'Gabba Yards

Click on maps to view them at full size in a new window.

This railway yard was once the main Goods Terminal for the lines radiating out through the southern suburbs of Brisbane. It was replaced by other newer yards in the late 1960's. The new yards are further south at Moolabin and Acacia Ridge. The official closure date for the tracks from Albert towards Wooloongabba was 19 November 1969

Locally the yard name was shortened to the "Gabba". The Queensland Government Railways [QGR] spelt Wooloongabba with only one "L" while the rest of the population used two "Lís" as seen on the maps.

Across the road from the Gabba railway yards was the Brisbane Cricket Ground. This too was frequently refereed to as the "GABBA". Many cricket battles between the Australian X1 and the MCC [The British cricket X1] were fought out on the Gabba wicket!

The tracks left the Goods Yard and crossed the Gabba "Five Ways" (bounded by both sides of Stanley Street, Main Street plus Logan and Ipswich Roads). The often photographed "Bell and Flag Man" preceded all rail traffic crossing the Gabba streets. A tight speed limit would have applied to all rail traffic while the flagman walks in front of the locomotive waving his flag and ringing his bell. A lantern was used at night.

After crossing Main Street, the tracks went east down Stanley St beside the cricket ground than turned to 
diagonally cross Stanley St and cross Trafalgar St and than Logan Rd.

Logan Rd actually was part of the Pacific Highway, which linked Brisbane with Sydney. This would give some indication of the high road traffic levels that would have to pause while the PB15 class locos led the trains across the level crossings.

After crossing Jurgens St, the tracks crossed Ipswich Rd, which, like Logan Rd, was part of Brisbaneís major traffic routes. Ipswich Rd went west to the city of Ipswich where it formed the Warrego Highway for its passage to the major city of Toowoomba and beyond.

When the train from the Gabba had crossed these 6 major and minor roads it gains the safety of its own "Right of Way" and steams to the Albert Crossing Loop.

The PB15 class locomotives could handle up to about 180 tons on this line provided the train is not brought to a stop by signals on the heavier grades.

The goods only line from the Gabba joins the main passenger line to Beenleigh between Park Rd Station and Dutton Park Station. This line runs from the South Brisbane Passenger Terminal in Grey St., South Brisbane to Beenleigh and beyond.

 

To the north of the Wooloongabba Goods Yard was a rail tunnel under Vulture Street (marked in blue). 
This led to several warehouses and wharves along the Brisbane River. These wharves were on Stanley Street.

Some of the cargo that passed through this tunnel included wheat from western Queensland destined for the flourmills along the Brisbane River. Other rail traffic would have included general cargo, both imports and exports, for the shipping wharves known as Stanley Wharf and Musgrave Wharf.

The Railway Wharves along Lower River Terrace handled coal from the mines in the Ipswich area.

The black dashed line indicates routes used by Brisbane electric trams. This tram operation closed in 1969.

Bibliography

Street maps scanned from Refidex Street Maps Pty Ltd c1965

"Destination South Brisbane" John Kerr and John Armstrong, Australian Railway Historical Society [QLD Division], Brisbane 1978.

For the last six years of his school life, the author travelled home by tram along the Stanley Street route, past the South Brisbane Wharves and the Woolloongabba Railway Yards.

 

Page last updated on 01/01/04