Mary Wooldridge MP

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Eltham's Timber Trestle Bridge

Friday, June 23, 2017

Constituency Question 

My question is for the Minister for Public Transport in the other place. Will she guarantee that Eltham's famous timber trestle bridge will be preserved in any plans for the duplication of the Hurstbridge rail line from Greensborough to Eltham? According to the National Trust of Australia database, this bridge, built in 1902, is the only railway bridge built predominantly of timber that is still in regular use in Melbourne's metropolitan electric railway network, and it is one of extremely few timber rail bridges in the state that still carries trains. When it was built it was close to the terminus point of what was then the Heidelberg–Eltham rail extension. It was on the route of the proposed Diamond Valley Railway that was planned to continue up the valley towards Kinglake.

Since the government's announcement of $5 million of planning works for the duplication of the railway line from Greensborough to Eltham, several residents have contacted me asking about the future of this local landmark. No-one I have spoken to wants the modernisation of the rail line to result in any degradation to the bridge. It not only links Eltham with earlier days of steam locomotive transport but is also set in the magnificent parklands that highlight the area's natural beauty. Eltham residents want to make sure this special piece of history is maintained, and I ask the minister to give a cast-iron guarantee that the future of the trestle bridge is assured.

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