The Bellarine Railway
is a volunteer-operated steam-driven tourist railway
located in Victoria
. It operates on a 16 km section of a formerly disused branch line on the Bellarine Peninsula
between the coastal town of Queenscliff
, near Geelong
History as a working railway
The original line was commissioned in September 1878, and opened on 21 May 1879. It connected Queenscliff with South Geelong station
, the terminus of the Geelong line, and the junction of the Warrnambool line
. It was acknowledged at the time that although passenger traffic alone might not justify a railway line, military traffic from both the port and Fort Queenscliff
- a key defence installation - would warrant its construction. It initially carried passenger, goods and military traffic, and continued to do so for several decades.
In the first months of operation, the carried only one service per day, but at its peak, in January 1885, four trains per day ran in each direction, enabling the line to be used by commuters. However, this was decreased to three not long after, and was cut back to two trains a day in 1910. Traffic on the line continued to fall over the next twenty years, and in 1931, passenger services were dropped completely - apart from the occasional Sunday excursion train. Goods services continued to run, although they were cut to back at first to twice-weekly, and then weekly operation.
The line saw a revival during World War II
, carrying mines from the Swan......