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27 May 1930 Railway Investigation Committee appointed

 27 May 1930   Railway Investigation Committee appointed

On 27 May 1930 a committee of four experts was appointed to inquire into the workings of the South Australian Railways. William Goodman, general manager of the Tramways Trust; J. Wainwright, assistant Auditor-General; Charles Miscamble, former Commissioner of Tasmanian and Victorian railways; and Archibald McInnes, Secretary of the Boilermakers Society were the appointees. Their task was to investigate the control and administration of the railways and the causes of the heavy, and increasing, losses incurred.

The inquiry was instigated following the departure of W. A. Webb, the Railways Commissioner, on 14 May 1930, after eight years in the job. He had become unpopular with the government for a number of reasons. South Australia was beginning to feel the effects of the depression which was evident in all states, but much of the loss of revenue in South Australia was blamed on the railways. There were many retrenchments from the railways and receipts had declined.

Most of the witnesses at the commission hearings were loyal to Webb, but the commissioners argued that his ideas were too ambitious for the times, and found that many of Webb's rehabilitation schemes were expensive and extravagant and had damaged the state's economy. However, Webb's legacy was a greatly upgraded system and a grand new railway station. 

R.I. Jennings, W.A. Webb South Australian Railways Commissioner 1922-1930,  Nesfield Press, 1973, Chapters 3-7.

Tags: Railway Investigation Committee, Railways, Webb. W.A.