Old hawskbury river bridge

 
  hop13b Beginner

Location: newcastle
I am trying to verify a story I heard about one of the piers(southernmost?) of the old bridge.
The story is that they could not find bed rock with the piles so they put wool bales down the pile holes.
I have read that there was a problem with one of the piers(which led to the ultimate demise) but nothing relating to the wool bale story.
I was an apprentice at cardiff loco workshops in the 1960's and spent some time in the drawing office.
It was there that I met Ron Preston(noted railway historian) and it was he who told the story.
Ron was a very knowledgible person with a great sense of humour and a colourful story teller.
Was I young(17yrs) and naive and this one of Ron's many tall tales, or was it fact?
Is there anyone out there who can verify (or otherwise) this story.

Cheers
              Hoppo

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  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
A properly compressed bale of wool weighs around 300 lb or 150 Kgs and are quite solid allowing them to be stacked 3 high on a rail wagon but higher on a road vehicle.
I have read where finding 'Bottom' is a problem (crossing Tundra regions) and a system is used of laying some sort of material down and then heaping 'ballast' on top until it settles.
The City of Venice in Italy is wholly supported on hundreds of pilings driven into the lake bed because it had no 'solid bottom'.

If the story was true and wool bales were used, I dont think its one they would consider putting up a bloody great sign saying,
'Like Australia, this Bridge pier floats on the Sheeps Back' !!!!!!!

Before dismissing this completely, have you ever seen ships built out of Concrete and of all things, ICE???
They not only did but they floated too.
Canada, WW2 when the Allies were in desperate need of ships to carry freight to the UK.
They actually built the Ice Ship but the War ended before it could be 'proven' as useful or not.
  jayrail Assistant Commissioner

Location: te Anau Southern Alps NZ
One memory of those times when the Ncle trains had to travel very slow over the bridge; quite uncomfortable experience ,always glad to exit bridge. Watched new piers and bridge beside in construction..
Understand the replacement now has problems??
  georges Chief Train Controller

One memory of those times when the Ncle trains had to travel very slow over the bridge; quite uncomfortable experience ,always glad to exit bridge. Watched new piers and bridge beside in construction..
Understand the replacement now has problems??
jayrail
SMH of 2 December reports that 'Limits are being imposed on freight trains running over the rail bridge connecting Sydney with the Central Coast and Newcastle, after engineering reports found cracking in the bridge's concrete and "consistent defects" in its steel frame.'

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/freight-limits-imposed-after-defects-found-in-hawkesbury-river-rail-bridge-20161201-gt2g0d.html
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
There is mention of contractor fudging in the book Bridges Down Under . I seem to remember it being the filling in the Caissons (sp ?) being some sand and rock rather than all concrete . Also there may have been bearings or joints that froze up causing the daily expansion and contraction to pull the pylons back and forth .
My father rode on it as a kid and it was slow and only on one side of I think a double line bridge . This I think was in the war years .
  georges Chief Train Controller

The present bridge replaced the previous bridge, which had been built by the Union Bridge Company of New York. The original bridge was officially opened on 1 May 1889.

Page 361 of John Gunn's 'Along Parallel Lines' (1989) says that 'grave defects' were discovered in the original bridge. It had been strengthened between 1926 and 1931 to take heavier loads.

'Plans were made for repairs but .... it became evident that faulty materials had been used in the in the concrete of the caissons and a considerable quantity of blue-coloured silt from the river bed was discovered'. The news only got worse as severe corrosion was found in all the bridge piers. A speed restriction of 15 miles per hour (5 mph from September 1945) had greatly hampered operations during World War 2.  Single line working became necessary. It became clear that a new bridge needed to be built urgently.

The present bridge was officially opened on 1 July 1946, its caissons, piers and steel superstructure having been constructed by the Railways Department. Gunn records that the new bridge could carry loads twice that of the original bridge.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
The Liverpool and Manchester Railway of 1830 faced a big problem going over the swampy "Chat Moss". They laid brushwood mats to carry the ballast and track. No doubt they keeped pouring more ballast as the mats sank.

Similary with the Hexham swamp, near Newcastle, NSW. I remember reading about an attempt to measure what lay underground, and it turned out that by the late 20th Century, there were several metres of ballast underneath.
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

The present bridge replaced the previous bridge, which had been built by the Union Bridge Company of New York. The original bridge was officially opened on 1 May 1889.

Page 361 of John Gunn's 'Along Parallel Lines' (1989) says that 'grave defects' were discovered in the original bridge. It had been strengthened between 1926 and 1931 to take heavier loads.

'Plans were made for repairs but .... it became evident that faulty materials had been used in the in the concrete of the caissons and a considerable quantity of blue-coloured silt from the river bed was discovered'. The news only got worse as severe corrosion was found in all the bridge piers. A speed restriction of 15 miles per hour (5 mph from September 1945) had greatly hampered operations during World War 2.  Single line working became necessary. It became clear that a new bridge needed to be built urgently.

The present bridge was officially opened on 1 July 1946, its caissons, piers and steel superstructure having been constructed by the Railways Department. Gunn records that the new bridge could carry loads twice that of the original bridge.
georges
Although the piers are no longer loaded, 70 years on, they are still there. And from a distance, the train, on the new bridge, appear in reasonable condition. If they were a hazard to navigation, or in danger of collapse, surely they would been removed.

At some stage, a new bridge will be required. Any ideas about where? In place of the original? Using the old tunnels, and approaches?
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
It would probably make sense to use the old alignment if the tunnels etc are serviceable or reasonably easily made so .
You'd think making a third route would be very expensive and replacing in place the existing bridge not acceptable .
With current technology bridge pylons should be easy , if not cheap , and the opportunity exists to build to higher loading standards than the current bridge has .

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