Thursday, February 21, 2008

Amcor Track

Sounds like an American Railway Company doesn't it.

I think I have driven in this part of Melbourne twice in the last five years. That is, Chandler Highway and past the Amcor Paper Packaging place. Even then, not exactly Chandler Hwy past Amcor. It has been announced that Amcor will close its business there.

I have no idea if this nice bit of history is still in the location, but quite a few years ago, there was a bridge across what I guess was the Yarra River. Right in the middle of the road, or crossing it, was a railway line. I guessed it was just one of those spur lines that service large factories.

Not exactly. That is what is was recently used for, to transport goods to and from Amcor , or as we used to know it, Australian Paper Manufacturers, APM. The line branched from the Hurstbridge train line near Fairfield Station. (I wonder if that APM factory stank as much as the one did at Maryvale in Gippsland?)

The train track is a remaining section of the long gone Outer Circle Railway, which ran from Fairfield to Murrumbeena . The present train to Alamein uses part of the track and onward from Alamein is the cutting where the train continued. Most of the rest of the line has gone, but many linear parks can be found along the old route. The full length of the line was barely ever used.

What was originally the Outer Circle railway bridge was made into the Chandler Highway Bridge with just this little bit of history remaining in place until at least 2004. As I said earlier, I am not sure if it is still there, but no doubt someone will tell me.

The Outer Circle line on the map is a bit confusing. Don't quote me, but I think Golf Links Station became Willison, Hartwell Hill became Hartwell, Hartwell became Burwood and out on a limb here, Norwood became Ashburton.

Only vague remnants remain between Fairfield and East Camberwell.

The line went under the Box Hill line, now Lilydale/Belgrave lines and over what is now the Glen Waverley but connected with the Dandenong, now Pakenham line.

I should probably check Jayne's blog and see what she has on 'lost railways', but I have had enough for the moment. Post effort 8/10 and that is before copyright problems arise.
Later Edit:

Map courtesy Public Records Office of Victoria.
Original rail bridge picture courtesy State Library of Victoria.
Rail picture courtesy Malcolm Miles.


  1. I wonder if it ran any quicker than the train you caught the other day.

  2. Possibly did. We can't run the number of trains in our metropolitan service that we used to in the fifties and sixties, and somewhat slower too.

  3. Finally a post from my side of town!

    The Siding was finally ripped up in January 2005. I believe the land that the siding occupied north of Heidelberg Road to the Hurstbridge line is to be sold for housing.

    I remember being stopped at the traffic lights on Heidelberg Road and having a train go across when I was very young. I remember the yard at Fairfield station where the briquette trains were stowed away. Now only FIDO stands guard. The only real reminder these days is the signal box that sits next to the level crossing at Station Street.

    But yes, the outer circle as a whole would be very handy if it still existed these days.

    As to the smell of the paper mill, yes it stank (still does if the wind is right). I did work experience there as an electrician when I was in year 10, so I got very well acquainted with it. The paper making (recycling really as this factory turned waste paper into cardboard for packaging) process sounds boring, but it was pretty interesting to see it in action.

  4. Stanley, like Dennis (close to Fairfield), sounds like a station just named after some bloke down the pub.

  5. I think Tommy Bent (the dirty dog) had something to do with the Outer Circle, his trick was to buy cheap land then put rail through to rocket its value.
    A lot of the culvert was still there in Hawthorn between Glenferrie Road and Power Street until at least the late 60s. Public transport in Mexico could be the most primitive in the world, I was appalled by their buses (destinations chalked on windscreens)in Tijuana, and actually got confronted by a huge old locomotive coming down a small street. It was terrifying, what you'd expect in a nightmare.

  6. I love this post Andrew, things I never knew before. Well done

  7. Thanks for all that Ben. It is good to get personal accounts. As for your side, well it what one is more familiar with.

    Daniel, post on Stanley and Dennis station names coming very very early in April.

    You are a Bent conspiraciest Robert. Interesting where it ran through Hawthorn. We have a country train where the train runs in the main street. Can't think of the name now.

    No probs Cazzie. It is nice to know it was not just a bit of old railway line in the middle of the road.

  8. Anonymous2:18 pm

    An interesting map. I think that they ought to take out the old, disused track and put a bicycle path there or something like that. In fact, why not have every train line have bicycle path (this disused track could link the main Yarra trail to my proposed Heidelberg line bicycle path).

  9. I think the street with the rail track down the middle is in Wycheproof (wrong spelling) it's a long time ago I saw it. The most interesting old rail line is the former track from Moe to Walhalla which was considered an amazing engineering feat in its time because it criss-crossed gorges and had some enormously steep and perilous country to get through, old accounts (from ladies of course) tell of terrifying sections where the train clung to the edge of mountain with a huge drop into the valley. I haven't been up that way for a while but hear they've restored a few kilometres of line into the town. Walhalla is the most interesting place I've ever visited.

  10. wow good n new info Andrew!


  11. I think there is quite a bit of bike track over the old train route Reuben.

    I have been to Walhalla a few times Robert, although not for twenty plus years. There is quite a bit of train line restored now. I too like Walhalla. A visit is on the list.

  12. There are a few bits of exposed tram line in Sydney Keshi, but then you don't like trams :)

  13. The line through Hawthorn was not part of the Outer Circle. That was the line to Kew; the station that was there now has VicRoads HQ on the site.

    The plans for the Outer Circle pre-date Thomas Bent's involvement in railways, though it would seem the Frankston line owes something to his schemes to increase his own property values.

  14. As soon as you I saw this, yes of course. VicRoads Headquarters. The old Kew train.

    I had never heard of a Tommy Bent Outer Circle Railway line connection either but I am not sure about the Frankston train either.

  15. The line to Kew branched off from Hawthorn station, Tommy Bent was a crook and I'm not convinced he wasn't involved in the disastrous Outer Circle, I'm right about the Walhalla Moe line and expert on its course to Walhalla from the Thompson River gorge and will go on TV and give a talk about it.


  16. Bring back the old trains, bring back the old trams, bring back shake rattle and roll, good heavens, no wonder so many people get depressed, modern transport is a funeral home.

  17. Plenty of info here Robert.

    It can be so Robert. You are are probably right.

  18. Thanks. I like open doors.
    I recall finishing night shift in South Melb about 7am and coming home on the tram along gorgeous St Kilda road, sitting at the open doorway with big blue sky and early morning breeze. You could smell it all. It smelled like....Optimism.

  19. And the optimism all went sour. I know where you are coming from.

  20. These things they've got now called trams are actually buses on tramlines. What a laugh.