Centenary of the Opening of the Trans Australian Railway - Port Augusta

 
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Back in the days when we called tenders for dining car supplies there were some interesting statistics but, of course, we were running 7 trains a week plus the Ghan in those days. Sadly, I remember none of the figures now.

Even I can understand 28,000 cans of coke at 375 ml each (which equates to 10,500 litres by my reckoning).

As we all know it is fashionable at the moment here in mindless Oz to convert meaningful volumes into Olympic swimming pools, fractions of Eildon Weirs or Sydney Harbours so as to make a straightforward fact utterly meaningless. To maintain this level of stupidity I suggest that it might be appropriate in the circumstances to convert the figure into fractions of G or C class tenders. SmileTwisted Evil

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  Train1959 Train Controller

A couple of points YM

It was merely to indicate that finding modern day facts was/is slightly more difficult. It appears to me that the earlier days seem to provide the more interesting facts and figures, but that could just be me.

Also, as readers will find out as the facts continue, it is hard to draw comparisons with different eras.

When the TAR was first built is was primarily a passenger line with the only competition being going on a sometimes treacherous sea voyage from the eastern states to Perth/Fremantle.

The line was then used more and more by the public and further on down the track it was used a great deal by employees either travelling for work, travelling for recreation (from line locations back to Port Augusta/Adelaide or Kalgoorlie/Perth) or using the "pass system" for employees. It was also a time when train travel was more affordable and a popular form of travel or holiday experience.

Today it is back to the travelling public with money, time on their hands or those who prefer "the trip rather than the destination". The numbers travelling today compare to the early 1920's and are about 1/6 of the record numbers using the line in the 1970's. But, as I say, even the facts can be misleading.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
A couple of points YM

It was merely to indicate that finding modern day facts was/is slightly more difficult. It appears to me that the earlier days seem to provide the more interesting facts and figures, but that could just be me.

Also, as readers will find out as the facts continue, it is hard to draw comparisons with different eras.

When the TAR was first built is was primarily a passenger line with the only competition being going on a sometimes treacherous sea voyage from the eastern states to Perth/Fremantle.

The line was then used more and more by the public and further on down the track it was used a great deal by employees either travelling for work, travelling for recreation (from line locations back to Port Augusta/Adelaide or Kalgoorlie/Perth) or using the "pass system" for employees. It was also a time when train travel was more affordable and a popular form of travel or holiday experience.

Today it is back to the travelling public with money, time on their hands or those who prefer "the trip rather than the destination". The numbers travelling today compare to the early 1920's and are about 1/6 of the record numbers using the line in the 1970's. But, as I say, even the facts can be misleading.
Train1959
My comment was not intended to be taken seriously. Sorry that you did not see it that way.
  Train1959 Train Controller

"My comment was not intended to be taken seriously. Sorry that you did not see it that way".

No offence taken YM, in fact you are correct. The conversion to "Sydney Harbours" has reached epidemic proportions not that I know how anyone can actually work that out anyway!

The actual amount of freight moving on the Trans-Australian Railway these days is staggering (that will be one of the last facts) and I don't think Sydney Harbours, trips around the world or voyages to the moon would adequately describe the amount or distance travelled. The railways, as with everything these days, has changed and the romance of travel is disappearing to a large extent with profit making freight services taking centre stage.

When the Trans-Australian Railway was first conceived the movement of people was the main objective whilst freight and the logistics of how to move it over such long distances was not even talked about.
  Train1959 Train Controller

Fact 23 / 100 – Telegraph Code

Commencing in February 1920 the Commonwealth Railways Telegraph Code was introduced. The idea was to lessen the length of messages exchanged between offices by using code words to replace phrases.

