Houghton, Norman: End of the Line : A History of the Beech Forest to Crowes Extension Railway 1911 - 1962
Book Number: NH-002
Norman Houghton Geelong, Victoria, Australia 2011 A4 54 pages b/w photos - The Otway Ranges in Victoria’s south west region were virtually impenetrable and of little economic value to the Colony until the 1870s when the railway era arrived. The Ranges were encircled or driven into by the Geelong to Colac railway (1877), the Moriac to Wensleydale railway (1890), the Birregurra to Forrest railway (1891), the Camperdown to Timboon railway (1892) and the Colac to Beech Forest (1902) and Crowes railway (1911). The railways provided the first all-weather, fast and reliable transport services into a area characterised by dense timber and high rainfall and enabled closer settlement and timber winning to begin on a systematic scale. The Colac to Crowes railway differed from the others in that it was a 2ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge line specifically designed for rugged terrain. Construction of the Beech Forest railway began in 1900 and the 47.7 kms length of rails reached the terminus in March 1902. Further agitation by settlers along the Ridge and to the west as far as Princetown resulted in the railway being extended from Beech Forest to Crowes. This 22.5 kms extension was built from 1909 to 1911. The Beech Forest railway was an immediate success. It provided a fast, convenient, all weather means of access between Colac and the forest and facilitated the development of the region.