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THE MURRAY RIVER RAILWAY.  

MELBOURNE, CASTLEMAINE, AND

SANDHURST.

(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER.)

On Thursday last the first train passed along the line of the Murray River Railway, from Mel-  

bourne to Castlemaine, and Sandhurst, conveying the Commissioner of Railways, the engineer-in-     chief, and several representative members of the councils of those municipalities. Their mission   was to test the progress of the works. To-day a

special train will convey His Excellency the Governor, the members of the Ministry, and a large number of invited guests, from Spencer- street Station to Castlemaine, where it will be joined by a train from Bendigo, when His Excel- lency will formally declare the line open to Sand- hurst. At Castlemaine the important event will afterwards be celebrated by a public dinner, fol-

lowed by a ball in the evening, for which numerous invitations have been issued by the municipality, through the chairman of the council. On Monday next, the 20th instant, the traffic of the line   will commence, when Sandhurst will make her demonstration. Thus the most important instal-   ment of the railway works of the colony will be placed in possession of the state, and the   immeasurable facilities for traffic and intercourse which a railway affords will be offered to two of the most important gold fields of the colony.

The contract which thus draws rapidly towards completion involved an expenditure of nearly three millions and a half of money, and embraced     the construction of over a hundred miles of

main trunk line of railway, built in the most substantial manner. It contemplated the crossing of the dividing range at an altitude of 1,950   feet, within a distance of forty five miles from the sea level, it embraced the construction of two gigantic viaducts, with a very large number of small structures of the same kind , the formation of two tunnels—one through the Mount Alexander range and the other through the Big Hill, overlooking Kangaroo Flat, and a series   of heavy excavations and embankments.   While the magnitude of the contract, therefore, was unapproached before in any British colony which in the inauguration of such

an undertaking relied upon its own resources and credit, the character of the works places the line amongst the triumphs of railway engineering, and claims for the contractors who undertook to execute them, in the face of a labour-market so anomalous as that of Victoria, a rare spirit of enterprise, courage, and self-reliance. Through difficulties and discouragements that might have baulked the bravest, the task has been accomplished, and the events of this day may be said to crown the finished work. As our readers are aware, three portions of the Murray River line have been opened in succession for traffic. Sunbury was the first of the   temporary termini, the line having been rapidly carried across the plains of Keilor. Some time afterwards the heavy rock cutting and am- bankment at, and the splendid iron viaduct over, Jackson's Creek were finished, and trains were enabled to pass over the summit level as far as Woodend ; and in the course of the late winter the section between Woodend and Kyneton was completed. Those various exten- sions made fifty-three miles of the railway available for traffic, embracing some of the largest works and the most difficult gradients of the whole line. These, however, have already been described, and I pass on to sketch the more important features of that portion of the line, extending over forty-seven miles, over which the  

public will for the first time travel to-day,   premising that for some time to come the traffic   will be carried between Sandhurst and Kyneton over a single line of rails, the laying down of the second line having been deferred until the assistant of the locomotives could be called in, to carry   on the vast quantity of material necessary for the completion of the permanent way.

Leaving Kyneton on a gentle curve, the first work that presents itself to notice is the bridge over Boggy Creek—so called from the nature of the soil around a favourite camping-ground in the olden time. This bridge is a neat bluestone structure of one arch, of twenty feet span, and about the same height. Passing on towards Malmsbury, the line traverses on a descending     gradient a country of an undulating character, until it enters the valley of the Coliban, at Malmsbury, through a cutting of nearly 100,000 cubic yards. Here the level of the line is 1,490ft. above low water-mark in Hobson's Bay. At this point the works present many features which have interest, more especially for professional men. The River Coliban is crossed by a fine blue- stone viaduct of five arches, each of sixty foot span, and upwards of seventy foot in height. This is the largest viaduct built entirely of blue-

stone yet constructed in the colony, and viewed   from the Mount Alexander road it has an air of lightness and elegance presented by few structures built of the same materials. It was erected in a very short space of time, though sufficient to produce a political crisis, the foundation-stone having been laid by the Commissioner of Public Works, Mr. G. S. W. Horne, of one Administration shortly before he left office, and the keying   in of the last arch having been accomplished by the hands of Mr. Greeves, a member of the   succeeding Ministry. To and from the viaduct the railway is led over a high embankment across the valley, which absorbed upwards of 300,000 cubic yards of earth and stone, excavated from cuttings on both sides and ends. This was one of the heaviest works on the line, and assisted, with the facilities which the neighbourhood afforded for the quarrying of ballast and bluestone for the

Coliban and Taradale viaducts, and other     structures, to render Malmsbury one of the great railway hives of industry during the progress of the works. The quarries, indeed, cover an   immense extent of country, and produce a stone   admirably adapted for heavy works. Quite an army of labourers laboured here, and at one time up wards of a hundred horses were employed to assist them. Here, Mr. Enoch Chambers, who has

taken a sub-contract for breaking 50,000 cubic yards of ballast for the permanent way, is erecting extensive machinery for reducing blue- stone to the necessary gauge ; and the vast stacks of bluestone spalls already quarried and piled near the machines, embracing some 30,000 cubic yards of stone, afford a material guarantee that when the machines commence their work they will not lack for food. To carry this ballast along the line, Mr. Chambers has constructed a locomotive   engine of 50-horse power, which was placed upon the rails a few days ago. The great embank- ment across the valley of the Coliban, I may remark in passing, is the backbone of the Coliban water scheme, which has been so much discussed of late. It is here Mr. Brady   proposes to construct his puddled wall, and dam back the storm-waters of the Coliban, for the supply of Castlemaine and Sandhurst during summer, when the natural watercourses are dry ; and the long brown flat to the left of the line is the land which he proposes to submerge under his artificial lake, to the extent of 270 acres. Passing on under the main road to Castlemaine, and through a series of rock cuttings, varying from twenty to thirty feet in depth, the valley of the Back Creek, at Taradale, is reached at one time a gold-field of some richness, and still haunted by a few Chinamen. The valley is of considerable depth, the main road descending into it from the basalt plain by a long and steep incline ; and the railway sweeps across it, over a viaduct of imposing character, at a level of 1,343ft. above the sea. It is composed of five spans of 130 feet each, and is of the great height of 120 feet. The piers and abutments are built of solid bluestone

masonry, the greater part of the stone for which   was brought from Malmsbury, partly by the main road, and partly by a tramway laid down for the purpose. The superstructure is composed of four main wrought-iron tubular continuous girders,

resting on expansion rollers, to meet the effect of atmospheric changes. Upon the main girders cross girders are fastened, to receive a close planked platform, by which the permanent way and the ballasting are carried. The viaduct is a plain substantial edifice, and its great magnitude gives it a boldness of effect not detracted from by the fineness of its proportions. Large as this work is, the foundation-stone was laid by Mr. Vincent Pyke only on the day in May of last year when his colleague in office ( Mr. Greeves) keyed in the Coliban bridge. The masonry has been carried on under the able superintendence of Mr. A. Kerr, as agent for the contractors, and the iron work has been erected by Mr. Chambers, under a   sub-contract, which he has carried out with ability   and energy. The quantity of masonry in the viaduct amounts to about 250,000 cubic feet, and the total weight of the ironwork is about 1,200   tons. The total number of rivets in the girders is 260,000. Leaving Taradale, the line rises through a number of cuttings of moderate depth

into the township of Elphinstone—the " Sawpit Gully" of olden times. From Elphinstone there is a long embankment, from 20ft to 30ft. in height. Adjoining it a large quantity of material   excavated from the tunnel, and not required for the railway, has been thrown to waste. The Elphinstone tunnel is 420 yards in length, and is lined with brickwork throughout. Its level is 1,410ft. above the tide mark. The material   traversed by the tunnel is hard compact rock, chiefly metamorphic sandstone, and was expen- sive to excavate. The lower heading was driven   through the whole length of the tunnel before the lining was commenced, and the excavation and brick lining were finished in June of last year. The fronts are rather tame and unmeaning in design, but like the rest of the works on the  

railway, they are substantially constructed.   the main road passes over the top of the tunnel, having been permanently diverted for about half-a mile to allow for the railway, which traverses the original course of the road, being constructed. The quantity of material, chiefly   rock, excavated from the tunnel and its approaches, amounted to 50,000 cubic yards The tunnel is on a curve of sixty chains, and a gradient of one in fifty. Emerging from the tunnel, the line passes through a very deep cutting, not far from which, at the point where the Fryerstown road branches off from the main road to Castlemaine, advantage has been taken of the nature of the ground to construct a reservoir, by placing a puddle wall in the embankment The quantity   of water that can be stored here amounts to 13,000,000 gallons, which will be available for the purposes of the railway. Escaping from the rock cutting, the line trends towards Wattle Fat,   on descending gradients of one in fifty and one in fifty nine, by a series of short cuttings and banks across the abrupt spurs that characterise the scenery in this locality. At Wattle Flat, there are two handsome brick arched bridges under the railway, for accommodating the road traffic Castlemaine is now approached, the railway traversing moderately heavy cuttings until it passes Messrs. Cornish and Bruce's foundry, and crosses over Campbell's Creek road by a  

