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

Chapter 7

I The First 100 Years 1788-1888

II Railways
i Location of the Railway
ii Track
iii Bridging and Tunnelling
iv Dams for Engine Water
v Locomotives and Rolling Stock
vi Signalling and Telecommunications
vii 1900/1988-The New Century
viii The Garratt Locomotive
ix Steam Locomotive Practice
x Motor Railcars
xi Signalling
xii Electric Tramways
xiii Electric Railways - Direct Current
xiv Electric Railways - 25 kV ac
xv Diesel Traction
xvi Alignment and Track
xvii Operations

III Motorised Vehicles

IV Aviation

V Modern Shipping

VI Innovative Small Craft

VII Conclusion

VIII Acknowledgements

IX Contributors



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Steam Locomotive Practice

If technology is defined as the application of design, development, manufacturing and management skills from first principles (even if those principles and practice are not of themselves novel), then steam railway technology in Australia reached its full flower in the design and construction of steam locomotives. It emerged from the workshops of all Australian railways, or alternatively from their chosen local contractors between 1900 and 1950.

Particularly noteworthy is the example of Victoria, which developed, entirely with its own resources, a series of 4-6-0 passenger engines (two classes), 4-6-2 suburban tanks, and 2-8-0 goods engines (one class each). Developed at Newport between 1900 and 1914 these engines were all 2-cylinder and (eventually) superheated machines with excellent proportions and performance. They were followed by two equally efficient 2-8-2 and another 2-8-0 goods, and a heavy 3-cylinder 4-6-2 express engine (the latter class later being streamlined for The Spirit of Progress); the designer was A. E. Smith. As the new century progressed, the other Australian systems followed similar patterns of local design and manufacture, to varying extents. Their individual achievements are well documented in the steam locomotive literature.

The various forms of technology introduced included high superheat; 3-cylinder simple expansion propulsion with derived valve motion for the inside cylinder (some quite innovative); American type automatic stoking (steam engine driven screw feed and steam jet distribution); efficient long lap valve events; advanced smokeboxes and draughting; self cleaning smokeboxes; roller bearing axleboxes; one piece cast steel locomotive beds (i.e. chassis -these castings were always imported); and increasingly, devices to minimize depot labour during servicing, and thereby raise availability for traffic. Australia was not the first to use these features, but in all cases the better Australian designs were abreast of the international mainstream in respect of their application. In some cases, Australians were among the first users and well ahead of much larger overseas railways.

People in Bright Sparcs - Macfarlane, Ian B.; Smith, A. E.

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© 1988 Print Edition page 468, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher