RAILWAYS OF THE WORLD
AUSTRALIAN RAILWAYS - CAIRNS KURANDA RAILWAY - QUEENSLAND RAILWAYS COUNTRY LINK - CANBERRA HERITAGE RAILWAY - PUFFING BILLY RAILWAY VICTORIAN GOLDFIELDS RAILWAY - SEYMOUR TO BENALLA RAILWAY - 707 GROUP NORTH WILLIAMSTOWN RAILWAY MUSEUM
TASMANIA - DON RIVER RAILWAY - WEST COAST WILDERNESS RAILWAY
NEW ZEALAND RAILWAYS - - AUCKLAND MUSEUM OF TRANSPORT - GLENBROOK RAILWAY MAINLINE STEAM AUCKLAND TO INVERCARGILL - PLAINS RAILWAY - PLEASANT POINT RAILWAY TAIERI GORGE RAILWAY - ARTHURS PASS RAILWAY - FERRYMEAD MUSEUM OF TRANSPORT
PERU RAILWAYS - PERURAIL - F.C.C.A. - CENTRAL RAILWAY - SOUTHERN RAILWAY
ECUADOR RAILWAYS - FERROCARRILL ECUATORIANA
IRELAND - IRISH RAIL - TRALEE AND BLENNERVILLE STEAM RAILWAY
MOROCCO RAILWAYS - HARZER-SCHMALSPUR-BAHNEN
TASMANIA - DON RIVER RAILWAY.
The Don River Railway is situated on the banks of the Don River just a few minutes outside of Devonport, Tasmania, heading towards Burnie. They have some of the most historic engines in Tasmania's History of rail. Take an half hour journey along to the Coles beach and back through Tasmanian’s Unique Bushland. Locomotives range from roaring Steam engines to the powerful Diesel engines.
History of the Railroad
In about 1854 a mill and wharf were built on the west bank of the River Don about 2 km upstream from the Don Heads.
To get the timber out of the bush a tramway was built up the valley and from 1862 the line also served a small coal mine, situated about 3 km above the mill.
This tramway was replaced in 1873 when the Don River Company started to build a new line of 4'6” (approx. 1137 mm) from the wharf, just inside the Don Heads, along the west bank of the river and up the valley. By May 1879 the tramway was completed to Barrington a distance of 21 km from Don Heads.
As timber was removed pioneer farmers settled in the region and in 1873 a portable steam engine worked the railway. However, in 1884 the line was worked entirely by horses although 11 of the 21 kilometres were then laid with iron rails. Timber supplies diminished and in the late 1880's the tramway was abandoned.
In 1904, a royal commission considered the Don Valley as a route for a branch to the Sheffield district but decided in favour of a shorter line from Railton to Roland. The Don would probably never have seen another railway if Broken Hill Proprietary had not decided to work the large limestone deposits about 10 kilometres up the valley.
As the company planned to take a very large quantity of Limestone to supply its Newcastle steelworks with flux a railway was necessary to bring it down to Devonport and the government agreed to build a branch to the quarry site near the village of Melrose.
Settler’s Further up the valley successfully asked for the line to be extended to Paloona, a more convenient point for landing produce. The public works department began work in 1915.The new line kept to the east bank of the Don the whole way Melrose unlike the old tramway, which crossed and re-crossed the river several times. Beyond Melrose, however the old formation was followed to Paloona.The line was opened on 27-5-1916. Traffic from the quarries developed far beyond original expectations and reached a peak of 161,135 tons in 1926 - 1927, requiring the running of three or four trains from Devonport to Melrose and back each week day.Passenger and general goods traffic however were very light.
Between August 1922 and September 1923 the P.W.D. extended the line to Barrington but this section was uneconomic and was closed on 17-8-1928.Regular services on the Melrose Paloona section appear to have ceased about this time and the section was officially closed on 16-7-1935.
Limestone traffic declined during the depression and increased to a peak of 279161 tons in 1937-1938.Thereafter, it gradually declined and in 1947 B.H.P gave up taking stone from the quarries altogether. The line remained open for local traffic in agricultural lime but by 1957 there were only three trips per week.
From 1955 the branch became even more uneconomic and complete closure took place in 1963.A year later the track was lifted between Melrose and Don Township crossing before the rebuilding of the Bass Highway.The remaining 3.5 km.of line back to Don Junction was left in place but became increasingly overgrown and derelict.
In December 1971 The Van Diemen Light Railway Society inc. was formed and their Don River Tramway project was assisted Australian and Tasmanian governments the Devonport Municipal Council and the T.G.R. (later the A.N.R.) who donated numerous items of rolling stock and track.The efforts of this small group of enthusiasts were rewarded after five years when the society opened on Saturday 20-11-1976.During this first weekend over 2500 passengers were carried and a railway, once again ran in the Don Valley.
Based on an article by Mr. H.J.W. Stokes.
Open everyday of the year except Good Friday and Christmas day.
Station open hours: 9am until 5pm
Trains operating hours: 10am until 4pm
Diesel trains/Railcar operate: Mondays to Saturdays
Steam Trains operate: Sundays and public holidays
Duration: Half hour to complete a round trip
A LIST OF THE LOCOMOTIVES IS AFTER THE PHOTOGRAPHS
LOCOMOTIVE MAKER YEAR BUILDERS No TYPE WHEEL ARRANGEMENT
Dubs & Company 1879 1415 Steam 2-4-2T
Fowler 1887 5265 Steam 0-6-0T
Beyer Peacock 1891 3392 Steam 4-4-0
N0.8 Dubs & Company 1900 3856 Steam 4-8-0
Beyer Peacock 1902 4415 Steam 2-6-0
Beyer Peacock 1905 4417 Steam 2-6-0
Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn 1951 7421 Steam 4-6-2
Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn 1951 7422 Steam 4-6-2
Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn 1951 7423 Steam 4-6-2
Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn 1951 7424 Steam 4-6-2
Vulcan Foundry 1952 5955 Steam 4-8-2
Ruston 40 DL
Ruston Hornsby 1949 279571 Diesel BO
Ruston 48 DL
Ruston Hornsby 1937 187072 Diesel BO
English Electric 1950 1799 / D91 Diesel Electric BO - BO
T.G.R. / English Electric 1970 Unknown Diesel Electric BO - BO
Drewry / Vulcan 1948 2228 / D61 Diesel Mechanical 0-6-0
Malcom Moore / T.G.R 1960 Unknown Diesel Mechanical BO
Goodwin Alco 1963 84712 Diesel Electric CO - CO
Waddingtons / Drewry 1944 2191 Diesel Mechanical Power Bogie-Bogie
Waddingtons 1939 Unknown Trailer Bogie
Victorian Railways 1926 Unknown Body Only Bogie
Riley Engine Company 1907 187072 Petrol Mechanical 4 Wheel Chain Drive
Walkers Ltd. Maryborough, Qld 1963 Unknown Diesel Hydraulic BO - BO
Updated : 5th. March 2008