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.

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