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

 
  M636C Minister for Railways

I was a bit late arriving on Sunday, having been delayed watching 7GP1 collect the Adelaide section from Port Germein.

The Pichi Richi train was delayed by some last minute trackwork on the causeway, but otherwise a parallel entry with 7GP1 might have been possible. While the Budd Car looked good with maroon and silver panels on the ends under the windows, they didn't ever run like that.

G&WA did well with the two newest GWUs cleaned nicely and ALF24 and CLP16 both cleaned nicely. GM43 came straight off the rail train but was reasonably clean. It was very rusty on the panel strapping, however.

PN had NR19 and RZAY940. The RZAY was immaculate, not the usual state. NR19 had been cleaned, but only from the frame upward.

GSR didn't have display, but "The Ghan" came through an hour after the display closed with NR74 and NR75 in order and both very clean. By chance, NR109 led a following PN freight and it might have been possible to get a shot of all three together since "The Ghan" waited for an eastbound PN freight to clear the line.

It was a good day, but could have been better with more support from the Federal Government.

Peter

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  M636C Minister for Railways

Sorry Spletsie 1953
YM-Mundrabilla
It shows GM10 before it was fitted with the front pressurising fan.
GM11 was built with the front pressurising fan.
I don't know how long it took the fit the others.


I'd suggest that some content might have been filmed before 1953.

The similar Tea and Sugar film showed locos with the front fan, although I think some footage was used in both films.

Peter
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Would you guys like me to post the actual formal ceremony I recorded?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Would you guys like me to post the actual formal ceremony I recorded?
bevans
Yes, please.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Would you guys like me to post the actual formal ceremony I recorded?
bevans
Yes Thanks
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Would you guys like me to post the actual formal ceremony I recorded?
"bevans"
Yes; definitely. It would be great for those of us who couldn't get there.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Would you guys like me to post the actual formal ceremony I recorded?
Yes; definitely. It would be great for those of us who couldn't get there.
Valvegear

File is current on the upload and will appear in my youtube channel in the next hour or so.  2 gig in size.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia


https://youtu.be/0Yt3FTZjlQA

I have the 2012 ceremony if anyone is interested.
  Train1959 Train Controller

Sadly the PA system was not as good as we hoped on the day and coupled with the wind made things difficult.

Below is a copy of the opening speech on the day:


"Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls – today marks a major anniversary in the history of Port Augusta and indeed Australia. On the 17th of October 1917 the two track laying machines came together near Ooldea to join the rails to complete the Trans-Australian Railway linking Port Augusta in SA and Kalgoorlie in WA a distance of 1,691 kilometres. Just 5 days later on the 22nd of October 1917 the first passenger train departed this very station headed for Kalgoorlie.



The line had been built through some of Australia’s and indeed the world’s most inhospitable country at a time when the only means of travel between SA and WA was by ship. There was no permanent fresh water for the entire length of the line and virtually no human habitation except for a few aboriginal groups scattered throughout the vast expanse of near wilderness.



It is testament to the Commonwealth Railways and its predecessor organisations that the Trans-Australian Railway was able to operate as efficiently as it has over the past 100 years. Everything to run the railway including coal and water and later diesel fuel all had to be transported to locations dotted along the line. Everyday household needs had to be supplied as no towns existed across the entire length of the Trans-Australian Railway, there were no farms, very little, if any, suitable water for drinking or household use.



From this was born the legend of the Tea and Sugar supply train that headed out of Port Augusta each week to supply the many camps and settlements along the entire length of the Trans-Australian Railway. The train not only supplied the essentials such as fresh food and water but everything to make the employees life as comfortable as possible. The Pay car was always a favourite! From the mid 1950’s Father Christmas would make the journey across the Nullarbor not using his traditional reindeer but by train! The Tea and Sugar was also the Post Office, provided a medical service, library  and at times a theatre car. “Tea and Sugar Day” broke the monotony of the isolation and boredom of “life on the line” although families and children especially always found something to do.



It was not until 1951 when Diesel locomotives were introduced that the Commonwealth Railways began to prosper. Thus began a “golden age” for the railways and Port Augusta as the railway became more reliable and profitable for the first time. For 60 years Port Augusta was the Administrative and Engineering headquarters for the Commonwealth Railways being one of the most important railway towns in Australia.



The railways were privatised in 1997 thus ending an era of which will never be seen again in Port Augusta. Even before this the many camps along the Trans-Australian Railway were slowly fading into memory.



