$300,000 to keep Stratford rail bridge fit for use

PASSENGER trains crossing the Stratford railway bridge will continue to crawl along at 15kmh for the foreseeable future.

The speed restriction is imposed on passenger trains to reduce any risk of structural damage to the 122 year old bridge and to compensate for the weight of the heavy N class locomotives used to haul the few passenger trains travelling beyond Traralgon.

And while the Transport Department has declined to comment on any plans for the bridge’s replacement it has assured Wellington Shire Council the bridge, which forms a vital link in the shire’s rail transport network, would be maintained in a “fit for purpose state”.

The assurances were sought by council following a question on notice from Cr Darren McCubbin that sought information on concerns regarding the bridge’s future and plans for its improvement.

While the Transport Department gave no indication of plans to upgrade the bridge, built in 1890, it assured council there were ongoing maintenance works planned for 2012 and that an estimated $300,000 would be spent on maintenance this year.

For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.