The Argus at KellyGang 31/1/1871 (2)
After crossing the swamp, which it does on a level, the line again proceeds to ascend, for the Dividing Range is now near at hand, and it pursues its way up the Lightwood Flat, a belt of flat ground of irregular breadth, stretching from the swamp to pretty nearly the summit of the range, and rounding the feet of the spurs thrown out from the range. The foot of the range is reached at 27 miles from Essendon, and a gradient of 1 in 50, with short intervals of level, prevails until the summit is attained one mile further on, 28 miles from Essendon or 33 from Melbourne . The point of the Dividing Range which the line passes over is the lowest that has yet been met with, viz., 1,169ft. above the level of high water in Hobson's Bay.
The Melbourne and Echuca line has to ascend to a height of 1,900ft. to surmount the range at Woodend, so that there is a difference of nearly 730ft. in favour of the North-Eastern Railway. There is a cutting-the Big-hill cutting-through the saddle of the ranges 24ft. deep in the deepest part. It is one of the heavy works on the first section. The quantity of earth to be excavated from it is 46,000 cubic yards. Deducting the depth of the cutting from the number of feet denoting the height of the lange, it will be seen that the elevation attained by the line is 1,145ft. At the starting-point tho level is 114ft., so that in the 28 miles (not taking into account a slight fall a short distance from Essendon) the line rises 1,031ft. The descent upon the other side is made with a gradient of 1 in 50, which occurs pretty frequently the whole way down.
An entrance is made into the valley of the Dry Creek, which rises to the eastward of the line, a short distance from the Big-bill cutting, and the railway track soon gets close alongside the creek, whose company it keeps for miles. The creek follows a tortuous course, and to avoid curves which would be extremely awkward, the railway has to cross it some seven or eight times; and for the same reason has to pass through the foot of some of the numerous spurs of the range which rise from one or the other side of the valley. In general, however, the line skirts round the spurs, and the cuttings and embankments required in descending the valley are comparatively light.
The Dry Creek is not only crossed seven or eight times, but in one place, four miles from the summit, it is diverted out from its bed ie., where otherwise three crossings would have been needed in the space of some 50 or 60 yards. One or two tributary creeks are diverted in like manner to avoid the erection of bridges. The Dry Creek usually contains little water, but like all mountain streams, when a heavy fall of rain takes place, a great body of water runs down its course.
One of the crossing places is abreast of Kilmore, which lies two miles to the westward, and is reached by a roadway of a fearful and wonderful description. Thence to Broadford, 45 miles from Essendon, the works present few remarkable features, consisting for the most part of small cuttings and embankments, with a few culverts and bridges. Just before reaching Broadford the line comes within sight of the Sydney-road, the two having lain several miles apart since they last met at Craigieburn, and been separated by several high ranges. At Broadford is the notorious 101 cut- ting, a heavy work, not only from the quantity of the stuff to be taken out (24 000 cubic yards), but the hardness of the stuff. A short distance from the little township of Broadford, the line for the second time crosses the Sydney road, and a quarter of a mile or so further on, to avoid a third crossing, appropriates part of the road to itself, and provides a now course for the road over the hill beyond Broadford.
The line now turns westwards, and three miles from Sunday Creek passes through a ridge, which will necessitate excavations to the extent of 45,000 cubic yards. In the deepest part the cutting (No. 110) will be 34 feet. The whole of it is through hard slaty rock. Two cuttings, one of 15.000 and another of 20,000 cubic yards, occur shortly afterwards. The line in this neighbourhood alternately ascends and descends, owing to the hilly nature of the ground. After making a sweep to the eastward it again comes up with the Sydney road, crossing it above the township of Tallarook , which lies at the very foot of the ranges of the same name, and is 50 miles from Essendon.
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