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Sunday, 14 June 2015

South Gippsland Railway Line - Tarwin River Bridge at Meeniyan

Tarwin River Bridge at Meeniyan. Since the line was closed, the ROW has been converted to The Great Southern Rail Trail, a rather ambitious project covering 68Km from Leongatha to Welshpool. The rail bridge at Meeniyan has been closed and barricaded off for safety reasons and a new steel walkway constructed alongside it. The original bridge is 225 Metres long across the main arm of the Tarwin River and its surrounding floodplains.

This shot shows the barricade at the Up end, with the steel walkway beside it. The deck is a transverse timber type, and is in reasonably good condition, although there are a few rotten timbers among them..

View from the opposite side. The area below is well fenced with multiple strands of high barbed wire and a hot wire to boot, in order to discourage trespassers.

In this shot, the deck is sagging on the left side just where the foliage envelopes it, this is a result of a pile that is sinking under it.

There is a fair amount of debris piled up against the piles in the river. Stay piles have been used here, possibly due to the soft soil. Notice that the right pile of the trestle in the middle of the river has broken off above the water line.
The section from the river to the Down abutment with the refuge visible.

Looking back from the Down end, West towards Koonwarra.

And the opposite side of the bridge in the same direction.

A better view of the debris piled up against the bridge. I was told this happened during recent minor flooding of the river and has not yet been cleared.

South Gippsland Railway Line - Tarwin River Bridge 2 at Koonwarra

Tarwin River West Branch Bridge 2 at Koonwarra. The second of the two bridges is 146 Metres long including approaches, and is almost identical in construction to the first bridge. It is also being rebuilt in the same way, by repairing the approach trestles and building a new section over the river. The rail trail has been built right up to the Down abutment and then fenced off to keep people like me out of the work site.

Looking West or Up from the Down abutment. This looks to be where the work is currently being focussed, judging by the presence of the lift unit.

View from ground level on the flood plain. I rather fancied that little blue lift, but they had taken the keys. The area is quite soft and large amounts of rock had been spread in the area to make it workable.

Showing the far bridge abutment, going into the cutting. I am not sure what the purpose of the cut-off piles is, as this section is supposed to be new construction.

Wider shot of new bridge area.

Reverse angle shot of the approach spans. The barrier fencing can just be seen at the far end. They appear to be trying to preserve the original structure as much as possible, but I did not see any evidence of new timber being used to replace rotten sections. Perhaps that will be in the next stage of work.

Wide view from the Up end abutment of the full bridge.

South Gippsland Railway Line - Tarwin River Bridge 1 at Koonwarra

Tarwin River West Branch Bridge 1 at Koonwarra. The two bridges in this group crossed the Tarwin River West Branch twice where it curves around in a loop. In both cases, from the Up end, they cross the river first, then the small flood plain beyond. In between each bridge is a shallow cutting connecting them. The Great Southern Rail Trail is heading inexorably towards these bridges, but this time, instead of building a parallel walkway alongside, as they did at Meeniyan, they are repairing the existing trestle sections across the flood plain and planning a new construction section over the river itself. Equipment was on-site when I visited the bridges, with a temporary aluminium footbridge across the river to get to the middle section. This bridge is 152 Metres long, including approaches, most of which will be the remediated structure. As usual, there were cattle who offered photographic advice - like in Go Take Them Pictures Elsewhere!

Looking along the (missing) deck towards the river. The structure that now exists appears to be the parts that have been selected to remain. Note piles partly encased in cement, an interesting practice as I am told it simply accelerates the decay.

Side view, with piles of discarded bridge components in the right distance, and the West bank of the river in the dark area.

Looking back from the river to the cutting in the over-exposed area of the shot. The concrete block in the foreground will form the foundation for the new bridge structure across the river.

Looking across the river to the Up side with the new bridge foundation footing evident and the abutment prepared for the new bridge.

Showing the extent of the remediated bridge section, and the piles of discarded components to the left.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Noojee Line - Intersection with Laing Road

Noojee Line - Intersection with Laing Road. I was looking to try and identify the owners of the land where the sites of Bridges 1 and 2 are located, and it provided an interesting place to view the ROW from.

Looking East along the ROW at Laing Road. The track curved around to the right behind the hill in the mid foreground to the site of Bridge Number 1. It then comes back on the far side of the gully, heading towards the famous Bridge Number 2.

Looking towards Bridge Number 2. The line curves around to the notch in the hill with the bright green grass, passing around the far side of the hill to its appointment with Bridge 2 in the far gully, now filled with lush vegetation and trees.

