30 October 2011

Steam loco watering facilities

Yes, its been a while and I am still ploughing through various notes on the way to an expose on Eumungerie's grain receival and storage facilities.  While this will no doubt be a very high rating post, tonight I am going with another topic entirely.  

Its trite to note that without a dependable supply of water, steam locomotives and civilisation can't exist - in Eumungerie or anywhere else.

For the first decade of the railway's operations in Eumungerie the original water tank was located to the east of the Through Road, just to the north of the junction of the Through Road and the Siding.  Presumably locomotives were watered from a column whilst standing on the Through Road.

The watering facilities were fed by a dam constructed specifically for the purpose, which was completed by 14 October 1901.  The dam was located at the northern end of the village, adjacent to crown land leased for agricultural purposes.

The dam utilised water drawn from the Drillwarrina Creek, which skirted the western side of the village of Eumungerie, before moving to the northwest. 

An early parish map shows that a pump house was also provided at the site of the dam.  A subterranean pipeline ran southward across the land and crossed Breelong Street to reach the railway property. 

It appears that, at least initially, a second water tank was provided at the location of the dam.  Presumably this tank created sufficient pressure to gravity-feed the water towards the railway yard.  This tank may have been moved from the site of the dam to the railway property in October 1912.

The 1912/13 expansion of the yard necessitated the relocation of the water tank to a more easterly position, as it stood foul of the about-to-be-constructed Platform Road. 

Parish maps of the early 1920s show the tank as being at the northern boundary of the station master’s residence. I have already posted a nice shot of the water tank in my 3 September 2011 post.

From 1913 until the demise of steam, a standard water column was located between the Through Road and the Platform Road, approximately 250 feet from the northern end of the Platform Road.  It was numbered ‘43’ on its upright, and was constructed of a 9” standpipe, with a 7”jib.

By 1973 all locomotive watering facilities had been removed from the Coonamble line.  After demolition, the water tank at Eumungerie remained on the ground for several months.  The following photograph gives a hint as to the sophisticated way in which the demolition occurred.

15 October 2011

Eumungerie's station

W H Hudson was contracted to build the original station at Coalbaggie.  As noted above, the original building sat in its first location for only nine years before railway authorities realised it was in the way of progress.

The October 1912 contract for the construction of a second crossing loop necessitated the removal and re-erection of the platform and the station building.

While it is clear what was standing following the completion of the 1912/13 redevelopment, it cannot be assumed that the original building was simply relocated.  As noted earlier, this writer has been to date unable to ascertain just what was built in 1902 and there appears to be no photograph or description of the original building extant.

The difficulty is that what became known as the Eumungerie railway station after 1912/13 is what is known in the trade as a typical NSW Government Railways A3 skillion roof building. 
This type of building only came into vogue around 1909.  So, it may be that the original building was not re-erected at all, but replaced or transferred elsewhere – or Mr Hudson was just a builder a decade ahead of his time.

While this uncertainty is problematic, it is known from the official records that ₤128 was expended during the 1912/13 redevelopment to add an out-of shed adjacent to the southern end of the main station building.

And thus, by 1913, Eumungerie’s residents had the station that would serve them until the end of passenger rail services.

As with many things, the demise of an era is sometimes just as interesting as its rise.  And this is the case with Eumungerie’s station building.  It was a hiccupping ride to inevitable oblivion. 

While in its 50th year at its second and final location, the building still cut a fine figure.

While there is much to admire in this photograph, certainly the red fire buckets at the tank stand and the platform bench suggest both a preparedness for action and a readiness to relax.

While the last station officer was withdrawn on 26 April 1970, an agent was designated as the person-in-charge for the final years of passenger service until 1975.  At some stage during its last decade of operation the buildings received a new paint scheme – light green with cream trim. 

After the cessation of passenger services, the wrecking ball arrived for the main building.  The out-of-shed was retained to keep the necessary safe-working materials from the elements.

By 1979, the dilapidation of the out-of-shed did not augur well for its future.  The peeling paint in the following photograph almost draws one’s attention away from the exotic combination which was caught in the yard.

 The embarrassment did not last long.  However, instead of wreckers, the painters arrived!

Several years later the signwriters also visited!

But it was not to last.  By the 1990s, rationalization had brought a new hut to replace the out-of shed and the frame.

So, into the 21st century the smallest room in Eumungerie was could be found down in the railway yard.

09 October 2011

A little cross-selling...

I am still working on the next installment, covering the station platform and buildings.  

While work is continuing, some effort has now been diverted to my other blog - the NSW Rail Rambler.  This blog will have many more photographs, far fewer facts and will venture far from the Coonamble branch line.

I hope you enjoy both blogs....

02 October 2011

The dimensions of Eumungerie's railway

Here's a litttle more about the physical environment at Eumungerie...

By the time of its 1926 redevelopment Eumungerie yard measured 613 linear metres (671 yards) from the outer-most extremities of the southern and northern points.  It remains at this length to the current day.

At its most expanded, approaching from the southern (Dubbo) end a right-hand point led trains off the Through Road into the Platform Road on the eastern or up side of the line.  

 The Platform Road measured 1,735 feet.  After traveling 824 feet along the Platform Road, a 31 metre (134 foot), wood-faced platform was encountered.  The Platform Road was removed on 7 September 1993, leaving the platform-based signalling equipment somewhat adrift from the railway’s alignment (I will deal with this act of vandalism in another post).

Again, coming from the Dubbo end of the yard, 168 feet beyond the first point off the Through Road a left-hand point led trains onto a 726 foot long Goods Siding on the western or down side of the line.  A loading bank was located 158 feet along this siding with a goods shed further north and a gantry crane.  The crane was located shortly before a right-hand point which returned north-bound trains to the Through Road.

Trains proceeding straight along the Goods Siding entered the Wheat Siding once the point had been passed.  This siding measured 1,049 feet before returning to the Through Road.  The silo bins were reached after 175 feet of travel on this siding.

Unlike the Through Road and the Platform Road, the Wheat Siding appears to have been built with a westward slewing of the track along the northern-most 446 feet of its travel.  This feature is shown in the 1926 NSWGR track diagram but appears to have been removed prior to the Second World War.  Its removal may have coincided with the construction of stock yards in this area around this time.

Not shown on the same 1926 track diagram but appears to be in place by 1945, is a similar slewing of the track in the Goods Siding, apparently in order to accommodate clearances around the gantry crane.

So, this has been a summary of the physical environment of the railway at Eumungerie.  Over the next few posts it is time to delve into certain aspects of the railway yard in much greater detail...