The Argus at KellyGang 28/7/1873
THE NORTH-EASTERN RAILWAY
The North Eastern Railway will be opened as far as Benalla, which is the end of the second section in about a fortnight from the present time. The work ought to have been finished several months ago but the con- tractors were much retarded by wet weather last winter Benalla is over 120 miles from Melbourne and some 10 miles beyond Violet Town, the station to which a train has been running daily for a few months past. The locomotive can at this moment go safely over the Broken River and up to the Benalla station; but the permanent way has not been completely ballasted and in places the rails are laid on a temporary track. The section does not number many large works.
Few cuttings have been required the principal undertakings have been bridges over streams subject to floods. The country traversed is for the most part level and the direction of the line from the beginning of the section to the end is nearly straight. There are several long stretches of line perfectly straight. The traveller when he looks out of the window can see miles of line in advance of him. The journey is somewhat monotonous, for from Seymour (60 miles from Melbourne ) to Violet Town the line goes through forests of gum trees and the villages on the road traversed by the mail coaches can scarcely be seen from the railway. Longwood for instance is two miles from the line.
The bridge over Hushes's Creek at Avenel is the first work of importance. It will not be finished for a fortnight. The train runs along a tempoary track-a 'turn-out' as it is called - and crosses the creek on a wooden bridge. The permanent bridge is of iron and the girders rest on stone piers. It has 10 openings each 40ft long or a total length of more than 400ft. In ordinary seasons Hughes's Creek is a small stream but in the time of floods a great body of water is brought down. The cost of the bridge may be stated at £12,000. Two or three incomplete bridges of moderate dimensions occur between Avenel and Benalla but a day or two's work will finish them. In the mean while the ballast trains have to run upon lines at the side of the permanent way, Violet Town , in the neighbourhood of the railway seems likely to have a transitory existence.
The offices used by the Railway department are portable and the locomotives are sheltered from the weather by a bark roof. The cottages and stores will no doubt move on with the terminus. A substantial goods shed and a solid platform have been erected but every other building appears to be ready to move at a moment's notice. The station takes its name from the stopping place on the main road within sight and the traveller must not expect to find violets in profusion. Benalla is an established township - the head quarters of a shire and the railway approaches within quarter of a mile of the principal thoroughfare, which is the Melbourne road of course. It is divided into two portions three quarters of a mile apart and on opposite sides of the Broken River .
The townspeople in the two divisions would have lived closer together if the nature of the ground had permitted it. But they durst not erect houses near the river on one side at least in consequence of the floods which sometimes spread over a wide area and even inundate the main street. The iron bridge over the Broken River is not in a forward state. Only two or three of the large cylinders have been got into position. Segments of cylinders lie strewn upon the surface of the ground. The structure is a large one next in importance to the bridge over the Goulburn at Seymour. There are 16 openings of 40ft each and one-over the main stream-of 120ft. Broken River, as travellers on the Beechworth road know, has been so named on account of the several channels into which it has been broken by islands.
Here, as at other places the locomotive crosses upon a wooden bridge which has been built to last until the ironwork has been completed. The iron bridge is not likely to be finished before the end of the year. The temporary road is strong and trustworthy.
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