Examples are listed below:

ABUZ                    Special goods train will leave at ……..
AZOR                   Arrange to provide assistant engine
BROTH                 Expenditure must be reduced !!!!
CIMA                    Reserved seats fully booked
CRYPT                  Commissioner is not prepared to
DYAK                    Empty stock trucks on hand
FOYER                  Refund must be arranged
MICA                    Said not to have been delivered
MUNGA              Send by first mail
OFOD                  Contents perishable
RADIX                  Australian Workers Union
TEMA                   Send with all speed
ZOLY                    Arrange to relieve driver and fireman

Some of the expressions contained in the Australasian State Railways Uniform Telegraph Code were incorporated, but not all the code words.

Initially the code system was used between the administrative offices in Melbourne and district offices in Port Augusta and Darwin. Eventually it would be used throughout the Commonwealth Railways network.          

Source: Riders of the Steel Highways – Monte Luke            CR Monthly Notices - Comrails

  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
They left out SNAFU? ? ? ?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
They left out SNAFU? ? ? ?
Valvegear
SNAFU was not a word in the CR vocabulary!! Laughing

YM-Mundrabilla (DADFA)
  cpdbear Assistant Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
The Comrails list of CR passenger cars by number lists

"73    see 328" which is Mt Lofty.

So as I indicated, the CR expected to get it in 1950 along with 74 and 75.

Perhaps the SAR changed their mind on the sale in 1950 but relised they might as well sell it by 1964.

I'm not arguing that it didn't get transferred in 1964, just that someone in Port Augusta expected it in 1950.

M636C
My understanding is that SAR gave consideration to converting Mt Lofty into a situp car. They actually got as far as stripping a couple of compartments, then decide not to continue. This may indicate why it didn't get sold in 1950. If I remember correctly, the record book that came from actually mentioned 'reserved for Mt Lofty' as the entry for 73. The book actually contained listings of every road number, and what vehicle it was, for each gauges main rolling stock types (ie. passenger, freight, good brake etc.). I have not seen the book since the mid 1980s so have no idea if it still survives. It, along with a lot of the rolling stock records cards, has gone missing (may be at archives, but when I asked years ago they didn't know if they actually had them).
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
They left out SNAFU? ? ? ?
SNAFU was not a word in the CR vocabulary!! Laughing

YM-Mundrabilla (DADFA)
YM-Mundrabilla
DADFA was also not listed at http://www.trainman.id.au/telegraph.htm
  Train1959 Train Controller

Neither was BOTSC

- which is "Back on the subject children"..........

I recall reading in the Commonwealth Railways Monthly Notices dated 1920 that "all relevant staff need to be fully conversant with the new codes". No mean feat I would suggest. I guess with such limited capacity in their communication system there was definitely a need to reduce time and space when sending messages.

We have things so easy these days and get annoyed when the mobile network is down or we have a power failure (heaven forbid!!).
  Train1959 Train Controller

Some bits and pieces from Monthly Notices in 1915..................   CR Monthly Notices - Comrails


NAMES OF STATIONS-WESTERN DIVISION.    Feb 1915

The following names have been adopted for the undermentioned stations in the Western Division :-

Karonie, 68 miles, 67 chains.

Boorganna, 75 miles.   (not sure what happened to this station).


LIMITATION OF SPEED-WESTERN DIVISION.

The instructions contained in Monthly Notice No.3 are amended as follows in respect of the Western Division:-

The maximum rate of speed on any part of the line is now 30 miles per hour, but during darkness the rate of speed between the Depot and the 50 miles is not to exceed 20 miles per hour.



NUISANCE CAUSED BY DOGS ON RAILWAY WORKS.

In consequence of the extreme danger to Tricycles and Section Cars running on the road, and to the menace of general health through dogs drinking out of water buckets, it has been decided that all persons engaged upon the Kalgoorlie-Port Augusta Railway, who are the owners of dogs, must take steps to have them properly tied up. Any person neglecting to do so will be severely dealt with.




  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The Comrails list of CR passenger cars by number lists

"73    see 328" which is Mt Lofty.

So as I indicated, the CR expected to get it in 1950 along with 74 and 75.

Perhaps the SAR changed their mind on the sale in 1950 but relised they might as well sell it by 1964.

