The Cementies Railway ~ Casting fading shadows...
"The original Australian Portland Cement company plant was located at the foot of the Fyansford hill between Deviation Road and Hyland Street....
In 1918 a railway line was extended from the North Geelong railway station to the top of the hill above Fyansford, and in 1926 the narrow gauge Fyansford Cement Works Railway was opened to serve a new quarry, and the works themselves expanded across Hyland Street, which became the main production site, Geelong Cement, in later years....
The cement works were later acquired by Adelaide Brighton Cement, and were closed in 2001..."
John McNeill was employed by Australian Cement Ltd from 1938 to 1986, rising to the position of works manager at Fyansford.This pdf document is based on his research in the company files and on his personal knowledge of operations at Fyansford.
Includes: Works Layout (1922) and a Plan of ACL railway line (1924-1966)
A history of the railways of Geelong and District
By Rail Geelong
"In 1926 the Australian Portland Cement Company opened a private 3'6" railway, replacing an older aerial ropeway to their quarry.... The initial route of the railway was from the north side of Hyland Street, north to the Moorabool River which was crossed on a wooden trestle bridge, then north east to the quarry itself....The private railway closed in 1966, and being replaced by a crushing plant on the quarry floor and an aerial beltway, which remained in use until the closure of the works...."
Also includes track diagrams (x2)
"The Fyansford Cement Works Railway was ... built by the Australian Portland Cement Company to carry limestone from its quarry to its cement works at Fyansford.
The railway was notable for possessing a 1.3 km tunnel, the longest rail tunnel in Victoria (except for Melbourne's underground loop), and for its fleet of one diesel and 11 steam locomotives ...
The line was built in 1926, replacing an earlier overhead ropeway from the quarry to the main works. The railway had two main sections: one from the works depot to an older quarry, and a longer track which used the tunnel and connected to a newer quarry. The length of the main line from the new quarry to the depot was 5.6 km. The track was built in 3 ft 6 in (guage), one not often used in Victoria...
The cement works railway operated until 1966, when it was replaced by an aerial beltway between a new crushing works on the quarry floor and the cement works....
Of the original twelve locomotives, seven (one diesel and six steam locomotives) are still in existence today.... (preserved by heritage railway operators).
Remains of the overhead conveyor belt which replaced the railway line in 1966
Without a doubt ~ One of the best railway resources...
Special thanks to Daryle Phillips for his Railways of Australia
For everything you ever wanted to know
about the history of the railways of Geelong and District...
"The Fyansford line was opened in 1918 to serve the Cement Works located at Fyansford. The line branches from main line at North Geelong Yard, weaving it's way uphill through the suburbs of Geelong until reaching Herne Hill where the plant was located. The cement works themselves are located at the bottom of the hill, with a conveyor system bringing the finished cement to the silos located atop the hill.
At the Cement Works loading silos were provided, as was a substantial yard for the marshalling of wagons. Services along the line were mainly shunt moves from North Geelong Yard and return. .... Usage of the line declined by the 1990s as road haulage took over. A bike path and linear park was provided beside the tracks in the early 1980s. The plant closed in the early 2000s and was demolished, however the line itself remains and being baulked off at the main line sometime before 2003…...."
A collection of 67 photos along the Fyansford cement works branch
Railway & Belt Conveyor
50 Hyland Street, Fyansford
"The Limestone quarry and former railway and Limestone Belt Conveyor are scientifically significant at a Regional level for its potential to yield evidence of particularly appropriate solutions, over a period of 100 years, to a technical problem of extracting and transporting quarry material to the manufacturing plant at Fyansford. ..... its archaeological deposits which are likely to contain evidence of technological value with particular regard to the former railway, tunnel and ventilation shafts. The quarry has essentially been part of one of Geelong's most pioneering industrial families, the McCann family business, since they purchased it in 1888....".
Source: On My Doorstep
"In 1926 the Australian Portland Cement Company opened a private 3'6" railway, replacing an older aerial ropeway to their quarry. There were two routes from the cement plant: the top line that went to the old quarry and works depot, and a longer branch that descended via a tunnel to the open cut quarry.... The grade on the line to the old quarry was 1 in 25, with the line to the new open cut quarry being on a 1 in 37 grade and running through a 4,376 ft (1.3 kilometre) long tunnel, the longest in Victoria. The total length of the main line from quarry to the works was 5.6km."
Source: Rail Geelong
"THE official opening of the AustralianPortland Cement Company's extensive works at Fyansford, with an aerial rope way to the quarries at Batesford, took place on 12th inst. The Melbourne party, numbering close on 150, arrived by special train, and were conveyed to the works in motors and drags...".
"The operation was akin to that of a miniature main line, running from the quarry at Batesford, some 3½ miles to the north-west, to a balloon loop with wagon tippler at the works. The locomotive roster ranged from diminutive 0-4-2STs built in the Edwardian era, to a mighty war-time Australian Standard Garratt, supplemented in 1956 by a Bo-Bo Diesel Electric...".
Source: Fyansford Cement Works Railway
"Looking east back towards the former cement works - the 3.67km long Limestone Belt Conveyor System ran inside a protective concrete structure, supported by concrete pylons, replacing the previous narrow gauge railway in 1966. After the cement works closed in the early 2000s, the concrete structure was removed, with the pylons being removed by the late 2000s."
Source: Marcus Wong
"The next major step was the erection of the limestone conveyor system from quarry to works in 1966, involving the installation of the larger No 3 crusher at the quarry, seven sections of belt conveyor in a concrete support and protective structure across country for 3.67 kilometres...".
Source: Light Railways, 1993