The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 7 (November 1, 1928)
Uniform Gauge Essential to Development and Safety of Commonwealth
Uniform Gauge Essential to Development and Safety of Commonwealth.
The railway experts submitted their report, but in an addendum they questioned the wisdom of adopting the 4ft. 8 ½in. gauge as the standard in preference to the 5ft. 3in. gauge. When the report was considered at a Conference of the Commonwealth and State Ministers it was resolved that, having regard to the disagreements as to gauge, two experts from outside Australia, and an Australian outside the Australian railway services, be appointed to report upon the unification of the gauges; the question as to what gauge it is desirable to adopt, and the question of cost of conversion.
The report of the Royal Commission was submitted in September, 1921, and was considered at a Conference of the State Premiers with the Prime Minister, when it was resolved:
“That the adoption of a uniform gauge is, in the opinion of this Conference, essential to the development and safety of the Commonwealth.”
“That the Commission's recommendation of a 4ft 8 ½in. gauge be accepted.
“That steps be at once taken by the Premiers of all the States to consult their Governments with regard to the said agreement, and the financial obligations of the parties thereunder, and that the conclusions arrived at shall be communicated to and considered at a further Conference in January, 1922.”
The Conference was held in Melbourne, but no decision was arrived at.
One of the schemes recommended by the Commission embraced the conversion of the 3ft. 6in. gauge railway from Perth to Kalgoorlie (Western Australia), part conversion of the line from Port Augusta to Adelaide, conversion of the whole of the 5ft. 3in. gauge lines of South Australia and Victoria, and the construction of a 4ft. 8 ½in. gauge railway from South Brisbane to Kyogle in New South Wales, linking up with the North Coast railway from Sydney. The cost page 14 of this scheme was estimated at #21,600,000. This would have given a 4ft. 8 ½in. gauge railway from Brisbane, in Queensland, to Perth, in Western Australia, a distance of 3,476 miles.