Celebrations for railway line’s 150th

Railway buffs will celebrate the 120th anniversary of the opening of a Birregurra to Forrest Railway on Sunday. This is a photo of the first train to Forrest on June 5, 1891. The building in the background is Forrest’s Terminus Hotel.

RAILWAY enthusiasts will gather at the Birregurra Railway Station on Sunday to celebrate the birthday of the Birregurra to Forrest Railway.

The railway opened 120 years to the day on Sunday, and closed in 1957.

Geelong and South Western Rail Heritage Society president Michael Menzies said the railway was instrumental in developing Otway industries in the 20th century.

“The railway was built to open up the for area so that the timber industry could get the timber out of the eastern Otways and the agricultural industries could have some good reliable transport,” Mr Menzies said.

“There was a boom in the timber industry around Forrest and Barwon Downs around the time the railway opened,” he said.

Mr Menzies said the railway also propelled tourism growth in coastal destinations.

“The railway connected up with the horse-drawn coaches at Deans Marsh and that was the way of getting to Lorne until the Ocean Road opened up in the 1930s,” he said.

The railway closed after the Second World War when road trucks become more widely available.

Mr Menzies said a building inspection, a display of photos, plans and a DVD about the Forrest railway would mark the anniversary.

“We’ll have the station open from 11am until 4pm, all the rooms in the station will be open,” he said.

“We’ll have the open fire going in the station master’s office so that will keep the chill away.”

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