The Victorian Railways operated in the Australian state of Victoria from 1859 to 1983. The first railways in Victoria were private companies, but when these companies failed or defaulted, the Victorian Railways was established to take over their operations. Most of the lines operated by the Victorian Railways were of 5 ft 3 in. However, the railways operated up to five 2 ft 6 in narrow gauge lines between 1898 and 1962, a 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in standard gauge line between Albury and Melbourne from 1961. A Department of Railways was created in 1856 with the first appointment of staff. British engineer, George Christian Darbyshire was made first Engineer-in-Chief in 1857, steered all railway construction work until his replacement by Thomas Higginbotham in 1860; because of political turmoil in the Victorian Government, Higginbotham was one of 137 officials removed from office on Black Wednesday on 8 January 1878 when the Government was denied supply. He, like a number of other senior officers, was not reappointed.
Robert Watson took over as Engineer-in-Chief. But in 1880 a new Ministry expressed a wish to redress the injustice by re-instating Higginbotham. However, at the sudden death of Higginbotham in 1880, William Elsdon took over for two years before his retirement in 1882, Watson returned to his former position as Engineer-in-Chief, which he held up to the time of his death. On 1 November 1883 assent was given to the Victorian Railways Commissioners Act 47 Vic. No.767, to construct and manage the state's railways. The staff of the Department of Railways came under the authority of the Railway Commissioners, which became known as Victorian Railways; the elaborate headquarters at 67 Spencer Street were opened in 1893. Victorian Railways grew to service all parts of the state extending some lines into New South Wales under the 1922 Border Railways Act. In the late 19th century the railways became something of a political football with politicians demanding new lines to be built in places where traffic levels never justified it.
In 1864 there was just 254 miles of railway. The system expanded to reach 2,900 route miles by 1891 and to its greatest extent of 4,755 route miles in 1939; the result was that by the beginning of the 20th century, no Victorian were more than 25 miles from a railway line. The period from the end of the 1930s saw a slow decline in route mileage as unprofitable branches were closed. Conversion of the Melbourne suburban system to electric operation commenced in 1919 and was completed by 1930, creating what was claimed at the time to be the world's largest electric suburban rail system. 1937 saw the introduction of the streamlined Spirit of Progress passenger train, with air conditioning and all steel carriage construction. Diesel power was introduced in 1951 with ten F-class diesel-electric shunting locomotives, followed by B-class mainline diesel-electric locomotives in 1952/53. A standard gauge line connecting to the New South Wales system was constructed in 1961 allowing through trains to operate between Melbourne and Sydney, Australia's two largest cities, for the first time.
The last steam locomotive was withdrawn in 1972. In May 1973 the Railways Act 1972 passed the management of the Railways from the Victorian Railways Commissioners to a Victorian Railways Board. In 1974 the Victorian Railways was rebranded as VicRail, but the royal blue and gold livery used on rolling stock was retained until 1981. In 1983 VicRail was divided into two—the State Transport Authority taking responsibility for the provision of country rail and road and freight services, the Metropolitan Transit Authority taking over suburban passenger operations; the State Transport Authority traded under the V/Line name, while the Metropolitan Transit Authority used that name until the Public Transport Corporation was formed in 1989. Between 1996 and 1999 V/Line and The Met were privatised. V/Line Passenger was franchised to National Express, returning to government ownership in 2002; the V/Line Freight division is now owned by Pacific National. The infrastructure is now managed by VicTrack with the interstate rail freight infrastructure leased to the Australian Rail Track Corporation.
Metro Trains Melbourne now operates the suburban railway network. When first formed in 1857, the management of the Railways Department was vested in the President of the Board of Land and Works, this situation remaining until 1884. With the passing of the Victorian Railways Commissioners Act 1883, a board of four commissioners was put in charge, responsible to the Minister of Railways; the Chairman of Commissioners of the Victorian Railways were: Richard Speight: 1883 to 1892 Richard Hodge Francis: 1892 to 1894 James Syder: 1894 to 1896 John Mathieson: 1896 to 1901 William Francis Joseph Fitzpatrick: 1901 to 1903 Thomas James Tait: 1903 to 1910 William Francis Joseph Fitzpatrick: 1910 to 1915 Charles Ernest Norman: 1915 to 1920 Harold Winthrop Clapp: 1920 to 1939 Norman Charles Harris: 1940 to 1950 Robert George Wishart: 1950 to 1955 Edgar Henry Brownbill: 1956 to 1967 George Frederick Brown: 1967 to 1973After the Bland Report of 1972, in May 1973 the Railways Act 1972 passed the management of the Railways from the Victorian Railways Commissioners to a Victorian Railways Board.
The board could have up to seven members, with six being appointed. This remained until 1983 when the board was discontinued under the Transport Act 1983; the Victorian Railways operated a wide variety of locomotives and rolling stock to provide passenger and goods services. This included equipment acquired from the private com
A rolling-element bearing known as a rolling bearing, is a bearing which carries a load by placing rolling elements between two bearing rings called races. The relative motion of the races causes the rolling elements to roll with little rolling resistance and with little sliding. One of the earliest and best-known rolling-element bearings are sets of logs laid on the ground with a large stone block on top; as the stone is pulled, the logs roll along the ground with little sliding friction. As each log comes out the back, it is moved to the front where the block rolls on to it, it is possible to imitate such a bearing by placing several pens or pencils on a table and placing an item on top of them. See "bearings" for more on the historical development of bearings. A rolling element rotary bearing uses a shaft in a much larger hole, cylinders called "rollers" fill the space between the shaft and hole; as the shaft turns, each roller acts as the logs in the above example. However, since the bearing is round, the rollers never fall out from under the load.
Rolling-element bearings have the advantage of a good tradeoff between cost, weight, carrying capacity, accuracy, so on. Other bearing designs are better on one specific attribute, but worse in most other attributes, although fluid bearings can sometimes outperform on carrying capacity, accuracy, rotation rate and sometimes cost. Only plain bearings are used as as rolling-element bearings. There are five types of rolling elements that are used in rolling-element bearings: balls, cylindrical rollers, spherical rollers, tapered rollers, needle rollers. Most rolling-element bearings feature cages; the cages reduce friction and bind by preventing the elements from rubbing against each other. Caged roller bearings were invented by John Harrison in the mid-18th century as part of his work on chronometers. Typical rolling-element bearings range in size from 10 mm diameter to a few metres diameter, have load-carrying capacity from a few tens of grams to many thousands of tonnes. A common kind of rolling-element bearing is the ball bearing.
The bearing has outer races between which balls roll. Each race features a groove shaped so the ball fits loose. Thus, in principle, the ball contacts each race across a narrow area. However, a load on an infinitely small point would cause infinitely high contact pressure. In practice, the ball deforms where it contacts each race much as a tire flattens where it contacts the road; the race yields where each ball presses against it. Thus, the contact between ball and race has finite pressure. Note that the deformed ball and race do not roll smoothly because different parts of the ball are moving at different speeds as it rolls. Thus, there are sliding motions at each ball/race contact. Overall, these cause bearing drag. Roller bearings are the earliest known type of rolling-element-bearing, dating back to at least 40 BC. Common roller bearings use cylinders of greater length than diameter. Roller bearings have higher radial load capacity than ball bearings, but a lower capacity and higher friction under axial loads.
If the inner and outer races are misaligned, the bearing capacity drops compared to either a ball bearing or a spherical roller bearing. As in all radial bearings, the outer load is continuously re-distributed among the rollers. Only less than half of the total number of rollers carries a significant portion of the load at all time; the animation on the right shows how a static radial load is supported by the bearing rollers as the inner ring rotates. Spherical roller bearings have an outer ring with an internal spherical shape; the rollers are thinner at the ends. Spherical roller bearings can thus accommodate both dynamic misalignment. However, spherical rollers are difficult to produce and thus expensive, the bearings have higher friction than an ideal cylindrical or tapered roller bearing since there will be a certain amount of sliding between rolling elements and rings. Gear bearing is roller bearing combining to epicyclical gear; each element of it is represented by concentric alternation of rollers and gearwheels with equality of roller diameter to gearwheel pitch diameter.
The widths of conjugated rollers and gearwheels in pairs are the same. The engagement is herringbone or with the skew end; the downside to this bearing is manufacturing complexity. Gear bearings could be used, for example, as efficient rotary suspension, kinematically simplified planetary gear mechanism in measuring instruments and watches. Tapered roller bearings use conical rollers. Most roller bearings only take radial or axial loads, but tapered roller bearings support both radial and axial loads, can carry higher loads than ball bearings due to greater contact area. Tapered roller bearings are used, as the wheel bearings of most wheeled land vehicles; the downsides to this bearing is that due to manufacturing complexities, tapered roller bearings are more expensive than ball bearings. Needle roller bearings use long and thin cylinders; the ends of the rollers taper to points, these are used to keep the rollers captive, or they may be hemispherical and not captive but held
Victorian Railways A2 class
The A2 class was an express passenger locomotive that ran on Victorian Railways from 1907 to 1963. A successful design the work of Victorian Railways' own design office, its long service life was extended as economic depression and war delayed the introduction of more modern and powerful replacement locomotives; the introduction of the A2 class marked a turning point in Victorian Railways locomotive design, as it was designed by VR engineers of the newly established Locomotive Design Section and the entire class built in-house at Victorian Railways workshops. Based on the success of the prototype A2 572, a total of 125 Stephenson valve gear A2 locomotives were built between 1907 and 1915; the design was altered to incorporate larger diameter cylinders, a higher pressure boiler and Walschaerts valve gear, a further 60 locomotives of this design were produced between 1915 and 1922. For over forty years, the A2 was the main express passenger locomotive on the VR, hauling intrastate and interstate services.
With a maximum permitted speed of 70 miles per hour the A2 was instrumental in the acceleration of timetables on many lines in the years following its introduction. They famously ran the Geelong Flier service slashing journey times between Melbourne and Geelong from 90 minutes to 63 and 55 minutes, a time not improved upon until the introduction of 160 km/h Regional Fast Rail services in 2006. A2s were used to haul a number of special services, such as the Royal Trains for the Prince of Wales' and the Duke of York's Australian tours in 1920 and 1927 respectively. Towards the end of their lives, A2 995 and 996 had the distinction of hauling the last broad gauge Spirit of Progress service into Melbourne on 16 April 1962. With their comparatively high tractive effort they saw widespread use as a fast goods locomotive in their life, it was reported as normal practice as early as the 1920s for A2 class locomotives requiring adjustment to axle boxes and other moving parts to be swapped from passenger to lower-speed freight service to extract greater work from them between overhauls.
In 1933, two A2 class locomotives set a haulage record for Victorian Railways when they took a 75 truck 1,598-long-ton wheat train from Benalla to Seymour. Although limited to principal mainlines due to their comparatively heavy axle load, gradual upgrades to secondary lines saw the route availability of the class expand, together with the range of services they hauled. In 1928, the A2 was replaced on the principal North East line Sydney Limited and Albury Express services by the more powerful three-cylinder S class Pacifics. However, new locomotive development ground to a halt during the 1930s as the Great Depression affected both VR traffic volumes and operating revenues, the A2 continued as the main express passenger power on all other VR mainlines; the majority of A2 locomotives were built with saturated steam boilers. The class were fitted with superheaters, to differentiate between the two variants the saturated steam locomotives were renumbered as A1 class, each being reclassified as A2 class again when fitted with a superheater.
