In 1977 I camped beside the Neales River where the old Ghan line crossed via the Algebuckina bridge. The next morning a cattle train crossed the bridge but because I was nearly out of film in my camera, I did not get a photo of it. I have found a number of photos of the bridge, on the internet, that have been taken in recent years since the line was moved west, but have not found any of a train on the bridge. Does any one have one that they could post here or know where one could be found?
It's a really amazing Victorian-era bridge.
I've always wondered if the new route is any less prone to flooding than the old one?
Yes, the route via Tarcoola is much much less prone to flooding but not completely so.
I am not aware of services being cancelled ('suspended' is the euphemism for 'cancelled' these days) for the weeks that used to be the case at the Peake, Finke, Alberga, Stevenson, Alberga and so many other rivers crossed by the narrow gauge.
I have always wondered if the story about it originally being intended for the 'Murray Bridge' river crossing, but being too short has any truth in it.
Did the old route run along the river-beds of most of those? I think the story of the Algebuckina is that it was one of the few serious attempts at crossing a flood-plain on that line -
YM - thanks for that.
I'd imagine the landscape made it virtually impossible for proper crossings to be built through those flood-plains. It would have meant impossibly long low trestle type structures like (for example) the Snowy River trestle on the outskirts of Orbost (VIC). They may have still been swept away or inundated in heavy rain years anyway.
I also didn't realise that Lake Eyre was so close to the bridge - interesting.
The bridge to cross the Murray was cast in England for assembly (not surprisingly) at Murray Bridge. It arrived with one broken pylon. A replacement pylon was cast at the foundry of James Hooker, in Hindly St, Adelaide. Hooker's foundry relocated to Kilburn, and was named the Lion Foundry, where the Algebuckena bridge was cast and fabricated. I guess that it is likely that the pattern used to make the replacement pylon (likely the original broken pylon) was used again for the Algebuckina bridge - hence the similarity.
James Hooker was my great-great-great grandfather, a boilermaker by trade.
YM - assuming that you were the photographer - was that train stationary?, as in both photos it seems to be at the same spot.
Edit - hard to believe that 34 years have passed since the line was closed. Imagine how popular it would be if it were still operating today with the exposure of the Internet, YouTube etc.