Friday, December 05, 2008

Building Bridges

Click to make bigger

Last Saturday I went and had a look at the new rail bridge that is being built over the Merri Creek between Westgarth and Clifton Hill. In the photo above you can see the extent of the new bridge so far. They had just installed the second girder the day before, and at time of writting it is expected the third girder should have been put into place. Behind you can see the brick piers of the existing bridge.

The aim of the project is to duplicate the rail line between Clifton Hill and Westgarth, which means building a new single track bridge next to the existing one. Progress is going well so far, so much so that Government is claiming that it will open 1 year early (I read a quote of Kosky saying this the other day but can''t find an article or press release at the minute). The cynic in me says that they (the government) add generous padding to projects like this on purpose just so they can make such claims to look good. But yes, after nothing happening for the first 8 months of the year work is now speeding along fine.

This machine was running up and down the track
with the old bits of rail and putting them in a neat pile.

On Saturday the Epping and Hurstbridge lines were shut down to allow some track work to take place at Clifton Hill and Westgarth. At the Westgarth end they installed a new set of points, while at Clifton Hill they removed the centre track, which ran between the 2 platforms, as it was not used very often. Also they appeared to connect the overhead to the new stanchions, which have been getting installed lately.

New points being installed at the end of the new bridge at Westgarth.

Bits and pieces at Westgarth.

During the shutdown they also took the opportunity to install some news sleepers on the curve leading from Dennis station to Westgarth station.

Workers installing new sleepers.

Dumping the old sleepers into a truck.

While this was happening buses were replacing trains on the Epping line between Epping and Victoria Park, and between Heidelberg and Victoria park on the Hurstbridge line. From my experience the train-bus and bus-train transfers were quite smooth, there was an over abundance of staff at loading points and they even created a temporary bus station at Victoria Park. For the Heidelberg run there was the option of an all stations or an express bus. It is amazing that they can plan for special occasions like this so well, and yet day to day operations are ordinary at best.


Andrew said...

I was out and about recently when buses were on the Sandringham train line while work was done. It is twenty minute service at night I think, but there was bus about every five minutes. It was only a couple of years ago that I learnt that there are still single rail tracks in Melbourne.

RVB said...

Epping's my line, so I get the opportunity to see the work; it pleases me.

Actually it must please you more seeing as Hurstbridge is your local line.

Ben said...

Yes, single rail tracks are a problem, especially so close to the city. Not so much of a problem at the ends of lines though, but ideally they wouldn't exist. The Hurstbridge and Epping lines seem to have more than their fair share them though.

Reuben we can be pleased together.

Damo said...

Hi Ben.

I don't read your blog, but I was linked to your post by someone else who does read it.

As the person who did the planning for the rail replacement operation between Vic Park and Epping/Heidelberg, I found your blog very interesting, and I'm very pleased to read that it went smoothly for you.

For your information, an almost identical operation will be in place on Friday evening 9th January, and all day Saturday 10th January, and an even bigger operation on the Australia Day long weekend! Hopefully these run just as well.

Kind Regards