The last of the A1 class, No. 808, was converted in October 1949. Experiments were conducted in 1923-4 with A2 800 using Pulverised Brown Coal burning equipment, however the experiment was discontinued and the locomotive returned to black coal operation; the A2 class, along with other post-1900 VR steam locomotive designs, was equipped with electric lighting from 1926 onwards. Automatic Staff Exchange equipment to allow non-stop high-speed running between track sections was fitted from 1926 onwards. In 1933, C class heavy goods locomotive C 5 was equipped with a new front end, based on the Association of American Railroads design of self-cleaning smokebox, to improve steaming qualities; the results were promising, in 1934 A2 998 was selected for a series of further tests aimed at further front end improvement, conducted under the direction of VR Rolling Stock branch engineer, Edgar Brownbill. Experiments based on the work of Dr Wagner of the Deutsche Reichsbahn and E. C. Young of the University of Illinois were conducted, with final modifications to the A2 locomotive including: Revision of exhaust nozzle and chimney position and diameter using Wagner's recommended ratios, with a larger 23 in diameter funnel and 6 in diameter, low exhaust nozzle replacing the original 18 1⁄2 in diameter narrow flanged chimney and 5 1⁄2 in diameter, high exhaust nozzle Revision to the firebox grate with fitting of a "rosebud" type grate with reduced air openings to improve fire stability under heavy load and give better firing qualities Replacement of full length 1 3⁄8 in return bend superheater elements with 8 ft 6 in long 1 1⁄2 in elementsThe sum result of these changes was a significant improvement in power and available tractive effort.
Maximum drawbar horsepower increased some 40% from 860 hp at 26 mph to 1,230 hp at 32 mph. The improvement was such that the VR was able to further accelerate services hauled by the A2, with the steeply graded 100 3⁄4 mi Melbourne to Bendigo express running time being cut from 162 to 145 minutes, hours being cut from the schedule of the Melbourne to Adelaide Overland express. Modified Front End was an cost effective improvement given that it allowed the VR to defer new locomotive construction through improvements to existin
Gresley conjugated valve gear
The Gresley conjugated valve gear is a valve gear for steam locomotives designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, chief mechanical engineer of the LNER, assisted by Harold Holcroft. It enables a three-cylinder locomotive to operate with only the two sets of valve gear for the outside cylinders, derives the valve motion for the inside cylinder from them by means of levers; the gear is sometimes known as the Gresley-Holcroft gear, acknowledging Holcroft's major contributions to its development. The Gresley conjugated gear is an adding machine, where the position of the valve for the inside cylinder is the sum of the positions of the two outside cylinders, but reversed in direction, it can be thought of as a rocking lever between one outside cylinder and the inside cylinder, as is common on 4-cylinder steam locomotives, but with the pivot point being moved back and forth by a lever from the other outside cylinder. If we approximate the motion of each valve by a sine wave — if we say the position of a valve in its back-and-forth travel is proportional to the sine of the "driver angle", once we have set the zero point of driver angle at the position it needs to be for that valve — the mathematics is simple.
The position of the valve, pinned to the long end of the 2-to-1 lever is sin θ, while the positions of the other two valves are supposed to be sin and sin . The position of the short end of the 2-to-1 lever is − 1 2 sin θ —which, it turns out, is midway between sin and sin for any value of θ. So a 1-to-1 lever pivoted on the short arm of the 2-to-1 lever will do the trick. Locomotives with Gresley valve gear must have the three pistons operating at 120 degree intervals. In order for the inside crank to clear the leading coupled axle, the inside cylinder of a locomotive with Gresley valve gear is positioned higher than the outside cylinders and angled downward. To maintain a smooth flow of torque, the crank angles are offset from equal 120 degree spacing to compensate for the angle of the inside cylinder; the resultant timing of the blast from steam exiting the cylinders still gives these three-cylinder locomotives a regular exhaust beat. There were a number of issues with the Gresley gear.
