Light Railways - Guidelines for contribution

Industrial Railway News section

Heritage and Tourist section

Major articles

Industrial Railway News section

A working guideline for what may be included in this section is:

but excluding:

Note that government/non-government ownership is not a criterion. All kinds of governments in Australia have operated industrial railways and one or two of these may still exist. (Some at places like hospitals, prisons and quarantine stations were even used in part for public passenger transport!).

Many tourist and amusement operations come under the "Heritage and Tourist" section.

Some discrimination is required when dealing with "private operators" on what were once government railway systems, or that use ex-government railway locomotives at a variety of sites. Included are sites that are effectively "private sidings" with "captive" locomotive power at mining and manufacturing plants (eg Manildra, Blue Circle Berrima, Mt Isa). Private freight depots with captive locomotives (eg Colin Rees, Specialized Container Transport, QRX) are also included. "Private" railways (eg BHP's Illawarra coal lines and the Silverton Tramway) are another area of interest.

Excluded are "private" operations on main line public access routes, either operators or motive power providers (eg Austrac, Freight Australia, West Coast Railway, Silverton) as well as "service" operators on these lines (eg Great Northern Rail Services, Rail Services Australia). Also excluded are former "private" operations now taken over by "main line" operators (eg Emu Bay, ex-BHP Whyalla), although the locomotives and rolling stock originally used on these lines will continue to be of interest and may be reported.

Contributions should be sent to:

Heritage and Tourist section

Contributions to this section should relate to sites and current operations that come within the following guidelines.

Contributions should relate to the heritage of industrial or narrow-gauge railways and current narrow gauge railways that are constructed for tourist purposes or private amusement.

We use "heritage" in the sense of the connection we as individuals and as a community have with the past and with the lives of generations who preceded us. Historical heritage is about "place", such as the sites of significant industrial undertakings or the preserved relics of a railway operation, and with the activities that conserve or interpret the heritage of industrial railways. Moveable heritage, in the form of preserved locomotives and rolling stock, is an important component of the section's coverage, but we are also interested in significant sites and their interpretation for today's visitor.

Contributions should be sent to:

Field Reports

Contributions should be sent to:

Research reports

Contributions should be sent to:

Major articles

Major articles should be sent to:

Before undertaking a major article you should contact the Editor to discuss your project. There could be others working on the same subject!

Purpose of major articles

One of the Society's main aims is to

"publish, or promote the publication of, periodicals; books; audio, video and photographic recordings etc. containing material of light railway interest".

It is the aim of the Society, through its publications to:

To help achieve these aims, consideration of social, industrial and environmental aspects, as well as the railway itself, is strongly encouraged.

Geographic area covered

The geographic scope of the Society, and hence its publications, is:

Scope of Light Railways

Light railways (or tramways) are taken to include:

but generally exclude:


The source of all material, including photographs and maps, used in Society publication must be acknowledged. See a later section for the preferred style of referencing.

Historical measurements

Much of our subject material was constructed and installed in past times using the imperial system of weights and measures. These measures should be retained to preserve historical authenticity, while present day observations and descriptions should use SI (metric) units of measurement. Conversions of Australian units are readily available (and can appear as a table in the front of books or magazines) and the text need only give conversions for special cases, less common and foreign measurements.

If conversion of a specific measurement is needed, it should only appear in the text with the first reference to that measurement e.g. the first reference to a tramway's gauge might be "3 ft 6 in (1067 mm)". References to the power of steam engines should not include conversion from horsepower to Watts (although equivalents for electric motors and internal combustion engines may be shown).

As an example of recommended usage of units, a tramway built in the 1920s may be recorded in the following form if accurate details are known:

"the line was built to a gauge of 2 ft 3 in for a distance of 63 chains at a cost of £564".

A report based on recent observation might describe the line thus:

"examination of surviving relics indicates that the line extended in a north-westerly direction for about 1200 metres. Dog spikes in remaining sleepers suggest that the line was built to a gauge of 2 ft 3 in."


Amounts in the former Australian currency (pounds, shillings and pence) should never be converted to dollars and cents. A conversion equivalent to current terms (eg, equivalent to $-- in 2000 terms) can be made using historical currency conversion tables to give an indication of how key currency figures relate to the values of today.


References are an important part of a research article and every effort should be made to ensure that they can be accessed by the reader without confusion while, at the same time, allowing the article to be read without interruption or distraction.

The Society's policy is to use numbered end-notes for references as these provide the least distraction to the reader.


Captions: should be concise, relate to the text, not be contradictory in meaning or in spelling of names (places or persons).

Reproduction: In line with our objective of quality publications, reproduction standards should be the best available, subject to reasonable costs. Within space limitations, good quality photographs should be reproduced in adequate size to take advantage of their details and significance.


Should be clear, relate to the text, include all significant places mentioned in the text, and have a North arrow. Location maps should be included in articles on particular industries or railways.

There should be a legend showing the symbols used. The Society's standard symbol for sawmills is a filled triangle. Tramways are usually indicated by a 'crossed' line (particularly on contour maps or where there is the possibility of confusion with other features such as roads or railways). For complex track layouts, and where there is unlikely to be confusion with other features, a plain line may be more appropriate.

The Editor's Role

In consultation with the author, the editor's role is: