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JULES AUSTIN HOJNOWSKI <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 11 Dec 2014 01:49:20 +0000
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There is also a section between Melbourne and Adelaide, in castlemaine, that Sam write about being kicked off the train because the tracks are different. I stopped at castlemaine during my trip to see all the places twain lectured in through Australia in July 2014 and also will be returning in July 2015 on my way to New Zealand. I hope to find out more about it when I return.


Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 10, 2014, at 6:37 PM, "Steve Hoffman" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Funny, I was just reading (in Bill Bryson's 
> delightful In a Sunburned Country) about how 
> inconsistent gauges hindered development of 
> efficient train travel in Australia.
> According to Wikipedia, it was Victoria that had 
> the wider gauge, New South Wales the narrower 
> gauge.  So assuming Wiki is correct, Twain's words 
> are correct and the printed illustration incorrect.
> Funny how this happened. In the mid-19th century, 
> as Australian railroads were being built, the 
> chief engineer of the Sydney Railway was an 
> Irish-born fellow who persuaded the New South 
> Wales legislature to utilize the Irish gauge 
> (5'3", 1600 mm), and the other colonies (including 
> Victoria) adopted it.  But when the Irish chief 
> engineer of the Sydney Railway was replaced by a 
> Scottish-born guy, the Scotsman convinced New 
> South Wales to switch to English standard gauge, 
> which was narrower (4'8", 1435 mm) .... thus 
> requiring these changes of gauge to travel between 
> Australia's two major cities, as Twain experienced.
> Other parts of Australia (such as Queensland) 
> adopted yet a different gauge, the very narrow 
> 3'6" (1067 mm).
> --Steve Hoffman
> Takoma Park
> (p.s. I'm planning a trip to Australia in 2015 
> that includes train travel across the continent, 
> from Sydney to Perth -- all standard gauge 
> nowadays). Will also spend time in Melbourne, 
> after flying there from Perth.)
>> On 12/10/2014 1:52 PM, Scott Holmes wrote:
>> Just a bit of a puzzle.  Chapter 14 of Following the Equator has Sam and
>> party railroading from Sydney to Melbourne.  The border of New South
>> Wales and Victoria has an abrupt change in railway gauge requiring the
>> passengers to disembark from one train and board the next.  This was
>> done in the early morning chill.  Twain's narrative has it with a narrow
>> gauge to the frontier and a wide gauge to Melbourne.  The illustration
>> and chapter abstract has it the other way around.