MOUNT SOMERS BRANCH RAILWAY.
To the Editor.
Sir, —If you will kindly allow me a small space in, your \ aluablo paper I should like to draw the attention of your Ashburton subscribers to what is taking place about the Mount Somers branch line.
I am much surprised that the residents of Ashburton and those interested in its prosperity, take so little notice of the proposed deviation, of this lix e—or rather the, alteration of its terminus. - It is proprosed, that instead of making it to Mount Somers, it shall be taken over towards the Minds.
Passing over the injustice this would do to land owners and others of Mount Somers and Alford Forest (who have bought land from Government with the understanding that a branch line would be made to Mount Somers) I-will try to point out to your town subscribers the effect this alteration would have on Ashburton.
Supposing the line were taken to the Hinds, we might at once give up all hope of its being bn ught back across the Ashburton river to the Mount Somers township, and must turn our attention and efforts towards the extension of the Methven line ; which I believe would have already beer made if the Government had not promised us the Tinwald line. If the Methven branch were extended-to. Mount Somers, all the valuable producia cff this district and Afford Forest would go to the Rakaia, and all the traffic of this part of the country’ —already thickly popu-lated—-would be; transferred from. Ashburton to the Rakaia. If the Tinwald line is extended to Mount Somers —as originally intended— Ashburton and the surrounding - country will be cheaply supplied with timber, coal, lime, and building stone of the best quality in New Zealand. Ample work could be found for numbers of men, and the trade now carried on with Ashburton instead of being taken away would be greatly increased. If the line is taken over towards the Hinds, as proposed, there will only be a very limited traffic in agricultural produce. . The -Railway Commission recommended the extension of the line on account of the stone and coal of this district, but unless the line is brought to Mount Somers there will be very little of this traffic.
The Mount Somers Road Board have twice urged the County Council to use their influence with the Government to construct the line on Mr. Triphook’s survey. The 'first petition was shelved on the plea of having no tracing, and now that the tracing has. been supplied, they think it inadvisable to do anything in the matter.
Mr. Bullock seems to be the only friend Mount Somers has, and his proposal that the Government be requested to carry out the line as surveyed by Mr. Triphook, was not even seconded. Mr. Bmlock is entitled to the thanks of the Mount Somers and Afford Forest districts, and, ; at f the same time, doubtless sees which; way the interests of Ashburton lie. The i members for the Rakaia side of the: county very naturally want to keep the i Tinwald line as far .from Mount Somers! as possible; Mr. Coster and Mr. Jackson i even wanting to send it across to Peel Forest, and make a still greater certainty i for the Methven line and the Rakaia! township. Hoping to excite a little interest about -the line in Ashburton bjyshowing -that, it will be by no means a matter of indifference to it whether the line comes to Mount Somers or not—l am, &c., A. Edward Peache. Aug. 6th, 1880.
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