Print Publication No.: 349069/00070
March, 1999 Issue No. 180 (Vol. 16 No. 3)
Shown above is page 54 of Australian National (AN) Working Timetable
dated 7th March 1993. It shows Train No. 1334, Light Engines from West
Kalgoorlie to the Dry Creek Motive Power Centre, (near Adelaide). This is
a distance of approx. 2,000 km and is timed to take 29 hours and 10
minutes (about the same time as the Indian Pacific passenger service). The
Light Engines are shown to operate on a W.N. (When Necessary) basis. Would
this be a world record for the longest operation of tabled running for
light engines? If any reader knows of any longer operation of light
engines we would be pleased to hear about it.
Dear members and friends,
1. About this issue: A major part of this issue is devoted to bus timetables with a feature article about Sydney Bus Working Timetables. I know some readers will not be inspired by this as they are not interested in buses. To compensate I have included several letters (with appropriate illustrations) about rail timetables and I have devoted the cover to showing the Australian National rail working timetable of 7th March 1993 which details an incredible 2,000km long Light Engine journey. I hope this will be enough of a "fix" for our "rail only" readers.
2. A personal note: As many of you will know my employer is building the 8.5km Brisbane Airport Railway. This is a wonderful opportunity for me and I am quite involved with the project which must be completed within 27 months. The down side for me is that it has resulted in less time being available for extra-curricular activities like editing The Times. I even had to miss out on going to Sydney for the February AATTC committee meeting and Sydney Division meeting! This present situation is causing some issues of The Times to be completed later than usual so I ask for your understanding on this matter. Of course if someone has heaps of time and is itching to edit a timetable journal I’m only a phone call or email message away!
Yours in the cause of happy timetable collecting,
Editor, The Times.
Working Timetables (WTTs) are well known and much sought after by collectors of railway timetables but there is little thought of them for other modes of operation. It doesn’t take much imagination to expect that tram operators would prepare working timetables, and even time-distance graphs, especially for single line tramways. Lesser known is the production of working timetables for bus routes. The various Sydney government bus operators carried on from tram operations and produced working timetables for all routes. In fact the WTT is only one of a variety of timetables produced to operate a complex service such as Sydney’s. Others are staff rosters, inspector’s checklists for various locations, public timetables, and stop displays.
Like all WTTs the bus ones contain a lot more detail than the public issues. The 1979 example (shown on pages 4 to 7) which I have chosen to illustrate this article is interesting inasmuch as all four routes it covers no longer operate. At least three of the locations served (CSR Gates, Government Printing Office and Rozelle Railway Stores) no longer exist.
The WTTs of the time were laboriously typed in landscape layout on foolscap sheets then printed using the Gestetner duplicating process. They were then bound in dull brown card covers with two holes at one end using split prongs (I’ve no idea what the real name of the thing is) and distributed to depots and starters’ cabins.
Page 1 of the WTT (shown on page 4 of The Times) shows the routes covered by the timetable (Route Nos. 022, 023, 407 and 413), the date of issue, timing points, running times and turning arrangements. In the top left hand corner is the timetabler and typist’s initials and the timetable number. As far as I can ascertain this would be the second time this timetable was revised since it was first produced, not bad since the 407 and 413 commenced in 1953! This set of routes only worked on weekdays and separate numbers would have been used for weekends when operated.
On page 2 of the WTT (shown on page 5 of The Times) are the route details and the explanation of signs used in the tables. In the explanation of signs I and O were never used as some typewriters didn’t differentiate them from 1 and 0. The list of signs explained for this WTT is short and includes some such as ‘F’ which aren’t used. Some other WTTs such as that for the 500 series have several pages of these notes.
Shown on pages 3 and 4 of the WTT (see pages 6 and 7 of The Times) are the detailed timetables with the run numbers from four depots which provided the buses (R Randwick, Y Ryde, B Burwood and L Leichhardt).
If a bus has come from another WTT then the previous route operated is
shown. Similarly, at the bottom of the timetable column, the next route
number, or depot arrival time is shown. ‘UF’ indicates that an under-floor
single deck bus is to be used. Other journeys were to be operated by
double deck buses – unlikely in 1979 as only Atlanteans were available.
‘SP’ indicates that the bus is to operate as a ‘Special’ ie out of
service. The timetable shows city bound journeys in the top half and
outward bound in the lower half. As can be seen many journeys are operated
by buses between trips on other routes. Only run Y36 does two trips. Run
Y46 on page 3 of the WTT (see page 6 of The Times) shows an
interesting point in that it requires both the upper and lower parts for
one journey as both the originating and final terminals of Route 023 are
on the outer end of the tables. On page 4 of the WTT (see page 7
of The Times) run Y105 shows different times for Thursdays from
those on the other days, possibly because CSR employees took three minutes
longer to get to the bus stop on paydays. Also shown are some hand written
amendments, noted as handbill notice 34 of 1979, deleting one run and
altering others. Whoever made them on this copy seems to have made a
mistake as runs L33 and Y163 now depart Pyrmont at the same time but the
latter takes 5 minutes longer. Only one journey is shown in the November
1979 public timetable corresponding with run Y163. Note that Routes 022
and 023 don’t operate in the morning although all the timing points are
still typed. These days STA WTTs are produced as a by-product of the
computer timetabling system. The example shown (see below) is for
outward bus Route 090. The details are there but one needs access to their
computer terminal to find out what the trip notes mean.
Shown above is the computer generated STA bus working timetable for
Route 090 in 1993 which is referred to in the above article on Sydney Bus
I would like to share some useful pointers on timetable collecting in South East Queensland. Two fellow rail and bus enthusiasts and myself spent four days in SE Queensland over the Australia Day long weekend last January. The objective of the trip was to catch up on the Queensland rail and bus scene and to update my timetable collection.
Our modus operandi when visiting bus depots was to ask for timetables of the operator's services, if they were not on display in the office. On all occasions we asked, the operator was more than happy to provide copies of their timetables. Operators with timetables on display included Hornibrook Bus Lines and Westside of Camira (now taken over by Park Ridge Transit). We did not visit Clark's this time but in October 1998 we passed through and they gave us a most comprehensive set of timetables including an excellent wall map of their routes (which has since has been block mounted and hangs in my study). Although not related to collecting timetables, we also asked for a fleet list of the company's vehicles, if readily available; in most cases a list was produced for us.
In Brisbane we were based at the Centra Hotel (Ed: formerly the Travelodge Hotel) adjacent to the Transit Centre in Roma Street, which made it ideal for photography and timetable collection. The Brisbane Transit Centre is one of two places that should be mandatory for the timetable collector when visiting Brisbane - the other is the Brisbane City Council (BCC) Customer Service Centre at the corner of Ann and George Streets where all BCC bus timetables are available on a self serve rack. You can also obtain timetables from the Information office at the Queen Street Bus Station, although for a full set it is much easier at the BCC Customer Service Centre, cnr Ann and George Streets.
Coaches from Brisbane Bus Lines, Crisps of Stanthorpe, Sunstate (for Countrylink), Coachtrans, McCafferty's, Greyhound/Pioneer, Premier/Pioneer Motor Service, Suncoast Pacific and Kirklands all operate scheduled route services from the Brisbane Transit Centre. Timetables for their services are available from the counters where the coaches depart - however not all counters are open during the day. Brisbane Bus Lines' counter is open for a few hours only on days when their coach service operates. Other counters accommodate more than one coach operator. For example, Kirklands and Premier/Pioneer share the same counter and Suncoast Pacific and Crisps share another counter. McCafferty's and Coachtrans have self service racks adjacent to their counters which means you can go there anytime.
Queensland Rail (QR) suburban and country timetables are available from Roma Street railway station on the ground floor of the Brisbane Transit Centre. There are suburban timetables (including new station pocket timetables from a self serve rack) which are available from the main ticket barriers. Country Traveltrain timetables are available by request from the adjacent QR Traveltrain Office, although it can get crowded during certain times of the day.
On the Saturday 23rd January we visited Toowoomba which is still a fascinating place for the bus fan, despite the fact it is a one operator city with Hagan's City Bus. Timetables for Crisps, McCafferty's and Graham's Coaches who run from Toowoomba are available from the McCafferty's coach terminal in Neil Street. Just up and across the road is the bus interchange for Toowoomba's urban services. The last time I visited there in October 1998 the information booth at the interchange was closed (in fact I understand that it never really opened). The best I was able to do on that occasion was to visit each of the operators who at that time ran route services. Nowadays Grand Central Shopping Centre has a self serve timetable rack and Clifford Gardens Shopping Centre has timetables available upon request at their information desk. Of course you could visit Hagan's depot at 487 Greenwattle Street, Toowoomba.
Kynoch who operate a school/commuter service to Crows Nest have timetables available at their depot at 51 Stephen Street, Toowoomba. A surprise was Hubbards Coaches at 19 Nugent Pinch Road on the western outskirts of Toowoomba, who run a stage service to Millmerran. Unfortunately we failed to obtain their timetable on our visit (yet another operator to write to!). Toowoomba is a definite must for a visit for buses, but it is also a very pretty city and the views from Picnic Point lookout are quite breathtaking.
On Sunday 24th January we headed up to Gympie on the magnificent tilt train. Polley's is the main bus operator in the city. They operate stage services to Toowoomba; Tin Can Bay as well as the local city services (using a former BCC demonstrator bus still in Citybus livery). Polley's have a terminal in Duke Street (which was closed on the day we visited), however we obtained timetables from their depot office which was open. (Sidebar on country hospitality - we visited Polley's other depot behind his house and they offered us afternoon tea! The family seemed touched that three people from 'down south' would come all this way to photograph their buses! A very friendly family.)
While in Gympie be sure to visit the old station, now the headquarters of the Mary Valley Railway. They have a tourist railway operating between Gympie and Imbil using some preserved QR steam, diesels and a railcar units. Timetables and brochures for their service can be obtained from Gympie Railway Station.
Further down the coast, you can pick up timetables for Sunbus Sunshine Coast which provide the main route services, at the Nambour Tourist Information Centre, just behind the Nambour station in the shopping centre. Suncoast Pacific operate coach services between the Brisbane Transit Centre and Sunshine Coast and we were able to obtain timetables from their immaculate depot at 11 Rene Street, Noosaville.
Monday 25th January was spent down around the Gold Coast. A visit to Surfside's two depots is a must for timetables. A disappointment was Pacific Fair Shopping Centre where most of Surfside's services run to or through. The information centre in the shopping centre only had timetables for the Trainlink service to Nerang station; not very positive considering the number of people arriving via bus at the shopping centre. (Ed: The Tourist Information Kiosk in Cavill Mall, Surfers Paradise has most of the Surfside timetables available for 20 cents each. Also most Surfside bus drivers carry timetables for sale at 20 cents each although they are free if you trade in your old ones!)
With around 10 rolls of slide and print film 'in the can' and a briefcase full of newly acquired timetables I headed back to Melbourne very pleased with my efforts over four days in SE Queensland.
Steven Haby, Melbourne, Vic.
(Ed: I would like to thank Steven for writing about his South East Queensland trip. I really do like hearing how other collectors fare when on timetable crawls. I find it most helpful when planning my own timetable crawls. If any readers go on timetable crawls, whether it be local, country, interstate or overseas please write a letter or email me about it as I would like to include it in The Times).
I hasten to come to the defence of Sydney Buses over an item mentioned in "From the Editor" (The Times No. 179, February 1999 p3) that it had not indicated in its regular timetables that services would be different over the summer period. I think in all its timetables published over the last year or more has appeared the following paragraph (or similar) on the Information Page:
CHRISTMAS/NEW YEAR’S PERIOD 1998
A reduced peak hour timetable will operate on the following weekdays:
28, 29, 30 & 31 December 1998.
A reduced evening peak hour timetable will also operate on 24 December 1998.
In Manly/Warringah timetables the following additional paragraph appeared in relevant timetables:
There will be no direct services to or from Milsons Point from/to the Manly Warringah area during this period. Passengers should transfer at Neutral Bay Junction or Watson St (Inward services). Through fares allowed.
The last paragraph was in part contradicted by the entry on the Route 100 (Dee Why-Airport) timetable, where the following paragraph was substituted:
There will be no direct services to or from Milsons Point. Route 100 will be the only direct service to Nth Sydney.
An interesting alternative paragraph was included in the equivalent spot in the timetable for the newly acquired (last July) Route 135 (Manly Wharf-North Head Lookout), which read:
No service on Christmas Day, Australia Day or Good Friday. Additional services provided on Boxing Day during the commencement of the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race.
