Trans Australian Line in the steam era

 
  davem100 Beginner

Hello all
Watching Griff last week kindled my interest about the Indian Pacific.
Now according to Wikipedia, the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta leg was known as the "Great Western Express" in the early days. Is this so?

Also, in the days of steam (1917 - 1951) half the train load was water (for the steam engine) as there was no water on that 1000 mile leg. Is this so? Anyone got any photographs of the early trains with half their load made up of of water cars?

Thanks
Dave

Sponsored advertisement

  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Also, in the days of steam (1917 - 1951) half the train load was water (for the steam engine) as there was no water on that 1000 mile leg. Is this so? Anyone got any photographs of the early trains with half their load made up of of water cars?

Thanks
Dave
davem100

Who makes up this stuff?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Hello all
Watching Griff last week kindled my interest about the Indian Pacific.
Now according to Wikipedia, the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta leg was known as the "Great Western Express" in the early days. Is this so?

Also, in the days of steam (1917 - 1951) half the train load was water (for the steam engine) as there was no water on that 1000 mile leg. Is this so? Anyone got any photographs of the early trains with half their load made up of of water cars?

Thanks
Dave
davem100
It's mostly crap.

Now according to Wikipedia, the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta leg was known as the "Great Western Express" in the early days. Is this so?

Correct (more or less anyway) in the very early days.

Also, in the days of steam (1917 - 1951) half the train load was water (for the steam engine) as there was no water on that 1000 mile leg. Is this so?

Correct that there is no surface water between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie (1,051 miles).

Not correct about the 'half the train load' so far as the express trains were concerned. Therefore, in the era of the C class on the Expresses (1938 - 1951) - no.

The C class tenders weighed 120 tons and carried 12,180 gallons of water which, at 50 gallons/mile would have been good for about 200 miles and 17½ tons of coal. There is no way even this 120 tons was 'half the train load'. I have a report detailing steam operations in the last year of steam on the TAR (~1950) and the train mileage/GTKs to support them somewhere but not immediately to hand*.

Overall there was, certainly, a disproportionate number of train miles/GTKs** on other trains hauling coal and water to line locations to support steam and the gangs on the TAR. On occasions, many of these goods trains would have conveyed a high proportion of their load as coal and water.

* Meaning that I can't find it at the moment.
** GTMs = Gross ton miles in those days, of course

  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Who makes up this stuff?
"bingley hall"
That is one of the world's mysteries. It's like the other great urban rail myth - there are people who will swear that the steam-hauled Spirit of Progress in Victoria always had two firemen on board the S class loco. it didn't.
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

Sorry to correct you, Valvegear, but the steam S certainly did have two firemen. This was a little-known fact, but two were definitely needed to keep up when they converted them to run on oil. One was fine during the coal era, but two just couldn’t keep up shoveling enough oil in the early 1950’s. Hence they had to get diesels in.

When they dig up Mount Newport, all will be revealed.

You heard it here first!
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
That's the major disadvantage of oil firing. Bunker C tends to stick to the shovel.
That's why they only used stainless steel teflon coated shovels on the S class as the lighter aluminium ones tended to melt.
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

Yes, quite.

Of course, if they could have found a way to stop the aluminium ones from melting, things may have been different. Stainless steel is so much heavier, and the weight of those shovels alone was excessive; by the time they added on the heavy bunker C oil things were just excessively hard. One man would struggle along for a while, but to ask hm to do so for 4 hours was really asking too much, hence the second fireman. I understand some of those stainless steel shovels are also buried under Mount Newport, but suspect they may have deteriorated by now.

They also used 2 firemen during the coal strikes after World War 2, when the VR was forced to run using wood.

Clearly Commonwealth Railways had some tough men back then as well. Imagine trying to hand bomb all the way across the desert with a cross-wind blowing? Those big C class tenders carried a lot of coal, and they didn't expect much to be left at the end of the trip. West bound in summer would have been hard; shovelling in 40 degree heat on flat track (so no down hills to give you a break), and on the sunny side of the loco. I wonder some of those hot days the driver would pick up the shovel heading back east to get away from the sun.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I'm really looking forward to Mt Newport being dug up - there's so much stuff reported to be under it!
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
They also used 2 firemen during the coal strikes after World War 2, when the VR was forced to run using wood.
hbedriver
Now you've really done it! There will inevitably be a few gunzels who'll either read that, or hear it secondhand, and they will forever believe that the SOP S class was wood fired in the 40's. (We do know that some goods locos were forced to use wood during the strike - not very good, but they made it somehow.)
As a matter of academic interest the calorific values of various fuels were as listed below ( taken from one of my father's old notebooks).
They are old figures in British Thermal Units per pound of fuel - apologies to metrics.
Edited Figures:-
Maitland Coal: 13,594; Moisture 2.29%, Volatiles 38.37%; Ash 7.15%
Lithgow Coal:12,556; Moisture 2.28%, Volatiles 26.10%; Ash 11.09%
State Mine Coal (Vic); 11,458; Moisture 6.02%; Volatiles 24.4%; Ash 11.29
Best Brown Coal: 9,000.
Kiln Dried Firewood: 4,500 to 5,000.

