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British Industrial History

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Tasmanian Main Line Railway

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The Tasmanian Main Line Company (T.M.L.) was a privately owned railway company that existed in Tasmania from 1872 to 1890. The company were the first operators of rail services between Hobart and Launceston, where it connected with the Launceston and Western Railway.

The promoters of the railway planned a 5 feet 3 inch (1600mm) gauge such as that of the L.W.R., however the final outcome being an acceptance between the T.M.L.R. and the Government to construct a railway of 3 feet 6 inches gauge (1067mm) from Hobart to Evandale. British born engineer John Campbell Climie was appointed engineer.

The railway was intended to run right into Launceston, but the Launceston and Western Railway had already built a broad gauge line along that route. It was agreed that a third rail would be laid within the broad gauge tracks

Excessive rains during August and September 1872, held up surveying. Then it was found that the route originally proposed was "impracticable". Mr J. W. Reeve, engineer and managing partner in Tasmania for the London contractors Clarke, Punchard and Reeve, arrived in Hobart in June 1872. Reeve and his engineering staff believed they could complete the railway, telegraph and all works by late 1874.

In mid-1872, two 0-6-0T engines built by Fox, Walker and Co, arrived in Launceston on the barque Westbury. They were used by the contractors as construction engines.

1872 April 19th. Charles William Grant appointed engineer

1876 Thomas Midelton appointed engineer and locomotive superintendent

1876 William Rufus Deeble joined the railway

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