Because the conjugation apparatus was mounted at the opposite end of the valve spindles from the valve gear, as the valve spindles lengthened with the heat of steam in the cylinders the valve timing would be affected, the gear would need to be removed before it was possible to remove valves for maintenance. However, the B17 Class "Footballer"/"Sandringham" 4-6-0s avoided this particular problem by being designed with the conjugated gear behind, rather than in front of, the cylinders; the main difficulty with this valve gear was that at high speeds, inertial forces caused the long conjugating lever to bend or "whip". This had the effect of causing the middle cylinder to operate at a longer cutoff than the outer cylinders, therefore producing a disproportionate share of the total power output, leading to increased wear of the middle big end. Sustained high speed running could sometimes cause the big end to wear enough that the increased travel afforded to the middle piston by the increased play in the bearing was enough to knock the ends off the middle cylinder.
This happened during the 113 miles per hour run of "Silver Fox". Although the problem could be contained in a peacetime environment with regular maintenance and inspections, it proved to be poorly suited to the rigors of heavy running and low maintenance levels of World War II; this gave rise to big-end problems on the centre cylinder connecting rod on the famous A4 class of streamlined Pacifics and many of these locomotives were fitted with a reduced diameter piston and had the inside cylinder sleeved down as a temporary measure. LNER Class A4 4468 Mallard suffered centre cylinder big-end damage during its world record run and was forced to limp back to its depot for repairs afterwards. Gresley's successor at the LNER, Edward Thompson, was critical of this particular valve gear; as well as introducing new two-cylinder designs, he set about rebuilding Gresley locomotives with separate sets of Walschaerts valve gear for each cylinder. Under British Railways ownership, the application of former Great Western Railway workshop practices for precise alignment of the valve gear and in the manufacture and lubrication of the inside big end bearing solved the problems.
Gresley conjugated valve gear was used by the American Locomotive Company under license for the 4-12-2 locomotives built for the Union Paci
Spirit of Progress
The Spirit of Progress was the premier express passenger train on the Victorian Railways in Australia, running from Melbourne to the New South Wales border at Albury, through to Sydney. From its introduction in November 1937 until April 1962 the train service ran on 1,600 mm broad gauge line from Melbourne's Spencer Street station to Albury, on the New South Wales / Victorian border, where passengers changed to a New South Wales Government Railways train, running on 1,435 mm standard gauge track to complete the journey to Sydney. Following the completion of the standard gauge line between Melbourne and Albury in April 1962 the Spirit of Progress was extended to Sydney; the Spirit of Progress ushered in a standard of passenger train speed and comfort not seen in Australia. Its introduction in November 1937 marked the culmination of many years of preparatory work by the Victorian Railways, from the laying of heavier rail on the North East line, introduction of Automatic Staff Exchange apparatus to allow continuous high speed running between track sections, introduction of high-powered three-cylinder Pacific locomotives, the testing of air conditioning equipment on passenger rolling stock.
Such was the commitment of VR Chief Commissioner Harold Clapp to introducing a world-class train service to Victorian Railways no detail was overlooked. VR engineers famously road-tested the new train's smoothness on curves by studying a full bowl of soup in the dining car as the train took curves at full speed. Harold Clapp could not, take credit for the name for the service; when introduced, the train featured many innovations new or introduced to Australian railway practice, such as streamlining, full air-conditioning, all-steel carriage construction. Its overall exterior and interior design reflected the latest Art Deco style, interior fittings used materials such as stainless steel and native Australian blackwood veneers; the luxurious new train featured a dining car with a modern galley kitchen modelled after the most up-to-date hospital kitchens of the period and, at the rear, a round-ended parlour/observation car offering panoramic views of the Victorian countryside as it disappeared into the distance.
