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The Melbourne goods yard is the largest of the kind in Australia. It lies between the city and the Yarra, adjoining the passenger yard, and comprises a total area (including sheds, platforms, and approaches) of 131 acres. The sidings and shunting roads, of which there is a total length of 32 miles, are practically flat for the most part, but cover two levels, one being about 12ft. higher than the other, and both connected by roads of 1 in 50 grade. On the lower level are the sheds and platforms for inwards and outwards goods, while there is also one shed that devoted to shipping business on the higher level.Australia & U.S.A.
The existence of two levels under ordinary working conditions offers, as a matter of course, considerable disadvantages, more particularly as so much traffic must concentrate on the connecting roads; but the possibilities for shunting purposes of the falling grade to the lower level have been recognised, and, as a result, a gravitation shunting yard is in course of construction. By raising the reception roads for incoming trains slightly, a fall is obtained sufficient to carry a truck by gravity to any of the present lower level sheds or platforms, and as these are in the gravitation scheme to be converted into purely inwards receiving centres, the whole of Melbourne inward trucks will, when the work is completed, fall without ordinary motive power into their ordinary discharging places. Coincident with this arrangement, the outwards business will be conducted at sheds and platforms on the higher level.
Thus the engine power at present necessary in the yard will be materially reduced.
The Melbourne yard is the natural pivot upon which all the Victorian, freight business turns. Throughout the grain season trucks arrive there between mid-night and 8 a.m. at a rate of over 250 an hour sometimes, and trains come in unmarshalled in all cases. It takes a little effort of imagination to realise exactly what this means in shunting. Two hundred and fifty trucks, comprising grain, hay, chaff, skins, butter and milk, general merchandise, "transfers," etc., mixed indiscriminately, involve an enormous amount of handling. Each class of goods just enumerated has its own receiving place, to say nothing of other classes which have not been mentioned, but which, nevertheless, go for delivery to still other roads or platforms; nor is account taken of trucks for private sheds or sidings and Those for other stations. Two hundred and fifty trucks an hour inwards, and the outward trains marshalled in station order starting every few minutes, would tax severely a goods depot of greater pretensions than this, and the staff deserves credit for having coped with the pressure so well. During two months this year the trucks handled in the Melbourne yard totalled 142,241 an average of 2,963 per day, whilst the highest number handled on any one day was 3,361 trucks.
Reprinted from Railway Magazine, October, 1900
Rail clicks recorded between Sydney and Wagga Wagga are used as sound effects in "Petticoat Junction" which is expected to commence on A.T.V. Channel 0, Melbourne, in August.U.K.
"Petticoat Junction" is a Hollywood series about a family with several pretty daughters which is battling to keep a backblocks railroad afloat.
The rail clicks were supplied by the series' technical adviser, Mr Gerald Best, who recorded them here during a visit two years ago.
Mr Best, 68, will be familiar to some of our readers. He is best known as the man who helped Walt Disney recreate the vintage locomotives and rolling-stock in Disneyland.
He is an inveterate traveller and a lover of steam trains with a special affection for Australia, which he regards as a happy hunting ground for steam men.
We met Mr Best with his wife, Harriet, at the Chevron Hilton, Sydney, last month in between a ride down from Cairns and another to Wagga Wagga and Melbourne.
With him was his 1917-vintage quarter-plate camera, affectionately called "the old rabbit trap," with which he has made 70,000 pictures since he first became interested in railways.
Mr Best told us that he joined forces with artist Ward Kimble when he worked as sound engineer for Warner Bros., and that together they had rebuilt three vintage locomotives and established a private railroad on four acres of ground at San Gabriel, California.
He left Warner Bros. to join the Disney studios and there helped Walt Disney rebuild two historic 17-ton locos which are now part of Disneyland.
"No. 1 is an 1873 Central Pacific loco, one of the most beautiful locomotives ever built just as beautiful as your 1709 at Enfield in Sydney," said Mr Best. "We built the whole Disneyland system on a five-eighths scale because we figured that would suit the dimensions of a child."
The Best-Kimble line at San Gabriel operates under the name of the Grizzly Flats Railroad.
About once a month the Best and Kimble families invite their friends down for the day, fire up the locomotives, and haul the guests around the four-acre lot.
"The State of California boiler inspectors were so amazed when they saw our set-up that we've had an annual inspection free ever-since," said Mr Best.
The Bests left in the Mariposa for home in May and hope to return again in 1966 for their fifth visit in seven years.
Reprinted from RoA Network, June, 1964
By Harold Macfarlane
The ordinary individual is quite content if the train is up to time and he has something to grumble at, to purchase a ticket, enter a compartment, and be carried to his destination with more or less despatch. Not so the man who is afflicted with original ideas of how travelling should be done; he may prefer to travel beneath the seat, upon the buffer, or on the footboard. His tastes may vary between swinging on a coupling, or lounging in the rack intended for small articles only; his ideas with regard to travelling are manifold, and, indeed, vary with the individual, but in one respect he and his race have an abhorrence in common namely, their intense dislike to giving trouble to the ticket clerk.U.S.A.
Travelling beneath the seat has obvious disadvantages; it must, for instance, be extremely disagreeable to be dragged from the lair by the leg; one cannot, therefore, understand how anyone, who, having purchased a ticket, could involuntarily seek cover in such a position. The late Earl of Buchan, however, once enjoyed the novel sensation of seeing an acquaintance seek seclusion under the above circumstances and the seat; and the situation that arose was decidedly humorous, except to the victim, who, having purchased a return ticket, and lost the return half, was unwilling to pay again. The Earl, on being apprised of the circumstances, suggested that his companion should take sanctuary in the only place affording it, and the suggestion was acted upon immediately before the collector's advent. When the official remarked: "You have given me two tickets, sir," and the Earl calmly replied "Yes; one belongs to a friend of mine who prefers travelling under the seat!" the feelings of the man in hiding can be imagined. Gratitude to the finder of the ticket, however, would, we are afraid, be wanting.
Since the Great Northern Railway workman, who, when attending to the mechanism beneath a carriage forming part of the two o'clock express from London to Manchester, was, by the train starting when he was unprepared for it to do so, carried in that position from King's Cross to Grantham, gave his experiences to the world, and announced that he would not go through them again for £l,000, travelling in the aforementioned manner has lost a considerable proportion of its votaries, but the buffer still holds its own in popularity with those who invariably travel de luxe that is to say, for nothing.
The record journey accomplished by a buffer rider was, we believe, dial accomplished a year last July by Jas. Wilson, who, when charged with the offence at Wigan, claimed to have ridden all the way from Edinburgh on the buffer upon which he had jumped, being at the time drunk. As the fine inflicted was but five shillings, the journey was much cheaper than that of an absent-minded traveller on the District Hallway the other day, who found that a short journey undertaken on that line without a ticket resulted in an expenditure of twenty guineas, when the costs and fines of the Richmond Police Court were paid. As the day previous the same gentleman had paid £4 10s. and heavy costs at another police court for a similar case of absent-mindedness, travelling expenses must have bulked largely in his weekly balance-sheet.
Owing to the action of a drunken sailor, who inconsiderately rolled on to the heads of the passengers below, having previously climbed into the netting under the impression that he was getting into bed, the railway carriages on the line between St. Petersburg and Warsaw bear a notice to the effect that the netting is to be used for luggage only, and not as a sleeping hammock. In like manner, if the passion for riding on the footboard, inherent in so many travellers in England, increases, our railway companies will be obliged to issue a notice to the effect that double fares will be charged for the privilege.
That travelling in this manner is not always attended by the most pleasurable sensations is evidenced by the fact that a St. Albans youth a mere amateur footboard rider some three or four years ago, stated that his hands got so numbed in a five-mile journey on the footboard from Harpenden to his native city that he thought he would fall off. He had tried to enter a train in motion, and had failed to do so through the carriage door being locked; nevertheless, he was fined just as though he had been entirely successful.
