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RAILWAYS IMPROVEMENTS.

REDUCING OPERATING COSTS. Powerful Engines Introduced.

One of the measures by which the man- agers of progressive railway systems seek,   in a measure, to neutralise the steadily in- creasing costs of train operation is the in- troduction of higher powered engines. Dur- ing the list few years notable strides have been made in this respect by the Victorian   Railways. At present 21 of the powerful "C" class main line consolidation goods     engines, and 10 of the "K" class consoli-   dation light line type are in commission. The "C" class engines are operating on   the Bendigo, North-Eastern, and Won-   thaggi lines, where full trainloads of bulk goods are available, and where the most favourable operating results therefore can be ensured The "K" class engines are   being utilised on various lighter lines, where they have enabled the train mileage to be reduced considerably by eliminating the running of the extra goods trains that would otherwise be necessary.

The effect of introducing these high- powered locomotives is noticeable in the Railways' Commissioners annual reports.   During the financial year ended June 30, 1920, the department ran 5,390,282 goods   and live stock train miles, while last financial year the number was 4,504,127, or a reduction of 786,155 train miles. For the year ended June 30, 1920 the goods and live stock carried on the Victorian   railways amounted to 7,770,694 tons, com-   pared with 7,517,216 tons handled last finan-   cial year, representing a decrease of 3 per cent. while the train miles decreased by 15 per cent. The lower train mileage is principally due to the introduction of the big engines.

The first "C" class consolidation super- heater locomotive was put into service in   1918 between Melbourne and Seymour. After comparative tests had been made with locomotives of the "A2" and "DD"     classes under both saturated steam and superheated steam conditions, it was found   that in regular traffic on "through" goods   trains a saving in coal consumption a ton mile of about 5 per per cent. over super- heater locomotives of the "A2" and "DD" classes and approximately 25 per cent. over saturated steam locomotives of the steam   classes, was obtainable with the "C" class     consolidation engines.

The "C" class consolidation locomotive, which has a tractive capacity of 36,000lb.,  

can haul a load of 560 tons up a 1 in 50   grade. On flat or level country 1,600 tons   can be hauled, and approximately 1,350   tons on fairly level track. There is how-     ever a vehicle limitation on various lines   dependent upon grades and curvature which   prevents the load in any case exceeding   75 trucks. The introduction of this type of engine has necessitated considerable ex-    

penditure in strengthening the tracks and   bridges owing to the increased weight an  

axle.

Plans for the Future.

A further development was recently pre-   dicted by the commissioners, who are now having designs prepared for still more     powerful locomotives of the "Mountain" and "Pacific" types. Both of these en-   gines will possess about 50 per cent. greater haulage power than "C" class, and are de-

signed for handling the heavy concentrated   goods and passenger traffic on routes such as that between Melbourne and Seymour. On this route the line rises about 1,150 ft. in the 33 miles between Melbourne and Heathcote Junction until it crosses the Divide. With the Pacific type of loco-     motive the necessity to "double-head" the     Sydney expresses on occasions of very     heavy traffic would be overcome, as a "Pacific"engine could haul at high speed       a passenger train of any permissible

length. The developments that have already taken place, and those predicted in connec-   tion with the locomotive power of the rail-

way system, are indicative of the spirit which animates the railway administra- tion in its desire to offset the high costs   due to economic conditions, by the intro-     duction of the most modern methods of   train operation.

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