Fast Facts about the ‘Via Recta’
SURVEYED Via Recta 1885, Warwick – Maryvale May 1909
WORK STARTED 7th December 1909
OPENED 30th September 1911
CLOSED 1st November 1960
STATUS Via Recta Never Completed Fully
The line was surveyed from Warwick to Maryvale by Mr. Blackman in May 1909. Estimated cost to build the line was £63,424.14.1. Approval to build the line from Warwick to Maryvale was given on 7th December 1909. Mr. William Pagan was the Chief Engineer appointed to oversee the building of this line. Work began on 28th February 1910, and employed up to 164 men, 31 horse and dray teams, and 14 plough and scoop teams.
Premier William Kidston, officially started the work by turning the first sod on Friday 18th March, 1910. During 1910 & 1911, the building of the railway line was delayed on several occasions. Heavy rain during the winter of 1910 delayed the building the earthworks. Then between February and March, 1911 heavy rain caused flooding and washed away some of the earthworks already done.
The line was officially opened by the Premier Mr. Denham on Saturday 30th September 1911. Two ladies held a royal blue ribbon 3” wide across the track while the locomotive passed through it.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 6, 1912 – (WA) – HEAVY STORM on MARYVALE LINE
Between 3 and 4 o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, a slight tornado accompanied by heavy rain of a short duration yield 2 inches. The downpour was responsible for some damage to the railway line near Clintonvale. Some of the corn and soil on one side of the rails were carried over to the other side and for a considerable distance the rails were completely hidden beneath the large deposit of earth.
Mr. Assistant Traffic Manager Ross lost no time in having the line open for traffic.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 1914 – THE MARYVALE LINE – Stranded at Gladfield
(Sunshine Express, December, 1989)
The southern part of the Darling Downs is particularly susceptible to storms and sudden downpours, whilst tornadoes and whirlwinds are not unknown. Damage to the permanent way and communications generally often occurs as a result of these storms.
Following three days torrential rain with intermittent hail the branch track between Warwick and Maryvale was in a bad state early in February 1914, these being frequent slips and washouts.
The train on Monday 2nd February 1914 had evidently run to schedule but the following day, the evening mixed to Maryvale was stranded at Gladfield because of washouts on the line. Gladfield in those days was not a bad place to get stuck; the Maryvale bound passengers and crew could console themselves in the cozy confines of the newly opened Gladfield Hotel adjoining the station while the rain fell outside.
Upon receipt of advice from the train crew at Gladfield, the District Superintendent at Warwick organized a ballast train and repair gang which was dispatched at daybreak from Warwick for the washout at Gladfield.
No attempt had been made by the train crew to continue to Maryvale during the night and the branch train commenced from Gladfield that Wednesday morning, evidently crossing the ballast train at Freestone, which was in those days a staff station with a station master in charge.
Despite a full days toil by the repair gang at the site of the washout, the evening mixed from Warwick has held up for 45 minutes on the outskirts of Gladfield, while the gang pigs tied the track.