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Melbourne & Hobson's Bay Railway Co., Melbourne, Victoria

Monthly Train Ticket - Melbourne & Hobson's Bay United Railway, August 1865

Image: Monthly Train Ticket - Melbourne & Hobson's Bay United Railway, August 1865

Source: Museum Victoria

The Melbourne and Hobson's Bay Railway Co. was one of several privately owned railways in Victoria. Opened in 1854, the railway ran between Sandridge (Port Melbourne) and the City.

Melbourne and Hobson's Bay Railway Company was formed in August 1852 and capitalised at £100,000. For a 2½ mile line across level terrain this was a relatively generous capitalisation. Nevertheless, it was compelled to double its capital to complete the line. The line was completed so quickly that the locomotives ordered from England had not yet arrived, so the railway opened on 12 September 1854 with two home-built machines. One was a goods truck with a pile-driver engine adapted to power it.

The railway was an instant financial success, as its fares were high and the route popular with commuters. A half-hourly passenger service was operated from the beginning. The success of the Hobson's Bay Company prompted other entrepreneurs to invest in railway schemes in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Nowhere else in Australia was there such a concentration of privately owned and operated common-carrier railways.

In 1878 the Victorian Government acquired the Melbourne and Hobson's Bay United Railway Co., giving it an almost complete monopoly on Victorian railways.

References:
Linking a Nation: Australia's Transport and Communications 1788-1970. Commonwealth of Australia 2003, http://www.ahc.gov.au/infores/publications/national-stories/transport/chapter4.html
Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, University of Melbourne, http://www.austehc.unimelb.edu.au/tia/836.html
Australian Science at Work, University of Melbourne website http://www.austehc.unimelb.edu.au/asaw/biogs/A001224b.htm
White Hat Melbourne guide http://www.whitehat.com.au/Melbourne/Events/Dates/07July/01.html

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