handsome brick screw bridge, and over Forest Creek and the adjacent flat by a viaduct   and embankment half a mile long. The Forest Creek viaduct is an unpretending erection of brickwork, with wrought iron boiler plate super structure, with grey granite quoins, which contrast well with the red coloured bricks. It is forty feet in height, built on a skew of forty five degrees, and has three spans-two of fifty and one of seventy feet. The girders of this viaduct, as well as the ironwork of all the other bridges north wards of Castlemaine, were constructed at the foundry of Messrs. Cornish and Bruce, Castlemaine . Not far from this viaduct, the  

road leading to the Camp is crossed by a wrought-iron girder bridge of one span. A second   bridge was built a few chains further on, leading to Barker's Creek, but it was recently pulled down to make way for the station buildings, which are placed in the old bed of Barker's Creek,

the stream having been diverted to the west for   the purposes of the railway. The level of the line at this point is 917ft above low-water mark. Passing through the station, where a vast deal of work has yet to be done to fit it for traffic, the line follows for several miles the course of the creek, by a succession of somewhat heavy cuttings and embankments, intersected   by several brick and granite bridges, until it     approaches the township of Harcourt. Here it passes over the main road by a massive iron girder bridge on granite abutments, the road having been cut down some ten feet to afford sufficient headway under the bridge. Ten chains further on, the railway crosses Barker's Creek by a granite viaduct of three semi circular arches of thirty feet span, the height of the viaduct being forty feet. This structure, which in point of workmanship is equal to any building on the line, possesses a special feature of interest, having bean built throughout by German masons, brought from Europe by the contractors, Messrs. Cornish and Brue Leaving Harcourt, the line passes for many miles through a granite formation, which presented very serious obstacles to the carrying on of the works, not only from the character of tho country, but the expense and difficulty of making the cuttings, granite being much less easily excavated than bluestone. It would be interesting to know how many tons of blasting powder were used here and on other parts of the line from first to last in excavating and quarrying Judging from the remarks of the best able to form an opinion, the quantity cannot be less than 1,000 tons In the centre of this granite country, the line crosses the   Porcupine Range by a cutting forty five feet in depth, and half a milo in 'ongth, through solid granite, at a levol of 12G6 foot above the sea, or J ID feet abovo that of Castlo mamo. Tbo quantity of material oxcavated from this outting was about 100,000 cube yards, and no part of tho works is moro likely to im press tho \ isitor « ith a Boneo of tho magm udo of tbo undertaking, the completion of which he has witnessed The sub contractors to whom HUB part of tho line was entrusted woro Messrs Leslie and Ross, who aro now ongaged on a sub-oontrnot forbreaking a large quantity of ballast rcq tired for boxing up tho permanent way They havo oreotod vory complete and cxtonsuo machinery, driven by a cim power, for this purpoao, d from tho onorgotic manuel in which thoy havo earned out

tlieir Bul) contraot foi tho formation of the railway, it is probable tbo work could not bo entrusted to bettor hands Woodend and lancefield supplied the ballast for the southern sections of the line, Malmesbury provides tint required for tho central portion, and the Porcuplno and tho Bl¿ Util ni o looked to or that of the northern sections. From this point to the Buokeyo Creek the line preaonts few points of special intcrost

It,traverses line scenery, but a succession of granito cutting» mars tho vlow. Buokeyo Oioek is crossed by .« waduot of three (pans, tho piers and nbutments being of gnuito, and the supor

