Warwick – Killarney

Table of Contents

Fast facts about the Branch

Opened: Killarney Junction – Emu Vale 2nd June, 1884.
Opened: Emu Vale to Killarney 24th August, 1885.
Closed: Killarney Junction – Killarney 1st May, 1964.


1879, JULY 31 – £50,000 is set aside for the construction of the branch line.
1880, JUNE 5 – Government decides to proceed with trial survey.
1880, JULY 17 – Surveyor N. Amos started the survey of the line.

The railway line opened from Killarney Junction (near Warwick) to Emu Vale on 2nd June 1884. The section of line was laid with 42 lb rails.

On JUNE 25, 1885 the Warwick Argustus reported that Warwick to Emu Vale cost of construction was £54,845. The gross earnings of the branch from June 2nd to December 31st amounted to £1,241 16s 9d, leaving the net receipts £94, 4s 3d, equal to 172 per cent on the capital expended in construction, building, &c. It must, however, be remembered that the cost of maintenance was only charged to revenue during a portion of the period dealt with in returns before us.

(Warwick Argustus) DECEMBER 31, 1884 – The number of passenger tickets issued at the different stations was as follows: – Hermitage 110, Swan Creek 1,022, Mount Sturt 299, Yangan 863 and Emu Vale 2,049. These figures we think justify the hope that as soon as the branch is completed to Killarney, and its heavy timber traffic from that district is secured, it will not only pay working expenses but also interest on the money expended in its construction.

(Warwick Argustus) AUGUST 22, 1885 – A Special Train ran on 22nd August 1885 for the opening of the extension as follows: –
Warwick, depart 9.35 a.m.
Killarney, arrive 11.30 a.m.
Killarney, depart 3.40 p.m.
Warwick, arrive 5.20 p.m.

The second section from Emu Vale to Killarney was opened on 24th August 1885. Mr. John Garget was the contractor for both sections. The opening of this line proved to be a great boon to farmers and timber millers alike.

The line had been surveyed to Wrights Hill at South Killarney, but the Government of the day decided that the expense of building and future maintenance of the line across the Condamine River and its flood plain was to great. Because this, the terminus was constructed at North Killarney, some considerable distance from the town. A turntable was installed there (believed to have come from Warwick (Millhill)), so engines could be turned around for the return trip to Warwick.

The decision to terminate the line on the Northern side of the river eventually caused the business center of the town to relocate itself, and the town split into two halves.

The railway brought great prosperity to the town and served the area well for nearly eighty years.

(Warwick Argustus) SATURDAY, MARCH 27, 1886 – Killarney Branch Railway – Due to insufficiency of traffic one of the two trains which now run daily between Warwick and Killarney is to be discontinued, and the timetable to be rearranged.

(Warwick Argustus) SATURDAY, MAY 22, 1886 – Killarney Branch Line – We hear that in consequence of the amount of goods traffic offering on the Killarney line being often beyond the capacity of the engine power, vexatious delays at times occur in getting timber and farm produce to market. Consignors complain also that trucks are not always supplied as promptly as they might be. A Killarney correspondent says the trucks loaded with timber are often left behind at that station, the engine driver saying that he can not take more than 70 tons of goods per day; and our correspondent thinks that this could be obviated without loss if the Traffic Manager would put on an extra train on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

A flood in January 1887 completely destroyed the high-level railway bridge over Emu Creek. Luckily a locomotive was on the Killarney side of the bridge to enable passengers to the shuttled from Killarney to the bridge, and then they had to walk the river to board another train into Warwick. This flood also damaged the Yangan Bridge at Swan Creek.

By MARCH, 1887 the bridge over Swan Creek had been repaired, and trains started to run daily between Emu Vale and Warwick. The work of restoring the Emu Vale bridge was to be pushed on as rapidly as possible, but it was not intended to resume communication with Killarney in the meantime.

(Warwick Argustus) TUESDAY, JUNE 14, 1887 – (WA) – KILLARNEY BRANCH. It is nearly five months since rail communication with Killarney was interrupted by the destruction of the Emu Creek bridge during the flood of January last. Two months after the disaster a sort of “scratch” service was arranged The new bridge is to be ready by the end of the month.

