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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 3 (July 1, 1927)

Modernising the Railways. — Frankton Junction Change Over-Team Work a Feature

page 34

Modernising the Railways.
Frankton Junction Change Over-Team Work a Feature

It seems only yesterday that the new Frankton Junction Railway Station was opened with a flourish of trumpets. Here was the very latest in railway construction; yet, so rapid has been the growth of business in New Zealand, that the whole place has once again become inadequate to deal with the traffic that now pours through the Junction. With the opening of the Main Trunk through to Wellington in 1908, the yards became more congested, and piece by piece has been added to the tracks and buildings in an endeavour to cope with the fast-growing traffic. Last Christmas season over four hundred trains, carrying about eighty-four thousand passengers, were handled at Frankton Junction.

It has long been evident that Frankton must be enlarged, and something has now been done in the way of rebuilding to meet modern traffic needs and operating practice. The latest alteration saw about three miles of siding added to the yard tracks and the north end of the station changed from a mechanically operated station yard to an electrically operated one. It was a decidedly big job. For months past gangs had been busy making ready, and after mid-day on the selected Saturday, the stage was set for the change-over. Shortly after the mid-day rush, the mechanical signals were cut out, and for the rest of the day trains were brought into the station by hand signals (flags and lamps)-a temporary reversion to the primitive methods of the good old days.

One big feature of this Saturday was the lifting out, by a steam crane, of a five ton signal gantry. All through the night signalmen and electricians worked, the one group disconnecting the old system and the other linking up the new. At daybreak the following morning there arrived on the scene a gang of forty permanent way men, under Mr. Langbein (Assistant District Engineer) and their Inspector, Mr. H. Nelson, with two seven ton cranes. These were divided into two gangs, No. 1 breaking down, and No. 2 filling in the gaps left by the other in the work of linking up the new sidings.

This part of the day's work was really worth going a long way to see. It was decidedly spectacular. Down would come the jib arm of one crane and as soon as its hook was pushed into some chains which were around the points, the crane would puff a little, and seven tons of points would be wrenched from the earth and swung into the air. Then, when the crane-driver pulled another lever, the crane would turn round towards an empty truck, and the crossing would drop off, No. 1 crane then moving on to the next lot. Up would come No. 2 crane, hook its arm on to some straight lengths of new lines already fastened to their sleepers, and drop these in the place of the points removed. And thus, with repetitions of the same movement, the work rapidly proceeded. Soon the permanent-way men were bolting and packing up the new laid track, adding another length to Frankton's shunting yard. All through the day the changing process went on, until some fifteen sets of points and cross-overs had been shifted, together with about thirty chains of track-No. 1 gang doing the shifting, while No. 2 did the linking up. Darkness was fast falling as the last crossing, weighing nearly fifteen tons, was pulled out.

The object of the job was to extend the lengths of all existing main lines, loops and sidings at the North-or Auckland-end; and as this meant such long lengths of lines to be dealt with, it also became necessary to have the signals and points worked electrically. The railway track is now, therefore, all electrically track-circuited in the vicinity of the new points and cross-overs. This also meant that the present mechanical interlocking under the signal-box had to be entirely rebuilt, all the “sword” irons requiring to be recut in a temporary engineer's shop nearby. The position of the trains approaching the Junction, at the Auckland end, can now be seen on an illuminated diagram in the signal box.

The points are operated by 110 volt A. C. motors, and the home signals by motors of the same class; the new distant signals are of the three-position coloured light type, similar to those in use in the automatic signals around Auckland.

The electric work has been put in by Mr. E. H. Pritchard, Signal Foreman of the Department under Mr. R. A. Abel, Signal Inspector, of the Auckland District, and Mr. C. Hollis, Electric Inspector. About one hundred men were engaged on the work-it being the biggest change-over since that of the Dunedin station some years ago.

In place of the signal-post gantry holding the home signals, a very fine “bridge” type gantry has been erected, holding six signals.

The following week the whole of the interlocking in South Signal Cabin was completely re-organised, thus completing the change over at both North and South ends.

page break
Frankton Junction Improvements. 1. The new signal gantry. 2. Relay box. 3. Lifting out the old signal gantry (weighing about 5 tons) by steam crane. 4. The two cranes at work.

Frankton Junction Improvements.
1. The new signal gantry. 2. Relay box. 3. Lifting out the old signal gantry (weighing about 5 tons) by steam crane. 4. The two cranes at work.

page 36

Co-incident with the Yard alterations the whole of the electric power supply for railway purposes was changed over to the sub-station at the House Factory. This necessitated the installation of equipment of three outdoor sub-stations and additional electrical gear in the main sub-station.

New Zealand's Greatest Industry.
“Irradiated” Butter.

Sir William Arbuthnot Lane, the well-known surgeon and dietist, has put forth a theory which is of particular interest to New Zealand. He believes that foodstuffs grown in the sunny places of the earth, or produced from animals which feed on crops or pastures grown in countries blessed with an abundance of sun-shine-irradiated foodstuffs-possess a higher vitamin content than foodstuffs produced in countries not so favourably placed. Writing recently in “Emigration” he says:—

Australian and New Zealand butter is made from the milk of cows that feed in the open pastures all the year round, and is consequently very rich in Vitamins A and D, which are particularly valuable to us all during the winter months. It is especially good for children, because of its valuable property of stimulating growth and preventing rickets. Generally speaking the butter which comes to England from the Continent during the winter is made from the milk of stall-fed cows, and is deficient in those vitamins which so materially assist the constitution to resist colds and kindred complaints.

This view has just been endorsed by another famous dietist (Professor V. H. Mottram) in the course of a recent broadcast address from London:—

“If you take butter, milk, cheese, eggs and suet,” observed Professor Mottram, “you get Vitamin A, and, most probably, Vitamin D. It is better to make sure of the latter, at any rate for children, in the winter by giving them cod liver oil; or you could use New Zealand or Australian butter and dried milk. By taking New Zealand or Australian butter in our winter you are taking what is really summer butter, and I believe the same applies to the dried milk. There is so much more sunlight, more ultra-violet light in the Antipodes, even in winter, than in this benighted country.”

Professor Mottram added that diet should include a “Pan-vitamin” salad consisting of lettuce, endive, watercress, onions or tomatoes, with a dressing-of yolk of hard-boiled egg and cream added to the oil and vinegar. Such a salad, he said, would contain all the Vitamins that we run any risk of missing.

At Frankton Junction. Steam crane raising about 15 tons of cross-overs.

At Frankton Junction.
Steam crane raising about 15 tons of cross-overs.