A New Route to the West Coast.
Mr Woolley and his party returned to Reofton on Saturday (says the “ Inangahua Herald ”), after having been employed for some weeks exploring the country in the vicinity of Cannibal Gorge for the purpose of ascertaining the engineering facilities for a line of railway. So far as having attained the object with which the survey party started, we believe that their labors have resulted most successfully. Altogether the party have been absent about a month, but the progress of the work was much interferred with by the severe weather, but for which it would have been completed earlier. Examination of the country has proved beyond all doubt that a line of railway can bo carried on to the Hanmer Plains with a gradient so easy as to require scarcely an appreciable rise, so that in the event of other circumstances rendering it desirable that the coal traffic should be carried by that route no difficulties of construction would have to be encountered; and so far the problem has been satisfactorily solved to find an easy pass for a line of railway connecting the East and West Coasts. The disadvantages attending this route are, firstly, greatly increased distance to Christchurch and to localities south of Christchurch, where at present a large coal trade could be developed ; and, secondly, that the line of railway would pass through scantily populated districts reaching Cnristchurch, so that no remunerative trade in this mineral could be looked for until the coal had been carried an excessive distance. A final objection is the greater length of the line, being only something like 111 miles by the southern remaining to be constructed to Brunnerton witli Christchurch, while by Reefton and Cannibal Gorge the length of railway to be constructed would not be less than 160 miles. According to the result of the different surveys, the tranainsular line will be carried either by the Hope or Arthur’s Pass, the main trunk line and the transinsular line being one line until reaching Nelson Creek, when the main line will diverge to Cook Strait by Ahaura, Reefton, lyell, and Hampden.
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