Btructuioof wrough*, iron girders Tho height I of tho viaduct is thirty feot Boforo us, about a ratio diBtant, is tho Big Hill range, pierced by a tunuel of tho same length as that of Mount Elphinstone This was a work of pootiliar difficulty, howovor, the boro having bcoa made through very heavy pround, which rcqmrod a largo amount of timbering to enable the lining of tho tunnel to bo built. This lining is of brick work in coinont, with granito drossings, lind fronts similar in material and design to thoso of Elphinstone tunnel. Thoir massivcness and air of strength relieve tho pourt) of the design This tunnel is tho last great «otk of tho line, and the visitor linds little in the railway itself, from theuco onwards lo Sandhurst, to oxcito his in terest. Iho tunnel in put in nt a lovel of 1 HI feet, oiul tho descont from that paint to Sand hurst u considerable, tho level of the station being 7Xi feet Brink and granito road bndgos succeed each other at intervals, and at length the

line enters On Kangaroo K'at, the head of tho great and famous Bendigo gold-field. .The Flat was of surpassing richness in allu- vial gold, and it has been washed down to the bed rock by puddlers. The railway crosses it at a level of only sixteen feet above the surface, or little more than twenty feet nbovo ttio" bed-rock, by a viaduct of five spans, built on a skew of forty-five descree». The abutments and piers aro of brickwork, with stone quoins, and tho superslruoturo is formed of four coniinuouB longitudinal wroucht-iron plate girders, on which rest cross-girders a yard apart, supporting the hardwood planking which receives the permanent way. Tho «pans aro sixty feet in tho clear, and tho structura on the whole, although wanting in elevation for architectural efftior, has an undoubtedly substantial appearance« From Kangaroo Flat tho line descends to war 's tho Sandhurst station through Adelaida Gully, Maiden Gully, Golden Gully, Poverty Gully, Sheepshead Gully, Charcoal Gully, and Pennyweight Flat, all of which are provided with substantial brick culverts under tho railway. Tho road bridges along thia portion of tho line aro huilt in brickwork, with stono quoins, and havo a pleating effco'. Tho works between the Big Hill and Sandhurst, including tbetunnel, have boon very ably completed by Mr. M'lltrrsitb, as sub-contractor. Mr. M'llwraith had previously, as agent for Messrs. Cornish and Bruce, com- menced and carried on almost tho whole of the works between Castlemaine and Sandhurst. The terminus at Sandhurst exhibits the same want of forwardness, as regards the progress of the build- ings, as tho other stations on the line, and, in common with them, appears to havo been com- menced at much too late a period.

Tboso details will enable the exoursioniats of to-day to appreciate the character of tho works ovor whioh they are travelling, and to estimate the daring of the Ministers who projected them, tho capacity and skill of tho engineers by whom thoy woro planned, and tho courage and pprse voranoo of tho contractora by whom they woro carried out. The credit of their inauguration is mainly duo to two loading members of tho then Cabinet-Messrs. O'shanassy and Duffy -and, by a curious coincidence, thoso gentlemen hold the same position noiV as tbty did thon, and will, probably, bo present to-day to receive at the hands of the people of Castlemaine the oredil they deserve, and to rejoice over tho com- pletion of the lino. Mr. Darbyshire planned and commenced the works, Mr. Higinbolham has finished them, aud throughout tbeir progross tho interests of the Government have been ably cared for by the resident engineers-Messrs. Hull, Green, Knight, and M'Ctrthy. It is scarcely necessary to add that Mcssis. Cornish and Bruce woro the contractors, and that by the untimely death of Mr. Cornish, soon after tho

contract iras entered upon, a responsibility not - originally contemplated early fell upon Mr.

Brueo.

Tho occasion seems n fit ono on which to review the wholo history of the Victorian Bail, ways, and placo bef oro tho colony some connected details, drawn from floating scraps of informa-

tion that have from time to time appeared in tho , pub!io journals, with regard to those great works, the property of the state, and on account of which tie owe some £'8,000,000 to English nnd co- lonial creditors. Early in the yenr 1859, Mr, Duffy, then the President of the Brard of Land and Works, ¡Blued advertisements, inviting tenders for tho oonBtruction of the Melbourne nnd Sand- hurst, Sandhurst and Rivor Murray, and Goolong and Ballarat rnilwnys, in nccordanco with printed conditions and specifications prepared by Mr. Darbyshire. From the magnitudo of (ho work comprisnd in theso three contracts, thero np poarod little likelihood of any satisfactory tenders being received for tho wholo or any of them. Government troro impressed with this view, and took the precaution of dividing the mila ays into a number of lengths called sections, for each o£ which separata tenders wero invited. Thus the

