The Kilmore Electrical Engineer, Mr. Links, reports that the [power] plant is running well. A communication is received from the Railways requesting alterations to the poles and electrical cable crossing the railway in Rutledge Street.
As a protest against curtailment of rail services, the Australian Railways Union approves of a resolution for a general strike. The cancellation of many store sheep and cattle trains is necessary to save a substantial amount of travelling of empty vehicles and avoid unnecessary consumption of coal, says the Chairman of Commissioners, Mr. Harris.
The Transport Board visits Heathcote and discusses transport problems. An idea seems to be to co-ordinate all the road services at Heathcote and convey all passengers by a decent railway service or an improved road service. The Board seems to have a leaning towards the railways as they are state owned. Evidence is taken from Axedale to Pyalong. Cr. Long [Strathfieldsaye] says the Chairman went as far as saying that the local line may be closed as it is not paying. The Railways Department says that patronage of the evening trains when run on Saturdays, Mondays and Tuesdays, is disappointing.
Since petrol rationing was brought in, several people intimate that they are likely to travel by train. The current service is unsatisfactory and inconvenient. People can only visit Melbourne and return the same day on Saturdays. One of the greatest inconveniences is the long wait at Wallan. Running the rail motor through to Broadmeadows to link with the suburban service would be a big improvement. Adjoining shire support will be sought for running the return service on Tuesdays.
The Victorian Railways, in reply to the Council's letter urging a rail service between Wallan and Heathcote on Tuesday evenings, advise that the traffic on the line is very light and does not warrant the expense of running more than one evening trip weekly. Saturday is selected for the evening trip to facilitate weekend travel, but it can be changed for a trial period of three months if district residents indicate that is their preference. Regarding extending the rail motor service to Broadmeadows, they point out that as there is no turntable facility for turning the rail motor at Broadmeadows, the traffic does not justify the expense of providing it.
• Weekly Notice WN52/40 of 13/12/1940 advises that, at Heathcote Junction, Post 3 has been moved 22 yds further out, and direct crossover between Up and Down lines and new connection Down main line to branch line have been provided.
The unsatisfactory rail service has been under municipal notice for some time. Cr. D.R. Thomas thinks that Tuesday would be a better day for a return. Although Saturday would suit some people, Tuesday would suit the majority.
The Country Roads Board, responding to a request to construct a foot crossing over the railway line at Powlett Street, Kilmore, the approaches being on the western side of the Hume Highway, state that there is only 6 feet of shoulder on the west side of the Board's pavement up to the railway fence, consequently, the Board cannot approve it. However, they suggest an approach to the Railways to have two small gates in the railway fence and the construction of a footway across the line.
• Weekly Notice WN28/41 of 15/07/1941 advises that the Leslie dead-end siding at the Up end has been removed.
• Weekly Notice WN31/41 of 05/08/1941 advises that the DEX at the Up end of No. 2 Road at Kilmore has been abolished.
• Weekly Notice WN35/41 of 02/09/1941 advises that a Composite Staff in the Kilmore Electric Staff section a/c Bylands has been provided at Heathcote Junction. It also advises that Bylands may open as an Intermediate Composite Staff Block in the Heathcote Junction - Kilmore Electric Staff Section.
Consideration is being given to a proposal to co-ordinate the local road services with the Railways, passengers to be conveyed by road to Kilmore East where they will entrain for the City. The Heathcote-Wallan railway could be closed to passenger traffic. The McIvor Shire Council opposes the alteration.
The rail motor is withrawn from the whole of the line between Wallan and Sandhurst and replaced by a road service.
A deputation is sent to Melbourne and a series of meetings are held in the district.
The demand of the people of the Northern District from Pyalong to Axedale for the restoration of the rail motor service, is a unified one and a deputation is supported. The Railways approval of restoring the rail motor service is subject to the removal of the road service. That road service is subject to a Government undertaking to protect it. The discontinued rail motor, when withdrawn, replaced the Dodge car that was being used on the Maryborough line and it is viewed as a more important service than Heathcote. During discussion it becomes evident that the local people have never been given to understand that they will have to choose between road and rail. They are also being shoved from pillar to post and required to live on promises.