Looking back towards Nayook from Laing Road. The line curves away to the right, then curving back around the hill towards Nayook to the left of the shot.

Noojee Line - Road Over Rail Bridge at Crossover

Noojee Line - Road Over Rail Bridge at Crossover. Another quite famous and heritage listed bridge. It is situated in a very deep cutting, 15 Metres deep in fact, that was reputed to be the deepest hand excavated cutting on the VR at the time of its construction in 1892. The bridge spans 40 Metres with 7 openings. The bridge was closed to traffic in 1968, supposedly due to failure of some structural components, but in any event, Bloomfield Road was re-aligned prior to this making the bridge un-necessary. Despite its heritage listing, no attempts seem to have been made to repair or restore any parts of the bridge. It is now closed to pedestrians from above and below, although there is a walking track down to the ROW on the Western side, accessed from Bridge Road.

The bridge as it was in 1948, prior to the closure of the line. Only a mere 56 years old then.

Photo origin unknown. Possibly Victorian Railways.
ts grass covered surface basking in the Winter sun, the bridge looks very sad today. Interesting to note that the transverse deck timbers are laid in a skewed pattern, I am guessing this is to lessen impact damage from heavy logging trucks.

View from the Eastern Side, where there is a small parking area.

View from the Western side, accessed via Bridge Road. Most parts of the bridge are still in position, even though they may be rotten.

View from down at track level, sag in the bridge is readily apparent from this angle. However it is good to remember that it has been in place now for 123 years!

Low angle view looking up at the deck. Bit of a crafty-arty-farty shot, but this time it came off.

This bridge was pretty solidly built to take heavy logging traffic.

A great testimony to its builders that the bridge is still standing after 123 years, despite probably having no maintenance since the 1950s.

I am guessing no-one is expected to venture further down the ROW, as it is pretty blocked beyond the bridge.

OK, just one more clever-dick shot. Notice the broken outer stay on the left, while the right side one is missing altogether.

Friday, 5 June 2015

South Gippsland Railway - Bena Road over rail bridge

The Bena Road Over Rail Bridge. This bridge was originally a timber trestle bridge over the rail line, but has since suffered a peculiar case of Steel Strangler Fig. The original timber piles are still there, but the bridge has been progressively encased in steel such that the timbers probably take no part in the structural process any longer, and are just going along for the ride.

Lets play Spot The Wooden Bits!

Ah, there are the wooden bits, in the roadway. Clever devils, hiding them out in the open like that.

A free-standing footbridge has been added on the Up side to help disguise the bridge further.

Towards Korumburra in the Down direction, the new bridge over the road is in the over-exposed section, a short distance away.

In itself a rather amazing construction. Fancy building a brand new bridge like this on a railway line with a dubious future? It crosses the old South Gippsland Highway at Bena.

South Gippsland Railway - Bridge over Allsop's Creek

South Gippsland Railway Bridge over Allsop's Creek. A similar bridge to the Bass River bridge, only 300 Metres away, perhaps not as high and also maybe a bit longer. Same method of construction. My original plan was to access this bridge by walking over the Bass River bridge, but one look down and I decided Not This Little Black Duck! I woosed out and went to the Loch station site and walked back to the bridge. I met a wombat along the way, he laughed at me, the word had spread already.

Looking across the bridge towards Nyora, showing the poor state of some of the transom timbers.

View from below, again looking towards Nyora.

South Gippsland Railway - Bridge over Bass River

South Gippsland Railway Bridge over Bass River. The Bass River cuts a fairly deep gorge through the countryside, so the bridges tend to be quite substantial, and this one is no exception. So also does the nearby bridge on the Wonthaggi Branch and also the Allsops Creek bridge, a short 300 Metres away. However unlike the bridge on the Wonthaggi Branch, these bridges have no timber deck, the sleepers, or more correctly transom timbers, are bolted directly to the upper side of the span girders and the track spiked to the timbers. There is no ballast on the bridge and being able to see into the river gorge between each timber is a bit scary. I imagine this makes repairs to the deck a bit more difficult, as rotten timbers would have to have the spikes drawn, then the securing bolts unscrewed or cut, and a new timber inserted from the side. Not the easiest task to perform. At the time, this section of the line is not being used, the SGR reports that running is suspended pending track and bridge works, and these bridges may be part of that.

An oblique view, showing the depth of the river gorge. Note the sleepers bolted to the span girders.

Side view of the bridge, taken from Up end, looking towards Loch.

View across the bridge, looking towards Loch.