Notes on the Mount Dundas narrow gauge railway

Back, Frederick 1897 , 'Notes on the Mount Dundas narrow gauge railway' , Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania , pp. 7-12 .

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In speaking of narrow gauge railways in Tasmania, we
must accept the term in its comparative sense. It is a
general practice to describe all railways of a less width than
4ft. 8|in. as narrow gauge. Indeed, not many years since
the term "narrow gauge" was applied to the 4ft. 8 1/2in.
guage, which is now called the standard gauge of England.
The Tasmanian Railways, being of a gauge of 3ft. 6in.,
should properly be described as a narrow gauge system.
What we have attempted to do on the West Coast is to
construct a narrower gauge, viz., a 2ft. line, as being more
suitable to local and financial conditions.
Although oar 2ft. gauge line on the West Coast marks a
new era in Government railway construction in Australasia,
it must not be regarded in the light of an experiment. The
oldest 2ft. gauge line, as far as I am aware, is the Festiniog
line in Wales. To be accurate, the width of this line is
1ft. 11 1/2in. The Festiniog Railway Company was originally
incorporated in 1832, and commenced work as a tramway
from Port Madoek to certain slate quarries near Festiniog.
In 1869 the Company was re-incorporated and the present
line constructed at a cost of ^£10,727 per mile. The ruling
gradients are comparatively easy as compared with our Tasmanian
grades, viz., 1 in 80. The line is worked with double
Fairlie engines, weighing 24 tons, and the Company pays
rather better than 5 per cent, on its capital.
The paper was illustrated
with lantern slides of a number of exquisite photographic views of the
new railway, and of the West Coast generally, taken quite recently by
Mr. J. W. Beattie, which gave the spectator a good idea of the kind
of country the line traversed.

Frederick Back was General Manager of the Tasmanian Government Railways from August 1885 - 1901

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Back, Frederick
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, Van Diemens Land, VDL, Hobart Town, natural sciences, proceedings, records
Journal or Publication Title: Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Collections: Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Additional Information:

In 1843 the Horticultural and Botanical Society of Van Diemen's Land was founded and became the Royal Society of Van Diemen's Land for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science in 1844. In 1855 its name changed to Royal Society of Tasmania for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science. In 1911 the name was shortened to Royal Society of Tasmania.

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