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Outer Circle railway line, Melbourne
The Outer Circle was a steam-era suburban railway line, in Melbourne, Australia. It covered much of the modern City of Boroondara, including the suburbs of (from north to south) Kew, Camberwell, Burwood, Ashburton, and Malvern East. At its longest stage, it ran from Fairfield station, on what is today the Hurstbridge line, to Oakleigh station, on the current Pakenham and Cranbourne lines.
The Outer Circle was opened on May 30 1890. When planned, its original purpose was to allow Government run trains from its isolated Gippsland line to run through to the Government's western and northern railways, bypassing the trackage of the Melbourne & Hobsons Bay United Railway Company, as well as serving potential future suburban development.
Its first purpose became redundant when the Government bought the ailing private railway in 1878 and subsequently completed a viaduct connecting Flinders Street and Spencer Street Stations in 1892, but the Outer Circle was completed and opened nonetheless.
Its other purpose became redundant during the depression of the 1890s, when new suburbs en route lay empty as a result of bank foreclosures.
Services and closure
It connected Camberwell station (on the modern Belgrave and Lilydale lines) with Oakleigh station to the south, via Riversdale station on what is now the Alamein line. There was also a branch line to Darling station, then the terminus of what is now the Glen Waverley line. On March 24 1891, the Circle was extended north through to Fairfield station (then called Fairfield Park station). This second section was soon closed, however, on April 12 1893. On December 9, 1895, the section from Oakleigh to Ashburton station (now on the Alamein line), as well as the branch to Darling, were closed. This was followed by the section from Camberwell to Ashburton on May 1, 1897.
However, two years later, on July 4 1899, the Camberwell to Ashburton stretch reopened as the Ashburton line. This was followed, on May 14 1900, by the reopening of much of the northern section of the line, through to Deepdene station , as the so-called Deepdene Dasher service. This ran from East Camberwell to Deepdene, with passengers from the city having to change at East Camberwell. While the Deepdene service ended in 1927, the Ashburton service remained. On October 30 1924, the Ashburton line was electrified. It became the Alamein line, which still operates today, on June 28 1948, after being extended to Alamein station to encompass a new housing estate.
It is often assumed that the Outer Circle connected with the Glen Waverley line at East Malvern station. However, the Glen Waverley line was not constructed until some years later, (the forerunner leading up to Darling, one station to the west), and so the lines never met.
Today, the northern section of the line, starting at East Camberwell, is a "rail-trail" walking and bicycle path. All of the closed stations have since been demolished, and very little of the infrastructure of the line is still in place. The track between Fairfield station and the Yarra River came into use as a paper train siding for the Australian Paper factory built on the site, and remained open until 1996. The rail bridge over the river was converted into a road bridge as part of the Chandler Highway .
List of stations
Listed from north to south
- Fairfield Park - now Fairfield on the Hurstbridge line
- Fulham Grange - closed April 24 1893
- Willsmere - closed April 24, 1893
- East Kew - closed April 24, 1893
- Deepdene - closed October 9 1927
- Roystead - closed October 9, 1927
- Shenley - closed October 9, 1927
- East Camberwell - on the Belgrave and Lilydale lines
- Riversdale - now on the Alamein line (branch to Camberwell station)
- Golf Links - now Willison on the Alamein line
- Hartwell Hill - now Hartwell on the Alamein line
- Hartwell - now Burwood on the Alamein line
- Norwood - now Ashburton on the Alamein line
- Waverley Road - closed December 9 1895
- Hughesdale - on the Pakenham and Cranbourne lines
- Oakleigh - on the Pakenham and Cranbourne lines
A short branch from the main line also existed:
- Inner Circle railway line, Melbourne
- List of closed Melbourne railway stations
- List of Melbourne railway stations
- Transportation in Australia
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