What do I need to know?
Below you will be able to search locations or subjects of research interest relating to trains and railways, and optionally, apply approximate date ranges for what you are researching. See the titles of the agencies listed below to get a sense of what you might be able to search for.
Note that there are separate searches specifically for:
- railway and train employment records
- visual records like photographs, designs, maps, plans and drawings relating to railways and trains
If you are searching for a very specific project, such as the various 'vary fast train' (VFT) proposals between Melbourne and Sydney in the 1980s and 1990s, there may be records scattered throughout the collection outside the core transport and infrastructure agencies. For this reason, try using the simple search at the very top of this page and type in the project name.
How do I search?
Enter a keyword and / or a date range into the search below, leave the date range blank to see more results.
For a more exact search use inverted commas on multi-word search terms, for example, "Jolimont yard" or "Flemington Bridge Railway Station".
On the search results page, use the filter toggle arrows to the left of the page to narrow the results either by date, series or the creator of the records.
About these records
Various Victorian government departments and agencies have been responsible for railways. The records they created as a result of this work documents a rich variety of details about Victoria's built environment, not only railways but the neighbourhoods and structures surrounding them, matters of safety and the occurrence of accidents. Some records relating to railways (and trains) operated or funded by the Australian Government or relating to national issues will be held by the National Archives of Australia.
Who created these records?
The main agencies that have been associated with rail transport are listed below. More can be found using the PROV catalogue. Click on the VA number to read more about a particular agency and see a complete list of series that the agency created:
- Melbourne and Hobson's Bay Railway Company,1852-1880 (VA 4174)
- Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company, 1853-1860 (VA 4785)
- Department of Railways I, 1858-1871 (VA 2877)
- Department of Railways and Roads, 1871-1877 (VA 2875)
- Department of Railways 2, 1877-1884 (VA 2965)
- Victorian Railways, 1883-1983 (VA 2876)
- Metropolitan Transit Authority, 1983-1989 (VA 1044)
- State Transport Authority, 1983-1989 (VA 1038)
- Public Transport Corporation, 1989-2003 (VA 2984)
- V/Line Freight Corporation, 1997-1999 (VA 4374)
- V/Line Passenger Corporation, 1998-2000 (VA 4863)
Railway Construction and Development
- Public Works Department, 1855-1987 (VA 669)
- Railway Construction Branch, Board of Land and Works, 1892-1965 (VA 690)
- Lilydale and Warburton Railway Construction Trust, 1899-1920 (VA 4998)
- Ferntree Gully and Gembrook Railway Construction Trust, 1901-1919 (VA 4997)
- Nyora and Woolamai Railway Construction Trust, 1909-1921 (VA 4049)
- Noradjuha to Toolondo Railway Construction Trust, 1909-1915 (VA 5112)
- Cavendish to Toolondo Railway Construction Trust, 1914-1921 (VA 5111)
- Linton to Skipton Railway Construction Trust, 1914-1926 (VA 2681)
- Bittern to Red Hill Railway Construction Trust, 1921-1924 (VA 4685)
- Railway Construction Board, 1965-1980 (VA 691)
- Melbourne Underground Rail Loop Authority, 1971-1983 (VA 2987)
- Railway construction and property board, 1980-1983 (VA 615)
- Department of Infrastructure, 1996-2008 (VA 3971)
- Transport Regulation Board, 1933-1983 (VA 2738)
- Department of Transport (known as Ministry of Transport 1951 to 1992), 1951-1996 (VA 673)
- Department of Transport II, 2008-2013 (VA 4853)
- Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure, 2013-2014 (VA 5003)
Inquiries and Committees
- Select Committee on the Railway Construction Bill, 1877-1877 (VA 4886)
- Select Committee on Railways, 1857-1857 (VA 4882)
- Railways Standing Committee (also known as the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways), 1890-1935 (VA 4059)
- Select Committee on Electric Traction on Railways, 1901-1901 (VA 4887)
- Royal Commission on Metropolitan Traffic, 1910-1911 (VA 5179)
- Royal Commission on Border Railways, 1911-1911 (VA 5167)
- Royal Commission into the Railways and Tramways Systems of Melbourne and Suburbs, 1911-1912 (VA 5164)
- Select Committee on the Electrification of the Suburban Railways - Alleged Profits on Contracts, 1914-1914 (VA 4891)
- Royal Commission on the Working as a Business Undertaking of the Victorian Railways, 1917-1917 (VA 5174)
- Railways Classification Board, 1919-1948 (VA 4286)
- Royal Commission Appointed to Inquire into and Report upon the Control, Management, Working and Financial Position of the Victorian Railways, 1928-1928 (VA 3121)
- Board of Inquiry into the Victorian Land Transport System, 1971-1972 (VA 5180)
Order the records of interest and view in our Reading Room. Some records are digital records and can be accessed directly online.
What are in these records?
Because this search covers a number of agencies relating to railways and trains in Victoria, the records you will be exploring are of diverse types and purposes. You can expect to find records that are:
- correspondence relating to railways and trains
- images (negatives, slides and photographs)
- plans and drawings
- committee records
- inquiry transcripts
- employee records relating to railways
- contract and financial records
- survey and journal records
There may be some digitised images relating to your search results, to see these at the top of your search results select the Digital option in the View Record filter toggle arrows on the left of the screen. You can also use these to explore only results from particular series or created by particular agencies.
Victorian Railway weekly notices may also be of assistance in your research. These range from 1901 to 1989 (with some gaps) and you can request them from reading room staff at the Victorian Archives Centre. A copy of this resource is also available on microfilm at State Library Victoria.
Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.
PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples