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Victorian Railways' New Main Station Building Completed
The Victorian Railways' new passenger building at Spencer Street station has been constructed to serve a dual purpose. Not only does it form an imposing arrival or departure point for the new Melbourne-Sydney standard gauge line, but it also acts as a much needed terminal for the system's other long distance services.Qld.
It is a four-level structure, having a basement, ground, first and second floors and has been located on a site, roughly triangular in shape. formerly used as a car park.
The tapering dimensions of the building were dictated by the alignment of the Spencer Street frontage and the angle of approach of the tracks from Dudley Street. The new No. 1 platform is curved at the North end to give a better width to the building at its Southern end. The new building covers an area of 30,000 sq. ft. with a total floor area of 90,000 sq. ft. and contains all the facilities and amenities necessary for a first rate city rail terminal.
Upper part of the building is a steel framed structure encased in concrete, sitting on a reinforced concrete basement. The exterior finish is in faced brick, polished reconstructed stone and terra cotta trim with large extruded frame windows glazed with heat resisting and tinted glass.
The metal deck roofing has a 2 ins. thick insulation which acts as structural support for the decking. Interior flooring is in terrazzo, ceramic tile and vinyl tile.
Internal masonry walls are finished in reconstructed stone in the concourse whilst other ceramic tiles, vinyl tiles and synthetic enamel paints have been used. Internal partitions have been erected from either extruded metal or timber sections and extensive use has been made of plate glass and polished figured timbers.
The concourse ceiling is specially constructed of polished hardwood battens below perforated plywood over which is placed a layer of mineral wool forming a special acoustic ceiling. Other ceilings are generally acoustically treated metal pans or plaster with all services located between them and the structural slab. The building is mechanically heated and ventilated. Air-conditioning has been incorporated in the cafeteria and dining room.
The ground floor has direct access to Spencer Street on one side and the No. 1 platform on the other, and is completely given over to traffic requirements. Major portion of this floor is an imposing concourse, 160 ft. long by an average width of 40 ft. This area can be entered from an entrance hall at the northern end or through plate glass doors from Spencer Street.
The entrance hall also houses the luggage reception point which has access to an open area and car park adjoining the platform. The upper portion of the building does not extend over the entrance hall. The outside barrier gives direct access from the car park and set-down/pick-up point in the area.
Alternative entrances have been provided to No. 1 platform. The other barrier to this platform leads off the concourse and is flanked on one side by the combined train information (arrivals and departures) indicator and on the other by fruit, sweets and newspaper kiosks. These are double-sided with counters opening on to the platform and the concourse.
For arriving trains numerous gateways from the platform give ready transfer to the taxi rank and car park. On the opposite side of the concourse is a glass-fronted booking office.
This has been tastefully furnished to provide the maximum degree of comfort and convenience for passengers making country and interstate bookings. The VR's new electronic AEG Multiprinter ticket issuing machine has been installed in this office.
A large cloak room and the S.M.'s office are located at the far end of the concourse and are separated from the building's service area and road dock in the extreme corner of the structure.
SubwaysAccess to all long distance (except No. 1) and suburban platforms is by a ramp descending from the concourse to a 50 ft. wide pedestrian subway leading under the station to the existing suburban barriers. Other ramps lead upwards at right angles from this subway to surface on the country platforms 2 to 9. Main access to the subway for suburban passengers entering the station from Spencer Street is by two ramps which do not have any connection with the main concourse level.
Two staircases and a lift lead up from the ground to the first floor, which houses an imposing waiting gallery as well as the cafeteria and dining room. As can be seen from the accompanying pictures, the gallery has been built over the booking office as a mezzanine level above the concourse sharing the same ceiling structure.
Full height window walls with glare reducing glass enable waiting passengers and friends to watch the passing scene in Spencer Street on one side while observation windows in the northern wall provide a view over the station platforms, yard and rail approaches. Remainder of this floor includes a cafeteria and dining room with a fully equipped food preparation area.
Second floor of the building is not available to the general public and houses staff rooms. Access to this floor is by lift and stairway from the subway level.
Main portion of the basement is the lower concourse with access ramps to the Spencer Street footpath and the main concourse. The subway to the country and suburban platforms leads off the lower concourse at the base of the pedestrian ramps.