Melbourno and Sandhurst Railway WBB divided into thirteen sections Sandhurst and River Murray into three sections, and the Geelong and Ballarat into seven seotions. Contractors woro invited to tender for eaoh or all of theso sections, for each lino of railway separately, and for the whole three lines of railway io ono coniraot« Although the construction of tho railways com- prised in tho group for which tho railway loan

was authorized by Parlioment was thus thrown . opsn to publio competition, it was not at the time anticipated generally thnt rt greater portion of the works would bo actually let than that be- tween Melbourne and Gisborne, a distanco of about for.y miles ; for tho construction of forty miles of railway, involving tho expen- diture of three-quarters of a million of money, appeared as great an undertaking OB the labour market of the colony oould satisfactorily carry on at one timo, or OB any one firm oould handle. Tenders wore, however, sent in; and on the 20ch of March, of that year, they wore opanod in tho presenco of His Em-llcncy the Oovernor nnd tbo Executive Council, and before tho several parties who had tendered. It may readily be surmised that thcro waa considerable excitement on tho occasion, There aortainly was no want of competition. Alto-

gether, 133 tenders woro rcoeivod by the* Government, the greater number of which woro for tho separate sections into which tho railway lines had been divided. Tha tendors wero reforred by tho Executive Council to a pro- fessional board for examination, when, after a very careful analysis of the whole, tho board re- ported that tho tender of Messrs. Cornish and Bruce was the lowest for tho Melbourne and Sandhurst Railway, andthoso of Messin. Musson and Co. for both tho Sandhurst nnd River Murray and tbe_Geolong and U.illnrnt Kiiltvaye. Thoy thoroforo suggestod that Messrs, Cornish and lîruco'a fonder should bo accepted for the Sandhurst line, Messrs. Musson and Cc-.'u for the Ballarat line, and that tho construction of the lino to tho Murray, generally known as the Kchuoa lino, should bo deferred until iho Sand- hurst lino was well forward towards completion. Tho recommendation of tho Board was ap- proved by the Prcsidont of the Bjnrd of Land and Works, and tbo contracts (wero let ac- cordingly. Messrs. Musson nnd Co,, how- ever, failed to tako up that for tim Geelong and Ballarat Railway, and that line, tho history of which has already boon recorded, was re advertised, and lot to other partieB, by tho suc- cessors of whom-Messrs. Williams and Co.-the work has been successfully complotcd.

It may fairly bo assumed from the satisfactory completion of tho Melbouruo nnd Sandhurst Rail- way, so far as tho public interests aro concerned a line, as I have already remarked, of a hundred miles in length-that tho Government noted wisely in adopting the recommendation of tho Board, nnd lotting tbo wholo of tho work to Messrs, Cornish and Bruce, insiond of letting it in thirtcon soparato seotions to thirteen con- tractors', the failure of nny ono of ubom to carry out his ongagomonts with the Go- vernment would havo delayed the opening of tho wholo line. But tho advtntago gained by this course is demonstrated by an examination of tbo tenders. Their oller for the wholo con- tract amounted to i'J,.'l5fl,!)37 2». ii),, and tbo aggregate amount of their scparato tenders for ench of the seotions was £3.800,500 81. !)J. Tho difforenoo botwoen these two amounts is £'ü03,{>69 C». 7d , or upwards of thirteen per ccnl., which represents the sum at «hloh tboy cstircited tbo advantages of having the expenditure ot the lá- tiro amount required for the construction cf tbo railway. Tho estimate:) of the eagincet-m-cliiet

woro as follow : -

For the Melbourne and S Mid-

hurst Railway, if let iu

thirteon sections .£3,029,793 17 !> If in one contract . 3,17ii,8l4 0 -I»

Difference in favour of the atter 1

course ." . jr.352.li70 17 9 ,, Messrs. "Comiah and Bruce'n tondcr for the ,,

work, as I have already remarked, wai at

follows !?

