Saturday 2 January 2016

Menangle Railway Bridge, NSW

Menangle Railway Bridge, NSW

Main Southern Railway, Menangle, Gilead, NSW 2571
Menangle Railway Bridge built in 1863. c1880s (Engineers Australia)

History and Description
The Menangle Railway Bridge is the oldest surviving rail bridge in New South Wales, and was built under the direction of John Whitton. It was opened in 1864. It is a tubular girder bridge constructed by New South Wales Railways Department.

The ironwork was made at Sir Morton Peto and Co.'s factory at Birkenhead, England; and shipped in two vessels at Liverpool, England.

The approaches for distance of 980 feet on the northern side, and 440 feet on the southern, are of timber in bays of four upright and two battering piles, secured by wallings and bracings, with openings of twenty-five feet ; the ballast and permanent way is laid on planking, resting on double longitudinal girders with traverse joists.

The iron girders rest on four oval stone piers of eighty feet by twenty feet at the base, tapering off to fifty-two by twelve, with vertical openings and surmounted by an impost course. The whole of the stone used in their construction was obtained from a sandstone quarry about a mile distant on Camden Park.

The girders are surmounted by a roadway composed of ironbark planking, on which the rails are laid; the height between the roadway and the ordinary level of the river is sixty-five feet. The total cost of the viaduct was about £80,000. (Illustrated Sydney News 16 June 1864)

Condition and Use
The bridge is currently used by the double track of the Main Southern Rail Line.
Physical condition is good.(State Heritage Inventory)

Heritage Significance
The Menangle Railway Bridge is the oldest surviving rail bridge in New South Wales, The bridge is of national, if not international, significance as there are few such bridges still in use in the United Kingdom.

The 1863 Menangle Railway Bridge constructed in 1863 over the Nepean River is one of the most historic bridges in Australia because (a) it was the first large iron bridge in New South Wales and the largest bridge until the 1889 Hawkesbury River Bridge (b) it has a dominant appearance in a rural landscape (c) it shares in the enormous benefits, social and commercial, that the Main South Railway has made to New South Wales in 140 years and (d) it was a technically advanced design for its time and received international recognition in 1872.

The Menangle rail bridge is the oldest surviving bridge on the State rail system and is of highest significance in the development of railway technology in the State.The bridge is one of two identical bridges constructed for the NSW Railways, the other being over the Nepean River at Penrith. (State Heritage Inventory)

Heritage Listing
New South Wales Regional Environment Plan Hawkesbury - Nepean REP No. 20
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register Listing No 01047

Read More
State Heritage Inventory Click here
Andrew Allen's The History Buff Click here
Institute of Engineers Australia Click here
Camden Heritage List Click here

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