While these announcements may not have been as prominent as they might have, some effort was made to bring the reduced services to the attention of passengers.
Bob Henderson, Terrey Hills, N.S.W.
(Ed: I appreciate Bob bringing this information to our attention. When I wrote my editorial in the February 1999 issue of The Times I was unaware that Sydney Buses had started including this information in their timetables. I do congratulate Sydney Buses for making the effort to alert passengers well in advance of the reduced services.)
The February 1999 issue of The Times was very interesting. Please, oh please, illustrate the Kalgoorlie suburban service in a future issue if you have some room – it’s FAR TOO INTERESTING not too!
David Hennell, Surrey Hills, Vic.
(Ed: Well, after several unsolicited verbal requests and two letters requesting that I include the Kalgoorlie suburban rail timetables in The Times what more can I say? Here they are on page 12! They are the ones which appeared in the Kalgoorlie Miner of 22nd November 1898 that were referred to in the Cycle Timetable article by Victor Isaacs in The Times last month.)
4) Albert Isaacs - A Cycle Timetable and Kalgoorlie Suburban Train Timetables
In the early days of the AATTC, one of our members listed "Camel Convoy T.T.s" amongst his special interests on the Membership List. This ‘joke’ was supposed to show the diversity of timetables that were published for the huge variety of transport modes. Australian equivalents of the Camel Convoy T.T., that is, timetables for unusual modes of transport should include a timetable for Tasmania’s convict powered railway of the 1830s. Although a passenger service was offered (mainly for officers, their families and guests) there was no regular schedule and certainly no published timetable.
Another very unusual Australian form of transport was that provided by the Cycle Express Company Limited, Coolgardie. They did indeed have a timetable and it was illustrated in Victor Isaacs’ article in The Times (No. 179, February 1999 pp 8 and 9). This timetable clearly shows that the main business of the Cycle Express Company was the delivery of letters, telegrams and messages.
The sophistication of the timetable and the size of the advertisement suggests that the Company was very well organised indeed. This, despite the primitive nature of its motive power. The inventive planning deployed by the Company is shown on other ways, as I will illustrate.
Interestingly, one group of people who know all about the Cycle Express Company are philatelists. Stamps that are not issued by official Post Offices are known as cinderellas and one of Australia’s best known and sought after set of cinderellas is the set of two stamps produced by our friends at the Cycle Express Company.
Both values featured a rough sketch of a cyclist on a bicycle and were used to pre-pay for letters delivered by the Company. Although I have been out of the stamp business for over a decade now and am not up with current market values, I can tell you that originals of these ‘Coolgardie Cycle Stamps’ as they are known, would be worth many thousands of dollars. Reproductions were produced for philatelic purposes in the 1960s and are only worth a dollar or so.
I’m sure I speak for others when I say that I would like to learn more about ALL the activities of this fascinating company!
That being said, I found the whole of Victor’s article to be most interesting. To me, it is a pity that space did not permit the reproduction of all of the Kalgoorlie suburban timetables for 1898 in The Times. The earliest Kalgoorlie suburban timetables in my own collection are those in my 1923 and 1925 W.A.G.R. Public Timetables, well after the service had passed its prime (these timetables were reproduced in The Times a few years back). Graham, perhaps you would consider reproducing the rest of the 1898 timetables in the near future!
Albert Isaacs, Hawthorn, Vic.
(Ed: Following several requests the 1898 Kalgoorlie suburban rail timetables from The Kalgoorlie Miner dated 22nd November 1898 have been included in this issue of The Times on page 12.)
The lack of acceleration to the "Newcastle Flyer" with dieselisation and then electrification (The Times No. 176, November 1998 pp 3 & 4; The Times No. 177, December 1998 p14 and The Times No. 178, January 1999 p8) makes an interesting comparison with the changes in the Melbourne – Bendigo service over the same time.
Accompanying this letter (Ed: shown on page 14) is "Table 1" from the Victorian Railways timetable of November 1954, and shows that the three weekday services to Bendigo were all slow and loaded with stops, and the 3 hours and 5 minutes taken by the 8.15am departure from Melbourne compares very badly to the 2 hours 23 minutes taken by the morning Sydney to Newcastle Flyer as far back as 1938.