Today is our chance to say thank you to all those who lived and worked on the Trans-Australian Railway over the past 100 years".  


  Train1959 Train Controller

I would just finally like to end the thread with a few words of appreciation. Without the following Companies, Organisations, Groups and Individuals the day would not have been possible. In a day and age where we complain about a lack of participation and rail heritage being on the decline I thought the help we received was phenomenal.  

PART 1

Participant/Sponsor 1/18          Great Southern Rail



Great Southern Rail who own and operate the Indian Pacific, Ghan and Overland generously agreed to donate a Trip for Two Gold Class on the Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth.


Gold Service is the most popular level of service aboard both the Ghan and Indian Pacific. The lucky winners will enjoy private cabin accommodation together with all-inclusive dining, beverages as well as a range of off train excursions at key stops.

The winner of the prize was Trevor Stroyan from Port Augusta


“TAR-100 Port Augusta” thank GSR for their kind donation.  



Participant/Sponsor 2/18          Genesee & Wyoming Australia


Genesee & Wyoming Australia kindly agreed to have 5 standard gauge locomotives and a crew car on display at the Port Augusta Railway Station on the day. Locomotives range from the new GWU class (on which there were tow locos) to a GM, CL and ALF class. They have also provided assistance in a number of other areas to help with the preparation of displays as well as the smooth running of the event.

Also a special thanks to Paul Chopin for his work and Allan Margitich and his crew for their work on Budd Car CB2. Also to Doug Aiken for being on hand to show people through the cabs on the day. Fantastic guys



“TAR-100 Port Augusta” acknowledges the great support of GWA.




Participant/Sponsor 3/18          Vehicle Restorers Club of Port Augusta  


The Port Augusta Vehicle Restorers Club provided a range of vintage cars dating back to the times of the opening of the Trans-Australian Railway all the way through to 1970.


The Police Historical Society are also had a number of vintage Police cars up for the event.



“TAR-100 Port Augusta” thanks the Vehicle Restorers Club of Port Augusta and the SA Police for their support



Participant/Sponsor 4/18          Pichi Richi Railway



The Pichi Richi Railway  had three steam locomotives  running on the day. Fortunately the weather was favourable meaning steam locos could operate.  It was a truly impressive display of heritage steam locomotives. A special highlight was the newly refurbished Yx 141 which turns 125 years old later this year.    


“TAR-100 Port Augusta” wishes to thank the Pichi Richi Railway for their generous time and support of the event.



Participant/Sponsor 5/18          State Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure  

The Dept of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI)  generously agreed to fund the new station monument to commemorate the Centenary of the Opening of the Trans-Australian Railway. As owners of the railway station they have also been instrumental in the planning and organisation for the event.



“TAR-100 Port Augusta” thanks the DPTI for their support    




  Train1959 Train Controller

Thank You - PART 2


Participant/Sponsor 6/18          Royal Australian Mint

The Royal Australian Mint produced a range of coins for the centenary celebrations. The RAM was in attendance on the day with their mobile press and did a roaring trade. Thanks guys for making the long journey to Port Augusta for the occasion.


“TAR-100 Port Augusta” thanks the Royal Australian Mint for its great commitment to our day  


Participant/Sponsor 7/18          Australia Post  

Australia Post produced a special “Trans-Australian Railway” stamp series for the occasion. The stamps were a great success on the day in conjunction with the Official Program which had a special place for you to place your stamp(s).

Australia Post kindly agreed to provide a “Postmark” dated 22/10/2017 which was stamped onto the program if you purchased the anniversary stamps.

“TAR-100 Port Augusta” wishes to thank Australia Post for their involvement


Participant/Sponsor 8/18          Nick Anchen – Sierra Publications   NEW BOOK


Nick spent almost 2 years working on a new book about outback railways. Nick has written a number of railway books during the past 10 years including;


Puffing Billy – Spirit of the Dandenongs

Locomotive Enginemen of Tasmania

Life on the Victorian Railways

Railways of the Ovens & King

and The Narrow Gauge to name a few.

We are so glad Nick chose to write a book about the Commonwealth Railways.

Iron Roads in the Outback – The Legendary Commonwealth Railways.

Nick came over from Melbourne to be with us on the day selling signed copies of his book. He was popular!

In keeping with his previous works this book is a variety of history, stories, interviews and photos detailing not only the Trans-Australian Railway but all aspects of the former Commonwealth outback network.  