For the thirteen sections sepa-

rately .£3.860,506 8

In one tender .3,356,937 2

Differences in favour of one con-

tract .£503,569 6 7

One sample of the other tenders sent in will t office. It is that of Messrs. Bandle and Holmes, who were backed by Sir M, Peto and Co., of London. They offered to do the work for a,sum of £4,151,216 OB. lid., or £794.27818«. 91, above the tender which was accepted. By tali large sum, therefore-over three quarters of s> million-the colony has gained, while the works have been executed in a manner uusurpimal eltewhere by works of similar charaoter- aal the engineer-in-ohief has certified that the contract time has been kept in their conitrui lion as faithfully as oould have been expootál with a- work of such magnitude, more espeohllr when the anomalous oiroiimstances affecting thi labour market of the colony from time to time ara taken into comideration. Tho work the contrao'.on undertook to perform comprised, amongst other operations, the excavation of 4,900,000 ou1» yards of material, of which upwards of 2,009,0)1 cnbo yards consisted of blasting in bluestone, granite, and other hard rock ; tho breaking of 1.1CO.000 oube yards of bluestone ballast ; th) laying of 100 miles of double line of per- manent way, involving tho oarriage for an Average distance of fifty miles, of 40,031 tons of permanent way matorials ; the ores« tlon of 09,000 rods of fenoing, the olearia; and partial grubbing of 2,500 acres of timbera 1 land ; 70,400 cube yards of tunnelling throuïi. hard metsmorphic sandstone, and the construc- tion of 280,000 cube yards of masonry in viaducts tunnels, stream bridges, culverts, and road bridges. Amongst the works of construction included in this contract are the Stony Creek Bridge, Harper's Creek Viaduct, Sunbury Oreok Viaduct, Jackson's Creek Viaduct, Riddell's Creek Bridge, Campaspe River Viaduct, Boggy Creek Bridge, Coliban Viaduct, Taradale. Viaduct, Elphinstone) Tunnel, Forest Creek Viaduct, Barker's Creek Viaduct, Big Hill Tun- nel, Kangaroo Flat Viaduct, a number of stream b ridges and culverts, and eighty-two bridges for   carrying roads under and over the railway. For all this Titanic work a plant had to be impro-

\ ised.

ï'he conditions of the conlraot required that the contractors should pay to the Government ia cash, within fourteen days of the acceptance o! tho tender, a sum of £40,000, as security for the due completion of the work. This larg) sum of money was punctually paid, and tai contractors were plaoed in possession of tin land. They at once began operations, and oír rledjon tho work with such vigour, that, although the date for oommonoing the railway had bass, postponed some three months, from A numbjr of "causes,-the responsibility of the delay havinj been assumed by the Uovernment, the o)a tractorsbeingentitled to a corresponding extension of time-they not only opened the first section of the railway by the beginning of January, 1853, the date originally contemplated, but they plno)i ?he Government in possession of nearly thro3 additional miles of the railway, two years befara the conlraot time, thus enabling the Government lb run their traffic into tho township of Sunbury. The first twenty-one miles of the railway wera opened for traffic in the extraordinarily short ps rio'd of seven months, and tho festivities that took place on the occasion, at the expense of the con- tractors,' will long be remembered. Upwards of 1,500 pooplo were conveyed to Sunbury on the cpening day, and entertained at a banquet In a payilion ereoted expressly for the occasion, O a the following evening, a similar number of people «ero invited to a ball at the Exhibition Building, whioh was crammed to overflowing ; and on the succeeding day tbe proceedings were wound up by lin, excursion on the bay. Soon afterwards, how- ever, difficulties arose, by whioh the progress of tie workB was retarded, and large expense! thrown upon the contractors whioh they had not contemplated when thoy signed their bond. A number of vague oharges were circulated, attri- buting to the contractors a falsification of ths measurements on the Keilor Plains seotion, and much political capital was made out of this sonros daring the heat of the contested eleotion that followed, A oommittco of investigation 'was subsequently appointed by the reformed Parliament, It was admittedly hostile to ths contractors at the commencement of the inquiry; hap after sitting for several months, and ex- amining many witnesses, it abandoned he in- quiry. At slater period,*charges -wereadvanoei Kith regard to the quality of the cement used la the Barker's Creek culverts, and out of tin stories thon circulated arose the appointment of st poripstotio committee, who visited the spot, dog out bricks from oulvorts with crowbars. stud inflicted a serious loss on the contra?

tors, without obtaining proofs of tho alleged fraud, timo having proved by tho works themselves that the culverts in question were substantially built. Tho rains have ainoa beat upon thom, severe Hoods have tried them, loaded trains have passed over thom, and they .bave stood tho tests. This inquiry, howevor, led to the resignation of tho enginoer-in-chief ; and the loss it occasioned to Messrs. Cornish and Bruoo is estimated at a largo Bum, through tho dis- organisation it occasionod in their stafT, the delay that occurred in the progress of the works, end the weakened confidence of their financial supporters.

Beyond tho large sum paid down by way of security before the operations were commonoed, the contractors had also to provide tho nooossary plant for prosocuting the works throughout th» line. This plant is generally understood to hava cost upwards of £250,000; and when wo take into consideration the magnitude of the under- taking, and the difficulty and expense of procur- ing railway plant in a now country, separated by st long ocean-passage from the markets of the old world, there ¡B reason to believo that this ostlmato Ia not in oxcess of tho aotual cost. But, in addi- tion to this heavy outlay of capital, they havo had to submit to a deduction of ten per cent, from tha value of all work performed by them, that amount fceing retained by the Government, as additional security for the completion of the oontraot. Whoa it is considered that work to the value of from 420,000 to £30,000 per wook was being per« formed when'the works wero in full operation, it «ill bo seen that a continuous deduction of ton per bent, must eventually have amounted to an enormous sum. The capitalists, who affordol the contractors the financial assistance they ra quired in this vast outlay, must undoubtedly havo load groat confidence in thoir j'udgoment, ability, and'integrity, for it is not in the nature of capital

plaoo ltielf out in an insecure, bark, for a doubt . fal voyage. Those advances are known to harj .amounted at one period to upwards of a quart» of a million Btorling. Tho injury the oontraotor* .must thorofore have suffered from hostilo Parlia- mentary committees of inquiry can aoarosly 1M over-estimated. It is in tho natara Of things that whilo works proceed methodloilly and uninterruptedly undor a woll-considoroi ?j stem of organized labour, capital has ooafi donco j but whero Parliamentary committees o c inqniry, by their aolion-fruitless for good ©ejeasion disorganization and embarrass the con- duct of business, that men who havo made largo a J Tanoes should bocomo alarmod for their Beouri Ues, and withdraw their confidence. To this w J owe the interposition of third parties botwoen tha ooutraotois and the contract, some months ago

and this element of inquiry, unthought-of when the oaloulations of tho contractors were made, must havo seriously disturbed their expectations. Bo long ai Parliament left the work of supervi- sion to ita responsible agents, the work advanced rapidly and suocossfully ; as soon as it interfered, disorganisation and loss began. Up to that time» .Mesare. Cornish and Bruoo had vigorously oarried. oot their conti act, and moro than fulflllod their

promises. Since then the rata of program hat been rnuob less satisfactory.

Tho completion of the railway within tho poriooT originally contemplated has been prevented by a number of accidental cauces, some of whioh hava been already alluded to. The most serioiiB, how- ever, was the long strngglo between contending; bodies of the men of Kyneton as to tho proolia

course of the line, until the " Kyneton deviation" , question heoaine a bugbear to Parliament and st reproach out of doors. The line, as originally oontrnotcd for, passed at a distance of about two miles to the westward of the town of Kyneton, A strong agitation, however, was got up in that municipality for tho purpoäe of inducing Parliament to authorize suoh a de- viation of the railway as would bring it through Carlsruhe and Kyneton, along tho east side of the Cninpaspo. In consequence of this agitation, tho Government were induced to withhold fro a. the eontraotors possession of nearly twenty rt iles of tho line, extonding from Woodend te» Malmesbury, forupwoids of two years, pending tbo ûaue of investigations as to the probable otu!; and advantages of tho proposed deviation. Thraa SE veml lines were at last proposed. Tho matter ?w as brought definitely before Parliament, roferrodL to a select committee, reported upon, disousaad »gain and again, and at last settled by thehazird of a division, which decided that the line should

be carried a milo and n half nearer to Kyneton I than was proposed originally. Notwithstanding the serious delays the eontraotors thus experi- enced io obtaining possession of this portion of tho line, thoy pushed on with the works so vigorously that they woro enabled to hand over to the Government for publia traffio so muoh oï the railway as enabled trains to be run to Kyne- ton nearly three months bofore the date set down, in tho final agreement with the Government. From that time forward the works have baan much delayed by the sevority of the woithor. To this cause wo owe s delay of nearly three monthB in the opening of the line to Castlemaine arid Sandhurst. Bat for the late unprece- dented rains, the interesting event to bo oole 1: ra ted to-day would have taken place in July last. Under all the ciroumstanoes, howevor, the colony has reason to bo glad that so great a work has been carried out so faithfully, and with so close an approximation to the time originally proposed. Tho skotoh I have hastily written of the works themselves, the figures I bavo quoted, and the disturbing elements to whioh I have alluded, may help the publio tt appreciate the importance of the ceremony ia which they are to day to take part, and of the vi orks in the completion of which the colony will rejoice,

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