• Weekly Notice WN03/42 of 20/01/1942 issues a Passenger Fares Book amendment that High Camp, Tooborac, Argyle, Heathcote, Derrinal, Knowsley, Axedale, and Longlea, on the Bendigo via Wallan line, be added to the list, including the line itself, of lines on which there is no passenger or mixed train service; Add, Bendigo via Wallan.
This article is a reply to a letter written by Mr. V.A. Deane, Axedale, that had appeared in an earlier issue of the McIvor Times. Deane's letter appears as follows:
Deane comments on the road service car from Bendigo to Heathcote that had been recorded as running only three days a week, two trips each way. He corrects the previous mention by saying that the car runs two trips each way, each day, except Saturday and suggests that 'misapprehension is manifest regarding this service.'
He says that the Transport Regulation Board attended a public meeting in Heathcote at the end of last year, providing an opportunity for all concerned to express their views regarding elimination of the road transport service car. Support for the road service car is overwhelming. The rail motor only provided one trip daily, each way between Bendigo and Heathcote, and no service on Saturday. Today, we have the best service we have ever enjoyed, and now have the privilege of travelling by car to Kilmore East, providing an eventual return service to Bendigo. The Commissioners say that the rail motor could be returned, but only on the removal of the road service. There are still three steam trains, each way, each day, every week, which is adequate to handle the goods traffic.
A reader comments by saying that Mr. Deane's reference to a public meeting is incorrect, and no such meeting was ever held, and he is referring to a meeting held on 4th July, 1940, that dealt with an application by Campbell and Souter for renewal of their road service licence, and was attended by persons invited by that firm to give evidence for the retention of their service. There had since been two largely attended meetings at Heathcote, and one at Tooborac, Pyalong and Knowsley, to discuss the train service and at each, it was unanimously decided to ask that the train service be restored - even if it meant withdrawal of the competing road service. The letter is under the names of Evans and Gorry, members of the Deputation for Restoration of Train Services.
Another service restoration article. This one opens with 'Nothing official has come through about the rail service' and provides the Kilmore Comment.
Kilmore shire President, Cr. Figgins, says that the cancellation of the train affects Moranding, Willowmavin, Bylands, Leslie and Kilmore. It seems a downright waste of money and petrol for motor vehicles to be running down to Heathcote from Nathalia, Kyabram and Rushworth, to connect with a motor service to Kilmore East. Those towns are served with a better rail service than most. It looks like the rail authorities want to close the Kilmore-Heathcote railway line. Nathalia passengers can go to Shepparton, there is no need for a motor service beyond Heathcote. The authorities also do not want to run the road service to Wallan instead of Kilmore East. Maybe because suburban fares apply from Wallan?
Mails from Willowmavin and Moranding have to go via Bendigo and the Postmistress at Willowmavin has to drive to the main Kilmore Heathcote Road for the mail. Cr. Figgins finishes with the statement that he will support any deputation on behalf of the Kilmore Shire.
Mr. V.A. Deane submits another letter and refers to the item of 02 February and gives the opening paragraph from that article. In substantiating his own comments, he provides details of a Transport Regulation Board document addressed to the Hon. A.A. Dunstan, MLA. which says 'the Board has decided to hold a public meeting at Heathcote so as to allow Mr. Deane, and other parties, an opportunity of submitting their views to the Board. Mr. Deane will be given early notice of the date of the Board's visit'.
Major-General Rankin, the district's Federal Member, is present at a meeting of the McIvor Shire Council and is urged to use his best endeavours to have the rail service restored. It is believed that some influence has retarded the restoration of the service and there is a 'nigger in the woodpile' or a 'fly in the ointment'. Mr. Rankin, unable to get anything definite from the Federal Minister of Transport, says that Victoria is in a bad position so far as coal is concerned, and the Federal authorities undertake to give this State additional supplies to enable some railway services to be restored.
The Shire Secretary, Mr. Gay, details official incidents following the cancellation of the train service and the co-ordination of the road service. Public meetings at Heathcote unanimously support the return of the train service. [It seems that the rivalry between Bendigo and Heathcote that existed during the provision of the rail line, returns for the restoration of the rail motor].
