Sociologists have suggested that being on the move entails a complex choreography, comprised of passenger comportment, signage, announcements and posters. Employing insights from mobility theory, Transporting moments provides an account of railway culture from a passenger’s perspective. The book uses the context of commuting in Sydney, at a time when elements of its intra-urban rail network were being upgraded as its principal case study. This upgrade covers its rolling stock, infrastructure and linguistic landscape. It is argued that understanding the rationale behind these changes requires an understanding of the historical and policy context in which the railways of Sydney’s, New South Wales and Australia are embedded. This is also the case with the nation’s long distance trains, whose operators have fought hard to stave off competition from airliners and cars. Transporting moments, therefore, presents strong case for preserving public transport as a more equitable and sustainable form of mobility. Governments, Australian or otherwise, can use these insights for productive investment in their rail networks and public transportation service in general, and for reducing the nation’s addiction to the automobile. With its invaluable insights into travelling on trains, Transporting moments is a fascinating addition to the growing corpus of literature on day-to-day mobility. Close
An entertaining look at railway events in Australia in the month of September—from 1848, when a meeting was called to start a railway company in New South Wales, to 2013, when the great Bayer-Garrett AD6029 steam engine was restored to working order.Author David Burke has crafted a ‘diary’ which documents, day by day, major happenings to do with railways in Australia—from the days of steam, to diesel, to diesel-electric and electrification, covering the first trains that ran between New South Wales and Queensland, and to Melbourne.
Ron Fitch was born in 1910 into a railway family. He began his career as a 16-year-old engineering cadet and completed it 46 years later, having worked at various times for two state railways and the Commonwealth, as Commissioner of South Australian Railways. In this book Fitch gives a vivid account not only of his career but of the camaraderie of the greater railway community, often experienced in the most trying of conditions. Fitch also writes about the advances in line-building techniques, derailments, floods and washaways, wrangles over attempts to implement standard gauge, and the politics of railways. Fitch is uniquely placed to write a book for all train enthusiasts, in which he celebrates both the men and the machinery, the toil, and the technology that opened up a vast and sparsely populated continent. Retirement has not dulled his spirit or his interest in railways. In 2002, at 92 years of age, he earned recognition from Guinness Book World Records when his thesis on South
When Australia was first settled by Europeans in 1788, the worldwide railway boom was still 40 years away. When the railways finally came to Australia, they helped create new towns and alleviate the isolation of the outback. Communities began to consolidate in places where the rail came. In the cities the railway enabled the growth of commuter belt suburbs. They have been crucial to the development of Australian industry. Railways and associated industries were the biggest employers in Australia. The railways reached their pinnacle in the 1950s, but they have been disadvantaged by Australia’s sparsely distributed population and low density cities, the advancement of the motor vehicle, and air travel. Nonetheless, the future for our railways is not completely grim. While the romance of the long-distance passenger journey seems to have more tourist than utilitarian value, the growing population in Australia’s major cities, as well as the traffic and environmental problems caused by cars, means that urban railways are more vital than ever to the effective operation of cities. The railways also continue to play an important part in freighting the produce of Australia’s primary industries as well as in agriculture. Combined with the large number of heritage and tourist trains, these ensure that even today some of the romance of the railways remains.
The nightmare of three different gauges, the daunting challenge of building railways across vast open spaces often with no water supplies, the follies of railway lines that were rarely used: all this is the saga of Australian railways, the sheer hard work and often suffering of those who gave their life's service to the railways. Brimming with anedotes and colorful stories. Australian Railways: Their Life and Times documents the old, the odd and the now forgotten. Complete with rare historic photographs.