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British Industrial History

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Geelong and Melbourne Railway Co

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The Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company was a railway company in Victoria, Australia.

Alexander Thomson, a member of the Victorian Legislative Council, introduced and mentored a bill to incorporate the Geelong and Melbourne Railway Co which was passed in February 1853. Thomson was one of the directors and presided at the first shareholder meeting.

Work began at the Geelong end in 1854 but progress was slow due to a labour shortage caused by the Victorian gold rush, so the Victorian government hired out 100 prisoners to the company at a daily rate of five shillings each. They were housed in prison hulks moored in Corio Bay.

English engineer and surveyor Edward Snell undertook the survey and design of the line, including a station and extensive workshops at Geelong, and a number of bluestone and timber bridges.

1856 November. Mungo Park Smith and Thomas Oldham commissioned to survey the Geelong line.

On 25 June 1857 the company opened its railway line from Geelong to a temporary terminus called Greenwich, on the Yarra River at Newport, where passengers were obliged to transfer to a steamer for connection to Melbourne.

In 1859 train services were extended through from Newport to Spencer Street Station after the Victorian Railways opened the Williamstown railway.

However, the company continued to operate at a loss, and in June 1860 was sold to the Government of Victoria for £800,000. The Geelong-Melbourne railway then became part of the network operated by the Victorian Railways.

1860 Six Locomotives passed to the Victorian Railways

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