UNIFICATION OF GAUGES.
Just now, while the Railway Conference is considering the question of the unification of gauges, the system evolved by Mr. W. F. Bren- nan for solving the problem, which is ex- plained in a pamphlet issued by him last year, is of interest. Mr. Brennan points out that it has always been recognised that if a third rail were laid down on the 5ft. 3in. tracks of Victoria and South Australia, to create with the 5ft. 3in., another track of 4ft. 8½in., using the distance rail in common for both gauges, it would be competent and practicable to run as well all the 5ft. 3in. trains, as all the 4ft. 8½in. trains on the same compound tracks. The difference in the gauges of New South Wales and Victoria is 6½in, and while that space allows plenty of room for running two trains on the one compound gauge track, the question of points and crossings to deal with rails only 6½in. apart has hitherto been regarded as an insurmountable difficulty to the adoption of the uge lines of 4ft. 8½in. and 5ft. 3in. respectively on the 5ft. 3in. track. That difficulty, the author states, has now been overcome by an invention called the "Improvements in switches and crossings for compound gauge railways." which is spe- cially designed to deal with the mixed gauges of 4ft. 8½in. and 5ft. 3in. respectively. The lay- ing down of a third rail between Albury and Terowie in South Australia, via Melbourne and Adelaide, Mr. Brennan says, does not involve any serious interference with the existing railway stations or tunnels. Upon the uni- forming of the gauges a 4ft. 8½in. "express" averaging 33 miles per hour will be able to run the whole journey from the Queensland border through New South Wales, Albury, Victoria, and South Australia, to Terowie a distance of 1689 miles, with ordinary stop- pages. In about 50 hours, as against 75¾ hours occupied at present.