Can you spot what is wrong with the above timetable? Commencing on page 9 of this issue Albert Isaacs provides us with a fascinating insight into why the above timetable was published.
Dear members and friends,
1. About this issue:
This is a twelve page issue, not because I haven't received enough articles to publish but because I'm mindful of our budget. The budget allows for a 12 page journal with an occasional larger issue of more pages. The Times is printed commercially so every additional page costs extra whereas our current news journal Table Talk is printed by benefactors for very little cost to the Association. Now if one of our readers is able to organise a benefactor to print The Times we could then have as many pages as Table Talk has each month which means we could publish more articles.
2. Electronic Timetabling:
Below is an example of why we as timetable collectors need to come up with a strategy of how to adequately handle the issue of electronic timetabling. It is an extract from Queensland Rail Weekly Notice No. 16/98 dated 23 April, 1998. The abbreviation FMS means Freight Management System and DTP means Daily Train Plan.
Does this mean we need to start collecting computer discs containing timetables so that we can stay abreast with current timetables? Should our Distribution Service expand into making available electronic timetables on computer disks? If we don't address this issue we will eventually get left behind with out-of-date timetables as more transport operators begin to go electronic. Any ideas or feedback on this issue would be of interest.
3. ABC Radio Interview:
On Sunday morning, 26th April 1998 an interview I recorded with presenter David Anderson was played on radio station 4QR in Brisbane and affiliated Queensland regional stations. David was interested in The Times and why we collect timetables. He asked me questions about articles that had appeared in recent issues of The Times. He was particularly interested in how we were going to deal with the issue of electronic timetabling. David made contact with AATTC through the AATTC web page where articles from The Times are displayed. At the end of the interview David provided listeners with details of our web page so they could read the articles and find out more information about us. It was quite exciting arriving at the office next morning with work colleagues saying they had heard me and commenting they didn't realise timetables could be so interesting!
4. The Battle for the N.S.W. STNs:
The AATTC internet home page on the Web provides a link to www.cia.com.au/trainman/browser.cgi?STNs which is a site that displays extracts from current N.S.W. Special Train Notices (STNs) showing the timetables for interesting special workings. Most of these workings are those operated by various railway historical and enthusiasts associations. I have used it regularly and found it very helpful. Towards the end of April this year State Rail Authority Chief Inspector - Operations, Malcolm Kain, contacted the owners of the web site stating "The copyright for most if not all these documents is owned by the Rail Access Corporation of NSW and I would remind you again that it is restricted information that is contained in these documents." He concluded "I would ask that you remove it." In early May further correspondence from Inspector Kain was posted on the aus.rail newsgroup which in part read "The owner of this site was asked to take the STNs off but he refused. I can only say that he has done all train enthusiasts a great deal of harm." He concludes "it is still illegal for any of us to publish STNs on the net or anywhere else." This has implications for timetable collectors so it will be interesting to see how all of this ends.
Yours in the cause of happy timetable collecting, Graham Duffin. Editor, The Times.
(In the last issue of The Times No. 170, May 1998, p.9 we published five timetable questions that had been prepared by member Geoff Lambert. This month we publish the answers to these questions. Ed)
Readers familiar with the things I have written for The Times, might have deduced that graphical timetables play an important part in the solution of these problems - three out of five of them anyway.
1. Two Daylight XPT Trips.
The easiest way to confirm that there must be a spot somewhere along the line which I passed at the same time on each day, is to simply plot the graphical timetable of each trip. The lines must cross. The crossing point of the two lines marks the spot. The graph appears below, the spot was near Bethungra (as regular travellers might have guessed). The problem was originally framed in terms of a monk trudging up and down a sacred mountain and the quickest way to see the solution was to imagine two monks doing the trip on the same day. This, of course, is a bad model for a single track railway, as occurs south of Junee! It should also be noted, as a confounding factor that the up and down lines are separated at Bethungra, just the spot where the coincidence of location is likely to occur, so, in a sense, the answer to the questions could be "there is no such a spot". This would only apply to places like Bethungra, though.