Rather than electrify, Victoria has "Sprinterfied" to some degree, and the Bendigo timetable from 7/9/97 (Ed: shown on page 15) shows the resulting benefits, with nine services to Bendigo (though not all are Sprinters) with running times down to one hour and forty five minutes (12.10pm ex Melbourne). So from being much slower, the Bendigo service is now much faster. To be fair, the alignment is far better, but it was good 50 years ago as well!
Perhaps the lesson to be learnt from this is what I might call "management desire" which is as important in running fast as any technical advance. In 1954, and right up till 1981, Victorian Railways management simply had no interest in getting to Bendigo quickly, and it showed. The oh-so-slow passenger train of 1954 could have been split into two trains, one a "Bendigo Flyer" and the other a stopper. Even at 60 mph, a B class diesel loco (or an R class steam loco) on a three car S set could have reached Bendigo in two hours, but we had to wait till the 80’s for it to happen!
Newcastle passengers have suffered a different fate. Every technical advance seems to be an excuse to put more stops in to keep running times unchanged! An eight car "Flyer" that stops everywhere should become a four car stopper, and a four car real express. And if a real express can reach Newcastle in two hours, then a tilting express should be able to manage about 100 minutes, and this is something that ought to be rather high on CityRail’s wish list.
Finally, the editor asks (innocently?) (The Times No. 178, January 1999 p. 8) "are there any train services slower today than say 50 years ago?" But why go back only 50 years? In December 1896, the eastbound express that was to become The Overland in future years departed Ararat at 5.22am and arrived Spencer Street at 9.55am, a journey of 4 hours and 33 minutes.
Today, over 100 years later, The Overland leaves Ararat at 3.35am and
is due at Spencer Street at 8.45am, a journey time of 5 hours 10 minutes
which is thirty seven minutes slower than just over 102 years ago! And
just to add insult to injury, the Overland is now too late for the Sydney
Shown above is the VR public timetable of November 1954 which is
referred to in Andrew McLean’s letter.
Shown above is the V/Line public timetable of 7/9/97 which is referred to in Andrew McLean’s letter.
One faint silver lining in this rather dark cloud is that West Coast Rail are suggesting that if they win the passenger franchise, they will return rail services to Ararat. It is not inconceivable that the 6.50am from Ballarat, due Spencer Street at 8.15am could instead start from Ararat at 5.50am (61 minutes is possible at 100 km/h, if 115 or 130 km/h is too much for a passenger only "branch") and this would allow an Overland – Daylight Sydney XPT connection after all, albeit with a 2¼ hour wait at Ararat!
Andrew McLean, Taradale, Vic.
This month, Graphic Insight takes a look at how the frequency and speed of rural passenger services in South Australia has changed over the past quarter of a century. The source documents are: South Australian Railways Time Tables, 27th July 1975, "The State Guide" dated June 1998, and Great Southern Railway timetable web site: June 1998.
The graph plots one line for each of a number of towns, the two ends of the line representing the service from Adelaide to that town as described in the above timetables. The end of the line marked with a hollow circle is the 1998 service, the other end is the 1975 service. The position on the graph indicates the number of services provided per week (the vertical axis), and the average journey time on the horizontal axis. The angle and length of the line illustrates the nature of the change in service over the intervening 23 years.
The major change, not immediately obvious from the graph, is the modal change from rail to road. In 1975 all services reviewed here were by rail although Jamestown and Pinnaroo were serviced by buses connecting from trains at Riverton and Murray Bridge respectively. In 1998, most services are by bus - the only exceptions being the three interstate trains in S.A.
The graph shows that most towns receive a better service in 1998 because the lines run left and upwards on the graph. The exceptions are Peterborough, Jamestown and Gladstone which have fewer and slower services in 1998, Pinnaroo and Bordertown which have fewer but faster services, and Port Pirie which has more services but at exactly the same speed.
It is quite striking to see the great improvement in services to
Kingston SE and Victor Harbor in particular where buses provide a much
more direct service than the former rail service. Port Augusta gets a
great increase in services as many Eyre Peninsula services travel through
that town. Peterborough however declines because whilst in 1975 it
benefited from the services from Adelaide connecting into the Sydney bound
Indian Pacific, it is today bypassed by the Broken Hill and Sydney bound
buses which travel direct from Terowie to Yunta.