Monday, June 01, 2009

New T'Railway crossings coming
Brodie Thomas
The Gulf News

T'Railway users will be able to directly cross more west coast waterways by this fall instead of having to find other ways around damaged and missing trestles.

Some $2 million will be spent this year removing and replacing five T'Railway trestles on the west coast, including Codroy North Branch, Morris Brook, Middle Brook, Robinson's River East and Robinson's River West.

Jamie Warren, president of the Newfoundland T'Railway Council, said replacing the trestles was a part of the group's three-year plan from the start. He said the council worked from east to west, knowing the west coast required some of the most expensive trail upgrades.

Mr. Warren said the $2 million was listed in the provincial budget, although at that time it was unclear what part of the T'Railway the money would be spent on.

He said they have actually purchased between 300 and 400 feet of Bailey bridge, which will be installed over these five crossings among others.

"You don't actually buy a bridge, you buy it by the foot," explained Mr. Warren. He said Bailey bridges are ideal for these crossings because they are built to withstand weather and do not require centre piers on long spans.

The Bailey bridges are over 11 feet wide to allow snowmobile trail groomers passage in the winter. In the summer, posts will be put in place to prevent full-sized vehicles from crossing.

Mr. Warren said dismantling current trestles can be an expensive and complicated proposition because they span ecologically sensitive waterways.

Tenders for removal of the five crossing previously listed, plus the bridge at Bear Cove Brook, are being prepared.

The tender has already closed and the contract will soon be awarded for removal of the Crabbes River Bridge, which collapsed earlier this year. It should be cleaned up by the end of the summer, according to Mr. Warren.

He does not know when the new crossing over Crabbes River will be completed.

"It doesn't make sense to have a major gap in the railway bed for continuity purposes, but the timeline for when that will go back is difficult to say," said Mr. Warren.

He said the T'Railway Council's goal is to have an uninterrupted route across the island.

It's going to be great having those Bailey Bridges spanning those rivers. The Detours now have ATV Riders traveling along the TCH in some places for kilometers. Hopefully someday We'll be able to ride the entire Island without detours. As an ex - Railroader i know the obstacles and how expensive upkeep can be over the long corridor. I also know once in place it can be quite a Tourist attraction and have many more business opportunities for anyone who wants to get involved. I also hope the T'Railway council decides to have a few meetings around the Island to get more people involved in day to day operations of it.

No comments: