The opening of the line from Camurra to Boggabilla in the north of the state and the Unanderra to Moss Vale line in June and August 1932 respectively mark the end of the third period of expansion with the railways having just under 10000 kilometres of lines. With the exception of the Captains Flat line of 35 kilometres in length, opened in 1940, there were no significant country branchlines opened until the Sandy Hollow to Ulan line in 1982.
The railways as such fundamentally moved into the period of maintenance and renewal as required. The extension of the double track of the Main South Line (with the exception of the Bethungra Spiral in 1942/3) saw the renewal of the railways infrastructure at Junee. The loco depot which had been located northwest of the station since the late 1880’s was becoming increasingly cramped and unsuitable for the requirements of servicing the locomotives of the time. A new design drawn and a new location about two kilometres south of the station identified. This loco depot was the last major depot built and thus was designed with equipment that was the result of many years of design and material refinement. While the original design had two elevated 40000 gallon tanks being fed from a 500000 gallon concrete tank the infrastructure that was built was two 246000 gallon reservoirs. The reservoirs were built on the side of a hill on the west side of the loc depot and were partially embedded into the ground. They provided supply to four water columns, two on the arrival roads and two on the departure road in addition to all of the water requirements of the depot. The two 40000 gallon tanks were not required as they would have been at the same height as the reservoirs and thus of no real advantage. A 20000 gallon elevated tank was also built at Junee station at this time. This tank fed columns located around the station area.
In 1948 there was a need for further refuge loop on the Short North at Wyong. It was found due to the topography around Wyong station that the extension of the loops at Wyong was not suitable. The area between Tuggerah and Wyong Creek was found to be suitable and both Up and Down Refuges loops controlled from Tuggerah signal box were constructed, opening on 11th May 1948. Facilities for the servicing of locomotives were also required and the result was the construction of the last newly located watering facility in the state. (As far as can be ascertained the tank at the Garrett Sidings at North Gosford was the last tank constructed but as Gosford had had watering facilities for many years this qualifies Tuggerah and the last new location).
Two tanks of 40000 gallons capacity were erected, each supplying two 12” water columns located at the exit ends of the loops. These tanks represent the final design and are subtly different for those that had been built before. The method of bracing was changed and instead of using steel rod, steel bar was used – This was because it had been found that various tanks had required the replacing of the rod due to rust. The bar being larger thus lasted longer. Where the bars crossed they were secured with a bolt. The tanks were located between the railway and the Pacific Highway and in an unusual development both tanks had advertising for Rysdyk Homes of Gosford painted on them. The only known example of a painted tank is a Cardiff Workshops where the tank had ‘SAFETY FIRST’ painted on all four sides – one letter to a panel. The advertising on the tank at Tuggerah was renewed at least once during the life of the structures.
|3644 in the Down Loop at Tuggerah while on a tour train on 21 September 1966. Note also the elctric light. The south end tank can be seen in the far background.|
|5915 at the same location on 16 Sept 1972. Note the advertising sign has been repainted. Note also the rusting from the leaking tank.|
In 1959 Gosford Yard was redesigned as part of the electrification to Gosford. The area around the station was decidedly cramped and additional loco facilities were built at the north end of the yard some 500 metres north of the station. While these facilities were called the Garrett Sidings (because they were primarily built for the 60 class as they would not fit into the loco area near the station) all types of locos used them. While the new Gosford tank was only 20000 gallons capacity it was identical in design and construction to the two tanks at Tuggerah built 11 years earlier.
Developments during World War Two
The Second World War commenced in September 1939 and while Australia was involved from that time the impact to the railways did not really occur until the entry of Japan in late 1941. Following this there was a massive increase in the movement of troops and materials across New South Wales Railways generally to and from Queensland. The most obvious route for this movement via the North Coast line but there was a fear that this line could be impact as for the majority of its route it was within a few miles of the coast. The only real alternative was the inland route via Griffith, Parkes, Dubbo, Werris Creek and then via the main north to Wallangarra. Significant construction quickly occurred in various location but at best it could be described as piece meal. An example of this is that both Griffith and Stockinbingal received triangles as all trains would have to reverse at these locations while Parks and Binnaway did not. (Parkes finally received a connection in 2000.)
Any new construction related to these ‘war trains’ was paid for by the Federal Government and it is surprising that the opportunity was not taken to build more infrastructure that would have improved train running.
With the increased running of trains through Merrygoen it was found that the 40000 gallon tank was not of sufficient capacity that allowed water to be pumped only once a day. Due to war restriction it was not possible to build a new tank and a tank located at Broadmeadow was found and relocated. The stand of the tank was found to be 7’ shorter than the stand on the tank already at Merrygoen as it was advantageous to have both tanks at the same level. The result of this was the new tank had concrete piers 8’ high supporting the stand. A second pumphouse was also constructed.
Binnaway was another location that received a second tank that was relocated although the original location of this tank is not known. The stand was also of a different height to the original tank and additional lengths were welded to the steel piers to bring the new tank to the same height.
Other Minor Developments
In September 1941 a plan was drawn for a standard 10000 or 20000 gallon tank (depending on whether it was a single or double tier tank). The plan was an example where the bracing of the stand did not meet in a steel ring and the steel columns were bolted to the foundations rather that the steel columns embedded in the concrete foundations. The bracing was diagonal as before and the steel rod was attached at both corners. Where the bracing crossed it was held to the other bracing by two pieces of steel. The base of the columns terminated in a steel plate that was bolted to the foundations. The 1” diameter bolts were 2’ long and embedded in the concrete.
One of the most common areas of the structures that required maintenance was the bases of the actual tanks. To improve the integrity of the bases concrete was used to seal the bottoms, approximately a 2” layer being used. While thus was used on all types of tank it was more prevalent on the older designs.
|The tank at Merrygoen that was relocated from Broadmeadow in 1942. Note the height of the concrete foundations when compared with the original tank on the right. 3 August 1994|