Stations on the Trans Australian Railway

 
  Commrail Station Master

Hello Members,

I am interested in the internal layout of station buildings on the Trans Australian Railway west of Port Augusta.

While very small, I take it that they were designed to accommodate waiting passengers. Does anyone know what type of seating was/is provided (wooden benches fixed to unlined walls - just guessing)?

Prior to the early 1950s, many of the stations, such as Wirrappa, were staffed by railway employees. Their duties included the transmission of telegrams on behalf of the department and passengers, and the receipt of mail for local fettlers. Presumably, they occupied a separate space partitioned off from the passenger waiting area. If so, when approximately were the partitions removed?

I have tried to obtain plans of the stations without success.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,

Ross

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  georges Train Controller

You could try the National Archives at archives@naa.gov.au
  Commrail Station Master

You could try the National Archives at archives@naa.gov.au
georges
Thank you, Georges.

I have already examined National Archives' holdings, but will look again.

Regards,

Ross
  georges Train Controller

It's sometimes worthwhile to email the NAA even if their published holdings online do not seem too hopeful. They are obliged to classify archives under their original names which may differ from how a subject is known today.
  touring Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide
You won't find plans here, but there are historical images:
http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+625/1/1-121/continue
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
You won't find plans here, but there are historical images:
http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+625/1/1-121/continue
touring
An interesting and valuable selection of photos.
Sadly, as is the case in so many old photo collections in a variety of libraries etc the captions are often rubbish. They appear to have been added by an ill-informed person simply for the sake saying something (which is frequently the bleeding obvious)! In the absence of anything better at this distance in time, it may be better to say something like 'Construction of the Trans-Australian Railway 1912 - 1917' rather than 'man with tabby cat'.
  Commrail Station Master

You won't find plans here, but there are historical images:
http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+625/1/1-121/continue
touring
Hello Touring,

Thank you for drawing my attention to an interesting series of photographs I had not been aware of.


Regards,

Ross
  Commrail Station Master

An interesting and valuable selection of photos.
Sadly, as is the case in so many old photo collections in a variety of libraries etc the captions are often rubbish. They appear to have been added by an ill-informed person simply for the sake saying something (which is frequently the bleeding obvious)! In the absence of anything better at this distance in time, it may be better to say something like 'Construction of the Trans-Australian Railway 1912 - 1917' rather than 'man with tabby cat'.
YM-Mundrabilla
Hello YM-Mundrabilla,

At risk of digressing from the subject, I agree entirely. Staff in libraries and in state and federal government repositories frequently give photographs arbitrary or inane captions to facilitate searches, rather than consult the agency or individual responsible for the image, or in the latter case, their descendant, for a more specific, accurate, or detailed description. In some instances they change the agency's caption to suit their purposes.

As a professional formerly employed by a government department, who has lodged items with the relevant repository, I speak with some authority.


Regards,


Ross
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Hello YM-Mundrabilla,

At risk of digressing from the subject, I agree entirely. Staff in libraries and in state and federal government repositories frequently give photographs arbitrary or inane captions to facilitate searches, rather than consult the agency or individual responsible for the image, or in the latter case, their descendant, for a more specific, accurate, or detailed description. In some instances they change the agency's caption to suit their purposes.

As a professional formerly employed by a government department, who has lodged items with the relevant repository, I speak with some authority.


Regards,


Ross
Commrail
Ross,
Thanks for the above.
There were many station building photos of one sort or another in the CR Head Office photo collection in Melbourne prior to the move of that Office from Melbourne to Adelaide. Unfortunately, after the move, the maintenance  of the collection changed. With the demise and sale of AN I don't know what happened to the CR collection (especially the Branch photos from Port Augusta) but I imagine that at least some of the Head Office pics are still around in Archives somewhere as familiar photos of rolling stock in particular keep appearing on the website called Comrails.com which I believe is based in Adelaide.

Regards
YM
  Commrail Station Master

Ross,
Thanks for the above.
There were many station building photos of one sort or another in the CR Head Office photo collection in Melbourne prior to the move of that Office from Melbourne to Adelaide. Unfortunately, after the move, the maintenance  of the collection changed. With the demise and sale of AN I don't know what happened to the CR collection (especially the Branch photos from Port Augusta) but I imagine that at least some of the Head Office pics are still around in Archives somewhere as familiar photos of rolling stock in particular keep appearing on the website called Comrails.com which I believe is based in Adelaide.

Regards
YM
YM-Mundrabilla
Hello YM,

I have looked into the matter further.