VR's three-cylinder S class 4-6-2 steam locomotives were assigned to haul the train, which had an eleven-car trailing load of 544 long tons, over the 1 in 50 gradients between Melbourne and Albury. Although the locomotives had been in service since 1928, their appearance was altered with the addition of streamlining, along with royal blue and gold livery designed to seamlessly match the carriages of the train; the locomotives were equipped with long range tenders, with enough water and coal capacity to enable the train to travel the entire 190.5-mile journey between Albury and Melbourne non-stop, at an average speed of 52 miles per hour, a schedule, the longest non-stop train journey in Australia, held the record as the fastest for the next twenty years. Until the conversion of the S class locomotives to oil firing, the locomotive fireman was charged with the formidable task of shovelling six to seven tons of coal into the firebox during the course of each journey, in order to generate enough power to maintain the schedule.
The Spirit of Progress was launched on 17 November 1937 in a blaze of publicity, which included dramatic footage being taken of the new train racing Airco DH.4 aeroplane VH-UBZ Spirit of Melbourne on its demonstration run to Geelong. In an elaborate launch ceremony at Spencer Street station, Premier Albert Dunstan opened the Parlor Car with a gold key. Three hundred invited guests joined the train for the inaugural run, ranging from Attorney-General of Australia former Railways Minister Robert Menzies to Mr AO Henty, descendant of Edward Henty, the Victorian pioneer after whom the train's locomotive was named; the train reached 74 mph against a headwind on the Down journey to Geelong, on the return leg reached a new official Australian rail speed record of 79.5 mph between Werribee and at Laverton before speed was cut to avoid stray livestock on an unprotected level crossing. While not acknowledged, the steam-hauled Spirit of Progress is reported on occasion to have reached speeds as high as 86 mph while in regular service.
Flaman speed recorder paper tape records were taken for every journey. After the successful launch of the service, the train settled into a routine that remained unchanged for the next fifteen years, it departed Spencer Street station at 18:30 each evening, arriving at Albury at 22:20. As well as cleaning of carriages and servicing of the locomotive, staff would reverse the train back across the Murray River bridge to a turning triangle at Wodonga; this ensured that the locomotive and parlour car were facing in the correct direction for the return trip to Melbourne, which departed at 07:55 the following morning and arrived at Spencer Street station at 11:35. In Melbourne, the train was turned using a balloon loop. After a year in service, the train was credited with having increased patronage to 209,000 passengers, an increase of 28,000 or 15% over the number carried by the Sydney Limited in its last year of operation. By 22 November 1939, annual patronage had increased again to 222,371. A 1:7 scale model of Spirit of Progress rolling stock made
In railroad terminology, double heading indicates the use of two locomotives at the front of a train, each operated individually by its own crew. The practice of triple-heading involves the use of three locomotives; the practice of multi-heading involves the use of multiple locomotives and so on. Double heading is most common with steam locomotives, but is practised with diesel locomotives, it is not the same practice as two or more diesel or electric locomotives working'in multiple', where both locomotives are controlled by a single driver in the cab of the leading locomotive. Double heading is practised for a number of reasons: The most common reason is the need for additional motive power when a single locomotive is unable to haul the train due to uphill grades, excessive train weight, or a combination of the two. Double heading is used on passenger trains when one locomotive could suffice but would not be fast enough to maintain the schedule. More certain companies have used double-heading to guarantee a service when they have been aware of the poor quality of their locomotives, on the understanding that if one engine failed in service, the other would suffice to get the train to its destination.
Double heading is a useful practice on single lines in the absence of a need for more power, as to double-head a train saves making a separate path for a spare engine. As double heading has become uncommon railway companies may advertise specially double-headed services as an attraction to enthusiasts. In the United Kingdom, double-heading is used to provide redundancy for all trains hauling nuclear flasks. For security and safety reasons, trains carrying nuclear waste cannot be allowed to be left standing after a breakdown. Double heading requires careful cooperation between the engine crews, is a skilled technique, otherwise one locomotive's wheels could slip, which could stall the train or cause a derailment; the risks of double heading as well as its costs have led railroads to seek alternative solutions. Electrification has been used in many cases; the Milwaukee Road was able to switch from triple-headed steam locomotives to a single electric locomotive. The costs of running extra steam locomotives were eliminated, average train speeds increased because it was no longer necessary to attach and detach the locomotives.