Anyone tempted to believe that the SOP could have been wood fired can take one look at those figures and forget the idea.
Another look shows why there were strict orders that the SOP was always to have the bunker filled with best quality Maitland. It also shows why State Mine coal was regarded as NBG (got it, YM????)
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

They also used 2 firemen during the coal strikes after World War 2, when the VR was forced to run using wood.
Now you've really done it! There will inevitably be a few gunzels who'll either read that, or hear it secondhand, and they will forever believe that the SOP S class was wood fired in the 40's.
As a matter of academic interest heat output for various fuels was (approximately, because I'm going from memory of one of my father's notebooks which is buried in my memorabilia)
They are old figures in British Thermal Units per pound of fuel - apologies to metrics.
Maitland Coal: 13,400
Lithgow Coal:12,000
State Mine Coal (Vic); 10,500
Best Brown Coal: 9,000.
Kiln Dried Firewood: 4,500

Anyone tempted to believe that the SOP could have been wood fired can take one look at those figures and forget the idea.
I'll try and dig the notebook out - if I succeed, I'll edit these figures.
Valvegear
So, relevant questions RE burning firewood would be,
Just how many fireman fit on the footplate of the SOP?
Maybe a couple in the tender “throwing forward” on the move?

Edit. Wow the comparison of volatiles between Maitland and Lithgow coal is surprising.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
You're a bit quick for me michaelgm - I've edited the figures as you'll see.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
They also used 2 firemen during the coal strikes after World War 2, when the VR was forced to run using wood.
Now you've really done it! There will inevitably be a few gunzels who'll either read that, or hear it secondhand, and they will forever believe that the SOP S class was wood fired in the 40's. (We do know that some goods locos were forced to use wood during the strike - not very good, but they made it somehow.)
As a matter of academic interest the calorific values of various fuels were as listed below ( taken from one of my father's old notebooks).
They are old figures in British Thermal Units per pound of fuel - apologies to metrics.
Edited Figures:-
Maitland Coal: 13,594; Moisture 2.29%, Volatiles 38.37%; Ash 7.15%
Lithgow Coal:12,556; Moisture 2.28%, Volatiles 26.10%; Ash 11.09%
State Mine Coal (Vic); 11,458; Moisture 6.02%; Volatiles 24.4%; Ash 11.29
Best Brown Coal: 9,000.
Kiln Dried Firewood: 4,500 to 5,000.

Anyone tempted to believe that the SOP could have been wood fired can take one look at those figures and forget the idea.
Another look shows why there were strict orders that the SOP was always to have the bunker filled with best quality Maitland. It also shows why State Mine coal was regarded as NBG (got it, YM????)
Valvegear
Got it Comrade !!.
I wasn't aware of the comparison between State Mine and Lithgow which was a little closer than I imagined.
Was State Mine only NBG as I had been led to believe that it was NFG but there was also bad and less bad from differing areas at Wonthaggi so that may account for it?
Smile
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy


I wasn't aware of the comparison between State Mine and Lithgow which was a little closer than I imagined.

Was State Mine only NBG as I had been led to believe that it was NFG but there was also bad and less bad from differing areas at Wonthaggi so that may account for it?
"YM-Mundrabilla"
The calorific value of the Wonthaggi coal wasn't too bad, but I understand that, as well as ash, it tended to clinker quite badly.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik


I wasn't aware of the comparison between State Mine and Lithgow which was a little closer than I imagined.

Was State Mine only NBG as I had been led to believe that it was NFG but there was also bad and less bad from differing areas at Wonthaggi so that may account for it? The calorific value of the Wonthaggi coal wasn't too bad, but I understand that, as well as ash, it tended to clinker quite badly.
Valvegear
I have heard it said that a mix of bluemetal ballast and some detonators with the coal helped break up the clinker! Rolling Eyes
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I have heard it said that a mix of bluemetal ballast and some detonators with the coal helped break up the clinker!
"YM-Mundrabilla"
Hm! That sounds like the old one of if at first you don't succeed, use a bigger hammer, but never use force.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
This IS a fantasy thread isn't it?
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

So. With Wonthaggi coal you use 25% more fuel to get a given amount of heat, then you get double the ash (which results in clinkers). And clinkers tend to progress exponentially, so it will rapidly worsen. No wonder the old guys hated it.

The narrow gauge used Lithgow coal, the steam S Maitland coal; you couldn’t afford for those little locos to get clinkers too quickly, and the Spirit would never have made the trip express

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: aussievin, YM-Mundrabilla

Display from: