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1 correction by Hughesdarren - Show corrections

THE FEDERAL LINE, A TRIP ON THE KALGOORLIE SECTION SOME ASPECTS OF CONSTRUCTION WORK   (By Our Special Representative)   It was Mr. Fisher making a 'Ministerial statement" to a dutifully attentive House   of Representtives on Wednesday, and a long list of Government performances and   hopes of performance was recounted. These were set forth in the "West Australian"   yesterday, and the compact mass of printed words was impressive. A few words in the Prime Minister's address had a particular interest for me, as they referred to the   Trans Australian railway, to the Kalgoorlie sectioin of which I paid a visit week, Said Mr Fisher: "It is estimated,that the East to West railway will be completed in less than two and a half years. " Com- pleted, mark you! 'Not merely that the     remaining paltry six hundred and odd miles of track necessary to join the east and west sections will be thrown down across       the intervening country, "tfini that the laest     , yard of ballast 'will be in it4 place, and nicely tamped around the eleeperne;ths? th sAway with all itd conveniences of sidinp? r Iand appurtenances necessary for the transit of. ;passenger cars at a through rate ofi 60? miles .pe hour. will be finished to the l-s deiail. ;Marvellous, if it is true. Bnt. I wonder, who bas been pouring a fantastic f story into the ready ears of Mr. Fisher?, ' It is nearly three years since the work - was?.?ommonced under the last Fisher Go rev prnment; soiething like a thousand, pound t was apeint by Mr. O'Malley at the Parort l Ae ghdsta end and a: similar sum at Kal n goorlie; to express the Government's admi a ration of itself for starting the work; the r dustalwas to fly behind the gangs of Enthusiastic and Grateful Workmen' e beating the way east and west e fro the' 4, respective ends; the job was to be the crowning triumph of the day-labour .prima a ciple; and in three yers, or in a time re-I . i. .esoably approximate to this,. the Western;. Australian traveller, desirous of reaching e the East with speed, would be independent 1 e of the rea-palatial cas on a railway ta? ing. in.h round figures, £4,000,000,' would transport him at half a hundred miles sul. nohour across the wide plains. It was a' pretty picture this estimate of the pr vious Fisher Government. It has not been realised.'Far from it, indeed; but Mr.' e Fisher is ready with another estimate. With a certain sense born of experience the' ' Prime Minister does not try any startling effects in his latest sketch. There. is only the briefest reference to an amended esti mate of time. He does not even tell -i .that the estimate in this respect is amend ed; and he says nothing of coat; he breathes not a word regarding the day-labour sy-. tem, he utters. no panegyrics upon the grateful gangs of workmen-all of hich a studied omission are just aswell. o' The, railhead, said. the Prime Minister a was ou 216 miles 66 chains from K?lgoorlie t and 232 miles from Port Agua. 'heto ta" l distance between the two towns is abonut .1,066 miles; there are therefore somend s1 f miles of track to be laid before a junction e is effected. Including rolling stock, the-, 1 ,line, on Mr. Deane's estimate, was to c?st h £4,045,000. Tbe: estimate was based "on I the understanding that the beat modern L methods and mechanical appliances are to. be carrying out all parti of the .t work." There are e Methods and Appiances Galore; Sthere is a Traffic Department and a Co truction Department;' there is equipment of the latest, with a bra$d new shininess about it that even the red dust of thei interior cannot obliterete; there is a mar-,i. vellous track layer at the head of the raiM? - throwinmg down, perhaps, a mile of road a day-the "day" averagig about 51 wrking hours-Ibt never more, for to throw down I more wcukld be to hurt the delicate sensibili. I ties of the platelayers; there is a . huge depot two and a half mles i o from Kalgoorlie; another, not quit so big at Zauthus, or the 126 mile; there will be another at ?he 235?nule; there arer: e workmen in abundarce, 1,100 of: them;, there ii a staff which teems .large enough. to' build half a doaen such?lines-and 'therel isa bit of a bill for construction wrk ,to' date. Let us have'a look pt this bill., . 1912-13 .. . . £55,14 t 1913-14 .. ... .... .. £1,,46,833? e July-December, 1914 . .. .. £ 13,004 , a Jndaryarc , ;1915 ..., .' 450,0o.I0(?) a .' (£3,206,451 SThefigures for the last quarter are an s s mate;: bittheyshould not be very? wide of;. the, mark.,Erpendaitune hasbeen magnifi cent-but' results?..The results are poor to e the last degree in compaison with the sums which have been lairished to date on. the line. When we are told that the rail: head .is out 217 -miles from Kalgoorlie we must not run away with the idea'that the line is completed to this distance. It. isn't; far from it, indeed. . The sleepers are down: They may be on a road bed;.and are on a bed "or the greater part of tha distance. Birt there is comparatively little ballasting. The question of water suply, hich should have been the at, prole'fst t~ckled, is still undetermined. And the track Sis now being laid practically on the natural surface of the country, leaving the forms' tion of the road bed to be doneafter the rails have beentlaid I Trains leave the Pauk

termediate depot at Zanthus, or for the head of the rails. Sleepers and rails boaes e of dogs and- ishplates, iron telegraph poles - and telegraph wire, they make a brave show on the long material train. And then the water waggons form notable parts of the' train. There is a big 8,000 galln iron "Dreadnought," and the humbler TA's, hold. g 2,400 gallons. Between 60,000 and 70,000 gallons of ndaring water are carted out by. tain every day 'rom Kalgoorlie. The water costs 7s. 3d. a thousand at the depos; Sand 8s. 9d. a thousand if taken from the' pipe at Golden Ridge, 16 miles out. From '25 to £30 a day -say £10,000 a year-is paid to the State Government far water which is altogether unsuitable for boiler pur posers. Tons and tons of this water are daily. draggg.ed at . Heaven. Knows What Expense of c1al, of lessened engind power of east of tianks, of' make.up of trains, to the .various camps along the road until the head of the liniis reached; Why the provision of water has not been further advanced-is impossible to understand. Flfleeni monthM ago I was at the then head of the line--about the 50 mile-and reinarked upon the.water problem which was. then quite evident, and which had 'been palpable :since th. first survey party went over the route years ago. Iwas informed . that urgent efforts were' being made?=to ensure a supply; but to-day the Cbnstruction Work is Still Dependent I upon a water supply laboriously and expen Ssively. transported from Kalgoorlie. At Oar dinia and-some three or:four miles 'from 1 the line, the excavation of a 7,000,000 gallon dam is practically completed at a cost of £5,270.. The damjis yet to be "pitched," or made impervious.:Whhcnitwill be filled, no man knoweth. There waa no obstacle in the way of this dam- being finished 12 months Sor more since-no obstacle except the short s sightedness of the irsponsible authorities. It I was not essential to wait until the rails reached Cardinia to furiish the dam sink ers with water, as this could have been oh-. tained from Randalls, some 20 miles away. The cost of the dam admittedly would have. - been increased- but this would have been -& bagatelle in coinparison with the advantages' likely to be gaineI by an early completion of the work. What these advantages would be are now apparent. Millions of galloa of water fell in the district during.'the last few months, and all of these millions, so far I as' the railway is affected, have . gone to i waste. One wonders, too, why no further 1 consideration has been given tothe originl scheme of conveying water, from the lMount SCharlotte reservoir through pipes'for a dis S'tance of about 250 miles; and why nothing is heard of pumping water along the line from the spleiidid No. 3 bore at 344 miles when this will be reached. It is true that bores are being put down at various points along the line. Messrs. Davis, Hankinson, and Co. have cpntracts for boring a maximum of 4,000ft. at 56s. 9d. a foot on the western section of the line. One bore at the 215 mile struck salt water; at the 220-mile ex cellent water was obtained in a bore, the sur face of the water being at 170ft., but the supply is small. A well is now being sunk at this latter place, and is down about 100tH. At Goddard'as Creek-143 miles from Kal Roorlie-a condenser with a capacity of 8,000 gallons a day is being erected. The observer, however, cannot fail to be impress ed by the tardiness of the operations to de velop a water supply, although the impers tive need of a supply has been abundantly manifest; and continued dependence upon water tanks dragged an ever-inacreasi dis tance from Kalgoorlie, and conveying water whose corrosive qualities tell their story in infiriTnt engines, is no small factor in the cost of the work. 'lThe material trains run to a schedule Or, rather, they don't so run.; but\the .chedel

