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Wednesday, 30 August 1972
Page: 985

Dr Everingham asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:

(1)   Has his attention been drawn to a special Commendation by the John Lysaght Inventors Award judges for the entry of Mr C. J. C. Hyde, 206 Denham Street, Rockhampton, which described a system of overlapping rails to overcome problems of expansion on railways.

(2)   Did the Commonwealth Railways fail to reply to a letter of Mr Hyde's dated 25th November 1971 until 13th January 1972, the day after Mr Hyde requested a reply by telegram.

(3)   Did the Secretary assert in the reply that overstressing of the half rail section in contact would occur.

(4)   Can this assertion be sustained considering that each half rail section has a web equal in size to that of the conventional rail.

(5)   Will he ensure that this invention is assessed in practice and not per pigeonhole.

Mr Nixon - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes. I am advised that all entries were required to be covered by patents and that the judges, members of the Inventors Association of Australia, were not required to give their reasons for commendation but, in judging a particular entry, were asked to give consideration to the possible benefit to the community from the adoption of that invention.

(2)   Commonwealth Railways had not completed their consideration of Mr Hyde's invention until 13th January.

(3)   Yes.

(4)   Yes. The load will move between one half rail and the other half rail during the passage of a train. Complete distribution of stress throughout the head and flange of the double rail section will depend on perfect fastening of the 2 parts. In practice this will not be obtained without very costly inspection and maintenance procedures.

(5)   The invention was given proper consideration. It is not intended to test the invention in practice since the introduction of continuous welded rail has generally eliminated the need for expansion joints in railway track. Commonwealth Railways now have many miles of continuous welded rail track between stations on the Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie railway, one section being 37 miles long. Their experience suggests that continuous welded rail is superior to rail with expansion joints.

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