A plaque and interpretive panel commemorating 25 years since the final section of standard gauge rail line was completed between Sydney and Brisbane will take pride of place at Queensland Rail’s Roma Street station.
The plaque and interpretive panel was unveiled by the Governor of Queensland, Her Excellency Penelope Wensley AC, at a special event in Roma Street Parklands and will be displayed by Queensland Rail to recognise the important achievement.
Minister for Transport and Multicultural Affairs, Annastacia Palaszczuk said this panel will be a permanent reminder of a significant milestone in this state’s history.
“In 1986, the final section of the standard gauge on the interstate rail line between Sydney and Brisbane was completed, more than a century after the idea was originally floated,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Engineers Australia Chair Dennis Wogan said Engineers Australia have a marker program that recognises places of engineering heritage throughout Australia.
“The Grafton to Brisbane coastal railway was the first interstate railway built to standard gauge, freeing up interstate trade,” Mr Wogan said.
“This important piece of infrastructure relied on pioneering engineering solutions of overcome many challenges.
“For more than 50 years after the standard gauge interstate rail line was built, travellers weren’t able to go the distance and arrive where all the other Queensland country services did at Roma Street station – instead their journey ended a little over a kilometre short at South Brisbane station.”
According to Queensland Rail Historian Greg Hallam the cross river link was not given a high priority because trams provided a connection between inner Brisbane and the South Brisbane station via the Victoria Bridge.
“Final approval was given in the early 1970s for a cross river link with the Merivale Bridge opening in November, 1978. However, the standard gauge was not extended across the bridge to Roma Street station until 1986,” Mr Hallam said.
The plaque will take pride of place on platform two at Roma Street station once renovation works are completed next year.