The Danish Consul for Newcastle, however, a couple of years ago proved that he was entitled to rank with the past masters in the art of footboard riding, by hanging on all the way from Finsbury Park to Peterborough. The unfortunate gentleman, it seems, decided to leave his own carriage for the dining saloon, and at Finsbury Park when the train stopped he attempted to do so, but the train being a long one, and the Consul apparently no sprinter, it began to move off before he had arrived at his destination, and the door at which he attempted to enter proving obdurate, his position for the next two hours was hardly a desirable sinecure. Although the proverb speaks in a derogatory tone about taking coals to Newcastle the Consul ignored it entirely, for he was black from head to foot with coal-dust ere the lights of Peterborough could be discerned.
A gentleman of New Brighton, about two years ago, was seen standing on the roof of the corridor express from Liverpool to Preston when it arrived at Standish. As
Two Welsh boys were charged "two years ago" with travelling from Cardiff to Acton in a railway truck; and in the following month four London youths, who had toured to Nuneaton as the guests of the London and North-Western Railway in a wagon bound for Rhyl, also made an appearance before the magistrates; but so far the cattle truck has not in this country been adopted for honeymooning.
Three years ago, however, a newly-married couple the wife, as well as the husband, being in male attire were discovered enjoying the hospitality of a cattle truck on the Lake Shore Railway; they were bound for Klondike, they explained, and were stealing rides for economy's sake, for, although they had plenty of money, they recognised the advantage of saving up for a rainy day.
Few people would willingly choose a refrigerator-car in which to journey for six days. A Mr. Joseph Lynes, however, entered a refrigerator-car under a misapprehension just as the train was leaving Seattle, and as the vehicle was not opened until it reached Milwaukee, he had for six days and nights an experience in the cold storage place that would, we imagine, qualify him for an Arctic exploration party.
Reprinted from Railway Magazine, April, 1901
The Northern Ohio Traction & Light Company has developed a Car with Automatic Electric Refrigeration for carrying perishable products over its interurban linesAustralia
A refrigerator car equipped with its own electrically operated plant has been developed and placed in service by the Northern Ohio Traction & Light Company, Akron, Ohio. The work of constructing the car or began early last fall at the request of the Cleveland Provision Company, with the co-operation of the engineers of the latter company. The car was designed to carry perishable freight over the interurban lines of the traction company. Through the Phnix Ice Machine Company a new idea was developed quite different from that used in the old kind of refrigerator cars.
The new car is built on the frame of a regular system box car, thoroughly insulated with cork, hair felt, cellotex boards and insulating paper, properly joined with tar and asphalt. The car is equipped with a Phnix 2-K unit-type ice machine, a patented cooling tower, endless pipe coils, motors and a thermostatic control. The machinery occupies a space of about 5 ft. in one end of the car. It is separated from the space provided for perishable freight by a solid insulated partition and is reached by an outside end door. The car proper is equipped with regular refrigerator doors and baffle boards are placed inside to insure proper circulation of air.
The thermostat, located in the center of the car, automatically shuts off the motor when the temperature reaches 35 deg. F. and starts it again at 40 deg. By the use of an attachment to the trolley wire the car is at all times under refrigeration, the machines running when required whether the car is moving or standing still. This provides an even temperature at all times, something impossible in the ordinary type of refrigerator car operated by steam roads, as it is necessary to use ice and salt to pre-cool the car and then to replenish the melted ice, along with a proper amount of salt, usually running about 12 per cent of the weight of ice. Re-icing must be done at intervals of from 24 to 72 hours, depending upon the outside temperature and the contents of the car. Between icings the temperature is bound to fluctuate.
The car will save a considerable amount in the expense of icing. It is estimated by the company that to pre-cool and ice a car preparatory to loading requires about 14,000 lb. of ice and about 170 lb. of salt. The regular railroad charge for ice is $4 per ton and for salt is 75 cents per 100 lb., making the total cost $29.26. Cars containing fresh meats must be re-iced each 24 hours with from 1 to 4 tons of ice and a proportionate amount of salt.
The new car will furnish regular Northern Ohio Traction service for perishable products between Cleveland and stations on its lines. Deliveries with the car will be made over night to all cities and towns served by the company.
Reprinted from Electric Railway Journal, 7 February, 1925
The vast increase in motor vehicle registrations since the war and particularly in the past five years has directed attention to the large number of level crossings now carrying heavy road traffic.Vic. & S.A.