Also in the basement are the luggage store, hairdressing saloon, toilets, wash rooms, travellers' aid society office, locker rooms plus equipment and boiler rooms.
The luggage store is immediately below the luggage reception point on the ground floor and is connected to it by conveyor.
When completed, these subways and tunnels will enable all parcels and luggage movements at the station to be completely segregated from pedestrian traffic. The outwards parcels office is located at the southern end of the station and this traffic is conveyed to the vans of departing trains by trolleys using the old southern concourse.
Inward parcels arriving on trains at the other end of the station are moved by trolley to the inwards parcels office via the ramps and subway at that end.
Passengers' luggage, both inwards and outwards, is handled through the reception point at the north end of the main concourse. Outwards luggage is despatched to the store below by conveyor and thence by trolley in the tunnel under No. 1 platform to the southern concourse and eventually to the vans of departing trains.
Inwards luggage, if not collected at the vans by passengers on arrival, is moved by trolley through the northern subway and the parcels tunnel to the luggage reception and lifted by conveyor to the reception point above. If not claimed within a day, it is returned to the store to await collection.
Reprinted from Railway Transportation, June, 1964
By Greg Stubbs
In June, 1911, Queensland Railways ordered five self-propelled rail cars from the McKeen Motor Co of Omaha, Nebraska, USA, at a cost of £4500 pounds per unit. They were delivered in May, 1913, and were issued with running numbers one to five.U.S.A.
The McKeen Cars boasted a radical design that featured an all-steel body, streamlined front, a rounded rear end and port hole windows.
Large even by today's standards they measured 19 metres from buffer to buffer and weighed 31 tonnes.
Motive power was supplied by a six cylinder 200hp petrol engine. Power was transmitted from the engine via a silent chain drive to the forward axles and from axle to axle. During delivery trials it was claimed that speeds in excess of 80kmh had been reached.
Originally seating capacity was 75; this was later reduced to 69, 55 in the main section and 14 in the "smoker".
One practical feature of the McKeen Cars was the design of the centrally located doors, which allowed passengers to enter from the ground, as well as an elevated platform.
For most of their operating life the Cars were based at Woolloongabba. They provided services to the Southside suburbs of Corinda and Sunnybank and from Manly to Cleveland.
Although popular on the United States Union Pacific and Southern Railroads, the McKeen Cars failed to meet Queensland's expectations.
The mechanical transmission was unreliable and frequent breakdowns resulted. By 1920 Car No 1 was out of commission. Cars No 2 and 5 were modified as Tourist or Day Inspection Cars which included luxury appointments and seating for 32 passengers.
However, they continued to be expensive to run, costing almost twice as much per mile as a steam-hauled passenger train.
With the onset of the Great Depression and the introduction of cost cutting by the Government, the McKeen Cars were an early casualty.
All five units were written off between 1929 and 1931 and broken up soon after at the Ipswich workshops.
Reprinted from QR Digest, January, 1991
The success of the motor car in railroad service raises the question whether the internal combustion engine can be used on a large scale for motive power on the railroads. Apparently the field for the gasoline engine as developed for motor truck service is limited. A single passenger vehicle, even when built as light as practicable, taxes the heaviest motor truck engine to its capacity. Such motors develop a maximum of about 60 or 70 h.p. while modern locomotives range from 2,000 to 3,000 h.p. It is apparent, therefore, that the application of the gasoline engine must be limited to single units, or at least, to very light trains until there is a marked increase in the amount of power developed in a single unit.U.S.A.
While the gasoline engine is limited in power, other types of internal combustion engines are made in very large units. If the internal combustion engine is to be applied to locomotives, it would be necessary to use the Diesel type which is made in sizes up to 3,000 h.p. These engines burn heavy oils and the ignition in the cylinder is not effected by a spark, but by the heat of compression of the gas, or by a hot bulb in the cylinder head. Diesel engines have the advantage of very high efficiency in fuel which would make them particularly desirable for railroad service.
