Rail first came to Sale in the late 1870s. This put an end to the horrific 22-27 hour coach journeys from Sale to Melbourne. These journeys had always been long, uncomfortable, dangerous and expensive with up to 50 horses being used for each trip.
The development of the rail line to Sale from Melbourne was an unusual one in several ways. Work began at Oakleigh, where no existing rail line currently existed, and work began at both ends at the same time. The residents of Sale being concerned that were a rail line constructed from the Melbourne end only, the line would end up being diverted away from Sale and on to Bairnsdale instead.
Early 1875 transformed Sale in to a railway town, boosting the local industry. Each section of the railway was put into service as soon as it was completed. The Oakleigh to Sale line was opened in 1878. Shortly after the rail was completed, many Gippsland born adults visited Melbourne for the first time.
It was the introduction of rail that enabled holiday makers to visit the Gippsland Lakes. The first holiday rush to the Lakes occurred at Easter in 1878.
Rail to Sale changed the primary mode of trade. Previously trade had cantered around coastal shipping, but the rail provided a faster alternative.
Just over one hundred years later, in 1983, the Sale Railway was demolished to make way for a new Shopping Centre. The new railway station is now located slightly West of the town centre.
The signal box and signals are still outside the Shopping Centre today to mark the old railway station. The signal box is a rail museum open by appointment. Contact the Shopping Centre Manager for details on 03 5144 7133.
For some photos of the old Sale Railway station from the late 1960s, visit the user submitted section of our photograph album.