different rail gauges in australia before federation

Melbourne was linked to New South Wales by a standard gauge line in 1962. In February 1853 the other colonies (Victoria having separated from New South Wales in 1851) were sent a memorandum advising them of the pending change and recommended they likewise adopt 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm). The independent development of the State rail systems led to significant incompatibility problems, not only in relation to gauge but also equipment and operating practices. The first Government railway opened in 1879 between Geraldton and Northampton. Freight trains began using the line in 1983 with passenger trains following the next year when Keswick Terminal opened. Western Australia opposed Federation. However, with Federation in 1901 and the removal of trade barriers, the short sightedness of three gauges became apparent. Work on gauge conversion was assisted by section 51 (xxxiii) of the Constitution of Australia, which made specific provisions for the Commonwealth Parliament to make laws with respect to railway acquisition and construction. After his appointment in 1849, Sheilds initially stated a preference for 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm)[13] but in 1850 he persuaded the company, which in turn asked the NSW legislature, to change to the Irish standard gauge of 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm). However, Sheilds and his three subordinates resigned in December 1850 when the company cut their salaries for financial reasons. By Federation, a plurality of states had 3'6" networks, 3'6" held the plurality of track mileage and the ease of dual-gauging it with SG or BG made it a good choice for retrofitting existing interstate railways. The focus of railway traffic was movement from the hinterland to the ports and cities on the coast so governments were not concerned about the future need for either inter-city passenger or freight services. [17], The Tasmanian Government Railways opened its first railway from Launceston to Deloraine in 1871 using 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) broad gauge, but converted to 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) narrow gauge in 1888.[17]. to three different gauges of track in the one state and in some cases, town’s such as Peterborough had a railway yard of three different gauges. From the late 1700s, British colonies were established. [33], While Prime Minister Billy Hughes had expressed support for the idea of a third rail solving the break of gauge difficulty, the predominant opinion of senior officers of the railways was to oppose it. [52] However, the project was put on hold to be completed as part of the Murray Basin Rail Project. The Government was persuaded to make the change back to 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) and in January 1853 they advised the company that the Act requiring 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) would be repealed. I did my high school in Australia and vaguely remember from history class that Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria ran different track gauges before federation. [48][49], Cross-section of triple-gauge track at Gladstone and Peterborough, South Australia, before gauge standardisation in 1970 (click to enlarge), Triple gauge – 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in), 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) and 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) tracks – at Gladstone (SA) in March 1986, Triple gauge used in the station yards at Gladstone and Peterborough in South Australia, 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) Craigieburn line & (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) North East line in Melbourne, In Adelaide, the Belair, Gawler and Outer Harbor lines have been relaid with gauge convertible sleepers with plans to gauge convert the entire Adelaide Metro network in the future. [26] However, with the different gauges, to ship goods from Queensland to Perth required four transhipments. Queensland has retained its narrow gauge network, with only the interstate line to Sydney in standard gauge, while South Australia has the dubious distinction of having operating railways in all three gauges. At present, the most common railway gauges in Australia are the standard, narrow and broad gauges: Standard gauge – 17,678 km – mainly New South Wales and … The standard gauge link between Alice Springs to Darwin was completed in January 2004. Australian Capital Territory: A 10 km standard gauge branch line opened between Queanbeyan, NSW, and Canberra, the Australian capital, in 1914. Through ARTC's ownership and lease of the interstate line, the six separate state-based arrangements which historically governed mainland interstate rail operations have been gradually replaced with a single set of common rules, operating standards and access regulations, representing a significant boost to the efficiency of freight rail in Australia. 31, 1994-95. To resolve this issue, the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments agreed to establish a new single National Rail Safety Regulator (NRSR). Welcome to South Australia's SteamRanger Heritage Railway. (It was 1917 before Western Australia was linked with the railway systems of the other mainland States.) For school and homeschooling projects or just reading It was never profitable and has been closed for many years. For many years, the different gauges handicapped the effective operation of interstate rail services. This caused many problems and people began to think about the be… [34], After the wartime experience, a report into the Standardisation of Australia's rail gauges was completed by former Victorian Railways Chief Commissioner Harold Clapp for the Commonwealth Land Transport Board in March 1945. ... a leader of the federation movement and, in 1901, Australia's first Prime Minister: ... transport (the colonies had adopted different railway gauges) separated the colonies. In 1845, a Royal Commission on Railway Gauges in the United Kingdom was formed to report on the desirability for a uniform gauge. The former North Australia Railway linked Darwin with Birdum—a distance of 511 km—by 1929. Until the middle of the 1800s, people travelled around the colonies of the Australian continent by horse-drawn transport and by coastal shipping services. Beginning operation in 1929, the Ghan ran on a 1067 mm narrow gauge rail line called the Central Australian Railway between South Australia and Alice Springs. [15] In Victoria the memorandum was distributed to three railway companies and their responses were sought, with two replying and only one showing a distinct preference for 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm). Steam locomotives were completely withdrawn in the 1970s, but tourist trips are still available on scenic routes in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. A new dual gauge line was built through the Avon Valley from Midland to Northam on 1 in 200 grades instead of 1 in 40;[20] and a new line was built from Southern Cross to Kalgoorlie though Koolyanobbing. [25] It was not until 1883 when the broad and standard gauge lines from Melbourne and Sydney met at Albury, and in 1888 narrow and standard gauge from Brisbane and Sydney met at Wallangarra that the break of gauge became an issue. [40][41] The Hopetoun, Portland and Yaapeet lines in Victoria, and the Pinnaroo, Loxton and Apamurra lines in South Australia were also gauge converted. The process standardising Australia's interstate track to a standard, 1435 mm gauge commenced in the 1930s, and was only completed in 1995. [3] As a result, the Regulating the Gauge of Railways Act 1846 was passed which prescribed the use of 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) in England, Scotland and Wales (with the exception of the Great Western Railway) and 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) in Ireland.

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