In 1883 the Victorian Railways Commissioners Act, 47 Vic., No.767, brought the staff of the Department of Railways, founded in 1856, under the jurisdiction of the Railway Commissioners, which became known as Victorian Railways. This act gave Victorian Railways the authority to construct, manage and maintain the railways of the state.
In 1889 Newport replaced Williamstown as the location of the Victorian Railways workshop, and being the largest in Australia. The Victorian Railways Head Office was located in Spencer Street from 1893, and housed the branch’s design and administrative functions. In 1919, the electrification of the Melbourne suburban system commenced and was completed in 1930. In 1922 the Border Railway Act extended some of Victorian Railways lines into New South Wales. In 1961 a standard gauge line connecting to the New South Wales system was constructed to allow travel between Melbourne and Sydney for the first time.
In 1973 the Railways Amendment Act passed the management to a Victorian Railways Board from the Victorian Railways Commissioners. In 1974 Victorian Railways became VicRail.