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South Line, Tasmania facts for kids

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South Line
The South Line, travelling north under
the newly completed Brighton Bypass.
Owner Government of Tasmania
Termini Hobart
Bell Bay Line
Western Line
Type Heavy rail
Operator(s) TasRail
Opened 1876
Track length 199.1 km (123.7 mi)
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ftin) Cape gauge

The South Line, also known as the Main Line and sometimes the North/South Line or the North–South Line, is a freight rail corridor connecting Hobart to the northern ports of Tasmania. The Railway Line was built by the Tasmanian Main Line Company. The route of the railway travels some reasonably poor topography, particularly in the southern section.


When building the railway Line the company had limited finances, the line was built to the 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) Narrow Gauge and included long sections of steep gradients and sharp curves. The final eighteen kilometres of the route from Western Junction to Launceston used the existing Broad gauge alignment of the Launceston and Western Railway, with a third rail being laid for use by the narrow gauge trains. The Railway Line was officially opened on 1 November 1876. As Tasmania has a very competitive Road Transport industry and a modern road network, only limited deviations have been built in the Main line's 125-year history. Although the line still follows the original alignment, the standard of the track has improved by the use of heavier rail welded into long lengths, steel sleepers and better ballast. The line remains in service, and sees multiple freight trains most days, these generally operating Burnie to Boyer and Burnie / Launceston to Hobart and return.


See also: Trams in Hobart and Riverline (Hobart)

A $400,000 feasibility study is currently underway for the possible introduction of commuter trains along the Hobart-Bridgewater end of the rail corridor. The rail corridor will be available for use when the Hobart freight yards are moved to Brighton thus freeing the train lines of most freight trains, although rail freight access to the port at Hobart will be retained for container rail traffic. A state of the art Light rail could then ride the rail corridor creating a new express route to Hobart.

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