I'm not arguing that it didn't get transferred in 1964, just that someone in Port Augusta expected it in 1950.
My understanding is that SAR gave consideration to converting Mt Lofty into a situp car. They actually got as far as stripping a couple of compartments, then decide not to continue. This may indicate why it didn't get sold in 1950. If I remember correctly, the record book that came from actually mentioned 'reserved for Mt Lofty' as the entry for 73. The book actually contained listings of every road number, and what vehicle it was, for each gauges main rolling stock types (ie. passenger, freight, good brake etc.). I have not seen the book since the mid 1980s so have no idea if it still survives. It, along with a lot of the rolling stock records cards, has gone missing (may be at archives, but when I asked years ago they didn't know if they actually had them).
cpdbear
The loss/misplacement/theft (whatever) of official records is what makes Chris's website so valuable.

Proper archiving requires money, facilities, official will and competent people. None of these are available in sufficient quantities/numbers in today's Australia. Private enterprise has no corporate memory and is interested in nothing but money. Governments have sold their right and, certainly, their ability to govern effectively.
  Train1959 Train Controller



Concessional Fares to Clergymen

Ministers of religion travelling on pastoral duties over the Trans-Australian Railway or on the Northern Territory Railway may obtain tickets for single journeys, or periodical tickets, at one-quarter of the ordinary rate, subject in each case to the clergyman presenting a written certificate to the effect that he is travelling on pastoral duties.

In respect of the Trans-Australian Railway, the concession does not extend to sleeping berths or meal charges, which will require to be paid for at the ordinary rate.


Cost of a First Class Meal Ticket

In April 1920 the cost of a single first class meal ticket Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie was 15 shillings.


Special Service Car (SS 44)  - Monthly Notice from 1920

The charge for the hire of the Special Service Car by any individual, party, or Government will be £96 when attached to an ordinary train for a single trip between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie. This will include the provision of the Conductor, and will entitle free travel for any number of passengers up to ten, but will not include the cost of meals, which, if provided specially, will be charged for at actual cost. There will be no charge for any necessary light running.

Note:  I believe SS 44 is not in service any more or at least not authorised for main line travel.

Not sure how much it would cost to hire it. I remember (vaguely) the cost for the “special cars” being $14-16,000 for a one way trip (cannot find that information now I’m afraid).

The RBA says, allowing for inflation only which makes the figures a bit rubbery, the £96 Pounds would equate to $6,383 today.


  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Special Service Car (SS 44)  - Monthly Notice from 1920

The charge for the hire of the Special Service Car by any individual, party, or Government will be £96 when attached to an ordinary train for a single trip between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie. This will include the provision of the Conductor, and will entitle free travel for any number of passengers up to ten, but will not include the cost of meals, which, if provided specially, will be charged for at actual cost. There will be no charge for any necessary light running.

Note:  I believe SS 44 is not in service any more or at least not authorised for main line travel.

Not sure how much it would cost to hire it. I remember (vaguely) the cost for the “special cars” being $14-16,000 for a one way trip (cannot find that information now I’m afraid).

The RBA says, allowing for inflation only which makes the figures a bit rubbery, the £96 Pounds would equate to $6,383 today.


Train1959
SS44K aka Prince of Wales Carriage was used as a hire carriage by GSR until recently. The latest price I could find was $15,300.00 one way between Adelaide and Perth in 2006. It could accommodate 10 passengers and was available on the IP between Adelaide and Perth and the Ghan to Darwin (wasn't permitted to operate in NSW).


GSR unfortunately no longer offer Private carriage hire.
http://perthtrains.nachohat.org/image/5372/
  Train1959 Train Controller

CR Monthly Notice 1922

The length of crossing loops in the clear, and of the dead end
crossing siding at Woocalla, are as under :--

Woocalla--Dead-end siding at Western end.  1325 feet    
Woocalla-Loop siding East end of yard        800 feet          
Pimba .                                                            1405
Wirraminna                                                    1386
Kingoonya                                                       1400    
Tarcoola                                                          1500
Wynbring                                                        1380
Barton                                                             1380
Immarna                                                         1385
Ooldea.                                                           1340
Cook                                                                1360
Hughes                                                            1621
Forrest                                                            1470
Loongana                                                        1180
Haig                                                                 1390
Rawlinna                                                         1390
Naretha                                                          1360
Zanthus                                                           1440
Karonie                                                           1420

Note:   1,400 feet equals 427 metres

Crossing loops on the Trans are (approx.) 1,800 metres or 5,905 feet these days
  Train1959 Train Controller

Fact 24 /100 – Ballasting & Railway Names

Commonwealth Railways Monthly Notice Feb 1918 (from Comrails website)

In future the following terms are to be adopted for the railways vested
in the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner:-

Railway.                                                            Term.

From Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta              Trans-Australian Railway.
Port Darwin to Katherine River                 Northern Territory Railway.
Port Augusta to Oodnadatta                     Oodnadatta Railway.
Queanbeyan to Canberra                           Federal Territory Railway.

Ballasting

Due a shortage of locomotives and delays in many other contracts the ballasting of the line was well behind schedule.

In fact, at the end of June 1924, a total of only 743 kms of the 1,692 km length of the railway had been ballasted.

Source: Riders of the Steel Highways – Monte Luke
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Fact 24 /100 – Ballasting & Railway Names

Commonwealth Railways Monthly Notice Feb 1918 (from Comrails website)

In future the following terms are to be adopted for the railways vested
in the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner:-

Railway.                                                            Term.

From Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta              Trans-Australian Railway.
Port Darwin to Katherine River                 Northern Territory Railway.
Port Augusta to Oodnadatta                     Oodnadatta Railway.
Queanbeyan to Canberra                           Federal Territory Railway.

Ballasting

Due a shortage of locomotives and delays in many other contracts the ballasting of the line was well behind schedule.

In fact, at the end of June 1924, a total of only 743 kms of the 1,692 km length of the railway had been ballasted.

Source: Riders of the Steel Highways – Monte Luke
Train1959
Only the name 'Trans-Australian Railway' (TAR) was still in vogue by 1960 as the (extended) 'Northern Territory Railway' had become the  'North Australia Railway' and the (extended) Oodnadatta Railway had become the 'Central Australia Railway' by then. The 'Federal Territory Railway' had become the 'Australian Capital Territory Railway' although 'Seat of Government Railway' was still used in some circumstances.

Ballasting of the TAR was not completed until the late 1930s or early 1940s IIRC. No idea of the operation of the C class in these circumstances but around this time the expresses ran more or less similar terminal times as the GMs (don't think that lasted for long, however).
  greasyrhys Chief Commissioner

Location: MacDonald Park, SA
Well after attending tonight's NRM meeting, we were told that there is zero chance of a charter train running from Adelaide to Port Augusta. Despite having a number of Red Service carriages available as a result of them no longer being used on the Ghan or IP, G$R simply aren't interested.

Such a pathetic thing is privatisation, sorry to say but it's time for me to completely #boycottg$rforever
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

So, a hundred years after the opening, the only way for a passenger to arrive by rail at Port Augusta is the same way as a hundred years back...on a train from Quorn!
  Train1959 Train Controller

Never mind, we knew that was the case ages ago. You never know there may be an eleventh hour miracle!!!

Anyway I have had approaches from those interested in chartering a bus for the occasion - you people could do the same.

Maybe not the ideal form of transportation mode for such an event but you could make a weekend of it. It is cheap and you could take in some railway locations along the way.

