Re: the McIvor triangle

Frank Stamford

On 30 Sep 2014, at 9:38 pm, "Eddie Oliver eoliver@... [LRRSA]" <LRRSA@...> wrote:


Frank Stamford's McIvor tramway book is just brilliant in all respects -
congratulations, Frank, on a superb effort of both preparation and

One of the most frequently appearing elements is the Triangle. It is
totally unclear to me why the triangle was ever installed, and I have a
feeling that if we had a greater understanding of that question, some
other mysterious things would fall more into place as well.

One possible explanation is that it was contemplated as a way of turning
the locos to minimise the wear that would result from them always
running in one direction, yet it seems that they usually ran in one
direction - presumably to handle the steep gradients better. But is it
possible that (at least at some stage) the preferred loco orientation
was opposite north of the triangle from what it was south thereof? That
would also add extra meaning to the bits about changing locos at the
triangle (page 45)?

Thanks for your kind comments on the book.

I am just as perplexed as you as to why the triangle was installed, and I have spent about forty years trying to work out a logical reason. Your suggestion that at least at some stage the preferred locomotive orientation was opposite north of the triangle compared to south has occurred to me too. I think that is quite a likely explanation in the early years when they handling a lot of traffic and using two locomotives. At that time they were not working north of the triangle but east.

Unfortunately the triangle fell out of use before 1917 and I was not able to find anyone to interview who had first hand knowledge of how it was used.

How long was the apex of the triangle? And are there any photos of it
(despite the frequent mentions, it seems to have missed out from getting
photos in the book)?

I cannot give any precise estimate of the length of the apex of the triangle, it might have been long enough to take a complete train, but I am doubtful of that. It definitely dead-ended within the confines of the paddock, that was my observation, and several people who saw the earthworks confirm that. 

No, I do not know of any photographs of the triangle, if there were they certainly would have gone into the book. 



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