is there for the re operators boisterously to joke'about in the seasoned vernacular of i contrivtionI gapg, end for, the stray visi tir. miladly to deprecate in the inadequate mguage.of. home and mother. He would be + fool who expeoted a Strict Adheienco to Time-tables rn a rilwayunder construction; the sen ble indivildal would be satisfied were the service on the: opened section of the. t~ras-Australian railway not more erratic than that given by the Working Railways -Department of the State. At the risk of straining the cre dulity of the reader, I affirm that the Stra-Australian service is worse than that a:our State railways. Let me give in d..noe*: I left the "Kalgoorlie (Parkeston) Lispot at 2.30 p.m. one afternoon. The ienwas due at Zantl s 126-mile) at 8.20 :Ip.m" it arrived there at 8.50 p.m. which _'t.bad. The engine puffed and snorted, and blowed for half-an-hour; .it: shunted :tiacks hither and thither; for 'Zanthuss, 'blk' you,"is a "deepd," as our American fifends would call itL. TheRe are 100 or "mobil miles. of material piled up in Zan ath a? yard; railed there and unloaded at grest expense,: aid ,waiting to be again. :loadd at further great e;pense and trans :port&idtto the head' of the line; and it is all niagnificent and huish--let me .be not 'misanderatood; I mean brisk in the day .]abour' sense-aid Zanthus is "some cir ,matanco' which' I hereby introduco.' to readei. frOm Kalgoorlie westward.- An up train from the head of the, line passsed us: A traffic offcer rang -soe place along tle :track (there is an excellent telephone equipment on therailway)' and asz~red it ths?tour : tirain -'would 'leave. Zanthus, at 10. ??'p m. "Make noi ' mistake, she'll be sway .from heft.:at ten-tirenty," he in i - ted. Tere wias a note .offierce resolve in hismvoice, ashe breathed into: the re cuver, which warned the other end not to waste the momenta intithe sure and certain :hop'-.hat e"s ' biould not be on time. ot Away fromn Zanthus at.Midnight, rd arrived ati the bhead of the road at 4'.:430 .~ ii' or about three hours late. The ,".ii~ay of 208 miles had occupied 14 hours :.a th? i return' trip the train stayed, about i -',.8:?u'rs at Zaithus, which, being part of 't- programme, meets with no objection. :,;/ 'i?left Zanthuis for Balgoorlie. depot . i: ;a.m.; a rake; of empty trucks,' and imtmd.of arriving at 6.30 a.m. it got into ,tie home yard at 9.15 a.m., or 21 hours 'i: t. Only three trucks were picked up :, brin the trip; and of these only one- ;tit rm andells which district has a t'riving export trade in bottles-was laden. C .ao.stently. cot traia ' ' ,Lat Tinme on Every Section. - When we left the 31-mile we" were 75 minutes. late; and optimism swore we. would not be more than two bours behind ?mts when .we reached Kalgoorlie. Opti "mnim was a deceitful jade. On the run between the 31-mile and Golden Ridge the ,water 'supply..became so low that the driver would not risk hauling the train any 'father. He, therefore, uncoupled and ,pod gaily away to thd Ridge to pick qp' more water. On leaving Zanthus the engime 'had four water trucks attached. Thems could not have been ..full, or there would have been more than. sufficient to susce the most extravagant driver to Kal gooilis. But the water tanks were not ? onimected by hose to each ot?'er 'thereby allowing . all of them to be drained into the engi?e simultaneously. At the sidings ' the tanks had to:be shunted .thbe'empties hing put behind those containing water, .tbe 'leading.e of the latter bein' then -':monected :by hoase to the engine. This s s.ting.sand "tiddliwinking," which should b unanecesart, is one of the many fera t:-:: s which make for expense. Probably SMelboure :has been requisitioned to sup ply ?water; couplings;' and Melbourne is ..doubtlea.,thinking of doing something in '" the matter. But the trains run col" '::-: ntWy.late; and one train behind time t..hrtows~the whole road'out of gear. For : dano: the t fact that we did not arrive at : allgooe at 6.30 a.m. hung up for over an '.hor the 7 am." material train ex Kal goorlie at Golden Ridge. Other trains .-,.alon the system would be affected, and . ery part . of the work disorganised to camse -atent. It mitigates our distress -.' ,at. these untoward happenings to know tt in these bad times, because of them, .:looamoive" men are making--force of habit " :aeey wrote "eamning"--more than elten mash as £20 a fortnight.,