Following a deputation, a suggested timetable is received from the Railways Department for a train service between Heathcote and Wallan, but large meetings at Knowsley, Tooborac and Pyalong pass resolutions asking that the full service be restored between Wallan and Bendigo. The McIvor council is again asked to give a definite indication that they favour the train service. They agree and also agree to the complete withdrawal of the road service.
The article continues with details of a letter to Mr. Dunstan, Premier, that contains details of a letter of reply to Miss M.L. Bywater of Knowsley. It states that the rail motor service was withdrawn on 29/12/1941. Such action was taken after full discussion with and following upon the decision of the Director of Emergency Road Transport to prohibit the operation of 'through' road passenger services to and from Melbourne, and to institute comprehensive road services for passengers and parcels on the route served by the rail motor. The rail motor, which uses diesel fuel, is being used as a replacement for a petrol unit on the Maryborough-Ararat line.
There is some detail as to the availability, or otherwise, of return trips between Bendigo and Heathcote. It mentions that there has been some agitation for service restoration but it could not sustain rail and road services.
Comparative details of costs for various sections and activities are given. Cr. J. Long says that a letter from Knowsley to Axedale, a distance of six miles [9.6km], has to travel to Melbourne, then to Bendigo and to Axedale - a distance of 200 miles [320km].
Major-General Rankin says he will do his best to have the service restored.
Mr. H.E. Taylor, Nathalia Bus Services, replies to Cr. Figgins. He attacks him for not minding his own business and says he should confine himself to the boundaries of his own shire. The letter, as expected, advocates the retention of the Nathalia bus to Heathcote.
A reader, only identified as 'Wake Up You Fools,' lightly comments on the appearance of letters relating to the service restoration and the fact that, despite all efforts, it has still not been restored.
Following on from a deputation, Mr. E.A. Coyle, MLA, informs the Heathcote Shire Secretary that the rail service will be restored, commencing on Monday 10th March but the Bendigo-Heathcote section is not included. The Kilmore Shire President, Cr. A. Figgins, say it will be a proper gesture to thank Mr. Coyle and Major-General Rankin for their services in getting the service restored.
Three out of 23 passengers are trapped when the rail motor on the recently restored Wallan-Heathcote service derails between Pyalong and High Camp and is thrown onto its side, after encountering sand and gravel washed across the level crossing on the main Heathcote-Kilmore road. It skids nearly 40 yards [37m] before coming to rest at right angles to the track.
Another account says that the rail motor skids only 20 yards [18.3m] before coming to rest. It also suggests that 'expert handling of the vehicle by the Driver prevented it turning right over'. [I would like to know what control facilities exist for the Driver of a train, at the moment of derailment, that would give him any opportunity whatsoever to have any more influence than the passengers that are forced to 'ride it out']. The article says that the accident occurs on the crossing about a mile [1.6km] south of Pyalong. The Driver is pinned for two hours before he is freed and it is only the second day of running for the restored service.
There is some criticism of the McIvor Shire Council's acceptance of a service resumption that did not cater for the people between Heathcote and Bendigo. A bus service from Lockington also gets a mention. There is considerable discussion about the service restoration and mention that 'the people of Axedale did not want the rail service'. Cr. Long says 'They have taken more notice of Mr. Deane's letters than anything else'. In essence, Heathcote has to accept the train to Heathcote or none at all.
The article makes interesting reading. Of particular interest are the comments of Mr. Kelly, Railways Department, who says 'Heathcote is one of the worst districts in the state in support of the railway'. [I think. by this time, the ailing railway line is a considerable thorn in the side of the Railways Commissioners].
• Weekly Notice WN13/42 of 31/03/1942 advises that passenger trains are now running between Wallan and Heathcote, thereby serving Heathcote Junction, Leslie, Bylands, Kilmore, Willowmavin, Moranding, High Camp, Tooborac, Argyle, and Heathcote. [There is no resumption of the service between Heathcote and Bendigo
An article, by Mr. Deane, Axedale, criticises the rail motor's 'cheap and flimsy construction and the oft' expressed contention that it may prove a death trap if involved in an accident'. He awakens past letters and comments about his original letter and its subsequent ridicule, as well as the notion of free speech.
