The Argus at KellyGang 19/8/1873 (2)
Where a line is subject to occasional floods - like the Sandhurst and Echuca line - damage to the permanent way can be quickly repaired when the ballast consists of gravel. Bessemer steel rails, 66lb. weight per yard, have been used throughout the section. They have been laid - as in the first section - directly upon the sleeper.
As one result, we have a much smoother road than we should have had if chairs had been placed between the rail and the sleeper. The first bridge of importance is over Hughes's Creek, 10 miles from Seymour. The trains will not run over it for a fortnight or three weeks yet. For the present a temporary wooden bridge at the side of the permanent work has to be used. The permanent work has 11 openings of 42ft each. It rests upon cylinders. The quantity of cast-iron in the whole structure weighs 86 tons. The fact that seven millions of bricks have been made along the line is some evidence of the number and extent of the culverts. No particular account need be taken of any of the works between Hughes's Creek and Benalla. The redgum timber to be noticed at some of the creeks has been found in handy situations by the contractors, who when they wanted material for sleepers had not, like their brethren on the first section, to buy timber on the Murray, and get it brought down from Echuca to Melbourne by rail.
The bridge over the Broken River at the end of the section is the longest on the whole line, viz., 804ft from abutment to abutment. There are 16 openings, each 40ft wide, and one over the main branch of the river 120ft wide. The quantity of cast iron in the bridge is 228 tons, and the cylinders, if laid end to end, would reach a distance of 2,118ft. Some of the cylinders have had to be sunk 45ft below the surface of the river bed. The floor of the bridge is a about 6ft above the highest known flood mark. Broken River, when really flooded, sometimes becomes two miles wide at Benalla. The name Broken has been given to it on account of the number of different channels it breaks up into as it runs along. The township of Benalla presents an odd sort of appearance. It consists of two large blocks of buildings, three quarters of a mile or a mile apart from one another. The fact that the river floods the land between prevents persons from occupying the vacant ground, and so uniting the two divisions.
As a matter of course, the Government buildings are in the division where the least business is done, and were it not that the inhabitants in the principal division have a branch post office, we should hear of a considerable amount of grumbling. The cost of the bridge at Benalla is estimated at £30,000. The contractors will not complete it until the end of the year. Until then the trains will cross upon a wooden budge. A work nearly as large will occur on the third section at Wangaratta, where then Ovens River is crossed. Very little can be said of the scenery on the second section, particularly when the train traverses it in the dark, as it did yesterday. Glimpses are obtained from time to time of steep ranges, and the rest is gum-trees. Very little cultivation is met with. The good land lies back from the line. The stopping places take the name of the corresponding roadside villages, but the line has failed to get very near to the principal ones. Longwood for example, lies three miles off, and cannot be seen on account of the gum trees.
The contractors for the line are Messrs Murray, Styles, and Beauchamp. The resident engineer, under Mr Higinbotham, is Mr Watson.
[The opening ceremony follows]
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