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A 116-year-old rail bridge under a section of the Hurstbridge line has been declared structurally unsound, with train speeds slowed until repairs can be done.
The speeds have been reduced on the line over the Eltham trestle bridge because of the unsound “structural and track condition of the trestle bridge”, documents seen by the Leader reveal.
The weekly operational notice report — starting April 12, 2018 — states trains in both directions had to reduce speed by 15km/h.
Metro spokesman Marcus Williams said the speed limit in a 200m section would be temporarily reduced until planned track maintenance works were completed this month.
Mr Williams said the speed reduction was a precaution, posed no safety risks and wasn’t causing delays to train services.
Eltham state Liberal candidate Nick McGowan previously vowed to duplicate the line between Greensborough and Eltham, which left many questioning what would happen to the historic trestle bridge.
Mr McGowan said he planned to build a second trestle bridge on the Eltham Central Park site.
“This is an iconic structure and must be protected in addition to providing safe passage for commuters,” Mr McGowan said.
But Eltham state Labor MP Vicki Ward said duplicating the line past Greensborough doesn’t require another bridge.
“A duplication of the bridge either destroys the view of the trestle bridge from Alistair Knox Park, or will impact the Eltham Football and Cricket Club oval, practice nets and parking,” she said.
The Eltham District Historical Society has declared the bridge as historically significant and should not be compromised, if and when, the railway line was duplicated between Greensborough and Eltham.
Built in 1902, it is the only predominantly timber railway bridge still in use as a vital part of Melbourne’s metro train network.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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