RAKAIA AND ASHBURTON FORKS RAILWAY.
£ This railway, constructed under the District Railways Act, was officially inspected by Mr. A. D. Austin on Monday. A number of gentlemen interested in the success of the undertaking left Christchurch by the 8.40 a.ra. express train, and on its arrival at the Rakaia station one of the company’s handsome saloon carriages, with engine attached, was in readiness on the branch line to convey the party on their tour of inspection along the new lino, At present the lino terminates at Methven, which is distant 22 miles and 23 chains from Rakaia, but, inclusive of sidings, the length of the plato-laying is 25 miles, and is of a most substantial character, as none but 521 b. steel rails are used; indeed, it is not too much to say that a better made and ballasted line of railway than that from Rakaia to Methven is not to be found in Nov; Zealand. The width of gauge is the same as the main line —viz., 3ft. Gin. The train ran smoothly, and there are but few curves on the whole line, in all there are nine stations on the length, named respectively Hatfield, Somerton, Mitcham, Sherwood, Winchester, Urrall, 'Lyndhurst, Cairubrae, and Methven. It is worthy of notice that this railway, which intersects a large.grain growing district, will be opened for traffic just at the time when the agriculturists of the district will be only too glad to avail themselves of the facilities thus afforded of an expeditious mode of transit for their grain and produce to a ready market and the port. Nor will its advantage to the district end here. Closely situated to Alford Forest as is the Methven railway station, the products of that well known bush will new be readily placed in the market, and when this line has been passed for traffic, these advantages will be speedily utilised by the Alford Forest residents. At 2.30 p.m. the return joui-noy commenced. It may be mentioned that the whole length of tjie Rakaia to Methven rises about 600 ft, the rise being very evenly distributed over the whole distance. Each station is placed on the level, thus ensuing perfect control over the train when once at a station. At the Methven terminus the buildings are—the station, engine shed, three stall carriage shed, stationmaster’s house, and five houses for railway employees, in addition to which a house has been built at Rakaia for Mr. Oxley, the company’s manager. The engines will take in water at each terminus, viz., Rakaia and Methven. At the latter place a Corcoran’s patent windmill draws the necessary supply from a depth of 120 ft. The Rakaia station buildings of the branch railway are situated some fifteen chains from the Rakaia main station. It is said to be the intention of the Government to shift the main station to a site adjoining this when the Rakaia-Alford Forest line is opened for traffic. On the return journey the train was stopped near the residence of Mr. E. S. Coster, and he and a party of friends added their congratulations to those already bestowed on the branch railway proprietors.—“ Press.”
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