The Argus at KellyGang 31/1/1871 (3)

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After passing over one or two small ridges, the line comes out upon the Seymour flats, which are here about a mile and a half wide, and are bounded on the further side by the Goulburn River. As these flats are flooded in wet seasons by the overflow of the river, they have to be crossed by a high embankment, and provision has to be made by the erection of a series of bridges for the free passage of the water. The bridges, including the one over the Goulburn, number four. They differ from the other bridges on the line in having piers of iron cylinders instead of masonry. There is no stonework about them. The cylinders vary in diameter from 3ft. to 6ft. The first bridge occurs about half-way across the flat. It will have four bays or openings, each 40ft wide. Midway between it and the river occurs the second, with four openings of 30ft each. The next is the main bridge, which promises to be an imposing structure, from its size. It will be 544ft. in length, and will consist of 10 openings. Five of these openings will be on the south bank, and each of them 40ft wide. The river is spanned by two bays, each 100ft. wide. The portion of the structure immediately over the river is supported by three piers, viz., one pier at each bank, and the third, consisting of the largest cylinders, in the middle of the river. The continuation of the bridge on the north bank consists of three openings of 40ft each. Ample room, therefore, has been left for the flood waters.

The flat on the north side is narrowed to a strip from 100 to 200 yards wide, and at the side remote from the river, and just before the ground rises abruptly into a hill, the fourth bridge, consisting of five openings, each 40ft wide, is to be put up. Between the last of the bridges mentioned and the Seymour station, some light cuttings have to be made. From the beginning of tho Seymour flat to the site of the station, which is the end of the first section, the line runs on a level. The elevation is 463ft above high water in Hobson'a Bay, or 682ft of a descent from the summit of the range. The river is crossed in view of the township of Seymour some miles higher up than the road crossing. The railway station will stand about a mile from the present busy part of Seymour .

The serious floods which occurred in the Goulburn in November last (the highest over before known), and which submerged nearly tho whole of Seymour, led to an alteration to the extent of two feet in the height of the earthworks, which now stand well, above the flood mark. From Essendon to Seymour the distance is 50¾ miles, and the contract price £305,558, of which about £50,000 will be required for the Goulburn bridge. The increase in the height of the embankments, made necessary on account of the late floods, will no doubt make the total outlay greater. The works throughout have been designed for a single line of rails, which it is expected will answer all the requirements of traffic for years to come. The gauge will be the same as on the Government lines now in use-5ft 3in. The formation width will be 20ft 6in, and the width of the ballast on the top 10ft 3in. On the whole, the earth-works are much lighter than on the corresponding sections of the lines from Melbourne to Sandhurst and Geelong to Ballarat.

No doubt this has been chiefly owing to the fact that the engineers who laid out the line have been able to take advantage of the easiest route, and have not had to carry the works over difficult ground merely for the sake of passing through wayside townships. The adoption of a ruling gradient of 1 in 50, and a slight sharpening of the curves in the descent or the Dividing Range , have also been the cause of a considerable saving in earthworks. The erection of the stations forms no part of the present contract. Like the bridges on the section, the station buildings are to be of a plain but substantial description.

The country traversed by the first section of the North-Eastern Railway is, in general, of a tame character. From Essendon to the Lightwood-flats, 26 miles, the land passed over is for the most part flat, and very sparsely timbered. The farms are plentiful about Essendon, and in the spring-time, when the herbage is green, the landscape there will look pleasing. Further on the farms disappear, and extensive views of grassy plains, with occasional patches of cultivation, present themselves.


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