Street and road direction signs are removed or blotted out under a request from the Country Roads Board [to prevent them being used for enemy direction-finding].
The Railways District Engineer inspects the road on the west side of Willowmavin Station and is of the view that, with regard to the little use made of the road for railway business, its condition is satisfactory. He also says that the roadway through the goods yard is being used as a shorcut and the cost of improvements will hardly be a fair charge on the Department. Cr. McNab says that people have to use the railway roadway to pick up their goods and if the Department can not afford the list cost of improvement, it must be hard up. Council will do the work.
A railway worker from Kennington, George Penno, about 48 years old, falls dead from his trolley when returning from work with his fellow workers. He is noticed to fall off the trolley between Argyle and Heathcote. An inquiry returns a verdict of sudden heart failure.
Following council representations about the potential use of an otherwise idle petrol-electric rail motor, the Railways Department considers that the traffic does not justify an improved vehicle on the Heathcote-Wallan line. The current service is operated with a diesel motor vehicle and trailer, having a capacity of 63 passengers. Average patronage is far less than capacity. The petrol-electric unit has been released from the Swan Hill line and is a heavy consumer of petrol.
The telephone trunk line from Kilmore to High Camp is extended to Pyalong.
The McIvor Shire writes to the Broadmeadows Shire Council, seeking its co-operation in urging upon the Government the necessity of careful planning for the provision of wood supplies for the citizens of Melbourne. The Council agrees to co-operate.
The Railways Department asks if Council wishes to proceed with the construction of a pedestrian crossing over the railway on the north side of the Hume Highway [Kilmore's main street].
A letter from the Minister of Forests to Mr. E.A. Coyle, MLA, is read to the September meeting of the McIvor Shire Council and creates a discussion, with expressed disagreement with some of the information given. The Melbourne firewood shortage is being caused by diversion of manpower to the defence forces and industry, the shortage of petrol and railway trucks, the acquisition of stocks of firewood by the military authorities and a shortage of coal brought about by its increased use in industry, especially for munitions, etc., and transport difficulties by rail and sea.
The Minister claims that Heathcote has overstated the amount of timber that Heathcote supplies to the market. The article also mentions plans for prisoners of war and enemy alien camps for the purposes of cutting firewood.
Practical suggestions for solving the firewood shortage in Melbourne while preserving the interests of the industry in country districts are made when a deputation, representative of the McIvor Shire Council and sawmillers of Heathcote, waits on Mr. F.E. Old, Chairman of the State Emergency Power, Light and Fuel Committee. Mr. Old tells the deputation that the Government does not want to interfere with private enterprise and he does not favour the suggestion that local control committees be formed in firewood producing districts. He promises to give consideration to a request that timber from State forests be made available to local millers.
The Decentralisation, Roads, Firewood and Railways subjects draw forthright comment from Councillors at the Kilmore Shire meeting.
A trainload of stock that leaves Heathcote at 3pm, does not get to Newmarket Livestock until 9am the next morning, minimising the market.
The closing of Knowsley Station is deplored and representations are to be made in the matter.
The Shire of Strathfieldsaye forwards a petition regarding the Heathcote-Wallan rail line, appealing for signatures.
At a Pyalong Shire meeting, it is decided that, owing to difficulties experienced by municipalities in collecting sanitary charges in respect of residences owned by the Railway Department and occupied by their employees, an arrangement is made that an agreement can be entered into for the Department to pay the charges.
The Legislative Assembly discusses the metropolitan firwood shortage in addressing the consequential increase in the demand for gas. While there is a shortage in the city, there is ample availability in various districts. There are thousands of tons already cut and available for transport to Melbourne.
A part of the article mentions that a 'state of war' exists between the people of Heathcote and the Forests Commission. An officer of the Commission is pulling strings to detrimentally affect the wood millers and carters. At present, 6,000 tons of wood are stored in the forest at Heathcote. It is in 7ft [2.1m] lengths and they are not permitted to cut it shorter in order to send it to Melbourne. There are some 80-90,000 acres [32,400 to 36,420 hectares] of forest land in Heathcote but the Forests Commission will not permit local people to cut and sell firewood. The industry is worth £52,000 a year to Heathcote. At Tooborac, a timber company [McIvor Timber and Firewood Company] employed 200 men for many years. Everything was going smoothly until an officer of the Forests Commission threw a spanner in the works.
When tenders are invited by the Power and Fuel Supplies Committee, for the cutting of wood and cartage to Heathcote and Argyle for milling and sending to Melbourne, no-one puts in a tender - because the Committee wants the work done under its own conditions. The Committee wants control over the wood so that they can determine to which suburb it shall be taken.
A fire breaks out and sweeps over many miles of country in the Axedale, Knowsley, Wild Duck, Derrinal and Heathcote districts. It is the most disastrous in the area for many years with an estimated 1,800 acres [728.4 hectares] of grassland destroyed. An initial fire starts on the Kyneton Road on Miss Murphy's property, believed to have been caused by a gas producer plant. While this fire is being made safe, another breaks out. The Bendigo-Heathcote railway line is the saving feature with firebreaks being burnt between Derrinal and Heathcote. Firefighting equipment from Heathcote, Knowsley, Wild Duck, Tooborac, Pyalong, Redesdale, Axedale, Mt. Camel, Toolleen, Goornong, Elmore, Mia Mia and Elphinstone brigades are used, along with the Bendigo Fire Brigade's motor pump, volunteers and soldiers.
This article covers the aftermath of the huge bushfire.
There is further criticism at District shire meetings of the lack of accommodation provided for passengers travelling at night on the Wallan-Heathcote rail service and continued efforts are made to induce the Railways Department to study, in some measure, the comfort of patrons. Cr. Maher says that he recently travelled and there were 75 people to be accommodated with luggage. He says that when he remarked to a station official, at Wallan, that the trailer might be needed, he was met with, 'Get into the train or you won't go at all.' As a matter of fact, the Department doesn't want people to travel'. Cr. Rainey says that when he travelled recently there were probably not 75 passengers but they were crowded in so tightly that he couldn't look around. Luggage was piled up in the doorway between the compartment and the Driver's seat.
It is decided that the Commissioners be asked to instruct that the trailer be attached to the train on evening journeys when warranted.
The Railways, in reply to a letter about the service, say that the number of passengers rarely exceeds the combined seating of the rail motor and trailer and crowding only occurs when the rail motor is run without the trailer. The Commissioners decide that, if the connecting Albury Express is an hour or more late at Wallan, the rail motor will be run through to Broadmeadows or Melbourne. A suggestion to be able to run to Fawkner is not accepted as there is no connecting line. Refreshments for local district passengers is not available to them on the Albury Express as the buffet is usually full of patrons before it reaches Wallan and considerable difficulty is being experienced in completing service to them within the time available.
Despite instructions, it seems that the trailer is not attached anywhere near as often as it should be. A comment from a Councillor, comparing herding animals to crowding passengers, elicits an inappropriate comment from Cr. Scott, 'What's the difference? The people are pretty dumb!."
The Commissioners already issued instructions that the trailer be attached when needed, but can not agree to have it attached for all trips, needed or not, as it would be wasteful.
The Commissioners bring in a trial period wherein the trailer will be attached on Tuesdays and Saturdays. If it becomes apparent that the trailer is not justified, it will not be attached on either or both days, according to the number of passengers offering.
Cr. Thomas says that the Commissioners say that the problem with early stock trains that are causing inconvenience, was due to manpower. The goods train service had been adjusted last December to effect certain economies and provide an improved method of operating.
The Superintendent of Train Services advises that the regular running of the trailer on the 8.5pm train from Wallan to Heathcote on Tuesdays, will be discontinued as its use is no longer justified. He also advises that the running of a train from Wallan to Heathcote on Tuesday mornings can be arranged if agreeable to people along the line.
A meeting to discuss the service is held to discuss the rail service's deficiencies and possibilities. Unfortunately, the Kilmore Shire could not be represented.
The Strathfieldsaye Shire Council requests discussion on the reinstatement of the Heathcote-Bendigo rail service. Cr. Hagan says that it is scandalous that there should be a railway between Heathcote and Bendigo and not used, while a road service is running. The goods service only runs three days a week and does not adhere to any timetable. There is no means of getting perishables to market. It is not thought that the service will be resumed until the end of the war but steps should be taken to secure it for when the war ends. A united effort is required.
In regard to the curtailment of using the trailer on the rail motor, Councillors point out that not as many passengers are now offering as they can not go to Melbourne on a Tuesday morning. Pyalong Shire has been asking for a train to Melbourne on Tuesday mornings so that people can go to the Newmarket Saleyards. Currently, anyone wishing to attend, has to go down on Monday.
• Weekly Notice WN42/43 of 19/10/1943 advise that the Kilmore No. 3 Road is abolished.
A deputation is being prepared in connection with the desire to have the old services restored.
Cr. Story hears that there are to be further cuts to the local train service to the point where there is going to be no train on one day of the week. He can not see the need to cut the service when the rail motor did not use coal. They could run a daily service if they wanted to. Following a recent meeting, a deputation is made to Sir Harold Clapp, Federal Controller of Land Transport.
A Heathcote meeting, designed to give local people an opportunity to candidly air their views on the local rail service, lasts four hours and ends with no result. The [official] absence of State and Federal road and rail transport authorities, robs the meeting of interest and upsets its design. Finally, in a desperate effort to prevent futility, the question of future action is referred back to the McIvor Shire Council.
The report is very detailed with the views of residents. It includes a statement from Felix Drake, Axedale, that Axedale people are very happy with two goods trains a week and a passenger service twice a day.
The Shire of Dunmunckle advises that a deputation from the Murtoa and Rupanyup Progress Association waited on the council and submitted for consideration and action with other shires, proposals to be presented to the Government for post-war reconstruction, advocating that an East-West railway be sought to follow the route: Murtoa, Rupanyup, Marnoo, St. Arnaud, Logan, Inglewood, Bendigo, Axedale, Rushworth, Murchison to Violet Town with a branch from Axedale to Seymour or Kilmore, and that a railway be constructed on that route. The subject matter to be forwarded to all interested shires. Such a line is thought to be of great interest to the shires concerned.
At a Kilmore Shire Council Meeting, a representative of a deputation to Sir Harold Clapp said that he was non-committal.
When the McIvor Shire Council President, Mr. W.G. Story, asks Cr. D.R. Thomas to submit a report on the deputation to Sir Harold Clapp, regarding the rail service and the Heathcote meeting, Mr. Finnigan said, 'Forget it!' and 'another said, 'Buy the McIvor Times and read all about it'. The report is presented.
Cr. Finnigan says that he doesn't like to be beaten and there seems to be something sinister behind the whole thing. It is farcical when people are exhorted to conserve petrol and tyres, a road service is run. The rail motor could be run at one tenth of the cost. He is also amazed at the number of people who have turned a somersault on the matter. He moves that, owing to the great division in Heathcote, Strathfieldsaye should take the lead in securing the restoration of the Heathcote-Bendigo service. Cr. Maher, Pyalong, said that he had just about had enough of railway matters.
The Murtoa to Seymour line proposal is discussed by the Shire of Dunmunkle. It is mentioned that a highway linking the Hume, Calder and Henty Highways is also being considered and that the proposed railway line will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and never pay for itself. Motor transport is seen as the main development after the war.
Fires break out in many parts of Victoria with loss of life, hundreds of homes burnt to the ground and thousands of head of stock destroyed. Great losses are sustained at Redesdale. The crew of the new McIvor truck become trapped by flames on a narrow road and have a remarkable escape with two of them requiring treatment for burns.
The Railways Department advises McIvor Shire Council that the Commissioners will be pleased to reinstate the Tuesday early morning train as soon as practicable to restore the connection on the North-East line.
A request is received from the Railways Department that sealing be carried out on the Kilmore-Heathcote road between High Camp and Pyalong.
Agitation for an early morning train from Heathcote to Wallan to allow people interested in stock markets to travel to Newmarket and return the same night continues, but representations by Municipal Councils are not successful, for the given reason that the coal situation in Victoria has not improved. The Railways Department promises restoration as soon as it is convenient. A keen observer in the Pyalong Shire Council says that the rail motor did not use coal.
A conference adopts the principal of an East-West line and road, and all delegates pledge to give the movement the heartiest support. Another line being considered is an 18 mile [28.8km] connection between Hopetoun and Lascelles. This will provide railay connection fromm Mildura to Portland.
Another Shire of Dunmunkle planned meeting regarding the East-West railway and road proposal. There is some argument as to whether McIvor Shire would send a delegate or not. [An interesting comment, for 1943, is that machinery is slowly but surely doing away with the labour of hundreds of men and it is a question of what is to be done with the population. Construction of the railway and road will provide work].
Cr. Long remarked, 'We have a railway between Heathcote and Bendigo and no service'. Crs. Story and Thomas are appointed to attend.
A conference at St. Arnaud is not much more than a re-assertion of the earlier proposal. There is a wide divergence of opinion on a suitable route. There seems to be an opinion developed in the Wimmera, in opposition to the original proposal, to bring the line down through Bendigo to Seymour, and favouring a route through Donald, Mitiamo, Rochester, Shepparton and Dookie to Wangaratta. The proposal receives a setback from the Minister of Transport, Mr. J.A. Kennedy, who replies that such a thing has been investigated from time to time and there is no justification for the proposals. The Dunolly-Inglewood and Maryborough-Ararat lines are used as examples. The conference does not agree.
Councillor Tomlinson draws attention to the filthy condition of the Kilmore Station trucking yards, and says it is time the Railways Department paid some attention to them. The same goes with the yards at Willowmavin.
Around 3,000 Public Service engineers are on strike and railway engineers are considering joining them. If this happens, suburban rail services may have to be shut down and will take weeks to resume.
A 50% reduction in rail services is likely within a fortnight unless the threatened tie-up of interstate shipping is averted. If coal is not received from Newcastle, the Railways will be able to maintain only half of the existing services. Country passenger services are already reduced by 50%.
The Superintendent of Country Train Services, Victorian Railways, advises through Mr. P.S. Grimwade, MLA, that much consideration is being given towards improving the service on the Wallan-Heathcote line. Very shortly, it is hoped to place new 108hp [79.43KW], 45 passenger trains on certain country lines, the first of these will be the Wallan-Heathcote line. As yet, there is no definite starting date.
The Secretary for Railways, suggests improvements to the view of the crossing at Willowmavin, and seeks approval of Council in providing a crossing on a new site.
A new diesel rail car trial run is made to Kilmore, on March 10, with three Commissioners and high officers of the Department as first passengers. The vehicle is now in service. No timetable changes have been made. The reason given is that until the larger rail cars are available in several months, it is not possible to improve the existing service, except by placing on the line, the most modern rail vehicle of its class in Victoria.
A much higher powered, 100 passenger vehicle, is expected in a few months. A through service to Melbourne has been promised, along with two trains daily, if supported. On an earlier trial run, the arrival of the new vehicle at Tooborac coincided with the arrival of the current 'beetle' and the contrast was very striking.
• Weekly Notice WN12/48 of 23/03/1948 advises that a Composite Staff is provided at Tooborac in the Heathcote Electric Staff section a/c Argyle, and that Argyle may open as an Intermediate Composite Block Post in the Tooborac - Heathcote Electric Staff section.
Kevin Crockett, the author of this collection, is born in Tongala, Victoria.
Firewood is becoming short in Melbourne and many merchants are forced to close down because of the lack of supplies.
Essendon Airport services are disrupted for 6 hours by fog. Suburban trains on main lines are delayed for up to 30 minutes during the peak.
The new diesel rail motor collides with a motor-truck at a level crossing near High Camp. None of the 34 passengers are injured.
Cr. Maher says that there does not seem to be much chance of electrical supply coming to Pyalong for a few years, but Kilmore may be more fortunate.