Bold idea to save historic bridge with Inland Rail project
WANGARATTA Railway Station would have a sunken platform and lower track under plans being mooted to save the station’s heritage listed railway footbridge from being a casualty of the Inland Rail project.
The Cusack Street footbridge, in service since 1888/89, together with the Docker Street footbridge, are both earmarked to be removed, to make way for the double-stacked freight trains to run between Mel- bourne and Brisbane.
In the footbridges’ place the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is suggesting a single, central footbridge, to be accessed via steps and twin-shafted elevators at either end instead of current ramps.
The ARTC has said it is also examining alterna- tives, including the option of upgrading one of the existing footbridges, but any design solutions will need to meet compliance standards.
Wangaratta’s Charles Szeligiewicz, a train driver for 36 years who also runs a building design business, met with Rural City of Wangaratta councillors and senior officers last week to present his bold plan and lobby for council support.
He is proposing for the ARTC to excavate the track to a depth of 2.3 metres from the Green Street overpass until the Rowan Street underpass.
“If they did this the height requirement needed for the double stack containers can be met and the existing footbridges can stay,” he said.
The works would, however, require a new, sunken train platform to be built adjoining the existing railway station.
Mr Szeligiewicz believes his plan can produce the best result for the community.
AN increase in jobs and opportunities for local suppliers and contractors is expected for the Hume region during and beyond the construction of the Victorian section of the Australian Government’s Inland Rail freight project.
Inland Rail will directly connect Melbourne and Brisbane via regional New South Wales, allowing freight to travel on a dedicated railway, between north and south in less than 24 hours, making it easier to move freight to domestic and international markets.
The Tottenham to Albury section of Inland Rail is planned along 305km of existing rail corridor from metropolitan Melbourne to Albury-Wodonga.
This project will see enhancements required to accommodate double stack freight trains of 1800 metres in length to be run on the track, vastly improving the efficiency of the line.
To help regions take advantage of Inland Rail, the Depart- ment of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities has commissioned the Regional Australia Institute to develop a strategic planning tool, ‘Are You Ready For Inland Rail?’, which will help regions identify potential areas of growth based on new opportunities.
The department is also working with the CSIRO to develop the Inland Rail supply chain mapping pilot project, which will assist regions and industries to understand regional supply chains and optimise regional freight flows.
Hume regional representatives including the Regional Development Australia (RDA) committee and the Goulburn and Ovens Murray Regional Partnerships are working together to understand how to make the most of the short-term and long-term benefits to the region.
Susan Benedyka, the Wangaratta-based chair of the Hume RDA, said that local jobs opportunities will be identified during the project assessment phase, due to commence later this year, with formal industry and community working groups a key driver.
“Local business leaders and community members will have the opportunity to consider what innovations, specific skills and experience they can bring to the project,” Ms Benedyka said.
“When complete, this project will connect key regional centres and rural producers to our major ports, capitals and distri- bution hubs via Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
“Inland Rail will prepare the nation for our growing freight task, directly connecting Melbourne and Brisbane in less than 24 hours, making it easier to move freight to domestic and international markets”.
The Australian Government has identified that freight volumes between Brisbane and Melbourne are forecast to triple by 2050.
For more on the Inland Rail industry briefings email: email@example.com.