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Explosives Wagons

Historical Photo
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Status: Static Display

The ATT has two types of 18½-inch (460mm) gauge wagons on display.  Both wagons came from the Commonwealth Explosives factory at Maribyrnong in Melbourne’s western suburbs.  Both have gun-metal wheels, as avoiding sparks was understandably a priority in an explosives factory.  Both wagons also have water tanks to drip water on the wheels as an added precaution.

The first type is a yellow box cordite wagon.  Cordite, an explosive used in artillery, was manufactured and pressed into thin sheets, which still contained a quantity of acetone solvent from the manufacturing process.  The sheets of cordite were laid in racks of perforated trays in the cordite wagons, which were hand-pushed to the cordite drying-house where the trucks were coupled together in rakes and warm air was blown through them.  The acetone, being very volatile, was evaporated out of the cordite and recovered to be re-used in the manufacturing process.

The second type of wagon is a general transport wagon used in the Propellant Section of the factory.