Thursday, 19 February 2015

Colebrook: A Tasmanian railway story

Colebrook is a tiny village of just 373 people located just 53 kms from Hobart along Richmond Road between the Midland and Tasman Highways. Taking the road as a shortcut while on vacation in 2011, I stopped at Colebrook to photograph the railway station, but managed to take only one photograph before the batteries in my camera went flat!

The Tasmanian Main Line Railway Company first built the 3 foot 6 inch narrow gauge line through Colebrook as part of their Hobart to Evandale (11 km south of Launceston) Line in 1876, and ever since the line has had an interesting history of ownership. By 1890 the Tasmanian Government had bought the line. In 1978 Tasmania's entire railway network became part of the Australian National Railways Commission under the Whitlam Government and was renamed TasRail. In 1997, TasRail was sold to the Australian Transport Network (ATN, a joint partnership between New Zealand based Tranz Rail and US railroad company Wisconsin Central). ATN was then purchased by Pacific National in 2004 before in 2009 the Tasmanian Government purchased back the entire railway network under a state-owned company called Tasmanian Railway Pty Ltd, trading under the name of, you guessed it, TasRail.

With Tasmania's railway history seemingly going around in circles, I found myself wishing that I had spare batteries to take some more photos of one of Tasmania's last surviving mainline railway station buildings. In my defense however, I had just taken 200-300 photos that morning of the Don River Railway in Devonport. The impressive sandstone St Patrick's Catholic Church in the background (above) dates back to 1856, and if I'm ever passing through Colebrook again on a trip south to Hobart, I'll be sure to call in and take an up close photo of the interesting Gothic-Revival structure, along with some more photos of the railway station.

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