Railway Bridge across the South Esk Risk in the north of the state will undergo
maintenance and structural work later this year to increase load capacity
without compromising its strong heritage values.
Photo courtesy Nic Haygarth
The bridge is
part of the 83-kilometre long Launceston and Western Railway Line opened in
1871. This was Tasmania’s first railway line, constructed to move agricultural
produce from the north west coast to Launceston, and on to Melbourne via
Built of a
continuous cast iron through-lattice truss structure over two 64-metre spans
centred on a brick pier in the middle of the River, the bridge was considered a
major engineering feat. It was built at the Rhymney Iron Works in Wales and
shipped out to Tasmania in pieces at a cost of 28,000 pounds. At the time of
its construction, it was one of two bridges in the Australian colonies with the
remains a strong visual element in the landscape, and is still used today. To
ensure its continued use and to respond to the need to increase the bridge's structural loads, TasRail sought advice from Heritage Tasmania.
works to the bridge include replacing steel bracing members, completing mortar
repairs to masonry abutments, and repainting the steelwork to ensure the
continued use of this important historic iron structure.
Tasmanian Heritage Council has approved the works through a Certificate of
Exemption, saving TasRail time and money. Since January this year, more than 80
exemptions have been issued for sympathetic works that minimize impacts on a
place’s heritage values.
public perspective, the Longford Railway Bridge will continue to retain its
original features, sitting proudly over the South Esk River.