All Australian systems have, creditably, undertaken programs for the alleviation of these trouble spots and a sign of the times on the local railway scene is the number of boom gate or flashing light installations that have been completed in recent months.
At other locations, where the amount of traffic on both road and rail warrants it, these crossings have been replaced by either overbridges or underpasses thus completely abolishing a source of annoyance to all parties.
Grade separation and elimination, however necessary, is a costly business and in previous years, the railway administrations have been forced to foot the bill for the whole of this work.
Greater enlightenment on this subject in several States has lead to the establishment of special funds devoted exclusively to the provision of additional crossing protection either by gates, lights or bridges. Contributions to these funds are made by the various authorities concerned with such work including main roads boards, local government instrumentalities and, of course, the railways. In some cases, a small allocation is made from the State Treasury.
The provision of this protection usually gives little or no benefit to rail operations although the railways are burdened with the task of maintaining such installations in working order. In other cases, the major rail benefit accrues from the saving in wages of the gatekeepers no longer required.
The point then arises as to whether railway administrations should be called upon to contribute to the cost of something which will have negligible advantage and if so, in what proportion related to the payments of other bodies.
The group that will gain most from the construction of overbridges, underpasses and the installation of boom gates, flashing lights and warning bells are those who need them the most, and we refer to the motorists who undoubtedly require protection against self-destruction at road/ rail crossings.
Therefore we contend that all or most of the expenditure necessary to make crossings safe for those who use them should come from motor vehicle taxation and fees the present source of revenue for roads, expressways, bridges and all other facilities provided for the unhindered movement of the motoring public.
The need for crossing protection has come, not from greater rail traffic but rather from the increase in motor vehicle registrations.
Possibly, where it can be proved that the railways will benefit financially from such work as in the elimination of manned gates, then it may be considered appropriate for them to contribute in a small degree, but not otherwise.
Reprinted from Railway Transportation, December, 1960
Bearing a name long associated with the very best in rail travel, The Overland, and its predecessors, have provided a nightly service between Melbourne and Adelaide for almost 80 years.W.A., N.T. & S.A.
Since the broad (5 ft. 3 in.) gauge tracks of the Victorian and South Australian Railways were linked at Serviceton, on the border between the two States back in January, 1887, an overnight express passenger train has run between the two cities, in fact, forming the first Australian through intercapital rail service, a facility not equalled until Sydney and Brisbane were connected by standard gauge via Kyogle in 1930.
The very first Melbourne-Adelaide passenger train was called The Intercolonial Express, a gentle reminder of the pre-Federation days when the various States were known as "The Colonies." This train took 19½ hours for the journey, travelling via Geelong, as the present route through Bacchus Marsh was not opened until several years later.
Even in those days, the express boasted of the very latest in Victorian elegance, with the inclusion of a "Boudoir" sleeping car in its consist, although the facilities provided for the more hardy passengers were of somewhat spartan quality!
Gradual improvements were made both to the comfort provided for patrons and to the schedule, until today, The Overland stands as one of Australia's top trains with a reputation for overnight travel luxury that has proceeded far beyond our shores.
With the addition of better rolling stock running to faster speeds, so the old Intercolonial Express became known as the Adelaide Express, and again in 1926, it underwent a second name-change, to emerge with its present title of The Overland.
This popular train is the responsibility of two of Australia's larger railway administrations, the South Australian and Victorian Railways, and its luxury rolling stock, although built by the South Australian Railways at its Islington Workshops, is jointly owned by both systems.
Passengers taking this pleasant overnight journey have a choice of four different types of accommodation. They can either travel in first or second class coach (sitting) cars or in two types of sleeping cars. No matter what type of travel is chosen, the passenger is assured of a comfortable and relaxed journey thanks to efficient air-conditioning equipment installed in all cars.
The two types of sleeping cars offer both roomettes and twinettes, each with its special features designed to make the journey more enjoyable. Roomettes provide a separate cabin for each passenger in which there is a well sprung lounge chair and a made-up bed which cunningly folds up into one wall. Included in the cabin are ample hanging space for clothes, a combined washbasin and toilet known as a combolet, iced water and everything the discerning traveller would need including a power point for an electric shaver. Showers are at the end of the roomette carriages.