“TAR-100 Port Augusta” thanks Nick for all his time and hard work and wishes him every success


Participant/Sponsor 9/18          Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC)

Not only did ARTC sponsor the Official Program on the day but they have helped enormously behind the scenes throughout our little journey.

The Official Program was a strictly limited issue making it a collector’s item for future generations. It featured some commentary, a list of the day’s events and participants as well as room for the Australia Post Stamps and Bookmark.

ARTC have also given the Budd Car a home for the past few years and have been very accommodating during the planning and work on its maintenance and cleaning program.

“TAR-100 Port Augusta” sincerely thanks ARTC for their help and sponsorship


Participant/Sponsor 10/18                      Beyond Bank – Photo Exhibition

Beyond Bank Port Augusta kindly agreed to sponsor the “Living and Working on the Trans-Australian Railway” exhibition at the Platform Gallery between the 12th and 28th of October. The exhibition detailed aspects of living and working in some of the world’s most inhospitable country. It was a “must see” not just for railway lovers but those with an interest in our history.


“TAR-100 Port Augusta” wishes to thank Beyond Bank Port Augusta for their generous support  
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Nice work, Train 1959. There are occasions when the Event is over, and the sponsors are allowed to just go their respective ways without any word.
I think you have shown how important it is to do a follow-up post, which will be read by a lot of people, and which shows appreciation of the sponsors' efforts.
My own personal thanks to them as well for what it's worth.
  Train1959 Train Controller

Thank You - Part 3/4


Participant/Sponsor 11/18                      Mamma Lou’s Café and the Rotary Club

Mamma Lou’s Café and the Rotary Club provided food and drink for our little celebration. Mamma Lou’s specialise in great coffee, cold drinks and gourmet food. The Rotary Club had a BBQ on the northern end of the platform canopy.

“TAR-100 Port Augusta” thanks Mamma Lou’s and the Rotary Club for their support on what turned out to be a pretty hectic day in the food and drink department!


Participant/Sponsor 12/18                      Musicians and Singers

A number of entertainers performed throughout the day including members of the Port Augusta Music Club and the Desert Voices Choir.

The SA Police Dixie Band also came all the way up from Adelaide and put in two awesome sets.


“TAR-100 Port Augusta” thanks all the entertainers for the generous donation of their time



Participant/Sponsor 13/18                      Platform Gallery


Thanks to the Platform Gallery for the use of their space between the 12th and 28th of October for showing the “Living and Working on the Trans-Australian Railway” exhibition. There is no better place to have a railway related exhibition than a railway station! The exhibition proved very popular and to be honest we could have filled the place 10 times over with the amount of options available to us.


Participant/Sponsor 14/18                      ABC Radio – SA Police – Port Augusta Secondary School


ABC Radio for reporting on the day’s events as they happen. We thank them for being a part of our celebration.

Also to Southern Cross Television and ABC Television for their coverage of the day - thanks.

A big thank you to SA Police for their support leading up to the event and assistance on the day.

Thanks to the PASS for the use of their car parks on the day. Greatly appreciated.
  Train1959 Train Controller

Thank You  PART 4/4


Participant/Sponsor 15/18                      Australasian Railway Association

The Australasian Railway Association provided valuable sponsorship in order for us to advertise in national railway magazines including – Railway Digest, Railway History and Track and Signal magazine therefore expanding our advertising base to become nationwide.


“TAR-100 Port Augusta” thanks the ARA for their generous support


Participant/Sponsor 16/18                      Pacific National

Pacific National kindly agreed to have a locomotive and crew car at the event with tours inside.


“TAR-100 Port Augusta” wishes to thank Pacific National for their support.


Participants 17/18                                      Rapido Trains and Northwind Rail Services

To Chris Fox, Dan Garcia and Jason Shron in Toronto for all their help with the Budd Car parts we required to get the “old girl” roadworthy again. Also to Michael Moyse for taking time out during his holidays in Canada to visit Rapido and Northwind to start the ball rolling.  