The problem of the application of Diesel engines to railroad service is being studied seriously both in this country and abroad. There are numerous handicaps to be overcome before the Diesel engine can meet the conditions of railroad operation. One of the principal difficulties lies in starting. The internal combustion engine cannot start under load and slipping clutches are not suitable for large power units. It is therefore necessary to interpose some special transmission system between the internal combustion engine and the driving wheels of a locomotive. The most satisfactory drive thus far devised is secured by attaching an electric generator to the engine, and motors on the axles. This, however, increases the weight and the cost of the locomotive to a degree that is almost prohibitive. A method of starting which has frequently been proposed for Diesel locomotives is by means of compressed air stored in tanks on the locomotive. This was the method used by Dr. Diesel on the first experimental Diesel locomotive, built in Germany several years ago. Such an air supply can be used only for a short period and introduces numerous complications.
Aside from the difficulty of starting, the Diesel engine is at a disadvantage because of the great weight per unit of power developed. Diesel engines weigh as much as 450 lb. per horsepower as compared with an average of about 130 lb. for steam locomotives, including the boiler and machinery. This difficulty is overcome by the compound Diesel engine in which the weight per horsepower is only about 40 lb. Reliability is, of course, a prime requisite in any type of locomotive. Modern designs of Diesel engines meet this requirement and have proved satisfactory under the exacting conditions of marine service.
To sum up the whole matter, the principal disadvantage of the Diesel engine for locomotive service is lack of flexibility. The high efficiency of this type would make its use on the railroads very desirable and if a suitable means for transmitting the power from the engine to the driving wheels can be developed, the introduction of internal combustion engines in locomotive service would probably be fairly rapid.
Reprinted from Railway Mechanical Engineer, March, 1922
The artistic urge is being felt by American railroads. One of them, the B. & O. has gone in for "art engines". It is to operate olive green ones, with gold and maroon trimmings. Other roads are keenly interested and it is possible that plain black will be entirely out of style as a locomotive color in the near future.N.S.W.
One olive green engine has been put into service already and pronounced by most of the inhabitants along the company lines to be quite pleasing if not positively chic. They now consider black locomotives blah and depressing.
Lavender engines, orange ones, purple ones and even some done in brilliant yellows and reds are a possibility with Scotch plaids not improbable in due time.
"Is the 7:22 Ultramarine for Boston in yet?", you may be inquiring in another year or two.
"That's not running this week, but we've got a perfectly exquisite express leaving at 7:27. The locomotive is done in robin's egg blue," may be the answer. "It'll just about knock your eye out if you like something swagger for traveling."
"Have you arranged everything for the trip South, Edgar?" your wife may some day inquire.
"Everything, my dear. I got the tickets this morning."
"What color is the locomotive to be?"
"Cherry blossom pink with an orange smokestack and cardinal red cowcatcher. Very smart, I'm told."
"Cancel the reservations at once, Edgar."
"But, my dear, I . . ."
"You know very well I never could endure pink in any shades. If I'm going across country I'm going on a trip that suits my complexion."
"Listen, dear, I can't ..."
"Don't argue with me, Edgar. The Venderhoff-Nashbys left for the South only yesterday behind an old gold locomotive. If they can do it we can."
And then there will be the reckless automobilist who will be found the worse for wear in the ditch beside the tracks.
"What train struck you?" will be the inquiry.
"It was a lavender one with polka dots!"
Even the engineers, firemen, flagmen, conductors and porters may be required to dress more for effect than utility. An engineer in blue jumpers and a greasy cap has never been much to look at anyhow. Let him lean out the cab sporting a Panama hat and camel's hair sports jacket by all means.
On with the louder and gaudier railroad service!
H. I. Phillips
New York Sun
Reprinted from Railway Age, 7 May, 1927
Fifty years ago the "iron horse" invaded Bourke, and there terminated the longest stretch of railway in New South Wales. It brought the outback within a day's run of Sydney, besides providing fast transport for a vast area of sheep and cattle country.S.A. & N.T.
Memorable scenes were witnessed in Bourke on September 3, 1885, and the days following. The town was gaily decorated and special amusement shows were brought from Sydney by enterprising theatrical people, and boxing saloons were temporarily installed. For three days and nights the festival spirit was maintained at a rare pitch and champagne flowed freely.
People from all the surrounding districts came into the town, and special excursion trains were run from Sydney. The Governor, Lord Augustus Loftus, and members of the Ministry travelled to Bourke by special trains and Bourke people lavishly entertained their visitors.
In the 50 years there has been a strange transition. Up to that time Bourke had been the centre of a vast trade for the back o' beyond. Squatters, drovers and station hands made Bourke their holiday resort. It was the starting point of transport to Sydney, and that involved much labour, numerous vehicles, and many horses. But the coming of the railway eliminated much labour and put the people within fairly easy access of Sydney. Bourke gradually lost its glamour, and business diminished. In 1885 the population was 5,000; at present it is only 1,700.
Driver of First TrainThe man who drove the first mail train to Bourke was Mr. George Young, who carries his 79 years very lightly, and is still enjoying excellent health. His fireman was Mr. Andrew Percival, of Bondi, who retired from the service seven years ago. It is 60 years since Mr. Young first stood on the footplate. He was then the youngest locomotive driver in Australia, and he believes there is no other man alive to-day who was driving a train in Australia in 1876.
On the return trip Mr. Young drove the fast Ministerial special. He remembers that over 40 miles, from "dead stop" at Trangie to "dead stop" at Dubbo, he took only 37 minutes — an average speed of nearly 65 miles an hour. The trip from Bourke to Dubbo, 225 miles, took only four hours fifteen minutes. The engine which drew the Ministerial train was known for years as "Pride of the West."
Mr. Young and Mr. Percival remember the sweltering heat at Bourke during the celebrations. At 5 p.m. the thermometer registered 118 degrees in the shade. "It was a terrifically hot day," said Mr. Percival, "and it must be remembered that there were no corridor cars or iced drinks in those days. Three excursion trains, crowded with passengers, were run from Sydney alone. Never before or since has there been such an influx of population. Bourke was jubilant and the local people provided an unlimited supply of 'thirsts.' Everybody was gay and happy, although the older people realised that the railway would be no blessing to them and that Bourke would not be the same flourishing town again, as the trade of the back country, peculiarly its own, would be lost. The town was beautifully decorated with flags and greenery, and archways spanned the street. There were hands everywhere, dancing halls, and boxing saloons — a bewildering array of novelties and amusements. Casks of beer were on 'tap' in various parts of the railway yard, and there were ample supplies for all-comers. The celebrations lasted three days.
"The country was then enduring a drought. A steamer berthed in the Darling had been in the same place three years because of insufficient water in the river. Droves of emus and kangaroos infested the country, and there were to be seen in the paddocks enormous numbers or dead sheep. Old inhabitants of Bourke will remember the beautiful Chinese garden on the river bank. It was irrigated by means of a steam pump. It was a popular resort, because it was, in fact, a 'Garden of Eden.' The Chinese owner, despite the arid conditions, produced a great variety of beautiful fruits, which were always 'sampled' by admirers."
Reprinted from Railway and Tramway Officers' Gazette, 20 September, 1935
A proposal which found favour at the commencement of the century in this State was the extension of the Great Northern system of our railways. The terminus was then at Oodnadatta, 688 miles from Adelaide, and between that point and Pine Creek there was a gap of 1,063 miles. It was claimed that it would be practicable for passengers and mails to reach Port Darwin by the Siberian railway route in fourteen days from London, or in seventeen days to Adelaide.
Tenders were invited by the South Australian Government for the construction of 1,063 miles of railway on the land-grant system. A bonus was offered to the contractors of a grant of land in fee-simple of 79,725,000 acres! Tenderers were to deposit £10,000 and had to make application by 2nd May, 1904. They had to be prepared to:—
The worst gradient would have been 1 in 80 for about two miles. The only difficulties between Oodnadatta and Alice Springs would have been a few miles of sandhills and the spanning of the Finke. From Alice Springs to Woodford Creek, 100 miles, the railway would cross high tableland country about 2,000ft. above sea level. Then there would be a descent to Teatree Well, 1,490ft. above sea level. The gradients for the rest of the distance would be exceedingly easy. The climate throughout the country to be tapped is excellent all the year round, and the contractors would have met with no difficulty in the matter of obtaining water and supplies of meat.
Full information concerning the terms of the offer made under the Land Grant Railway Act were obtainable from the Government in Adelaide or at the Agent-General's Office, London.
Reprinted from South Australian Railways Institute Magazine, April-May, 1956
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