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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 6

I Construction During The Settlement Years

II The Use Of Timber As A Structural Material

III Structural Steel

IV Concrete Technology

V Housing

VI Industrialised Pre-cast Concrete Housing

VII Ports And Harbours

VIII Roads

IX Heavy Foundations

X Bridges

XI Sewerage

XII Water Engineering

XIII Railways
i Factors Impeding Developments
ii Railway Sleepers
iii Rail Tracks
iv Some Interesting Railway Projects
v Tarcoola-Alice Springs Railway
vi The Conversion to Standard Gauge
vii Railways in the Pilbara
viii Railways in the Coal Fields of Queensland
ix The Melbourne Underground Railway Loop

XIV Major Buildings

XV Airports

XVI Thermal Power Stations

XVII Materials Handling

XVIII Oil Industry

XIX The Snowy Mountains Scheme

XX The Sydney Opera House

XXI The Sydney Harbour Bridge

XXII Hamersley Iron

XXIII North West Shelf

Sources and References


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The Conversion to Standard Gauge

The question of unifying the track gauge of the Australian railways was addressed by John Whitton as early as 1857, when he suggested that the short mileage of line then operating in New South Wales, be altered from 1435 mm gauge to 1600 mm to conform with Victoria, but his suggestion, although supported by N.S.W. Railway Administration, was ignored. There was little positive action until 1960, when action was taken to achieve a standard gauge between Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. These projects took full advantage of modern technology, which has produced better aligned, high quality tracks and better equipped systems.

The Albury to Melbourne gauge standardisation project, commissioned in 1962, provided the first large scale application of Centralised Train Control in Australia. All points and signals between West Footscray and Wodonga are controlled from a control panel at Spencer Street. This dramatically contrasted with the almost universal safe-working practice of token working on main lines at this time.

The alignment design for the standard gauge railway between Perth and Kalgoorlie, took full advantage of the topography of the Avon Valley. Between Midland, on the outskirts of Perth and Northam, the new railway has a ruling gradient of 1 in 200 compared with 1 in 37 on the original route over the Darling Ranges. This railway also saw the first application on a main line system of second generation diesel electric locomotives, with the introduction of the 3,000 h.p. 'L' class locomotives. Thus, in the first season following the opening of the railway, the haulage power of live motive power was multiplied four times and individual train loads rose from 375 tonnes for a train to 10,000 tonnes.

People in Bright Sparcs - Connell, J. W.; Whitton, John

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 378 - 379, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher