The Lyttelton Times.
Lyttelton Times, Volume IV, Issue 160, 28 January 1854, Page 6
The Lyttelton Times.
January 28, 1554. As a compensation for the absence of records of past ages, it is the privilege of a youthful community such as ours, to look onwards ■with vivid anticipation, and to picture to ourselves what- we shall in all probability see realized at no remote period. Such occasional glances into futurity may prove something more than an idle indulgence of the imagination; if confined within due bounds, and we therefore propose from time to time to direct the thoughts of our readers to *the consideration of some of the many subjects „ which will probably soon present themselves for actual determination. We will therefore now proceed, in fulfilment of the promise we gave in a former article, to offer some suggestions on the means by which coal and other associated minerals might be worked on a larger scale, supposing the first experiments, made as formerly proposed, to hold out a good prospect of success. We will, then, now assume that a favourable locality for raising coal has been selected, and that Jthe produce has proved of such a quality as to merit the approbation of the public as household fuel, and for other purposes. The enterprise of opening out effectually the mineral resources of the settlement could be properly undertaken, v»e conceive, only by a public company, supported by a guarantee of the Provincial Council. The transport of the minerals to the Capital, and to a place of shipment, would be the primary object requiring the outlay of money, and the method best adapted to tins purpose would probably be that which modern science has rendered familiar ; viz. : —the iron tramway. We should not contemplate,—at any rate1 at the commencement,—any thing on "the scale of a locomotive railway, but what is properly called a tramway, adapted for horses or bullocks as the motive power. Such tramways are common in the coal districts of the north of England for conveying the coals irom the pit's mouth to a main line of railway, or to the shipping place. The natural
slope of the country towards the- sea would in our case, as in theirs, enable the trains of coal waggons to run down portions of the journey by the force of gravity alone, whilst [horses would be required on level parts, or to drag the empty waggorus up the country. A single line of light rails, such as here supposed, can we believe, be laid in England, and provided with trucks, at about £2jooo per mile. Supposing our line to extend 35 miles, and to cost one-third more for freight, labour, &c, the nature of the country here being so favourable, the amount necessary for its construction would be about £100,000. ;:'Z The question then occurs how is this amount to be raised ? We conceive that in order to induce capitalists to subscribe it, the Provincial Revenue must be made a security to the shareholders for a minimum rate of interest on the calls paid up, sa)^ 5 percent. It is in this way that'the great East Indian railways are being constructed, and also extensive lines in our North American colonies. In the latter, advantages are also offered to the shareholders by the Government granting to the Company a section of land on each side of their line to be allotted amongst their shareholders in proportion to the number of shares held by each. Such a tract of land becoming vested in the company, as portions of their line was completed, would thereby acquire a value, and might comprise a portion of the coal- field itself. The Company moreover should be empowered to cut the timber necessai'} 7 for the construction of the line free of charge. A town would necessarily spring up at the terminus, around the spot where the coal was worked, and we should hope that, in accordance, with one of the fundamental principles on which this tlement was founded, a portion of the pror perty which would thus become valuable would be set apart for the public benefit, to be appropriated. ■■, to religious and educa-. tional purposes. We should thus hope to avoid the evils which have too frequently resulted in other parts, (for instance, Wales, Scotland, &c.,) from the utterly neglected state of large bodies of people congregated together, and in receipt of high wages, but deprived of all the refining influences of religious education. The traffic along such a line of tramway as we have supposed, would consist not only of the coal for which it would be primarily made, but also of lime, an article of which we are at present so much in want, of and of which a cheap supply would entirely change our mode of building, and also prove eminently beneficial to agriculture, by correcting the sourness caused by inert vegetable matter in the soil, especially whenever swamps shall be drained and brought under tillage. It is also asserted that copper ore is found not far distant from the coal, and if this should prove to be of a rich quality, it would be a valuable material for ballasting our wool ships, and add an important article to our list of exports. The wool, cheese, &c, from a wide district on each side of the line, would be sent down by it, and in return stores for the stations, and other necessaries, would be sent up. We might expect also that timber, bricks, building stone, &c, would find their way down this main artery from those regions where they now exist in useless abundance, to the- seaboard, where those who would apply them daily gaze in vain on the hills where they lie buried. The epoch of the opening of such a line of tramway will indeed be a cheering one for Canterbury ; —■ may it speedily arrive !