2. Exactly 100 km in exactly one hour?
Train graphs to the rescue again. Consider the graph below of a timetable representing a Sydney-Melbourne 'perfect' train that maintains exactly 100 km/h for the whole journey (dotted line) and a 'real' train that deviates from point to point, but still achieves the same end-to-end average speed (solid, wobbly line). The problem of determining whether any 100 km section is travelled in one hour is then seen to be the problem of finding whether the small triangle inset in the graph (1 hour long, by 100 km high) can be shuffled around on the paper without rotation so that its two end points can be made to coincide with two points on the 'real' graph. A trial quickly shows that they can (try it with a copy of the inset laid over the graph) and a little thought, shows that they must. This is most easily visualised by considering the simplest type of deviation from steady speed, such as that illustrated by the dashed line. It is clear that one can draw a line (or shift a piece of paper) with a 'slope' of 100 km/h so that it cuts the dashed line exactly the required distance apart. Consideration of the wobbly line shows that the wobbles only increase the number of places where this can be done.
3. My wife's journey to the station.
I walked for 55 minutes before my wife picked me up. Since we arrived home 10 minutes earlier than normal, my wife must have chopped 5 minutes from each leg of her journey. Therefore I met her five minutes before the usual time of pick up, i.e. at 5.55. The graphical solution (a train-walker-car graph instead of a train graph!), shows this clearly. These calculations assume that I do not stop at the pub on my way home and that my wife drives with constant speed - both of these assumptions are dubious. The graph shows the place of my home as fixed (the upper dotted line), but my home need not be at this spot, it could be at any vertical location above our meeting point.
4. The F-18 and the XPT.
Mathematicians usually tackle this problem by summing the terms of an infinite series. It is said that Johnnie von Neuman, brilliant inventor of the computer, answered this problem instantly by such a method. However, the answer is obtained much more easily than that. The graph of this problem appears below, and appears to admit of no easy solution, it being the length of the successive vertical components of the dotted line However, the trains have a mutual closing speed of 200 km/h and a separation of 1000 km. Therefore they must meet in 5 hours. In 5 hours, the F-18 will have flown 5,000 km, the required answer.
5. Meetings on the Coal Lines.
This is easily the hardest problem of the five. Yes, we can use a graphical solution if we cease to regard the trains as point objects and regard them as extended objects instead and this graph is shown below. The challenge of solving this peculiar-looking train graph I leave to the reader, who obviously knows that the slope of the passenger train graph is x times that of the freight and that the time difference (t2-t1) is x times (t4-t3). But, there is an easier way! Assume the coal train speed to be unity and the combined lengths of the trains to be unity also. Since the relative speed is x+1 when passing in opposite directions and x-1 when overtaking, this sets up the equation: 1/(x-1)=x/(x+1), from which a solution of x= 1+squareroot(2) = 2.414 is obtained by 9th grade maths. Use of 'real' speeds and lengths, instead of the two scale-less 'unities' introduces needless complications. Actual lengths and speeds are simply not needed. It just goes to prove that train graphs are not the easiest way to solve all timetabling problems!
Quotable Quote (or how to meaningfully fill the bottom of the page)
"Asking for timetables is like selecting Lotto numbers. What works one day, place, railway or country doesn't work in another." Jack McLean (AATTC Founder)
Another Quotable Quote
"Some timetables [in my collection] were extremely difficult to obtain, but I had contacts and knew where the waste paper baskets were." Jack McLean (AATTC Founder)
1) Simon Aalbers - Multiple border crossings on Australian transport services
I wish to add the following services to the list of multiple borders crossings included in David Hennell's letter (The Times No. 169, April, 1998 p9).
Simon Aalbers, Kyneton, Vic.
2) Colin Jones - Golden Mile Ferry Service, Brisbane River.
I was most interested in the timetable for the Golden Mile ferries in your April issue (The Times No. 169, April 1998 p4), which illustrates the service at its ephemeral peak. I would like to add a little additional history and comment.
The Golden Mile Ferry Service commenced on 3 December 1961, with two boats, later increased to three boats. Much more capacity was provided by larger boats from 1971. Catamarans were obtained for use by the extra crowds during 'Expo' in 1988 and were extended to normal services after its close.
For most of its life it ran only from Mowbray Park, East Brisbane, to the Customs House (later Creek Street) via Sydney Street, New Farm. A timetable from the 1960s shows this to be a 15 minute passage (including turnaround at the termini) run by 44 foot boats of about 96 horsepower. The catamarans, which are still in service in Sydney, showed a timetable for this part of the route of 14 minutes, which is not an improvement. The current Citycats, on the other hand, appear to cover the same section in nine minutes and as they are theoretically boats with the same top speed as the original catamarans, the conclusion must be drawn that the Golden Mile service, apart from never getting any operating subsidies, was also subject to a strict speed limit which no longer applies.
The timetables which I have do not have dates on them, but can be put in period by an escalating scale of fares: 10 cents in the 1960s, then 20 cents in the 1970s (those were the days!). The first boat of the day left Park Avenue, East Brisbane, at 7.00 am and the last left Customs House or Creek Street at 6.00 pm until the introduction of the catamarans on the lengthier service, after which one extra boat was supplied earlier and later in the day. I imagine the Council's Citycats do better than this too.
I hope this will be of interest to readers.
Colin Jones, Middle Park, Vic.
(Ed: Your additional information about the Golden Mile Ferry service is appreciated. At the time of writing this note [10/5/98] the first Citycat is scheduled to leave University of Queensland daily at 6.00am and the last leaves at 10.30pm. From Bretts Wharf, Hamilton, the first leaves at 5.50 am (M-F), 6.00am (Sat & Sun) with the last one scheduled to leave at 10.30pm daily. As mentioned in your letter this is a far greater spread of hours than the Golden Mile Ferry service, probably due to the operating subsidies that the Brisbane City Council receive. No doubt Golden Mile would have operated over longer hours if they had received similar subsidies.)
I was most interested to see the quotation of my letter as item 5 of the letters section (The Times No. 169, April, 1998 p11) and the comments thereon.
May I please add three additional comments:
Alan Cohn, Ormond, Victoria.
(Ed: Thank you for the above comments. Re your point 3 above, yes, you are right that I included the amount of 50 cents alongside the amount of five shillings in your article. This was because we have readers who were born after 1966 [the year decimal currency started in Australia - 14 February 1966] or have come from overseas and consequently have little or no knowledge of our pre-decimal currency. At least they can relate it to our present currency. Regarding your point of showing an escalated equivalent amount, my editorial policy is that unless shown otherwise by the author, I only include the direct base equivalence between pre-decimal and decimal currency. I've adopted this policy because if I show an escalated equivalent amount it will become out of date every time there is an adjustment to the CPI or GDP [depending on which scale is used to make the conversion]. If someone were to read the above article in, say, ten years time 5/- would no longer be equivalent to ten dollars but possibly a higher amount. Therefore I believe it is far better to remain faithful to the base amount ie. 5/- [or 50 cents, the base equivalent decimal amount] and allow readers who wish to convert it to the current value to do so themselves. For those readers who would like to do the conversions I believe the conversion table [mentioned above by Alan Cohn] in Rail News Victoria (February 1998, p 8 & 9) is a helpful tool.)
4) Albert Isaacs - Railway Timetables in School Exams and Duplicated Town Names.
Please excuse this lengthy letter but I wish to make comment on two disparate issues that were raised (The Times No. 170, May, 1998 p3 &4).
Firstly, in your Editorial you mention that the current S.R.A.(Countrylink) timetable was illustrated in last year's N.S.W. H.S.C. Mathematics in Practice exam paper. Many readers will recall that in The Times (No. 69, December 1989) I illustrated a timetable passed on to me by the late Stephen McLean that originally appeared in Mathematics Today - Year 7 by Tomlinson, Ardley, Motterhead and Wrightson, a text book used in Victorian schools in the late 1980s. (Please see the front page of this issue of The Times where the timetable has been reproduced - Ed.) Because it's such a bizarre timetable with such an unusual background, I believe that it's worth illustrating it once again in the pages of The Times. (For these same reasons, I used the illustration to accompany an article on unusual timetables that I wrote for Printed Collectables [Nos 15-17; April, July, October 1995], the official journal of the Printed Collectables Club of South Australia.)
Illustrated above is a page from the S.R.A.'s Public Timetable of 4th June 1984 which is the basis of the timetable that appears on page one in this issue of The Times.
Of course, the timetable collector's first instinct would be to dismiss this timetable as entirely fictitious: no such trains; unusual timings. However compare the table from the maths text book with an illustration from the S.R.A.'s Public Timetable of 4th June 1984 (reproduced on page 9) and you will see that one has been 'borrowed' from the other with changes to station names and some modification to train nomenclature. Presumably the geography was changed either to avoid copyright, or to make the timetable more familiar to Victorian students - perhaps a combination of both.
Whoever came up with the name Wodonga Monaro Express for two of the fictional trains obviously did not realise that "Monaro" is the name for the geographical region of N.S.W. to the south of the A.C.T. Similarly, "Southern Highlands" is most definitely a N.S.W. region. Although fictional XPTs are shown, the XPT did not really make regular runs into Victoria until 1993.
Intriguingly the geographical transposition of Canberra/Cooma line stations for Melbourne-Albury line stations very nearly works although the times are a little wrong. Presumably "Melbourne" is supposed to be Flinders Street although trains on the north-eastern line have NEVER used this station. One will note that the abbreviations "AirC", "Cond" and "(cp)" appear in the maths book, even though there is no explanation of what they mean or why they appear. Well, the "Explanation of Symbols" at the front of the N.S.W. timetable explains all:
" 'AirC' Train or coach is normally air-conditioned; 'Cond' Conditional only..... '(cp)' The State Rail Authority provides commuter car parking facilities at this station".
Of course, the whole text book timetable is sloppily edited but it is the sloppiest of sloppy to allow these unexplained symbols to confuse students by appearing for no apparent reason.
At about the time that the maths book was published, the results of a survey were also released showing that only 4.9% of graduating youngsters in the U.S.A. could actually read a timetable! This probably puts into context what I regard as ridiculously simple questions for 12-13 year olds. The questions in the H.S.C. exam shown in last month's issue (The Times No. 170, May, 1998 p3) were set for older students and are certainly more challenging and interesting.
Secondly, and on a different subject, the article "South Australian Railways Timetable 1st November, 1953" (The Times No. 170, May, 1998 p4), Victor Isaacs states: "There are many town names duplicated in Australia but, as far as I know, Kingston is one of a very few that are duplicated within a state. Thus in S.A. there is Kingston-on-Murray and this location is correctly known as Kingston SE."
Well brother, historically there are at least two other examples, both duplications occurring in the geographically close cities of Melbourne and Geelong. Newtown is the suburb to the immediate south-west of the Geelong C.B.D. and Newtown was also the original name of the Melbourne inner northern suburb of Fitzroy. The area around the Geelong Racecourse and Eastern Cemetery is shown in modern street directories as Thomson, however local usage and older directories refer to the area as St. Albans. (St. Albans Rd is the main road in the district.) The official change of name was probably made so as to avoid confusion with the Melbourne outer western suburb with the same name.
Unlike Australia with its sometimes competing and conflicting States, our eastern neighbour New Zealand has not been divided into Provinces for well over 100 years. Even so, there is still an amazing number of duplicated names in a country that has an area and population roughly equating to that of Victoria. The following examples are taken from the New Zealand Railway and Tramway Atlas, third edition, published in 1985 by the Quail Map Company. By definition, therefore, this list only covers places that happen to have been connected by rail at one time.
Most people who have studied a N.Z. railway timetable will know that the major city of Palmerston North, on the North Island about 100 km north of Wellington, is far, far north of Palmerston which is in the South Island on the Main South line between Christchurch and Dunedin. Similarly, Mandeville was found on the South Island's Main South between Dunedin and Invercargill; Mandeville North was on the South Island's closed Eyreton branch. Near Eyreton is the also closed Oxford branch which has stations at Oxford East and Oxford West - but where was Oxford station? On the North Island's Rotorua branch (Oxford was later known as Tirau).
What about real duplication? Queen Street station was once found at Levin, north of Wellington, and also at Westport in the north-west of the South Island. Racecourse was the actual name of stations at both Pukeuri (on the South Island's Main South between Christchurch and Dunedin) and in the Christchurch suburbs. The latter Racecourse is now Hornby. We won't even bother about Racecourse Hill and Racecourse Platform in other parts of the country.
Summit was formerly on the North Island's Masterton line in the area now traversed by the long, bypassing Rimutaka Tunnel; Summit could also be found on the South Island's Otago Central branch, although it was later renamed Salisbury. Tahora was on the Taumarunui-New Plymouth line on the North Island; it was also on the South Island's Catlins River branch. Bluff is well known as the port and terminus of Invercargill's only suburban line but it is also the former name of Coalgate on the now closed South Island Whitecliffs branch. Normanby is found on the North Island's Wellington-New Plymouth line; it is also on the South Island Main South between Christchurch and Dunedin.
On the South Island's isolated Nelson section (now closed), a little south of Nelson itself there are no fewer than three consecutive stations that turn up elsewhere. Stoke was found in the Nelson section as well as on the Oxford branch (see above). Appleby was also in the Nelson section as well as being on the South Island's Seaward Bush branch.
I have left the best until last! There is actually one place that appears three times! Not only are there Richmonds in five of Australia's six States but there are three Richmonds in N.Z.'s South Island: between Stoke and Appleby in the Nelson section; on the Main South between Christchurch and Dunedin; on the Ohai Railway Board's line.
Without going to the isolated Nelson section and without crossing Cook Strait, it would have been theoretically possible to obtain N.Z.R. South Island railway tickets: Racecourse to Racecourse, Bluff to Bluff, Richmond to Richmond.
Victor has probably opened a can of worms with his throw-away remark because I'm sure other readers can come up with other examples of duplicated names in Australian States, without having to go to N.Z. as I did.
Albert Isaacs, Hawthorn, Victoria.
To celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the publication of the Thomas Cook European Timetable the March 1998 edition included a special section with details about the history of the Thomas Cook timetables. It also includes details of how the Thomas Cook Overseas Timetable came to be published. I have been unable to obtain a copy from Thomas Cook in Australia however copies can be ordered from Thomas Cook Publishing (TPO/FO), P.O. Box 227, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough PE3 6PU, UK for £13.30 (Overseas air mail) using a Visa, Mastercard or American Express Credit Card. - Editor (with thanks to Victor Isaacs for advising details of this special edition).
This month, Graphic Insight looks at long distance bus services in Tasmania in 1998 by presenting a graphical summary of routes and weekly service frequency.
The reference source for the timetables is "Tasmanian Travelways" April/May 1998 edition. Tasmanian Travelways is a bi-monthly tourist oriented giveaway incorporating a reasonable listing of transport services to, from and within Tasmania.
The map below shows each route operated by: Tasmanian Redline Coaches, Tasmanian Wilderness Travel, Suncoast, Peakes Coaches and Bicheno Coaches.
Alongside each line is the number of services scheduled each week in each direction effective Winter 1998.
Buses form the primary mode of long-distance public transport in Tasmania and as can be seen from the map, the Hobart-Launceston-Burnie route is a dominant spine and less frequent services run to the East and West coast. Launceston, is a significant hub - more so than Hobart probably because of its geographically central location. Shorter distance commuter services are not illustrated, nor are tourist services as these are not listed in the compiled timetable in "Tasmanian Travelways."
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