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Up, up and away: Sturt Reserve steam engine is on the move
A locomotive and tender on Murray Bridge's riverfront have been shifted for the first time in decades.
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For the first time in decades, the steam engine on Murray Bridge’s wharf is on the move.
There was much creaking on Monday morning as the locomotive was decoupled from its tender, its axles were oiled, its wheels turned over and – finally – it was lifted onto a mobile piece of track.
Contractors from local company Moore Engineering worked slowly and deliberately alongside volunteers from the Murray Bridge Riverboat, Rail and Steam Group.
Using two pieces of track, laid one in front of the other, they gradually shifted the locomotive along the wharf.
By Monday afternoon it was expected to come to rest in the spot where it may sit for the next year or more: in front of the volunteer group’s workshop 130 metres away, the old Shell depot.
There were a few nervous moments, but volunteer Lee Millsteed said he was always confident the engine would be able to be moved.
It had been shifted a short distance about 20 years ago, he said.
“They freed it up and moved it then, so I figured it was going to move this time,” he said.
The locomotive and its tender will eventually be restored and placed alongside the old goods platform which still sits on the wharf.
Wharf precinct is about to get a makeover
The temporary removal of the steam engine will allow a multi-million-dollar upgrade of Murray Bridge’s wharf precinct to go ahead.
First, a large shelter will be built where the train had previously sat, shading riverboat passengers and picnickers.
Over the next two years, the wharf itself will be upgraded, too, increasing the number of tourist boats which will be able to safely dock there at one time.
Federal MP Tony Pasin announced an extra $1.5 million worth of funding for the project last week, bringing the total federal contribution to the transformation of Murray Bridge’s riverfront to $5.5 million.
The wharf upgrade would create nearly 30 jobs and more than $4 million worth of economic benefits to the Murray Bridge district, Mr Pasin said.
The latest funding came from a bushfire recovery program.
“The Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants program is backing projects which the affected communities have said will best support their ongoing recovery,” he said.
“The grants will fund a broad range of recovery and resilience projects, from social and community wellbeing right through to projects that support local jobs, small businesses and infrastructure.
“These projects were based on merit and are intended to offer a lasting and tangible impact, tailored to local needs and conditions.”
Several other local projects were also funded, including a bushfire refuge for horses.
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