Thanks for trying anyway.............
  Train1959 Train Controller

Trans-Australian Railway Timetable November 1922

Mileage  Location                             Time                                    Notes

0             Port Augusta       Dept      10.40 pm                            Tues, Thurs, Sun
52           Bookaloo            Arr          12.14am                             Wed, Fri, Mon
                                            Dep        12.24am                             Water and rake out
94           Wirrappa             Arr            1.42am
                                            Dep          1.52am                             Water Engine
113        Pimba                   Arr            2.34am
                                            Dep          2.49am                             Change Crews
209        Kingoonya           Arr            6.22am
                                            Dep          6.30am                             Water and rake out
257        Tarcoola              Arr            8.05am
                                            Dep          8.20am                             Change engine, water cars
427        Ooldea                 Arr            1.50pm                             Time change
                                            Dep           2.10pm                              Water engine, change loco
513        Cook                     Arr            4.50pm
                                            Dep          5.10pm                             Change engine, water cars
567        Hughes                 Arr            6.57pm                             Engine requirements
                                            Dep          7.07pm
651        Forrest                 Arr            9.57pm
                                            Dep        10.07pm                             Water if necessary
715        Loongana            Arr          12.10am                             Thurs, Sat, Tuesday          
                                            Dep        12.25am
771        Haig                      Arr            2.09am
                                            Dep          2.14am                             Engine requirements
816        Rawlinna             Arr            3.39am
                                            Dep          3.49am                             Change engine, water cars
921        Zanthus                Arr            6.18am                             Time change en route
                                            Dep          6.28am                             Water and rake out
983        Karonie                Arr            8.12am
                                            Dep          8.20am
1049      Parkeston            Arr          10.14am
                                            Dep        10.15am
1051      Kalgoorlie            Arr          10.25am

Time zones are AT – Adelaide Time, CT – Central Time and PT – Perth Time

Note: Much more to the timetable than this summary.



Fettling Gangs  TAR  1923

The Trans-Australian Railway was split into 4 divisions with a total of 43 fettling gangs.

Gangs were approximately 20-25 miles apart.
  greasyrhys Chief Commissioner

Location: MacDonald Park, SA
I'd rather drive up than catch a boring bus. I did hear Pichi Richi are interested in running shuttles from PA to Stirling North, that'll be the one highlight of the day.
  Train1959 Train Controller

I'd rather drive up than catch a boring bus. I did hear Pichi Richi are interested in running shuttles from PA to Stirling North, that'll be the one highlight of the day.
greasyrhys
Pity greasyrhys,

A trip up to Port Augusta with some like minded people would be great. Go up through the Southern Flinders (Crystal Brook, Gladstone, Melrose, Wilmington) and end up at Quorn at Saturday. They (Pichi Richi) may put on a special evening railcar for the group, a tour of the workshops etc. Have something to eat at Emily's Bistro and stay at their new accommodation overnight. Come down to Port Augusta bright and early Sunday.

There, just about organised your tour!  The NRM people not going to Ooldea should run with it.

And yes Pichi Richi are planning on running a morning and afternoon shuttle to Stirling North, turn on the triangle and head back to Port Augusta - round trip about an hour. They are also hoping (weather permitting) to bring a "double header" down from Quorn for the day. In that way even when the shuttle is happening there will something happening at the station. Actual times have not been decided upon at present as we need to allow for lunch, speeches and the flyover between the shuttles.

All the best, hope you can come along.
  Lake View Beginner

in relation to the watering at Bookaloo, the shedded dam is still there in the scrub and nearly 100% complete. its a fantastic sight considering it was built by hand, the last time I was there it was near full of water. not much of the Wirrappa tank is left but clearly visible from the highway
  Train1959 Train Controller

in relation to the watering at Bookaloo, the shedded dam is still there in the scrub and nearly 100% complete. its a fantastic sight considering it was built by hand, the last time I was there it was near full of water. not much of the Wirrappa tank is left but clearly visible from the highway
Lake View
Hi Lake View

Yes, they made things to last, didn't they.

There is a DVD entitled "The Trans-Australian Railway - The Nullarbor Beyond the Eyre Highway" by Laurie Kibblewhite.

There is a website http://www.4wdozdvd.com  that has a number of outback DVD's.

The Trans one is quite good, basically a trip a couple of years ago from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta showing many of the old sidings plus Maralinga. I found it quite interesting. A few times a drone is used to give a different perspective.

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