The Argus at KellyGang 28/10/1873

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The first portion of the third section of the North-Eastern line was" opened yesterday as far as Wangaratta, a distance of 145½ miles from Melbourne . It is about two months and a half since the completion-with the exception of the permanent bridge over the Broken River at Benalla - and formal opening of the second section of the line from Seymour to Benalla. The third section comprises the remainder of the line extending from Benalla to Wodonga, where it taps the River Murray, near Albury, a distance of about 66 miles. It was the original intention of the Government not to open any portion of the third section for public traffic until the completion of the whole, as it has been found that the operations of the contractors are considerably impeded thereby. The desire of the residents of Wangaratta, and the adjoining districts, for the benefits of speedy railway communication so long denied to them, was, however, so strong, and the representations to the Government so urgent, that the Government eventually acceded to their request, and decided to open the first 24 miles of the section immediately.

This portion of the third section runs for several miles through flat and uninteresting country, presenting few features of any marked importance. For railway purposes however, level country is far preferable to the most picturesque of mountainous districts. The heavy cuttings and expensive works which are rendered necessary in the latter case may be dispensed with to a considerable extent in the former, and though the same opportunity is not afforded for the exhibition of engineering ability, still the great advantage is gained of a lessened demand upon the public purse. From Benalla to Glenrowan, a distance of about 14 miles, the country is level, and may be said to present no engineering difficulties. Near Glenrowan the ground becomes more hilly, and the gradients are consequently steeper. The steepest gradient on this portion of the line is a rise of one in 75, and there are also two declines of 1 in 75, the first about a mile and a half in length, and the other of about three quarters of a mile.

The township of Winton, six miles from Benalla, is the first settlement, worthy of the name, reached after quitting the latter place. It is indeed the only township of any importance on this portion of the section, and even there the population is not estimated at over 100 persons. Glenrowan, eight miles further on, can scarcely be dignified as a township. It has risen into some temporary importance as a railway settlement, and can boast a public-house or two, but beyond that first indication of civilisation, its progress is not definitely marked. The scenery in the vicinity is pretty.

There is not a large population between Benalla and Wangaratta. A few farms are scattered here and there, but it is hoped that, now easy communication with the Melbourne market is provided, settlement in the district will be largely increased.

Wangaratta, the furthest point to which at present the North-Eastern line is opened, is a good-sized town, numbering, according to the last census, 1,469 inhabitants. It is one of the principal towns of the district, and ranks next in importance to Beechworth. The distance from Benalla to Wangaratta is 24¼ miles. No intervening stations have been established. There are no, very heavy works on this part of the section, but a number of small creeks have to be crossed.


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