THE RAILWAY WORKS.— TARADALE
(FROM THE CASTLEMAINE ADVERTISER.)
JAN. 9 )
Whilst so many inquiries are being made touching the progress of our future highways, it may not be out of place to devote a few lines to the present state of the railway works. The Taradale Viaduct is a structure of five openings, each 120 feet span, and of unusual height.
Leaving Taradale, and approaching the viaduct from the highway, the visitor is struck with its stately appearance, which will speak to future generations of Victorian enterprise in the year of grace, 1862. A forest of spars envelopes the stonework, and timber everywhere grapples with stone and iron, huge beams and small beams, spars, stays, shores, logs, baulks, piles, planking, and timber scantling, of every conceivable shape and form, cover the ground, and iron and steel, cunningly shaped and twisted, play their part in making an undivided whole of the huge struc- ture. At present, two piers and one abutment are finished, the remaining stonework will be completed in two months, and the ironwork will be all ready in June—at least, so says Mr. Kerr, the manager of the works. The masonry is now carried on as follows:—A large scaffolding has been built, the entire length of the work, at a height of sixty feet above the ground. On the top of this staging a tramway is laid, to convey stone from the depot to the works. All the stone being provided at the Malmesbury quarries, renders this tramway necessary, a simple mechanical contrivance being provided to trans- port the dressed stone from the depot on tho bank to the lower level of the works, a descent of some sixty feet. This is effected by a " skid," or what appeals to be a sleigh, moving on wooden rails, lowered and raised by a powerful crab-winch, attached to a winding drum, round which the massive chains pass. The loaded
"skid" pulls up the empty, and takes the waggon from the upper level of the rails to the lower level of the tramway, from which point the stone is conveyed to its destination, over the tram- way, on the waggons just lowered, and then lifted therefrom by powerful cranes, to be afterwards used on the works. It is both instructive and in- teresting to notice the case with which one of those powerful "Goliah" cranes lifts and disposes of a stone weighing nearly eight tons, and, as the foreman shouts, " Lower, up the river," or anon, "Cast off, down the river," to observe the precision of the well-trained men, who, as directod, deposit the stone in its exact position. The two
finished piers appear like stately columns, and are capped with a cut stone top, called the " impost," the stones of which are of immense size, and weigh seven tons. The scaffolding for the tramway has been adapted for building the girders, and forms the base of the framework. It is constructed principally of Victorian timber, of sizes from twelve to twenty-one inches in dia- meter. The framework is built in large bays of thirty feet span ; all the uprights are of large logs, and on the top Oregon timber supports the planking on which the guiders are now being put together. This framework is laced with inum- merable spars and stays—some radiating from common points, and branching out at top in a large cluster, others bind the work from stem to top, and act their part as braces. Every piece of timber centres on the principals, and these again are well secured into the ground, so that settlement is out of the question. The eye at first wearies counting these spars, but con- tinued observance enables the uninitiated to com- prehend the plan. The ironwork of the girders is now being built on the top of the framework on, a large planked roadway thirty feet wide, which extends the whole length of the spar. The girders are continuous, are four in number, are hollow, and of rectangular shapo, or what is known as the " box girder;" they are nine feet six inches high and two feet wide, and support 315 transverse girders, placed about three feet apart, on which the planking ¡s laid, which car- ries the railway. Some idea may be formed of this immense work by glancing over the sum- mary which represents the total quantities of material used. There will be half a million
cube feet of stone in the viaduct, of which quantity about four hundred thousand cubic feet is set. There is in use sixty-one thousand cube feet of timber for the staging. There will be 1,350 tons of iron in the girders ; now separated in 10,120 pieces, all of which will have to be rivetted together. There are 310,242 rivets in the viaduct, and 3,200 square yards of paint will be required to protect tho ironwork from the weather. The planking for the viaduct measures 2,200ft., is of redgum four inches thick, and is cut in the neighbourhood. The ironwork was commenced on the 2nd inst., on which day the first rivet was driven. There will be at work thirty forges for the riveters, serving 120 men. The ironwork was made by Brotherhood, of Chip- penham, Wilts, under the supervision of the late Mr. Brunel. It has arrived in excellent order, and it is the most perfect specimen of work in this colony. The greatest elevation of the viaduct above the bed of the creek is 130ft. The founda- tions of the piers and abutments are built, below the surface, as follows :—South abutment twelve feet ; north abutment seventy feet below the surface; average depth of piers below surface of ground, twenty-five feet. All the foundations spring from the sandstone conglomerate rock. The ironwork is being fixed by Mr. Enoch Chambers, of Melbourne, represented on the works by Mr. Moore. Mr. Hull is the district engineer, and Mr. Woods his clerk of works. Mr. Brady, as engineer, and Mr. Kerr, as manager, represent Messrs. Cornish and Bruce. It may not be out of place, to observe that, whilst on the Geelong line, at the Moorabool Viaduct, the contractors only build one span at a time, at Taradale Messrs. Cornish and Bruce are building three. The works between Woodend and Kyne- ton are in a very forward state, and nearly ready for the permanent way. Twenty miles of road between Woodend and Sandhurst are now ready for platelaying, but a great and unexampled scarcity of labour prevents the contractors from using that energy which they are most desirous of doing. At present, two thousand men could be employed on the works in ballasting and stonebreaking.
THE FORCE IN CHINA.-A week or two since we stated that the force in China was about to be reduced to two regiments, and we ventured to point out the imprudence of the reduction in the face of the exceedingly unsatisfactory state of our relations with the Chinese empire, which the death of the Emperor was not calculated to im- prove. We are glad, therefore, to be able to say that instructions from home have been given to the effort that Sir John Michel is not to send away any of the regiments now under his com- mand until our Minister at Pekin, Mr. Bruce, shall be of opinion that they are unnecessary. We only fear that these instructions will not arrive before some of the force has left. By our last advices they were only waiting for shipping to leave the north.—Army and Navy Gazette, Oct. 26.
THE QUEEN'S PRIVATE VISIT TO FETTER- CAIRN.—The ladies of Fettercairn are wroth that the Queen should have stayed over all night in the village without their knowing it or seeing their Sovereign. Some, too, who keep lodgers, are thinking over the appearance and looks of certain gentlemen who resided with them on that memorable night, with a view of seeing whether they may have been among the honoured. At one house, where a stranger slept, the good lady ordered all the bedclothes to be religiously put by, and preserved for ever and ever, in the hope that the stranger was the gallant Prince Louis of Hesse—which he was'nt. On being undeceived she called out from the top of the stairs, in an agitated but effective manner, " Jeannie, woman, wash th' class, the chield was only a commercial traveller."—Caledonian Mercury.