Participants 18/18                                      The People


Thought I had better add in the most important element – The People, be it those who built the railway, those who serviced it, those who lived and worked on the TAR, those people who provided the memories and to those who have generously given their time during the past 24 months to make the event possible. And finally to those who attended the Centenary in Port Augusta on Sunday the 22nd and all those who have read this thread and commented along the way – many thanks.
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

AND CHEEKILY, THANK YOU PART 5/4
Big thanks to "Train1959" for your work in running this thread. I couldn't make it for the event, but am hoping to spend time there early next year, and will think of you all. A fantastic set of stories, and high standard discussions, all very positive. Thank you so much!
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
AND CHEEKILY, THANK YOU PART 5/4
Big thanks to "Train1959" for your work in running this thread. I couldn't make it for the event, but am hoping to spend time there early next year, and will think of you all. A fantastic set of stories, and high standard discussions, all very positive. Thank you so much!
hbedriver
Absolutely, a credit to T1959 and his team, the people of Port Augusta and all those who assisted in any way.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Thx for such a wonderful thread and discussion it makes great reading.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I can only concur with what the others have written- a wonderful effort by all concerned.

(Now; with tongue planted firmly in cheek - Train1959, what project can we get you on to next?Very Happy )
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I can only concur with what the others have written- a wonderful effort by all concerned.

(Now; with tongue planted firmly in cheek - Train1959, what project can we get you on to next?Very Happy )
Valvegear
Choose any of the following:

GM 1
GM 1
GM 1 .............................
  Train1959 Train Controller

I'll have to bite, can't help myself !    Below is barely a summary.............

GM 1 will make the journey over to Perth at some stage I would imagine whether people agree with the decision to gift it to Rail heritage WA or not.

However my priority at present is as follows:

  1. We had an excellent exhibition at the Platform Gallery for the centenary and I think (for all that it's worth) that it should be displayed in the old Fountain Gallery next to Wadlata in Port Augusta. There is actually a connecting door with the main Wadlata facility and it is set up as a gallery anyway. How difficult would it be for Council to open it up for 6-12 months and monitor the support levels. You could add in a few films (we have about 7!). Tourists visiting the town are crying out for local history.
  2. Find a home for the Budd Car preferably under cover. It is unlikely we would get any Council funding as their financial position is perilous at present although Council support would be appreciated to source government funding. Otherwise it will have to find a home elsewhere (Peterborough possibly as they have a facility, Adelaide, No -  we must try and keep our local history)
  3. Find another GM class loco to preserve. They are around and eventually they will get scrapped whether we like it or not, we just need to be ready to act. Again you are faced with the decision of where it can be displayed.
  4. Social History Facility - this is badly needed. The stories are slowly disappearing as former employees and their families pass on. A lot has been saved by local historians but it needs to be categorised and formatted digitally for future generations - my thought is that it can be part of the same facility in the Fountain Gallery.

None of these ideas are "rocket science" but they do require a dedicated group of like minded people (with the support of the local Council) to get things moving. Past financial studies have talked about a $2 million facility but to me the design was that far removed from what we had set out to achieve that it wasn't funny (I have seen less sophisticated science fiction movies compared to the design study). The whole plan was "hijacked" by consultants (impossible I hear you say!!!). For me the idea is to start small but with a bit of class and add on when additional funding becomes available.

At least we have Pichi Richi but that is telling another story altogether.

Port Augusta is essentially a railway and port town that was vital part of Federation yet we no nothing to keep our heritage.

Sunday October the 22nd proves that it is still there it just needs a kick in the bum to get it moving................
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Thx also to Railpage for making the thread available for us to read both now and into the future.
  ARG706 Chief Commissioner

Location: SA
Speaking of the TAR, I was looking at AusTracks.kml in Google Earth and noticed that there is some indication of a short branchline from Ooldea of all places. I didn't look in detail, but there seems to be a trace of a formation near where the .kml file shows this mysterious route.

Would anybody know what it would have been used for if it ever actually existed?
  allan Chief Commissioner

Firewood!!!!
  patsstuffnow Junior Train Controller

Speaking of the TAR, I was looking at AusTracks.kml in Google Earth and noticed that there is some indication of a short branchline from Ooldea of all places. I didn't look in detail, but there seems to be a trace of a formation near where the .kml file shows this mysterious route.

Would anybody know what it would have been used for if it ever actually existed?
ARG706
Many locations had triangles for use in several eventualities. The length of the apex varies,
The Tea and sugar train was turned on the triangle at Cook on one of the tourist trips I think.


Also several locations had ballast sidings of various lengths.

I found an old mile post in the rubbish dump at Watson which was a fair distance from the main line.
  allan Chief Commissioner

The Ooldea firewood tramway is well documented in "Light Rail", Dec 2013. It was 2' gauge, five and a bit miles long, and provided fuel for CR condensing plants. Motive power is speculated to have been camels...

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