The Argus at KellyGang 20/11/1873 (5)
After crossing the Ovens, the line passes through a mile or two of low swampy land known as the Ovens Flats. This land is very liable to be flooded, and consequently extensive water provision has had to be made. Between the Ovens and Reid's Creek, which runs at the northern end of the flats, there are no less than 11 bridges, varying in length from 40ft. to 100ft. The bridge over Reid's Creek is rather peculiarly constructed. It consists of 13 openings, each of 40ft. The piers are built of brick and cement. The peculiarity about it is, that it is built in a curve, whose radius is 80 chains, or a mile. This necessitates the outer girder being longer than the inner, the excess being something like 15in. The remaining portion of the line presents no engineering difficulties.
In consequence of the high flood in December last, it was found necessary, instead of a bridge with three openings of 20ft. each, to build one of double that size over House Creek, near Wodonga. The ruling gradient in this section is also 1 in 75. The rails used are different from those on the first and second sections, being of iron instead of steel, and weighing 751b. to the lineal yard instead of 661b. They are fastened to the sleepers with iron pins driven through the flange, and fang bolts are only used occasionally. The reason for substituting these rails for steel was, that at the time they were required iron rails were about two-thirds the price of steel, and from motives of economy they were used instead. A large quantity of ballast was obtained from the Glenrowan Ranges, about 15 miles from Benalla. An attempt was made to use some quartzite which was found in the same neighbourhood. It is something between bluestone and granite, but it could not be utilised as it was too difficult to quarry, and smashed the teeth of the stone-crushing machines when being broken up.
The scenery on this section presents more features of interest than on the preceding one. , For several miles after leaving Benalla the country is very flat, but a decided improvement is perceptible from Glenrowan to Wangaratta. From the top of the Glenrowan Ranges, a splendid view of the Buffalo Ranges, in the Beechworth District, can be obtained. Mount Nelson and Mount Feathertop, the southernmost and northern- most extremities of the Great Bogong Range, near Bright, can also be seen. For a very considerable portion of the year, the summits of these mountains are covered with snow.
Between Glenrowan and Wangaratta there is a good deal of cultivation. The completion of the line will give a great impetus to settlement around Wangaratta, which is already the centre of a flourishing agricultural district. Around Reid's Creek, where in all probability the Beechworth line will branch off, the country is generally flat, and is occupied for pastoral purposes. Half-way between Wangaratta and Chiltern is a station named the Springs. At this point the proposed line to Wahgunyah will most likely diverge from the main line. Chiltern, the next station, is a mining township. The gold workings only support a small population, but there are also some patches of cultivation to be seen. The water required at this station for the engines is obtained by gravitation from the celebrated Barambogie spring, distant about three miles from the town.
For a most trifling expenditure the wants of the Railway department have been supplied, and a good many of the inhabitants of Chiltern have been furnished with most excellent water from this unfailing spring. At Barnawartha, or Indigo Creek, there is a considerable extent of cultivated land. From this point the line traverses several miles of pleasant undulating country. It then creeps very prettily along at the foot of the ranges through a succession of small spurs. After passing very close to the Murray Flats it terminates on the high ground about two miles from the river. The station at Wodonga is situated at the junction of High street and Sydney-street, near the south end of the township. In the event of the line being continued across the Murray it would have to go above the effluence of Wodonga Creek from the Murray River, and then wind round and by a sharp curve get back to Albury.
The distance in the direct line would be about two and a-half miles, but by this route it would be nearly twice as far. Some years ago it was almost impossible to cross the Wodonga Flats, except in boats, but a year or two back £12,000 was spent by the Victorian Government in making a suit- able approach to the fine wooden bridge which crosses the river at this point. Ample provision has been made to carry off the flood-waters, and there is now no difficulty in maintaining communication between Albury, on the New South Wales border, and Wodonga, which is on the Victorian side of the river.
The line was constructed under the superintendence of Mr T Higinbotham, engineer in-chief; Mr R Watson acted as resident engineer for the whole line. Mr W F Hardie was district engineer for the first section, and Messrs W Walton, L P Moline, J Lunt, and Kingston Cuthbert were the district engineers on the remainder of the line. The chief draftsman was Mr R G Ford.
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