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Thursday, 22 July 1926

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - I should like to ascertain from the Minister representing the Minister for Works and Railways the intentions of the Government concerning the ballasting of the east-west railway. Honorable senators who have travelled over the line realize that the section through the Ooldea Hills, owing to the peculiar nature of the country, needs ballasting, not only to ensure a greater rate of speed over the whole system, but also to minimize discomfort to passengers. During the summer months the dust in that locality is a source of trouble to the mechanical equipment, and also causes inconvenience to travellers. It has been admitted by those who have travelled the world that the service is excellent, but the Minister controlling the department should be reminded that improvements are necessary in order to make it even more efficient.

Senator Crawford - Of the amount provided £44,000 is for ballasting.

Senator LYNCH - On what portion of the line? I should like to see the money expended wisely, and greater attention given to the ballasting of the sandy country than, say, the Nullarbor Plain, where the rock formation is close to the surface. Heavy trains swinging round curves on the unballasted portion of the line necessarily damage the permanent way considerably. In this matter of ballasting we should, I think, hold to the maxim "first things first," that is to say, ballast first those portions of the line that most need attention.

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