RENEWAL: The Deep Creek rail bridge is getting a major upgrade ahead of the Rattler's return.
RENEWAL: The Deep Creek rail bridge is getting a major upgrade ahead of the Rattler's return. Scott Kovacevic

125-year-old bridge gets major overhaul

AFTER more than 125 years of life, the Deep Creek rail bridge is getting an extensive overhaul in the lead-up to the Mary Valley Rattler's return.

A Gympie Regional Council spokeswoman said a number of components were being replaced on the bridge, bringing it up to scratch for the heritage train's new lease on life.

These include the replacement of defective items including piles and girders on both ends of the bridge, along with new bridge sleepers.

The rail will also be reinstalled, she said.

More work will also be needed on one of the piers, including ground work to provide extra support.

All of the work is expected to be finished in February.

She said work on the bridge has been done according to the availability of materials, and had been one of the bridges identified as needing more work than initially noted.

According to Rail Futures' report on the bridge from May 2017, more than 50 of the bridge's parts were condemned, and would need replacement within five years, including 23 of the bridge piles and 24 girders.

A sink hole was also found near one end of the bridge which would require the contractors to "excavate and compact” the area, as well as investigate what the cause was.

Escape platforms also need to be upgraded, as the previous ones were found to be ineffective.

Overall, the extent of bridge repairs needed to bring the Rattler back to life was a central part of Rail Futures' report.

They found the amount of timber needed was "substantially above” previous reports, and noted those initial assessments were "being based on mainly on visual assessment”.

The amount of time which had passed since any replacement or maintenance of those parts also added to the increased size of work required.

Traffic pulls up at Station Rd

Work on the Rattler's Station Rd overpass.
Work on the Rattler's Station Rd overpass. Scott Kovacevic

A CORRODED flange has turned out to be a traffic stopper in central Gympie.

As the Rattler steams towards completion, upgrades to the Station Rd rail underpass have forced a detour to be installed.

According to a Gympie Regional Council spokeswoman, the corrosion means an entire girder must be replaced - and to do this, temporary supports are needed to keep the rest of the bridge in place.

She said the underpass was one of the bridges on which more work was found than initially reported, leading to the start date of the heritage train being pushed back by at least five months.

Detours will remain in place until Sunday, January 21.

Gympie Times


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