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Mungindi railway line

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The Mungindi railway line is a railway line in northern New South Wales, Australia. It branches from the Main North line at the town of Werris Creek and heads north-west through the towns of Gunnedah and Narrabri before reaching Moree which for many years was the railhead before the extension to Mungindi was constructed. The line is currently truncated to Weemelah between Moree and Mungindi.[1] Passenger trains still operate to Moree, and goods trains (mainly wheat) operate to Camurra. As of 1 September 2009, services have been suspended between Camurra and Weemelah. The line between Werris Creek and Moree is also known as the North-West line.[2]

HistoryEdit

The line opened from Werris Creek to Gunnedah in 1879, Narrabri in 1884 and Moree in 1897. Moree was for many years the railhead for the large sheep stations in the area, however the construction by the Queensland Government of a railway close to the NSW border prompted the construction of a line from Moree to Mungindi, which is on the state border.[2] The line opened in 1914, and effectively became considered an extension of the mainline form Werris Creek. The line traverses the black soil plains of the area, much of which are devoted to sheep grazing. In 1974, the line north of Weemelah was cut by flooding and the line was thus truncated at this location. On 1 September 2009, services were suspended between Camurra and Weemalah, however the decision was reversed in November 2009 with the line expected to reopen in February 2010 after approximately 2500 sleepers are replaced.[3]

BranchesEdit

A branch line was opened from Moree to Inverell in 1901,[4] with proposals to extend it to Glen Innes, Grafton and Iluka at one time, but nothing came of this plan. This line was closed in 1994. A branch line was opened between Camurra (11 km north of Moree) to North Star and Boggabilla in 1932. It is now closed beyond North Star.[5] Another branch was opened from Narrabri to Burren in 1903 and it was extended to Cryon in 1905 and Walgett in 1908. This line is still open for freight only as far as Walgett wheat terminal.[6] In 1906 a branch was opened from Burren Junction to Pokataroo in 1906. The last of the line was closed past Merrywinebone in 1974, when it was damaged by floods. It is now only open for grain traffic.[7]

Passenger service Edit

Currently, a daily Xplorer rail motor operated by CountryLink operates between Werris Creek (from Sydney) and Moree. Prior to this, the North West Mail was the principal passenger service to Moree. Between 1926 and 1974, CPH railmotors provided a passenger service between Moree and Mungindi connecting with the North West Mail usually three times per week.

The future Edit

There are proposals to connect Queensland Rail's South-Western line from a point near Goondiwindi to North Star, either with a bogie exchange or dual gauge to Moree or Narrabri. There are also proposals to extend the standard gauge to Toowoomba and Brisbane and/or Gladstone. In 2008, CTC is being extended as far as Narrabri primarily for coal traffic.


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