Batlow Railway Expansion Figures

(By D. Mcintosh)

22 October 1946 The Tumut and Adelong Times

A comparison of figures showing the increase in revenue earned at Batlow Railway Station makes good reading, and tends to show the remarkable development of the district since the inauguration of the railway in 1923.

It was during that year that the line was officially opened by the late Sir Walter Davidson, then Governor of N.S.W.

The figures for the period in 1923 cannot locate, but from 1924 to 1945 are as follows:-

 

Coaching Goods 

Year Revenue Revenue Total

1924 1,493 3,042 4,535 

1925 2,149 4,584 6,733 

1926 3,525 6,494 10,019 

1927 1,754 5,285 7,039

1928 2,596 9,488 12,084 

1929 1,627 6,098 7,725 

1930 2,147 7,504 9,651 

1931 1,677 6,379 8,056 

1932 1,058 4,320 5,378 

1933 1,743 11,946 13,689 

1934 1,792 8,131 9,923 

1935 2,857 9,015 11,872 

1936 1,592 8,659 10,251 

1937 1,868 9,190 1,1058 

1938 2,288 11,904 14,192 

1939 1,613 10,422 12,035 

1940 1,881 11,509 13,590 

1941 3,045 15,130 18,175 

1942 3,182 15,731 18,913   

1943 3,274 15,942 19,216 

1944 5,759 22,370 28,129 

1945 6,077 23,424 29,501 

It will be noticed from 1927 to 1942 there were some sharp increases, also decreases.

It is this period we remember only too well as the depression years. 

From 1936 to 1943, a solid increase was consistent, and during 1944 there was a very sharp rise.

It was during this period that the dehydration plant was built by Hutchinson Bros, contractors.

With that very sharp rise it will be noticed that 1945 was still on the increase. 

The vast turn-over in goods tonnage makes one ask the question "How is it done, with only three trains a week, and the load of one train 100 tons." 

After quoting the figures I will explain the clearance of such tonnage.

Tonnage

In Out

1924 1,241 2.203 

1925 1,745 3,253 

1926 2,068 3,464 

1927 3,029 2,362 

1928 3,044 4,757 

1929 2,463 3,202 

1930 2,383 4,518 

1931 1,748 3,729 

1932 1,370 2,280 

1933 3,343 6,727 

1934 4,353 5,912 

1935 3,805 5,395 

1936 2,546 7,162 

1937 2,683 8,179   

1938 2,823 9,336 

1939 2,627 8,244 

1940 2,599 8,405 

1941 4,292 13605 

1942 6,382 14,603 

1943 8,190 14,108 

1944 14,860 16,103 

1945 16,250 15,481

The figures quoted are the nett-contents of inwards and outwards trucks. 

From Gilmore the load of the train is in the vicinity of 475 tons to Wereboldera.

Here the loading in excess of 100 tons is placed in the Siding. Upon arrival of the train at Batlow, the loading is dispersed to the respective Sidings and the train crew depart to Wereboldera to lift another 80 tons of traffic which, with the brake-van, makes the load 100 tons.

An additional crew is always the order of the day at Batlow, and the following morning these men sign on early, and depart for Wereboldera for another load, and at the same time take loading down the hill in excess of 200 tons, this being the load, applicable to the grades.

If after three trips the loading is not cleared, the fourth trip is done and so the traffic is cleared. 

Before the restricted service came on we had a daily train which greatly eased the situation of the loading.

By this we had an engine stationed at Batlow and it would depart early and assist the train to Batlow, thus bringing 200 tons instead of 100. 

The number of trucks loaded at Batlow are enormous, and no other railway station its size in N.S.W. can compare with its tonnage, or trucks used. 

Figures covering these grounds can only be supplied from 1938. 

Total trucks loaded out

1938 127 

1939 320 

1940 856 

1941 1,122 

1942 1,068 

1943 1,141 

1944 1,418 

1945 4,225 

When one has read all these figures, it must be realised the development of the district is in no mean manner due to the railway service.

The largest customer, is of course, the Batlow Packing House.

They represent 75 per cent, of the inwards and 40 per cent, of the outwards loading.

Fruit loaded by the Co-op. Society leaves Batlow at 1.50 p.m. and is in position in the fruit siding at Darling Harbour for delivery at 5.30 a.m. next morning.

This is brought about by the running of a fruit train daily from Griffith and the fruit from here is placed on that train at Cootamundra. 

With the continued development of this town it must be seen that the present Railway facilities will be quite inadequate. What then? 

In my humble opinion a campaign from all local bodies in Batlow, in cooperation with the Shire Council should push for a mountain type of engine, similar to the ones in use in South Australia being built. 

As an alternative plan, a new programme of works with a junction at Mt. Horeb or Reka.

The line turning into Adelong would give new life to that town and district, in addition to the area between that town and Batlow.   

New land could be opened up and closer settlement could be the order of the day. 

A great many people consider fruit growing the local industry, but in my opinion it is only a side-line to the timber industry.

Under ordinary working conditions the 3-miles load, 17 trucks of timber per week, in addition, one firm loads - 2 to 3 trucks of handles and boat oars, also up to 10 trucks of logs for the mines at Broken Hill.

In fact I have seen 18 trucks of timber, 2 trucks of handles and oars; also 18 trucks of logs loaded here in 5 days. 

The average contents of a truck of timber is 3,600 super feet, making an  average of 63,000 super feet of timber loaded from here weekly.

When totals like this are taken into account, the yearly totals are millions of super feet, and there is years of production like this in the surrounding district. 

I am grateful to Miss M. Colquhoun for having supplied me with statistics for the period 1924 to 1942.