Mr. J. C. B. Moncrieff Chief Engineer for Railways, gave evidence before the Railways Standing Committee on Tuesday in regard to railways through the Murray lands. He said the extra cost of the construction of the Waikerie, Loxton, Paringa, and Peebinga lines on a grade of 1 in 80 would have been £62,644 at the time and now it would be £202,900. The cost of substituting 60-lb rails for 40-lb rails would be heavy because it would be practically impossible to dispose of the 40-lb rails as they were being discarded by all the states. Possibly they could be sold at £400 per mile. The present sleepers could be used for 60-lb rails, but an extra 132 to the mile would be needed.
Questioned regarding the heaviest train that could be hauled over the bridge at Murray Bridge, the witness said the governing factor in regard to the strength or capacity of a bridge was the axle load and in respect to Murray Bridge that was 13 tons 2 cwt., which represented the heaviest engine in use at present. It was practically impossible to strengthen the bridge, which meant that heavier engines could not be run over it. The difficulty was that the bridge was ori-
ginally deigned for road traffic and was then altered for a railway bridge. Before the bridge. was constructed he believed a further alteration was made to made to it capable of carrying the 5 ft. 3 in. gauge line instead of the 3 ft. 6 in. gauge, as was intended. The weak point in regard to the construction of the bridge was the strength of the girders, and in regard to foundations the approach on the far side of the river. A slight settlement was still taking place, but the subsidence had been small during the past four or five years as the speed of the trains had
been reduced. Since the bridge was constructed
the settlement in places had been as much as 4 ft.
6 in. The bad places on the Murray lines could not be regraded without altering the ruling grade in order to obviate jerks at changes of grades.
The removal of the bad parts would result in addtional cost without any compensating advantage
in the working of the line.
Mr. Reidy-To the layman that is extraordinary, because we went over certain pinches ? -The cost of doing the work piecemeal will be more, and the advantage will not be apparent, because there will be other pinches, which the layman cannot see now. You will then get other places 1 in 45 the pressure on the engines would be the same, and you would not increase the loading.
It would make the line more comfortable for passengers, but would not improve the
The witness said that in view of the heavy loss on the present Murray lands the Committee would
not be justified in recommending the construction
of narrow gauge feeder lines.