been a disc signal controlling movements from the siding to enter the Down line. The dead end siding referred to may have been the Simmie Bros Siding situated 1 mile from Bendigo in 1912, the same year that Bendigo Cattle Yards Junction was renamed North Bendigo Junction.

June, 1914, saw the start of construction of a 600 yards long Way and Works Branch Siding that branched from the Cattle Yards Siding, presumably the only siding in the area, specifically to facilitate construction of the North Bendigo Workshops. I have not proved whether this siding was the forerunner of the Wash Dock Sidings or not. It may be that the cattle yards initially existed where the Workshops were built and later moved to the College site to allow for Workshops construction. The special siding is quoted as having led off the Cattle Yards Siding which indicates it was a separate entity. The new siding is opened for receipt of construction material the same month.

The North Bendigo Workshops are opened in November, 1917.

Bendigo "D" Signalbox is classified as third class in November, 1922.

A connection was provided between Heathcote line to the Loco Siding (may have been the previously mentioned construction siding) and Cattle Yards in 1922. Disc signals are provided on Post 31, on the Up side of Nolan Street, and Post 35, the final exit from the Loco and Cattle Yard Sidings. A new Post 31B with 1 disc signal is provided for movements into the sidings.

The Signalbox Signals and Points Diagram also shows another track connection from the Workshops/Cattle Yards, behind the Signalbox, to the platform and dead end siding on the Up side of Nolan Street.

The Signalbox Signals and Points Diagram also shows another track connection from the Workshops/Cattle Yards, behind the Signalbox, to the Tomlins, Simmie Coy Siding dead end siding and platform on the Up side of Nolan Street. The siding was extended 400 feet, crossing Lansell Street foot crossing in 1929

A siding, an extension of the Electric Supply Coy siding, was provided a/c the Texas Oil Coy in 1930. The Electric Supply Coy Siding was transferred to the State Electricity Commission in 1934.

The Crossover between the Up line and Siding "A" (Up side of Nolan Street) was abolished in 1976.

The Train Staff and Ticket system is withdrawn from the North Bendigo-Ranglea Section and the section of line is worked under siding conditions.

In November, 1989, the Up line between North Bendigo and Bendigo was abolished. The Down line changed to two way running. Many signal changes occurred. The points to the Caltex Siding were secured by a Staff Lock.

More significant changes occurred in May, 1990 when the Signalbox, interlocking, and all signals were abolished. Points to the Caltex Siding and the Workshops were secured by Annett Lock, the Nolan Street crossing gates were replaced by boom barriers and flashing lights.

The Workshops sidings were booked out of use due to poor condition in January, 2012 and the mainline points were secured. They were booked back in service the same month.

Weekly Notice entries:

North Bendigo Cattle Yards Junction/North Bendigo Junction (Bendigo 'D' Signal Box). Also known as Bendigo Workshops Junction.

March, 1896 - Provided tablet in lieu of Train Staff and Ticket and Block, Bendigo Cattle Siding - Eaglehawk.

March, 1897 - Down Home Signal at No. 3 Gate abolished. Down Home Signal at No. 2 Gate now controlled by No. 3 Gate.

July, 1897 - Up Home Signal No. 3 Gate - 75 yds in Up direction.

March, 1898 - Provided Electric Staff in lieu of tablet, Bendigo Cattle Yards Junction - Eaglehawk.

August, 1899 - Posts renumbered.

December, 1900 - Provided Electric Staff in lieu of Train Staff and Ticket, all sections, Bendigo Cattle Yards Junction - Echuca.

January, 1905 - Provided siding a/c Electric Supply Coy. Provided disc on Post 30 (siding to Down line).

May, 1911 - General Appendix Page 164: Block Terminal Stations. 'D' Box not to be treated as terminal.

February, 1912 - Provided siding (1 mile on Down side of Bendigo) a/c Simmie Bros.

December, 1912 - Bendigo Cattle Yards Junction renamed North Bendigo Junction.

June, 1913 - Up Home Signal Post 32 - 60 yards further out.

April, 1914 - Electric Staff North Bendigo Junction - Goornong suspended. Train Staff and Ticket working by Divided Staff in operation North Bendigo Junction - Epsom Racecourse - Goornong.

May, 1914 - Arrangements in WN16/14 cancelled. Electric Staff North Bendigo Junction - Goornong restored.

June, 1914 - Provided works siding (600 yds long, leading off cattle yards siding) a/c new workshops under construction.

June, 1914 - Works siding open for inwards materials for use in construction of workshops.

