Sorell Line

From: Bellerive To: Sorell
Opened: 1892
Closed: 1926
Status: Closed & lifted
Total length: 23.6km

History:

The Bellerive - Sorell line was opened for traffic on 2 May 1892 amid much controversy. Various proposals had been put forward as to the route for the line between the two end points (via Rokeby being the other main contender), and indeed possible connections and future extension of the line (including a bridge over the Derwent at some location). This isolated line was notable in that it was operated almost entirely by ex TMLR rolling stock, and retained features such as continuous chain brake, and link & pin couplers well after these had disappeared from the main system.

A good train service was maintained on the line, with two return trips operating  per day, reducing to one train per day for the last years of the lines life. The line was closed on 30 June 1926 as a result of declining traffic and increasing maintenance costs.

Route:

The line commenced on a wharf extending into Kangaroo Bay, part of which is still in place between the Bellerive Yacht Club and the adjacent park area, which is roughly where the goods yard was located. From here, the line generally followed the Kangaroo Bay Rivulet to Mornington. Little remains of this section due to development and locating the route is difficult.

Between Mornington and Cambridge a good amount of the alignment is free from development, much in private ownership (including the 165m long tunnel), with the rest of the alignment obscured by the Tasman Highway and other developments. Cambridge was the location of the major intermediate station on the line. Signs of the old route are visible in paddocks around the town area.

From Cambridge, the route crosses private land to the northern side of Barilla Bay. When open a bridge extended from here across to Shark Point, to carry the line across Pitt Water.

From Shark Point to Sorell, much of the line is now the route of Shark Point Road, and the Sorell yard area is still fairly open in the area around Station Street, with some being used by the local council.

Remnants:

The tunnel is in a combination of private and University of Tasmania ownership (which uses one end of the tunnel as part of Cosmic Ray observatory), and is inaccessible to the public. The Sorell station building, although somewhat modified, is now an antique shop. The Sorell carriage shed survives as the local council depot. Some pieces of rolling stock, including carriage A+ 17 and wagon E+ 8, are preserved at the Tasmanian Transport Museum.

Map & Station list:

Gradient diagram

Other references:

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