Capricorn Coast Railway

History of the Capricorn Coast Railway

From the time of its inception, Emu Park was the hedonistic playground of the Rockhampton social set and well-heeled gold miners from Mount Morgan, who used their considerable influence to lobby the Queensland Government for a rail link to the fledgling seaside town.

In late 1888, they achieved their ambitions and the Rockhampton-Emu Park railway line was opened, making the journey far less arduous.

Mount Chalmers locomotive derailment

New communities sprouted up along the path of the railway, and new stations and sidings were established at Nerimbera, Nankin, Sleipner, Tungamull, Coowonga, Coorooman, and Tanby.

In 1908, a branch line was opened at Sleipner Junction to service the gold towns of Mount Chalmers and Cawarral, and in 1909 the branch line reached Yeppoon.

During the 1960s, the Emu Park rail line was progressively decommissioned, however the original building at Nankin still stands. At Tungamull directly before the Keppel Sands Road turnoff, pylons that supported the rail bridge are also clearly visible beside the floodway crossing.

The Emu Park Museum also houses many historical relics of the rail line that helped make the remote southern communities of the Capricorn Coast more accessible to the public.

Yeppoon Railway Terminus
Heritage listed Yeppoon Railway Station 2011

Passenger trains ceased running to Mount Chalmers, Cawarral, and Yeppoon in 2000 with the advent much-improved roads to Rockhampton.

Viability of the line was further limited due to downsizing of local pineapple production, and an increased use of road freight.

In 2004, the trains stopped running and over the next four years the tracks were removed.

In 2008, the Yeppoon Railway Station was placed on the permanent heritage register by the Queensland Heritage Council. It is one of the very few railway terminal stations remaining on the Queensland coast, and the building is still in excellent condition.

If you enjoy this type of article, you can find more on the Central Queensland History page. Feel free to leave any related comments at the end of this page.

Andrew Thompson, editor | historian

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