I’d been told this segment was coming up on Coxy’s Big Break, and it finally aired on Sunday: a look at the cash railways at the shop I worked at part-time as a teenager, Hattams in Elsternwick.
Apparently these are some of the few still working cash railways in Victoria. They were common in medium to larger shops early last century, as a way for money to be relayed to a central cashier, and change sent back.
For more on cash railways, check the Cash Railway web site.
- Completely unrelated: The Age has an article today about new Myki gates being no faster than the hybrid Metcard/Myki “frankenbarriers” they replaced. This is based on this great blog post from earlier in the week by Marcus Wong. Well worth a read.
3 replies on “A little bit of history: cash railways (not the usual type of railway I post about)”
A car parts place in Elizabeth St (near Queensberry) called W.L. Ryan’s had one of these systems up until some time in the mid eighties, I think. It was fascinating, but very slow.
Cooool. There was one in an antiques store somewhere on the New England tablelenads near Armidale (NSW) in the mid 1990s but I don’t know if it was functional.
Good work Marcus.
And I can personally confirm that the TfL barriers (Oyster card) are much, MUCH quicker than Myki or frankenbarriers. No hard data but just back from London with a lot of tube use they seemed to take about 1.5s per person, most of that walking through rather than reading/processing the card. I worked it out by counting 2 people every 3 seconds, consistently. Pretty much as soon as the gate started to open the reader was ready for the next person, and confirmed the reading in less than half a second. You really don’t have to pause at all.
If I recall correctly, the Bouke’s ACTU store in Melbourne in the 1960s was using a pneumatic tube system, probably more ‘modern’ than the cash railway system, but basically serving the same purpose.