Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Former Sorell Railway Station

The genesis for a railway line between Kangaroo Point (now known as Bellerive)and Sorell lay in a parlimentary survey in 1883. Tempers flared as opponents lambasted "this idiotic railway" and its proposed route before work finally began in 1890 with plans to eventually extend the railway through to Spring Bay & Bream Creek. The railway, with its tunnel through tunnel hill and 580m causeway and bridge across Pitt Water to Shark Point was opened in 1892. A weir and pump house were constructed on Sorell Rivulet in order to supply water for the steam engines at the station. A station house, workshop and engine shed were constructed at Sorell.

The station building was both the railway station and the station master's residence, although there were no doorways connecting the two sections of the building. The station included a ticket office, an open waiting room and a ladies waiting room with toilet facilities. The railway station wall has been almost completely rebuilt in recent years to replace earlier windows which had suffered irreparable damage due to the wind. The complex also included extensions which were to store firewood and parcels awaiting transport to Hobart.

The railway line only realised a profit in one year and ultimately ran its final service on June 30 1926. It was defeated by the lack of an ongoing direct link to the main railway line across the Derwent River. The rolling stock was already second hand in 1892 and were never ever replaced. It was described as "those damn old carriages rock and buck, everything is loose. The seats are terrible, no screws to hold them down". The single line and lack of switching yards and turntables at Sorell meant the train went forward in one direction and reversed for its return trip. It certainly did help to reduce the district's isolation bringing weekend and day tourists to the town.

Following the closure of the line, the Sorell railway station, which was of timber construction on a stone base set on the original stone platform was used as a private residence. The building has been extensively altered over the years and is now in use as an antique shop, Sorell Station Antiques

Main Text & Information Source - 
Sorell Heritage Study, Site Inventory Vol 6 - Sorell Municipal Council