(Warwick Argustus) TUESDAY, JUNE 14, 1887 – (WA) – YANGAN RAILWAY BRIDGE. – There are to be seen in this district some very fine examples of railway engineering. We have tunnels, big cuttings, long timber bridges, stately stone viaducts ; but the greatest curiosity we possess most undoubtedly is an extraordinary structure which spans Swan Creek, just beyond Yangan, on the Killarney branch. It was once a bridge, and is a courtesy so termed even now. It was sadly battered by the flood of January 21, although it has since been in the hands of engineers and maintenance gangs, still being traces of that memorable time in which Science was knocked out by Nature in one round. The piles were knocked out of plum and the superstructure strained. A gang of men with blocks and tackle pulled the pile back to perpendicular, and a pile drawing apparatus was employed for some time smoothing off the inequalities ; but the result, even with the assistance of numerous wedges placed under girders and sleepers, was not a conspicuous success. The track was not only crooked, but is was about as level as a piece of the Downs corduroy country so famous for many things, but chiefly for testing buggy springs. In this condition the bridge was reopened for traffic. The passing trains have since improved the level somewhat, but the structure is still in a very ricketty state. The engineer in charge of course regards it safe for traffic, or the train would not be allowed to cross, but it is significant that the driver never crosses it at a greater speed than four miles an hour ; and the bubbles which encircle each pile as the train passes above are calculated to make passengers feel just a trifle uneasy. It may be all right, but – well we think a new bridge should be erected, or the present one strengthened, with as little delay as possible.

(The Warwick Examiner Newspaper) JANUARY 12, 1910 – Cream supplies from the Killarney line last week amounted to 1788 gallons.

Traffic on the Killarney line last week included; 6127 bags of wheat, 1296 bags of maize, 278 bags of barley, 45 bags of oats, 199 bags of prairie seed, 1578 bags of chaff, 61 cases of fruit, 818 packages of vegetables, 235 bags of potatoes, 22 bales of wool, 429 sheep, 32 cases of eggs, 42,240ft. sawn timber, 210 tons coal, 12 packages of cheese, 31 boxes of butter.



On and after MONDAY, 2nd June, 1884, the following Time Table will come into operation until further notice: –

Stations Noon p.m. Stations a.m. p.m.
Warwick dep 12.0 5.0 Emu Vale dep 7.0 2.30
Killarney Junction 12.5 5.5 Yangan 7.22 2.52
Hermitage 12.27 5.27 Mount Sturt 7.31 3.4
Swan Creek 12.44 5.44 Swan Creek 7.51 3.21
Mount Sturt 1.1 6.1 Hermitage 8.8 3.38
Yangan 1.13 6.13 Killarney Junction 8.28 3.58
Emu Vale arr 1.33 6.33 Warwick arr 8.33 4.3


Stations built on the line

The stations and sidings along the line were:

(Distances are from Warwick)

Location Miles Chains ft above sea level
HERMITAGE: 4 m 66 ch 1575 ft
GLENCAIRN: 6 m 25 ch, 1592 ft.
KARCARUDA: 8 m 21 ch, 1622 ft.
MOUNT STURT: 10 m 1 ch, 1702 ft.
YANGAN: 12 m 48 ch, 1705 ft.
ROCKBRAE: 13 m 76 ch, 1726 ft.
EMU VALE: 16 m 18 ch, 1674 ft.
DANDEROO: 19 m 3 ch, 1658 ft.
WIYARRA: 20 m 24 ch, 1697 ft.
TANNYMOREL: 23 m 7 ch, 1697 ft.
GRAYSONS SIDING: 24 m 13 ch, 1774 ft.
KILLARNEY: 27 m 56 ch, 1697 ft.



Train services and line workings

It was noted in a 1963 working timetable: “In order to reduce cost of maintenance, the maximum speed on this branch is 20 miles per hour, and that only on straight and level pieces of the road, but must be reduced to FIFTEEN miles per hour in daylight and TEN miles per hour at night when the line runs along the main road. The maximum speed of Rail Motors is 25 miles per hour.”

Killarney Junction is now being worked as part of Warwick station yard.

When necessary to dispatch a train from Warwick for Killarney or Maryvale Branches, a porter must proceed by tricycle to Killarney Junction to make the road for the branch line, and the driver, when leaving Warwick, must be in possession of the Warwick-Millhill train staff, which will be collected from the driver on arrival at Killarney Junction and taken back by tricycle to Warwick. Similarly when a train is arriving at Warwick from Killarney or Maryvale Branch a porter must take out the Warwick-Millhill train staff to Killarney Junction, pull off the branch signals to admit the train, hand the driver the Millhill-Warwick train staff, and return to Warwick after replacing the branch signals and making the road for main line traffic.


Mount Colliery Tramway

In 1893 Coal was discovered on the bank of farm Creek near Tannymorel Railway Station.
Following this, in 1896 – William Roach and William Lanigan established Mount Colliery on Hurdle Creek, about 5 km from Tannymorel.

By 1905, Mount Colliery was delivering 12 tonnes of coal per day.

A branch line to the coal mine at Mt. Colliery was constructed from Tannymorel in 1908.This light tramway, used horses hauling coal trucks, until upgraded for steam trains, the first running on 12th June, 1910. The line was closed on 1st May, 1964. Coal was transported by road to Warwick until the mine closed in 1967.


Closure of the line

The branch line from Killarney Junction to Killarney was closed on 1st May 1964.