AusRAIL, Market Sectors

New bridge lifts rail speeds across state border

<p>A new 200-metre bridge crossing the Murrumbidgee River in southern New South Wales was due to open this morning (Wednesday, January 3) after a four-day shutdown of the main south line between Melbourne and Sydney.</p> <p>The $16m project, completed by Arenco, will allow trains to cross the river at 80 km&#47h instead of the previous limit of 20 km&#47h in place on the 125-year-old bridge, long due for replacement.</p> <p>The project is funded by the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s (ARTC) $2bn North South Rail Investment program, which aims to lower rail transit times between the two cities by 2.5 hours to 10 hr 40 min.</p> <p>ARTC also hopes the work will boost reliability along the corridor.</p> <p>A team of specialists and large cranes was drawn from around Australia for the project.</p> <p>After rail traffic stopped at 5 am on Sunday, the team got to work, cutting up the old bridge, lifting it aside and then installing its replacement.</p> <p>The completion of the original bridge was part of a revolution in travel between Melbourne and Sydney in colonial Australia.</p> <p>Instead of taking the slow sea journey, travellers could travel overland, take the train from Melbourne to Wodonga and an adventurous Cobb and Co coach ride to the New South Wales railhead at Wagga Wagga. </p> <p>Completion of a bridge at Wagga Wagga in 1878 completed the rail link between the cities, with a change of trains for the different gauge at the border.</p> <br />