February, 1915 - Provided miniature Electric Staff in lieu of Large Electric Staff, North Bendigo Junction - Eaglehawk.

May, 1915 - Provided Electric Staff in lieu of Train Staff and Ticket, North Bendigo Junction - Axedale.

November, 1917 - New Workshops open.

June, 1918 - Provided Composite Staff in Goornong Electric Staff section a/c Bagshot.

November, 1918 - Provided Divided Staff in Huntly Electric Staff section a/c Bendigo Racecourse Platform.

August, 1919 - General Appendix Page 457: Divided Staff a/c Epsom Racecourse will be in Goornong Electric Staff section when Huntly is closed as Electric Staff Station.

December, 1922 - List of classified Signal Boxes; 'D' Box is third class.

March, 1922 - Provided Divided Staff in Axedale Electric Staff section a/c Longlea.

April, 1922 - Telegraph instruments removed.

June, 1922 - Up Home Signal Post 35 - 12 yards further out.

December, 1922 - Provided connection between Heathcote line to Loco Siding and Cattle Yards. Provided discs on Posts 31 and 35 and new Post 31B (1 disc).

June, 1923 - General Appendix Page 350: Local goods trains may run between Bendigo and North Bendigo Junction without brake van in rear.

June, 1925 - Composite Staff in Goornong section replaced by new pattern with feather, making tickets 'A' and 'B' capable of opening staff locks.

October, 1928 - Down Distant Signal and Up Echuca Line and Up Wallan Line Distant Signals converted to yellow arm and light.

January, 1929 - Tomlins, Simmie and Coy's Siding extended 400 feet and now crosses Lansell Street foot crossing.

January, 1930 - Provided siding (extension of Electric Supply Coy's Siding) a/c Texas Oil Coy.

August, 1931 - General Appendix Page 741: Time Interval Working Heathcote - North Bendigo Junction by Composite Electric Staff.

December, 1934 - Goods Rates Book: Bendigo Electric Supply Coy. Siding transferred to State Electricity Commission.

November, 1941 - Provided flashing light in lieu of hand gates, 102m 57c Thunder Street.

January, 1942 - Passenger Fares Book: Lines on which there is no passenger or mixed train service; Add, Bendigo via Wallan.

March, 1942 - General Appendix Page 668: Obtaining an Electric Staff or Tablet for station work; Add North Bendigo Junction - Eaglehawk.

May, 1942 - General Appendix Page 668: Obtaining an Electric Staff or Tablet for station work; Add North Bendigo Junction - Goornong.

July, 1942 - General Appendix Page 244: Provided bell communication (Down trains) to Gatekeepers at McRae Street, Bridge Street, Holdsworth Rd, Nelson Street and Victoria Street.

November, 1945 - General Appendix Page 365: 10 vehicles may be pushed between North Bendigo Junction and Bendigo Gas Coy's Siding.

April, 1952 - Provided Divided Staff in Goornong Electric Staff section a/c Bendigo Racecourse.

April, 1960 - Provided flashing light in lieu of hand gates, 102m 27c McCrae Street and 102m 43c Bridge Street. Up and Down Home Signals Post 34 removed.

February, 1962 - Electric Staff North Bendigo Junction - Heathcote abolished. Provided Train Staff and Ticket, North Bendigo Junction - Rangelea. General Appendix Page 445: North Bendigo Junction - Rangelea. Staff Tickets not in use.

January, 1969 - Locking between disc 23 (Post 35) and interlocked gates altered.

November, 1976 - x/l crossover between Up line and siding 'A' abolished.

November, 1977 - Provided flashing lights, MP 102+1330 (Echuca Line) Powell Street.

June, 1969 - Divided Staff a/c Bendigo Racecourse now in Elmore Electric Staff section a/c Goornong disestablished as Electric Staff Station.

January, 1985 - Signals 5, 7 and 8 on Post 31 electrically lit.

July, 1987 - Provided Train Staff and Ticket in lieu of Electric Staff North Bendigo Junction - Elmore. General Appendix Page 209: Divided Staff a/c Bendigo Racecourse abolished.

September, 1987 - Train Staff and Ticket North Bendigo Junction - Rangelea withdrawn. Line now siding conditions.

June, 1988 - On weekends, provided Train Staff and Ticket section North Bendigo Junction - Swan Hill in lieu of Electric Staff and Train Staff and Ticket sections.