Twinette cars have larger compartments in which there are berths for two people as well as clothes cupboards, washbasin, toilet, and even an individual shower. Of course, hot and cold water is provided in every car. Sleeper passengers are served a light breakfast in bed with a morning paper.
A unique feature of the impressive sleeping cars used on The Overland with their distinctive fluted side panels, is the use of aboriginal names to distinguish each vehicle instead of the usual prosaic serial numbers. Some of these pleasant sounding names are Allambi, Tantini, Purpawi, Kuldalai and Weroni and their meanings are equally appropriate, Peace, Quiet, Slumber, etc.
Passengers travelling in the coach cars have individual slumberette-type adjustable reclining chairs in which they can settle down for the night. The main lights in the cars are dimmed for most of the journey. Adequate toilet and washing facilities are provided as well as a luxuriously appointed powder room for ladies.
The use of fast and powerful motive power on The Overland, originally massive steam locomotives and, more recently, sleek diesel-electrics, has enabled its schedule to be reduced until, today, the 483-mile journey is completed in slightly less than 13 hours. Westbound departure from Melbourne's rebuilt Spencer Street station is made at 8.40 p.m. after the arrival of the Intercapital Daylight from Sydney. Adelaide is reached at 9 a.m. next morning.
Eastbound, the express leaves Adelaide's magnificent riverside station at 7.10 p.m., and arrives in Melbourne at 8.35 a.m. after stopping briefly at Sunshine, 7 miles from Spencer Street, so that through passengers for Sydney can transfer to the Intercapital Daylight.
The Overland occupies an honoured position in the exciting saga of Australian railway development and its reputation has been based on the solid foundations of dependability and service to the nation.
Reprinted from RoA Network, July, 1964
Special regard has been paid to the medical needs of the men engaged along the line.
In the initial stages of the work two railway hospital cars were constructed, one for the Eastern and one for the Western Division of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway. Accommodation was provided in these cars for a medical officer and attendant. A dispensary was also provided on the car, an operating table and accommodation for patients also being provided. The cars form part of the camp train located at the head of the road, where the bulk of the work is in progress and the greater portion of the men employed.
For some time a doctor was resident in the hospital car at either end, but owing to the dearth of medical men after the outbreak of war it was not possible to maintain the services. Arrangements have been made, however, with a doctor at Port Augusta to attend to all patients sent in from along the line. He also journeys along the line in case his services are specially required. At Kalgoorlie arrangements have been made for the medical wants of the men in the Western Division. The men select their own doctor, and orders are given on such doctor by responsible officers on our works. A fully qualified chemist has been appointed to the cars at each end.
Under the medical arrangements a man meeting with an injury, or falling sick, is entitled to free medical attention, to free treatment in one of the hospitals at Kalgoorlie or Port Augusta, and to a free supply of medicines, drugs, &c. The same concession applies to a man's wife and children up to a prescribed age. For this medical attention the men contribute a sum of 6d. per week.
The arrangement has application to all construction workmen located five miles beyond Port Augusta and a similar distance beyond Kalgoorlie.
First aid men are also employed in many of the gangs, and qualified instructors have been engaged from time to time. Fully equipped ambulance chests are provided in all gangs, and ambulance stretchers have been supplied, a road ambulance van being located at Port Augusta. A railway van has been fitted up at Port Augusta with beds and conveniences, and this is used to bring in to the base patients unable to travel in the ordinary way.
On the Pine Creek-Katherine River Railway special arrangements have been made for medical attention. Arrangements have been made with the medical officer at Pine Creek, who attends to any men who may have to be brought in through sickness. He also makes regular visits along the line. Provision is also made for men being received at the hospital at Pine Creek only as necessary. For this medical attention the men contribute a sum of 9d. per week.
Health inspectors are engaged in both Divisions of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway, and also on the Pine Creek-Katherine River Railway. They travel continually, and see that proper sanitary conditions are observed.
The health of the men along the line has been good.
Reprinted from the Report on Commonwealth Railways and Progress of Operations to 30 June 1916
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