In Britain, the Midland Railway used to use double-heading because it built only small, light locomotives, which were not powerful enough to haul the trains alone. Several accidents on the Midland system were indirectly caused by this'small engine policy' and the resulting reliance on double-heading; some were caused by trains stalling despite being double-headed, while others were caused by excessive light-engine movements as locomotives, used for double-heading returned to their depots. When the Midland was absorbed into the London and Scottish Railway, this practice was stopped because it was uneconomical, more powerful locomotives were built; when a train formation includes two locomotives double-heading the service, they are distinguished by the terms pilot engine for the leading locomotive, train engine for the second locomotive. This should not be confused with the different procedure of adding a banking engine to the rear of a train to assist up a hill or away from a heavy start. For many years the Great Western Railway of the United Kingdom maintained a unique practice when double-heading was required.
If an extra locomotive was to be added to the front of a train for a particular section of line the second'pilot' engine would be coupled directly to the train while the original'train' engine would remain at the front of the formation. The GWR's reasoning was that the driver of the original engine was in overall charge of the train, with the second locomotive assisting for a portion of the journey, thus his engine should be placed at the front. Despite requiring time-consuming shunting operations each time an engine had to be added or removed to a train this arrangement remained in place on parts of the GWR until nationalisation in 1948. Push–pull train
The Newport Railway Workshops is a facility in the Melbourne suburb of Newport, that builds and refurbishes railway rollingstock. It is located between the Werribee railway lines. Plans for a workshop at Newport started in the 1860s, to replace the temporary Williamstown Workshops but nothing came of it, it was not until 1880 that work began, when the Victorian Railways purchased annexes used at the 1880 Melbourne Exhibition and erected one of them at Newport, naming it the Newport Carriage Workshops when it began operation in 1882. Construction of the permanent workshops commenced in 1884, was completed in 1889. Although the earlier carriage workshop closed at this time, it reopened in 1895 to manufacture signal equipment; the first carriages built by the workshops were completed in 1889, but locomotives were manufactured by the Phoenix Foundry in Ballarat, the first locomotive being built in 1893. The main elements of the workshops are a central office block and clock tower, the'East Block' for carriage and wagon works, and'West Block' for heavy engineering and locomotive building.
Expansion followed in 1905–1915, 1925–1930. During World War II the workshops were turned over to military production, with the rear fuselage, empennage of Bristol Beaufort bombers being built there. At the peak of operation it was one of Victoria's largest and best-equipped engineering establishments, with up to 5,000 employees on site; the workshops had its own cricket ground, in the 1920s the game of Trugo is said to have been invented by workers on their lunch hour. In the late 1980s, the original segments of the workshops were removed from everyday use, modern workshops built along the eastern side of the site, which remains in use today. On 15 January 2000, ownership of the workshops passed from the Public Transport Corporation to Clyde Engineering. Current revenue operations are carried out in the eastern section of the workshops by Downer Rail, who carry out work including locomotive and carriage maintenance, diesel engine and wheelset overhauls; the workshop has the only broad gauge underfloor wheel lathe in Victoria.
From 2018, it will build the High Capacity Metro Trains. A section of the workshops is leased to Siemens for maintenance of their Siemens Nexas trains; the original 1880s workshops have been maintained for heritage uses. The'West Block' area are occupied by a number of railway preservation groups such as Steamrail Victoria, Diesel Electric Rail Motor Preservation Association Victoria and 707 Operations, while the'East Block' has been retained by the Department of Infrastructure for the storage of disused trams and other rail rollingstock; the Australian Railway Historical Society Railway Museum is located south of the workshops, near North Williamstown railway station. Steamrail Victoria 707 Operations The Newport Story Doenau G Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin November.