by Ron Fitch
...Ron Fitch was born in 1910 into a railway family.He began his career as a 16-year-old engineering cadet and completed it, 46 years later, having worked at various times for two state railways and the Commonwealth, as Commissioner of South Australian Railways.
In this book Fitch gives a vivid account not only of a career but of the camaraderie of the greater railway community, often experienced in the most trying of conditions.For almost three decades Fitch was 'on the wallaby', with postings scattered over half a continent and as often as not living rough.
This book gives an account of all this and more: of laying track and the remarkable breed of men who do so, of advances in line-building techniques, of derailments and floods and washaways, of wrangles over attempts to implement standard gauge, of the politics of railways.Ron Fitch
is uniquely placed to write a book for all train enthusiasts, in which he
celebrates both the men and the machinery, the toil and the technology, that opened up a vast and sparsely populated continent.
Nor has retirement dulled his
spirit or his
interest in railways.In 2002 he
earned recognition from Guinness Book World Records when his
thesis on South Australian railways made him the oldest recipient of a PhD.
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