Powelltown tramway centenary

 
  CAP_gauge Junior Train Controller

The 3 ft gauge Powelltown tramway was opened for traffic some time during the latter half of 1913. The tramway ran from Yarra Junction to Powelltown and beyond into the Latrobe River and Ada River Valleys, in Victoria.

It was the only timber tramway in Victoria (and possibly eastern Australia) to carry passengers, and one of the few to carry public freight.

To mark the centenary the Upper Yarra Valley Historical Society (UYVHS) is arranging events to mark the centenary on 17 November 2013.

More details will be made available on their website

http//upperyarramuseum.org.au/event/powelltown-tramway-centenary/

At the request of the UYVHS the Light Railway Research Society of Australia has published a booklet "Powelltown Tramway Centenary  1913-2013" to mark the centenary.

The booklet will go on sale on 17 November at the centenary event, and will be available from the LRRSA from 18 November. The price from the LRRSA will be $10 plus postage.

This video gives an overview of the content



http//youtu.be/vX-hkRLAF4g

and an example of a page is given below



The booklet contains the most detailed maps and gradient profiles of the line ever published, from Yarra Junction to Starlings Gap, and include bridge locations and dimensions where known, as well as embankment and cutting details, curve radii etc.

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  CAP_gauge Junior Train Controller

Hello all,

Just a reminder that the Upper Yarra Valley Historical Society (UYVHS) is organising a number of events next Sunday to mark the centenary of the opening of the Yarra Junction - Powelltown tramway.

Details can be found here:

http://upperyarramuseum.org.au/event/powelltown-tramway-centenary/

The LRRSA's booklet "Powelltown Tramway Centenary 1913-2013" will go on public sale for the first time at that event. It was produced at the request of the Upper Yarra Valley Historical Society, and will help them raise funds. The event and booklet has already raised a lot of interest in the area, and some more historical photographs are surfacing as a result.

The UYVHS prepared some temporary signs to mark the station and siding sites, and these have been set up along the route.

If you attend the event you should see signs along the main road at No.1 Siding (the siding was behind the reserve), Grooms Siding, Three Bridges, Worleys Siding, Gilderoy, (these two are very close together), United Siding, Feiglins Siding (though the actual tramway was along way behind the road and behind the buildings on the road), and Powelltown. The Barrier sign is down Summerhill Road and looks toward the (believed) site of Barrier siding, which is well off the road. The Gladysdale sign is down Hazeldene Road, and the Black Sands and Reids Siding signs are down Black Sands Road. These two signs are quite close to each other. The signs will make more sense if you have a copy of the Powelltown Tramway Centenary booklet with you. The site of Black Sands station has recently been cleared of undergrowth.

Regards,

Frank
  deadlaker Junior Train Controller

Thanks for the reminder Frank.  Should be a good day and looking forward to seeing the booklet.
  tom9876543 Train Controller

The Colac, Gembrook and Walhalla railways were built with a gauge of 2 foot 6 inches.

Was there be a reason why this line decided to be different and use 3ft?

Why didn't Colac / Gembrook / Walhalla use 3ft? I am no engineer, but it seems 2ft 6 is very very narrow and would severely limit the maximum weight or size of carriages.
  CAP_gauge Junior Train Controller

The Colac, Gembrook and Walhalla railways were built with a gauge of 2 foot 6 inches.

Was there be a reason why this line decided to be different and use 3ft?

Why didn't Colac / Gembrook / Walhalla use 3ft? I am no engineer, but it seems 2ft 6 is very very narrow and would severely limit the maximum weight or size of carriages.
"tom9876543"


Hello tom9876543,

Very interesting questions.

The Whitfield, Colac-Crowes, Gembrook, and Walhalla railways were all built by the Victorian Government. As an economy measure it was their intention to use 2ft gauge. Based on overseas experience, and considering the amount of likely traffic, 2ft gauge would have been capable of handling the traffic.

The management of the Victorian Railways tried to convince the government that this was false economy, and strongly recommended 5ft 3in. They could not convince the government of this, but they did manage to convince them that 2ft 6in would be better than 2ft. This change was made so late in the design process that the rolling stock (but not the locomotives) was built much narrower than 2 ft 6 in would have allowed. The decision to use this gauge was made in 1898.

The Powelltown tramway was built by the Victorian Powell Wood Process Ltd (VPWP) in 1912-13. They had no reason to follow Victorian Railway practice, so they chose what they considered to be the best gauge for their particular purpose. As there were many existing horse-drawn timber tramways in the area, all of 3ft gauge, they chose 3ft gauge in the hope of drawing a lot of this traffic to their line.

In fact, if it was not for these existing 3ft gauge tramways, I feel confident it would have been built to 3 ft 6 in gauge. The VPWP Co. was mainly financed and managed from Western Australia, and everything associated with the tramway and the sawmill followed Western Australian practice. The gauge there was 3ft 6in. The 3 ton and 5 ton wagons used on the Powelltown tramway seem to be identical to WA 3 ft 6 in gauge designs, the curves on the tramway were suitable for 3 ft 6 in gauge, and the design of the bridges and culverts seem to be copies of WA designs.

2ft 6 in was considered too narrow for timber tramways. This was because of the instability of large logs carried on such a narrow gauge, especially when the track was rough, which was often the case with timber tramways. There were some 2 ft 6 in gauge timber tramways in  the Tyers Valley area of Victoria, near Erica. They seem to have adopted this gauge because 2ft 6in gauge wheel sets were available from the firewood tramways of Walhalla, but the gauge was by no means ideal for timber tramways - but fine for firewood!

Frank
  tom9876543 Train Controller

Frank, Thank you for the excellent information.
Cheers, Tom.
  Bullucked Assistant Commissioner

Might I had my congratulations to Frank and the LRRSA in the publication of the new Powelltown tramway book and also congrats to the Yarra Junction historical society in organising an excellent day, both at Yarra Junction and all the way to Powelltown.
  steamfreak711 Locomotive Driver

Might I had my congratulations to Frank and the LRRSA in the publication of the new Powelltown tramway book and also congrats to the Yarra Junction historical society in organising an excellent day, both at Yarra Junction and all the way to Powelltown.
Bullucked

I just received my copy of the book last week.  An excellent production, with fascinating content.  Thank you!

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