The Bellerive to Sorell railway was a 3ft 6in gauge line operated by the Tasmanian Government Railways.

It was an endearingly eccentric operation due to its separation from the rest of the TGR system by the Derwent River.

It was opened in 1892, and closed in 1926. The 23.7km line included several interesting features: a terminal station on the end of a pier, a 164m long stone-lined tunnel, a 256m long stone causeway, a 582m long timber viaduct, and the 400m long Shark Point cutting.

The railway used ex-Tasmanian Main Line Railway Company rolling stock, banished from the main system due to its centre-buffer link-and-pin couplings and continuous chain-brake system.

The four-wheeled carriages were not noted for their comfort. “Coming in today I almost had my arse pinched off” wrote one irate passenger.

There were proposals for extensions, branches, and connections to the main system, either by bridging the Derwent or by train ferry. But none of these eventuated, leading to the railway's early closure.

An excellent book about this railway has been published by the Bellerive Historical Society.

Details of the book can be found here.

 

 

The green shed is on the remains of the Railway Wharf at Bellerive. The wharf originally extended into the water as a timber construction, with the station on the end of the wharf, where ferries from Hobart arrived.

These two wagons are on display on formation of the railway yard at Bellerive.

At Bellerive, the railway followed the line of the road which has been built on the formation. There were sidings, a goods shed, and loco shed in this area.


The current Bligh Street follows the route of the Railway after it crossed Roslyn Hill Road. The original railway cutting has been widened to accomodate the road.

Leading to bridge

The route of the railway can be easily followed between The Turning and Mornington, from where the righ-of-way crosses Dampier Street.

bridge pier

Bridge pier at Warrane, Bellerive side of bridge

Bridge pier at Warrane, Sorell side of bridge


Along the track near Pass Road, Mornington, looking towards Sorell.

Leading up to tunnel

Formation on the Bellerive side of the tunnel


Tunnel mouth, Bellerive end.


Inside the tunnel.


Tunnel mouth, Sorell end.


Cambridge station yard, the white gate is original, the green and yellow house is the original railway station on its original site, but the building has been heavily modified. The railway ran on the left of the station building.


Along the railway causeway, leading to 900ft timber bridge.


Site of 900ft timber bridge, next picture shows its approximate location.


Site of 900ft timber bridge.


Cutting on Sorell side of 900ft bridge, looking towards Bellerive.


Brass plaque on railway right-of-way about one kilometre from Sorell. This section is public and walkable.


Inside carriage shed at Sorell.


Carriage shed at Sorell.


"Dubs & Co Drive" road sign, and Sorell station behind the carpark sign. Dubs & Co Drive is a new street in Sorell, and is named after the builders of the two most important Bellerive-Sorell locomotives (4-4-2Ts).


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Last updated 3 November 2010.

All photographs Copyright Frank Stamford, 2004, who may be contacted by email at: frank.stamford@bigpond.com