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Very little mention is made of Australian rail outside Australia. To help rectify that and for comparitive purposes I thought it might be interesting to share some information which I have been looking at recently concerning an Australian streamlined steam locomotive called the Sprit of progress. This train has been regarded by some as the finest train to run in Australia and I have to admit it is easily the best looking.



The train was introduced in November 1937 by Victorian Railway commissioner Harold Clapp. The train operated from Spencer st station to Albury on the border with New South Wales. Unable to proceed further due to the change in gauge. These trains were pulled by four 4-6-2 'S' class steam locomotives which were given a special streamlined body with a fetching blue and gold colour scheme. The all-steel coaches were painted in matching colours. (The blue & gold livery was used throughout the VR system for over 40 years and, to Australians, was instantly recognised and associated with the State of Victoria, even though Clapp had based the design on the US Erie Railroad's popular livery.)



The train was advertised as 'Australia's first main line air-conditioned train'; the inclusion of the words, "main line", being necessary as the NSW Government Railways had introduced the air-conditioned Silver City Comet, Parkes-Broken Hill, during the previous year.



The Spirit of Progress was popular instantly and recognised as a world class train! There are similarities with the Henschel Wegmann train of the DRG. The streamlined coaches being one. The attempt to provide a modern train service with state of the art features being the other.

Sprit of Progress Parlor car

Spirit of Progress compartments

Sprit of Progress Coaches

Air con coaches

Even after the streamlined steam train had gone the name still lived on with more modern locomotives.

Sprit of Progress advertising poster from 1937

Unfortunately I have been unable to find a model of this loco but there is a kit available. Trouble is the kit costs $600 which puts it in same price range as an off the shelf Trix, Brawa, Fleischmann, Precision Craft loco with sound pre-installed. As the Australian rail market is small prices are high and often kits are all you're going to get. As with the Eureka Garratt it would be good if some one took it on themselves to a limited run of the train set. Bit unlikely though. Tough world isn't it?
 

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There was a publicity shot taken of this train beating an aeroplane in a race, admittedly a tiger moth, but still a plane. Due to the excellent service the S class locos gave when they were replaced with diesels the diesels were also called S calss.
 

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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 14 Jun 2006, 04:24) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>As with the Eureka Garratt it would be good if some one took it on themselves to a limited run of the train set. Bit unlikely though. Tough world isn't it?


Nice looking loco, would probably be a fairly easy job for somebody to knock up a resin body to fit a RTR pacific chasis if this hasn't already been done, so it's just a case of getting someone to do it.
 

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There was some time ago a resin body for a "Spirit" but I haven't seen one in many years. Steam Era do make a model of the streamlined version and a non-streamlined version. It should be noted that this is a broad guage loco and only ran as far as Albury on the Victorian/NSW border where every one changed trains to a NSW standard guage train, usually hauled by a class 38 with an HUB set. It wasn't untill the diesel era that the break of guage was finally abolished by the building of a standard guage line from Albury to Melbourne's Spencer street station. This double track has seen some fine performances in the preservation era with mulitple running of steam locos on both gauges. One of note was when Flying Scotsman was here for the Bicentenial and a triple run of Scotsman, a Vic "S" class and an "R" class could been seen. It was an awesome sight.

Ozzie21

QUOTE (5696Arethusa @ 22 Jul 2007, 08:32) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Nice looking loco, would probably be a fairly easy job for somebody to knock up a resin body to fit a RTR pacific chasis if this hasn't already been done, so it's just a case of getting someone to do it.
 

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I travelled on the Spirit Of Progress many times in the late '70's and early '80's mainly between Albury and Sydney. By that time of course it was more of a supplement service to the Southern Aurora. I'm not sure when both these trains were discontinued and replaced by the XPT.
 

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its a nice train. do the works drawings still exist?

Not sure about the Henschel Wegmann train of the DRG. i think it bears far more similarity with the asia express on the manchurian railway (for which i have works drawings!!)

I think part of the reason such trains are neglected outside Australia is that its soo difficult for us to get hold of the raw data in order to build a model. I do alot of design work and the outline drawings published in magazines are simply not good enough to design a decent model and i cant go all the way to Australia on a wild goose chase. People often save drawings from magazines because they might want to build a model of it one day but when it comes to actually designing it on a computer i have to put numbers into autocad. i cant say to my computer "well i think its about this much" and hold my hands about a foot apart! I need numbers.

Peter
 

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QUOTE (rpjallan @ 22 Jul 2007, 12:03) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I travelled on the Spirit Of Progress many times in the late '70's and early '80's mainly between Albury and Sydney. By that time of course it was more of a supplement service to the Southern Aurora. I'm not sure when both these trains were discontinued and replaced by the XPT.
Both trains were combined to make the Sydney/Melbourne Express in 1986. This service was in turn replaced by the XPT around 1993, as was the Inter-capital Daylight Express which provided the daylight run between the two cities.
 

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Peter, there must be some drawings in existance or Steam Era models put an awful lot of guess work into their HO model. I can try and find out if you like but mexican locos aren't in my to know about list.

Ozzie21

QUOTE (pedromorgan @ 22 Jul 2007, 14:42) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>its a nice train. do the works drawings still exist?

Not sure about the Henschel Wegmann train of the DRG. i think it bears far more similarity with the asia express on the manchurian railway (for which i have works drawings!!)

I think part of the reason such trains are neglected outside Australia is that its soo difficult for us to get hold of the raw data in order to build a model. I do alot of design work and the outline drawings published in magazines are simply not good enough to design a decent model and i cant go all the way to Australia on a wild goose chase. People often save drawings from magazines because they might want to build a model of it one day but when it comes to actually designing it on a computer i have to put numbers into autocad. i cant say to my computer "well i think its about this much" and hold my hands about a foot apart! I need numbers.

Peter
 

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QUOTE (Ozzie21 @ 22 Jul 2007, 19:35) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Peter, there must be some drawings in existance or Steam Era models put an awful lot of guess work into their HO model. I can try and find out if you like but mexican locos aren't in my to know about list.

Ozzie21
For Peters benefit, Mexican means Victorian.

This is the steam era model.





Which is very nice but it's a lot for a kit.
QUOTE One of note was when Flying Scotsman was here for the Bicentenial and a triple run of Scotsman, a Vic "S" class and an "R" class could been seen. It was an awesome sight.

You don't know of any photos of that do you?


QUOTE Not sure about the Henschel Wegmann train of the DRG. i think it bears far more similarity with the asia express on the manchurian railway (for which i have works drawings!!)

I was thinking more about the coaches than the loco. The locos are very different. The end cars have that rounded observation section at the back and front.

 

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Sorry Neil, I had it on video tape but it got chewed up a few years back.

Ozzie21

[quote name='neil_s_wood' date='23 Jul 2007, 08:41' post='32990']
For Peters benefit, Mexican means Victorian.

You don't know of any photos of that do you?

I
 

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There's video of the Flying Scotsman with a couple of Victorian R's departing Melbourne on Youtube at


Note the old Spirit parlour car right at the end of the video!
 

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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 22 Jul 2007, 23:41) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I was thinking more about the coaches than the loco. The locos are very different. The end cars have that rounded observation section at the back and front.

So was I actually.
The rakes look remarkably similar. the observation car is a little different but they were very sleek. i found a car from the Asia express languishing in a siding outside beijing railway museum. there were 2 of the observation cars there. they survived because they were used by transport ministers as their private rail cars.
Here is a picture i took shortly before being chased off by a man with a shot gun!

The asia express is on my to-do list.

Peter
 

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QUOTE (pedromorgan @ 25 Jul 2007, 14:53) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>So was I actually.
The rakes look remarkably similar. the observation car is a little different but they were very sleek. i found a car from the Asia express languishing in a siding outside beijing railway museum. there were 2 of the observation cars there. they survived because they were used by transport ministers as their private rail cars.
Here is a picture i took shortly before being chased off by a man with a shot gun!

The asia express is on my to-do list.

Peter
Please post some pictures when you do
 
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