July, 1988 - Up Distant Signal Rangelea line Post 36 abolished. Rangelea Line renamed siding 'B'. No. 20 plunger abolished. Right hand arm (lever No. 8) Post 31, and left hand arm (lever No. 29) Post 35 abolished. Disc (lever No. 14) on Post 31 now worked by lever No. 8 and applies to siding 'B'. Provided new disc (lever No. 14) on right hand side Post 31 (Down line to Workshops Siding). Provided new disc (lever No. 29) on Post 35 (siding 'B' to Up line).

February, 1989 - Electric Staff North Bendigo Junction - Eaglehawk abolished. Special weekend Train Staff and Ticket working abolished. Provided Train Order Working North Bendigo Junction - Piangil. Established as Train Order Working terminal station.

October, 1989 - Train Staff and Ticket North Bendigo Junction - Elmore abolished. Provided Train Order Working North Bendigo Junction - Deniliquin. Established as Train Order Working terminal station.

November, 1989 - Up line North Bendigo Junction - Bendigo abolished. Down line now single line. Provided Train Staff and Ticket in lieu of Double Line Block Bendigo 'C' - Bendigo 'D'. Distant signals Posts 28, 34 and 37 fixed at caution. Up Starting Signal Post 29 and disc on Post 30 abolished. Points to Caltex Siding secured by staff lock. Points No. 15 abolished. Points Nos. 12 and 16 spiked 'N'. Levers Nos. 16 and 19 now pilots. Levers Nos. 3, 9, 10, 12, 24, 26 and 28 sleeved 'N'.

May, 1990 - Signal box, interlocking and all signals abolished. Train Staff and Ticket Bendigo 'C' - Bendigo 'D' abolished. Provided three-position signals and remote control from Bendigo. Points to Caltex Siding and to Workshops Siding secured by Annett Lock, Key in xl released from Bendigo. Provided boom barriers in lieu of interlocked gates, 164.117km Nolan Street. Train Order working sections now Bendigo Workshops Junction - Elmore, and Bendigo Workshops Junction - Eaglehawk.

July, 2006 - NSP page 65: Line speed North Bendigo Junction - Echuca 65 kph.

September, 2007 - NSP: Max speed for passenger trains, North Bendigo Junction - Echuca is 75 kph.

June, 2008 - Circuit alterations at 164.700km Napier St, 165.028km Weeroona Ave and 165.312km Thunder Street.

February, 2010 - Provided boom barriers, hxp, hsi, remote monitoring, boom barriers emergency release key switch and VicRoads active advance warning signs 164.700km Midland Highway.

March, 2011 - Start/End location of train order working at Bendigo defined as 'North Bendigo'.

January, 2012 - North Bendigo Workshops sidings booked out of service a/c Siding Condition. Main line points secured.

January, 2012 - North Bendigo Workshops sidings booked into service.

March, 2013 - Heywood Street lc relocated from 166.618km to 166.560km. Provided boom barrier (axle counter operation), hsi, remote monitoring and boom barrier emergency release key switch.

District Change

Start of Contract 2630

Victorian Railways Marker Posts which indicated the rail distance in miles from a datum point near Spencer Street Station (now Southern Cross) were numbered in ascending order away from that point. Contract 2630, Sandhurst (North Bendigo) to Heathcote, was the most distant section of the Wandong, Heathcote and Sandhurst rail line and as a consequence, local Marker Posts are numbered in ascending order from the Commencement of Contract Point. Andrew O'Keefe's contract commenced at the Sandhurst-Echuca Line boundary fence at 0M 7C 23L. The actual connection to the Sandhurst-Echuca line at 102M 25C 32L (from Melbourne via Sandhurst), a little north of the branch towards Eaglehawk at the Northern end of what is now a parallel, loop siding, and progressed from there towards Heathcote.

As you read this, try and visualise the countryside as it was at the time - mainly virgin territory. The district roads would have been quite crude by today's standards as they were the domain of horses, drays, steam traction engines, etc., criss-crossed by tracks to and from gold diggings, and not the smooth surfaces that we now enjoy.

The Victorian Railways supplied Andrew O'Keefe with their railway design and he only had to build it. He was not responsible for platforms or station buildings. The Railways had carried out their survey and decided a number of things such as where the line should run, the grades that were required, the radius of curves, location, size and design of culverts and bridges, ditches, crossings, gates, existing road diversions or closures, cuttings, banks and surface formings, station ground locations, etc. The quality of construction would also have been included along with a completion date. Until I locate more details, this summary will have to suffice.

The Railways may have driven Marker Posts each mile along the planned route. They did provide elevation references and these were shown on the plans, along with where they could be located, such as: B.M. C/X11657, 50ft On Stump 85L left of 6M 4C 50L. Other mentioned mark locations referred to particular trees, stumps, saplings, etc.

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