Sunday, 12 June 2011

The 'as required' Cowra Mail

A week or so ago a ‘Friday Afternoon Pictures’ from Bob Wilson had a picture of the Cowra Mail taken on 28 January 1967. He asked if anyone had further information as to the working of it and this prompted a short period of research detailed below – The picture from the email is also below.

The photo consist of the ‘Cowra Mail’ photos looks like MLV, MCE, MCE, and probably the ACS, ACS and then an EHO on the rear (The photo is a bit small to double confirm the last two pass cars but they are more than likely to be the two ACS cars.)
I don’t have a 1967 timetable to hand but I do have a 1960 and a 1968 reprinted in 1971.
The November 1960 timetable has No. 61 (titled as the Relief Mail) running to Cowra only on days when required. It departed Sydney at 21:56. In the order of Western Line overnight Mails it was fourth in the list – the order being:
  •         45 Coonamble Mail (MWF),
  •          59 Through Mail (Tu, Th)
  •          49 Forbes Mail (Mon Excepted)
  •          61 Relief Mail to Cowra (as required)
  •          63 Mudgee Mail (M-F)
  •          59a Relief Mail to Dubbo (as required)
  •          49a Relief Mail to Parkes (as required)
  •          63a Relief Mail to Mudgee (as required)
The Cowra Line cars normally travelled to Blayney on No. 49 Forbes Mail and 12 minutes were allowed at Blayney for No. 49 to detach the cars.
When it ran No. 61’s timings were Lithgow (00:56), Bathurst (02:38-02:48), Blayney (04:13-04:20) and Cowra (06:20).
I have a May 1968 consist list which is reasonably close to the time of the photo.
There are no details as to the consist of the occasional ‘Relief Mail’ to Cowra presumably it ran on the really busy Friday evenings and the cars were whatever they could scrounge. The normal arrangements were:
Mondays – an EHO was attached from Sydney to No. 59 Mail to Dubbo (third car in the consist and shunted out of the train at Blayney. (The first and second cars (both MLV’s) went to Orange and Parkes. Presumably the EHO was attached to the mixed as the van.
On Tues to Fri and Sunday the cars were attached to No. 49 Forbes Mail.
Tues, Wed and Thurs had a through passenger car – an ACS (for Grenfell) and an MHO van that was detached at Blayney and attached to the Mixed.
Fridays had an MHO and two ACS cars attached ex-Sydney and detached at Blayney for the Mixed
The cars were all about the train through the week – On Monday the EHO on No. 59 ex-Sydney was third car from the front. On Tuesday and Thursday’s the MHO and ACS were two and three from the front. On Wednesday’s the ACS and MHO were  two and three from the front while on Friday’s the ACS, ACS, MHO were the last three cars on the train (6,7 and 8th car on the train
By 1971 the ‘Cowra Mail’ had disappeared from the table and there was only a mixed train that connected with the mail at Blayney. On Tuesday’s it was No. 278 and connected with No. 59 Mail and departed Blayney at 04:10 arriving Cowra at 06:23. The train continued on to Grenfell at 07:30 arriving at the terminus at 10:54. It crossed No. 132 (a goods that travelled from Harden to Blayney) at Cowra.
On every other day (yes it had a seven day a week service) it connected with No. 49 Mail at Blayney and departed there as No. 29 at 04:40, arriving at Cowra at 06:56, crossing No. 86a (Diesel Multiple Unit Pass 06:10 ex Cowra which attached to DMU from Orange at Blayney) at Woodstock and No. 132 at Cowra, It departed Cowra at 07:30 arriving at Grenfell at 10:07. The difference in the Grenfell arrival time was because on Tuesday’s the train was allowed 34 minutes to shunt the sidings between Greenthorpe and Grenfell where as on any other day it was only allowed 6 minutes.
Interestingly the 1980 consist list has W249, the ‘Orange Overnight Parcels’ (departing Sydney at 20:38 has an LLV for Cowra on Monday’s, MLV for Cowra on Tues, Wed and a LLV on Friday’s. There were no through passenger cars by this time and you connected at Blayney off W59, the Western Mail (21:55 ex Sydney).

Friday, 10 June 2011

Why does the water tank stand at Grenfell look strange?

Location and Area History

The many years of work by the residents of the Grenfell area finally bore fruit in late 1897 with the commencement of an inquiry on 20 Decemeber 1897. Over three months later on 28 February the inquiry concluded that the 51 kilometre line should be built from Koorawatha to Grenfell. It subsequently was approved in Parliament and the Act assented to on 24 December 1899. Construction by the Public Works Department had actually commenced the previous month. Additional contracts were let to Messers A Taylor for the supply of timber for the underbridges, and to Messers Espley and Morgan for the bridge piles.
The line was opened on 7 May 1901. Services on the line were based on the connections from the overnight mail at Cowra. General running time from Cowra being slightly over or slightly under three hours depending on whether the train was a Passenger or a Mixed.
Grenfell is 444.947 kilometres from Sydney (via Blayney). Regular passenger services were suspended on 11 August 1974 and all services on the line were suspended from 22 October 1991. The line was subsequently reopened to Greenthorpe (approximately halfway) and this continued to be the case for grain trains only until 2009.
From the opening until the demise of steam two water supplies were provided, one at the junction at Koorawatha and one at the terminus at Grenfell. For a period in the 1960’s an additional standpipe was provided at Greenthorpe.

The tank at Grenfell showing the strange bracing.
The Tank and Dam

On 24 September 1900 Henry Deane, Engineer in Chief signed the plan for a dam on Emu Creek approximately one mile [1.6 km] north of Grenfell station. The area of the dam was approximately 2560 feet long and the length of the dam was 690 feet. The catchment area covered 4.8 square kilometres.
A 3 inch (76mm) pipe was laid from the dam to the station. This pipe was laid on the initially on west side of but after a short distance on east side of Emu Creek in a 10 feet (3 metres) wide easement. Emu Creek runs to the west side of Grenfell Station and with the dam being upstream of the station gravity was used thus negating the need for a pump house.
The pipe then travelled under the railway lines in the loco area to the tank on the eastern side of the tracks. A float valve on the tank controlled the water supply.
A diagram (again signed by H Deane) details all aspect of the tank stand and pipes. The contract for the stand was separate to the actual tank which was the usual practice of the time. The superstructure of the stand was constructed using 12 inch [30 cm] square lengths of timber with 16 piers were sunk into concrete lined pits. These piers were topped by a grid of 12 inch square timbers which supported the tank. Between the horizontal timbers and the tank were 36 cast supports which on which the tank was placed.
The tank of 20,000 gallons (68250 litres) capacity was built with 45 virtually identical 5 feet [1.52m] square cast panels bolted together. The usual practice was to line the bottom of the tanks to assist in their integrity. Concrete was the medium used in the tank at Grenfell.
In the base of the tank is an outlet that supplies a 9 inch diameter swinging jib.
The tank and stand structure at Grenfell was identical to that at Koorawatha and there is surviving evidence on the Koorawatha tank that was the sides were also rendered with concrete. This was not the usual practice.
In early 1946 the tank failed, the details of the failure not being known. With no other water facility on the line locos (generally members of the 30T class with 3650 gallon tenders) could not run from Koorawatha to Grenfell and return without running out of water and a replacement was required. The opportunity was taken to assess the actual requirements and it was found that a tank of similar size was not required. This was because under normal circumstances there were a maximum of two locos at Grenfell at any one time and combined their maximum tender capacity was less than than 7500 gallons.
A drawing was issued on 1 March 1946 showing the new tank and plumbing arrangements. The Railway’s had stocks of the panels used to construct the tanks and these were used for the new tank. The original stand was still serviceable but was bigger than the new 10,000 (40,000 litre) tank required. As such the number of piers was reduced to nine and the surplus piers removed. The cross-bracing was reused and shortened to fit. A new swinging jib was also provided. The unused portion of the stand was recovered on 19 February 1947.
The tank also supplied a 3 inch stand pipe located beside a nearby road.

The outlet structure from the dam to the water tank

Looking along the dam wall from west to east - the station is apporximately 1.6km to the right.
The base of the tank stand showing the no longer required foundations.
The front of the tank showing the swinging jib. Note the angle of the timber bracing and the unused holes in the vertical posts.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Signal Diagrams

For many years I have been a huge fan of the station at Cooma - I was lucky to see trains there just prior to it's closure in 1989 and have 'rejoiced' in the Cooma-Monaro Railway and it's continued success.
Cooma is unique in many ways because it is a precinct were virtually all of the infrastructure that existed 30 years ago is still in situ - the only exception was the water tank that was removed in the 1970s (a replacement from Yannergee has was relocated to Cooma about 10 years ago).

Sometime between 1989 and 1992 the diagram in the signal box was flogged and is no doubt decorating someone's wall and the signal box is poorer for the loss.

Anyway a while back when I was there I thought I can redraw that diagram as I had a picture of the diagram taken in 1987. Using Corel the diagram was redrawn, printed and framed and in early May 2011 I presented the CMR with a new diagram which was duly placed in the signal box in the original location.

A picture of the redrawn diagram in the signal box is below.

Welcome and Introduction

Welcome to my blog where items of NSW Railways Infrastructure and Operations will be discussed along with the modelling of them.
The background picture is of two of the four upper Quadrant signals that were at Illalong Creek on NSW's Main South Line until a few years ago. These are the two at the northern end - the Up home on the left and the Down Distant on the right.