It appears that the Islington office plans, including those formerly held by C.R. at Port Augusta, were handed to the federal Dept of Infrastructure and Transport with the demise of A.N. In 2011, they were placed in the care of the Dept of Transport, Energy and Infrastucture (D.T.E.I.), a South Australian Government body. The plans are currently being appraised by State Records of S.A. to determine what should be retained permanently pending transfer of ownership to the D.T.E.I. Normally, federal government policy files, plans, photographs, etc, are subject to the Archives Act of 1983 and are passed to National Archives of Australia (N.A.A.) once they cease to be "working" documents. In this case, I don't know what control, if any, N.A.A. will have over the material.

Cheers,

Ross
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Hello YM,

I have looked into the matter further.

It appears that the Islington office plans, including those formerly held by C.R. at Port Augusta, were handed to the federal Dept of Infrastructure and Transport with the demise of A.N. In 2011, they were placed in the care of the Dept of Transport, Energy and Infrastucture (D.T.E.I.), a South Australian Government body. The plans are currently being appraised by State Records of S.A. to determine what should be retained permanently pending transfer of ownership to the D.T.E.I. Normally, federal government policy files, plans, photographs, etc, are subject to the Archives Act of 1983 and are passed to National Archives of Australia (N.A.A.) once they cease to be "working" documents. In this case, I don't know what control, if any, N.A.A. will have over the material.

Cheers,

Ross
Commrail
Thanks Ross.
There was - when the CR Head Office moved to Adelaide a heap of Melbourne stuff in the Commonwealth Archives at Brighton (Vic).
As a Commonwealth Authority I cannot see what right the SA Archives should have to this material with the possible exception of pure SAR stuff prior to the handover of that system to the Commonwealth in 197?.
To me the arrangement stinks of bureaucratic incompetence/duck-shoving  (bit like the handling of the preservation of GM 1 - and we know how that has turned out). Still it may give someone a job putting idiotic captions on pictures.Sad
Any of my (few) records, photos etc will stay with me in these circumstances.
Regards
YM
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks Ross.
There was - when the CR Head Office moved to Adelaide a heap of Melbourne stuff in the Commonwealth Archives at Brighton (Vic).
YM-Mundrabilla

From where did their office move?  Melbourne or Port Augusta?
  Commrail Station Master

From where did their office move?  Melbourne or Port Augusta?
bevans
Hello Bevans,

I am not very familiar with the material formerly held by N.A.A. in Brighton, Victoria. You might like to refer your query to YM-Mundrabilla who is more knowledgeable on the subject.

Kind regards,

Ross
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
From where did their office move?  Melbourne or Port Augusta?
bevans

The Head Office of Commonwealth Railways was originally somewhere at the east end of Flinders Lane in a building called Chelford House - it may have been No 23 IIRC. This was from about 1912 and is from memory so I stand to be corrected as to the detail but the general drift is correct.

CR moved from Flinders Lane to the State Savings Bank building at 623 Collins Street on the SE corner of Collins and Spencer Streets across the road from the VR Head Office at 67 Spencer Street but I don't know when (1930s ??). In 1960 the Head Office staff numbered about 33 people from the Commissioner to the tea lady.

The next move was to Embank House at 325 Collins Street about 1966 (?).

After the establishment of AN, the renamed CR Head Office moved to 55 King William Road in Adelaide in 1976 from whence they moved to Richmond Road. An AN Marketing Office remained at 325 Collins Street until the early 1980s sharing the RoA office there.
  ANR Assistant Commissioner

I was trawling through some older threads and found this one.

There are several youtube videos that show the station interiors and even the housing surrounding the stations.

They did have waiting rooms, although some looked like outhouses.

My question is, why was the housing  and infratructure removed from the TAR? Yes, I know the railway line was imporoved to the point the work gangs were no longer needed etc. Could the housing have been used by Aboriginal locals or even other purposes, e.g. military, public housing, civil defence, infectious disease control, astronomical observatory, even refugee camps. Is Cook the only stop with housing? Is there any housing remaining in Hughes?

I could live anywhere along the line....
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Short answer to your question is NO.

With mechanised gangs much/most of the departmental housing no longer needed.

Remove before trashed by ferals
Too much liability
No support for anyone living out there
No Tea and Sugar
What would the Army do out there? Scream about the desert destroying the environment with tanks and using buildings as targets?
No water. No food. No transport. No electricity.
Totally impractical.
There were 3 or 4 houses still at Loongana around 20 years ago perhaps leased to the Mine.

Perhaps a couple of the drivers on here can provide an update on the present position?
  ANR Assistant Commissioner

Vandalism and public liability, ok I get that.
Financial support, agreed, it would have to come from government
Tea & Sugar is just another train service that could:
-supply food, water, services, and even transport but would need to be either collectively funded by TAR towns e.g. local govt, state govt or Commonwealth.
Power,? Plenty of space, plenty of sun and lots of wind

TAR townships just needed a repurpose.

I meant to say military rather than just army in my original post A multipurpose facility e.g. airfield to defend southern gap e.g. anti sub or anti surface, etc.Yes, woomera is nearby. Emergency landing for commercial jets, flying doctors forward base etc

Maybe gas and oil discoveries or mineral extraction could reopen some towns in the future.

Maybe i am a dreamer.
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

Vandalism and public liability, ok I get that.
Financial support, agreed, it would have to come from government
Tea & Sugar is just another train service that could:
-supply food, water, services, and even transport but would need to be either collectively funded by TAR towns e.g. local govt, state govt or Commonwealth.
Power,? Plenty of space, plenty of sun and lots of wind

TAR townships just needed a repurpose.

I meant to say military rather than just army in my original post A multipurpose facility e.g. airfield to defend southern gap e.g. anti sub or anti surface, etc.Yes, woomera is nearby. Emergency landing for commercial jets, flying doctors forward base etc

Maybe gas and oil discoveries or mineral extraction could reopen some towns in the future.

Maybe i am a dreamer.
ANR
Are you worried about the penguins invading?

The relevance of the nearness to Woomera escapes me.

Emergency landing for commercial jets? yes there has been a real need for this as history tell us (sarcasm emoticon)

yes you are dreaming.
  Radioman Chief Train Controller

Hello All,

with apologies to "ANR" and "the animal" , the possibilities of invading penguins could make an interesting new thread ,

Regards, Radioman.
  ANR Assistant Commissioner

Enemy subs were operating in Australian waters in WW2.

Australia had a series of airfields in the north that served as part of Australia's defence in WW2.

Evett airfield in Woomera has 2 x 2km runways but not available for mixed public use e.g. like Williamtown. Perhaps another one is needed further along to the west? The Eyre highway has a flat section somewhere to the west of Eucla usable by aircraft for emergency landings, but not sure how big an aircraft it can carry.

The point I have been trying to make is that we have one of the longest continuous rail tracks that could be used in the event of war and in time of peace. If the infrastructure had remained, there could have been some continued use of the facilities. It would take a lot of money, foresight, and political will to use it again.
  nm39 Chief Commissioner

Location: By a road taking pictures
The trouble with a vacant building is that it attracts people who have no business being there and could lead to damage to other infrastructure that does matter. Answer: remove it and remove the attraction.
  ANR Assistant Commissioner

Back to the original question of the thread starter....



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7WuxQRBVb4

Here is video with looking through Tarcoola Railway Station. It has some benches and what looks like a waiting room. It also looks as if there is a booking office window. More recent videos of Tarcoola station show that it has been re-roofed. Has anyone had a peek inside? I wonder if the manifests and timesheets are still strewn all over the floor? Was the layout of the TAR stations the same on the old Ghan route???




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rhRN_oUYDQ

The above video highlights the argument that I have been making about repurposing the buildings. In some of the stops e.g. Hughes, Reid etc, the buildings look immaculate on the inside and the outside with new roofing. The vlogger goes inside one of them and it has a premium lick of paint. It looks quite habitable.

Any property can suffer vandalism, but nowadays, there is live and inexpensive CCTV. Most of the visitors would only ever get there by train and leave by train.... A permanent population in these towns, albeit small, would probably deter vandals.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Here is video with looking through Tarcoola Railway Station. It has some benches and what looks like a waiting room. It also looks as if there is a booking office window. More recent videos of Tarcoola station show that it has been re-roofed. Has anyone had a peek inside? I wonder if the manifests and timesheets are still strewn all over the floor? Was the layout of the TAR stations the same on the old Ghan route???
ANR
No. Unlike the Trans-Australian line (the hyphen exists in CR documents, and in the enabling act of parliament) the Central Australia Railway was built, as far as Oodnadatta, by the South Australian Railways. Totally different structures, Oodnadatta was stone, as were most (all?) of the barracks built alongside the line.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Interesting videos but plain bloody madness the way some people venture out into the desert. Fuel, spare wheels, water, breakdowns, snakebite (whatever). The fewer people out there the better. Too much to go wrong.

Don't know if Chinese/Japanese (?) tourists on put-put motor bikes still attempt the access track from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta. They were frequent out there a few years ago.
  dylan Train Controller

Location: South Australia
Tarcoola station was all locked up when I visited in 2013, I didn't get a look inside. Pretty much all the railway buildings in Tarcoola are abandoned (and almost every other building in the town), however the old loco barracks is still used by ARTC length runners, and there's another barracks used by track workers when they have to stay in town.
Regarding the Central Line, I think that style of housing was used at a couple of locations Between Stirling North and Marree, possibly Neuroodla and Brachina.

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