14 February 2013

Spirit of progress

The Spirit of Progress was the premier express train passenger service on the Victorian Railways in Australia. It was launched on 17 November 1937.

 Spirit of Progress at the beginning of its inaugural run, November 1937

VR S 301 (locomotive), North Melbourne, 1937

Victorian Railways engineers famously road-tested the new train's smoothness on curves by studying a full bowl of soup in the dining car as the train took curves at full speed; if the soup splashed over the side of the bowl, a decision would be taken whether to modify the curve for higher speeds or reduce the speed limit for the curve.

When introduced, the train featured many innovations new to Australian railway practice, such as streamlining (a streamliner is a vehicle incorporating streamlining in a shape providing reduced air resistance; the term is applied to high-speed railway trainsets of the 1930s to 1950s), full air-conditioning and all-steel carriage construction.

VR Spirit of Progress ad

VR Spirit of Progress ad altered

Its overall exterior and interior design reflected the latest Art Deco style, and interior fittings used materials such as stainless steel and native Australian blackwood veneers.

 Spirit of Progress kitchen

 Spirit of Progress parlor car

 Spirit of Progress parlor car

 Spirit of Progress parlor car