The late 1880s saw a flurry of branch line construction by the TGR following completion of the Main Line, and the Western Line as far as Devonport. In the mid north, local residents were successful in having a line constructed from the Western Line towards the base of the Great Western Tiers, some distance to the south.
The line opened in 1890 with a mixed train in each direction each day except Sundays. Initial traffic was light, but steadily increased, mostly as a result of the timber industry. The development of the Burnie APPM paper mill in the late 1930s saved the line, with bulkhead flat-wagons carrying cut pulpwood from Mole Creek, Chudleigh and Needles to Burnie through to the late 1960s. From 1957 the line was gradually re-laid, allowing the elderly CC and CCS locomotives, and small V and W class diesel locos, to be replaced on general freight traffic by X class diesels, and newer steam locomotives on excursion passenger trains. The next saviour of the line was the commencement of limestone traffic to South Burnie, soon after, the 1973 opening of the Long Reach woodchip mills. This increased traffic on the line dramatically to two trains per day, and resulted in the larger Z and ZA locomotives operating block log trains from from Mole Creek.
Log traffic on the line ceased temporarily in 1984 but was never restarted. Soon after this, the limestone traffic was relocated to Deloraine. Plans were made for traffic to recommence in 1987, but this did not occur, and in 1992 the track was lifted after many years out of use.
Following the survey of the line to Mole Creek, it was proposed to use the line as the first stage of a railway line to the West Coast. In 1892 a proposed extension to (Mt) Zeehan was surveyed, to link the Mole Creek line with the TGR's isolated Zeehan-Strahan line. The construction of this line did not proceed, and a few years later the Emu Bay Railway extended their line southward from Guildford to Zeehan instead.
The Mole Creek line left the Western Line at Lemana Junction, 5 kilometres west of Deloraine. The two lines parallelled each other for approx 1km before the Mole Creek line diverged in a south-westerly direction.
From here the line climbed steadily though farmland, passing through Needles station, before passing through a gap between two mountain ridges. From here the line descended, again steeply, though farmland before reaching Chudleigh. From here to the terminus at Mole Creek, the line is generally flat and relatively straight, running along the fertile plains at the base of the Great Western Tiers.
From an 1897 Public Works chart
From the 1945 Working Time Table
Return to Railway Lines Index
Page last updated:
Page URL: http://
All content of this site is copyright ©
Please contact us if you have problems or want more information
For comments on or improvements we could make to our Web-site please email admin @ railtasmania.com or for more information on Tasmanian railways, read Tasmanian Rail News or email info @ railtasmania.com