Sunday History Photo / SA

Submitted: Sunday, Sep 09, 2012 at 05:49
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Rail transport was the main means of shipping service personnel and military equipment around the country. However, Australian railways were not up to the demands of war. Each state used a different gauge, much of the rolling stock was unsuited for the task, and not until early 1943 was rail transport centrally organised. And yet the demand for quick and efficient means of transport only increased as coastal shipping was diverted for use by the armed forces or reduced by loses to enemy action.
The rail network in Queensland was closest to the fighting. In 1942 the army had effective control of transport in northern Queensland. This led to the Queensland Railways Commissioner and the federal Minister for Transport clashing with the Minister for the Army, a dispute only solved through the Prime Minister’s intervention.

With sea lanes exposed to enemy attack the Allies had a major problem moving troops and supplies over land to Darwin. Troop trains could move armies from east to west but not from south to north. The narrow gauge Central Australian Railway from Adelaide ended at Alice Springs. A single line railway ran southeast from Darwin for 500km to Birdum. The 1000km from Birdum to the Alice was partially traversed by rutted vehicle tracks. In 1942 the AMF, CCC and the US Army worked together to build a road to connect the two railheads. When the link was complete truck drivers of the Australian Army Service Corps ran road convoys that transferred men and material that had been transported by troop train from supply depots and training camps in the south to the railhead to forward bases in the north.
Of course this was not without problems and accidents did happen, the photo's below of the Strangways Springs head on accident were recently sent to me from Adelaide , they were taken by this persons father, a member of the US 43rd Materiel Squadron either on the way to Darwin or returning South on leave, for those who have not travelled the Oodnadatta Track Strangways is approx' 39Klms South of William Creek.
This accident resulted in no deaths and the fireman was slightly injured .

The T Class SAR loco with sloping cylinders was taken back to Peterborough and repaired.

The Argus, Melbourne, Saturday 3 June 1944

When the inquest was resumed into the Copley/Beltana train crash, in which four soldiers were killed and 27 injured, Maurice Stanley Buckley, 27, porter stationed at Beltana, refused to answer questions relating to movement of trains from Beltana on the night of May 10 1944 on the ground that his answer might tend to incriminate him.
On similar grounds, John A. F. Cudsome, train controller at Quorn, Arthur C. Carn, guard of the freight train, and Alfred Catford, guard of the troop train, also refused to answer questions by Inspector Bourke.
When Inspector Bourke protested against Mr Harford's advice to Catford and Carn not to answer questions Mr Harford said: "I think I know what is in the inspector's mind, Like him, I do not think these men are in jeopardy, but they have the right to refuse to answer questions on the grounds they have stated. Why should they take risks?"
Mr Skinner, chief traffic manager at Port Augusta, said he did not consider there had been any ambiguity in his memorandum to train controllers on September 2, 1943.
After Inspector Bourke and counsel had delivered addresses, Mr Thompson, coroner, said he would give his finding next Thursday.

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Reply By: member-PradoMad - Sunday, Sep 09, 2012 at 07:50

Sunday, Sep 09, 2012 at 07:50
very interesting; thank you
AnswerID: 494541

Reply By: Member - Vince B (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 09, 2012 at 11:53

Sunday, Sep 09, 2012 at 11:53
A vey informative read.
Thanks Doug.
AnswerID: 494560

Reply By: Life Member - Doug T (NT) - Sunday, Sep 09, 2012 at 17:05

Sunday, Sep 09, 2012 at 17:05
I just recieved more information about this accident courtesy Peter Dunn and his Australia at War website.

As the result of a head-on train collision on Thursday at Strangways, 300 miles north of Quorn, Leslie William Thomas, an interstate fireman on loan to the Commonwealth Railways, was severely injured, and a doctor was taken by plane from Adelaide to the scene of the accident. Thomas was given a blood transfusion at William Creek, and flown to the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Last night his condition was reported as serious, but improving. The accident was the third head on collision on the North–South railway line during recent months. Both engines were derailed and badly damaged. Among the wreckage were four cattle vans which had contained more than 200 cattle, a number of which escaped but were rounded up and retrucked to William Creek. Only three of the animals were killed. The drivers of the two trains, Messrs. E. McCoy and A. Power, of Quorn, and the other fireman were not seriously injured. Traffic was resumed 20 hours after the repair gang got to work.

Thank you Peter.


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AnswerID: 494582

Reply By: Crazy Dog - Sunday, Sep 09, 2012 at 20:14

Sunday, Sep 09, 2012 at 20:14
Another goodun Doug..

Thanks mate..

AnswerID: 494600

Reply By: Sigmund - Tuesday, Sep 11, 2012 at 17:02

Tuesday, Sep 11, 2012 at 17:02
I have some difficulty understanding why a website with a national profile regularly accepts posts that passes off the work of others as if it was the poster's own.

In journalism and scientific research this is called plagiarism and employees have lost their jobs over it.

In respect of this contribution, forum members may wish to compare it with this website

Identifying that took all of 5 mins of searching.

In future I will be drawing original publisher's attention to this plagiarism.

This is the 3rd time I've raised this issue with

AnswerID: 494710

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