I lived briefly in Daylesford in the late 60s. I remember it being cold and at least three other interesting things , but I don’t remember any trains. Years later I heard the town had re-invented itself “after the railway closed”. Fairly recently I stumbled upon some excellent scans of very old Victorian Railways engineering documents & drawings# These include ‘steepness’ guides – called Grade Books – like this one (extract shown):
You can see the whole document online. My reading is that Grade is Gradient and so the numbers like 50 mean “1 in 50” gradient. The above is also showing Stations (in Bold) and other items (like the Coliban River).
Brief History of the Line
To keep things logical, I’ll jump ahead in my discoveries and give a summary of the line. I found this out after I’d found the drawings (above and below).
The Wikipedia article on Carlsruhe station gives a good summary of the Line: “The station was opened in 1862, and became a junction in 1880 when the first section of the line to Daylesford was opened. The Daylesford line was closed in 1978 and staff withdrawn. The station was one of 35 closed to passenger traffic on October 4, 1981 as part of the New Deal timetable for country passengers. The signal box was abolished in 1980 and the station closed in 1982 …The surviving station building is now used as a private residence … Carlsruhe was the junction for one of the lines to Daylesford (the other running from North Creswick) although most trains using this line actually originated in Woodend.”
Here’s my OziExplorer/OSM map of the approximate position of the Line, with the Stations just shown as numbers. Not how far Carlsruhe station is/was from the town. Interesting! It was/is on the Bendigo line, which is shown in grey. Note: virtually all the Stations have gone now as has the Line.
My June 2015 Trip
Further digging (links on the same page as the above Grade Book, if I’m being honest) revealed very detailed 1878 drawings of sections of the entire track. Such as this one, again from 1878:
The original PDF is online. Some quick observations on these finely detailed documents:
- The scale is quite fine. The bottom numbers (10, 20) are chains, which are a cricket pitch, that is pretty much 20 metres. So the little division is 20m.
- The zero point for this scale – as noted in the top left corner – is the “Centre of S.W. platform Carlsruhe station”
- It has assorted heights, but that’s not my real focus
- There is a ‘Curve (of) 17 chains rad(ius)’ not long after the Line breaks away from the main one.
- It has ‘points of interest’ such as fences and roads, which intersect or are near the Line. I should say ‘as it was in 1878’
That last bit was the reason for my trip in June 2015. After looking at Google Earth:
…I wondered if I could find some of the 1878 features? I’m pretty sure that’s the route of the old railway line (top arrow), even though it’s gone per se. Note the curve and it crossing a road (lower arrow).
To cut to the chase, the very helpful owner of the house (ex Station) explained:
- The trees have covered the first bit of the old track and all traces have gone
- You can’t get to the rest as it’s fenced off
- It’s apparently still a ‘railway reserve’ or similar, which means the “Government” owns it.
- There has been talk of building a Rail Trail bike path on the old route, but nothing so far
- You can see sections of it, further on, particularly a bit where the ‘gorse trees had been burnt away’
After some exploring, local knowledge was again shown to be best kind; all of this was true. Here’s some photos of my trip (more later)
Firstly the old Carlsruhe Railway Station
Google Image link
And a bit further on, the old Line looks obvious to me. At least the sheep are making use of it!
Available here too
(I’ll put more up later, plus add more text)
# Drawing is the preferred term for such engineering diagrams even today, when they are done by computers. As you can see, the ones here seem very much hand drawn.