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TOWN EDITION. [lssued at 5 p.m. ] The Ashburton Guardian. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1880. The Mount Somers Railway.

In a recent issue we published a most absurd article, quoted from the Otago Daily limes, on the subject of the Mount Somers Railway. The Times is a leading paper in Otago, claims in fact to be the leading paper, and, granting that its claims are well founded, it may be assumed to be a reflex, in some measure at least, of public opinion. But if we were to measure all its utterances by the standard of the srtide we quoted from it on the Mount Somers Railway line, we should be forced to the conclusion, either that public opinion in Otago is a most hollow affair, or that its reflex per the Times is from a cracked mirror. We published the Times' article simply to show the absurdity of the production, and how possible it is for a newspaper of some standing to go terribly astray on a subject with which the veriest tyro in politics might make himself acquainted thoroughly in a few minutes. The Otago print comes down with a sledgehammer blow on the Mount Somers line, telling us that it is twelve miles in extent as far as completed, has been a short time at work, and, emphasising in staring italics the next clause, says it is “par excellence the line that is worked at the greatest loss of any on the list.” The per centage of loss on the Mount Somers line, according to the Times, is 355 P er cent. ! anc * S° es on to ma ' {e a favorable comparison between the Shag Point (Otago) line and the Mount Somers line, the former being worked at a loss of only 258 per cent. ! Had the editor known how great a fool he was making of himself in this matter, the tribute he was, in his blind wrath, unconsciously paying to the Mount Somers line, and the stab he was giving to the Shag Point, he would have eaten his own hat ere he wrote that article. The Mount Somers line is not worked at all, and beyond a couple of trains or so that ran during the grain season, no traffic has yet passed over it. On his own confession the Shag Point railway is worked at a loss of 258 per cent. We don’t want to know about the Shag Point railway, and we daresay there were few in Ashburton County who had any more than a casual knowledge of the fact that the line existed ; but the Times, under his anxiety to make a point against the Mount Somers, misses his mark and stabs the line it was his object to protect. But the stupid article was not written with the sole object of decrying the Mount Somers line. Like all stinging things, the sting of the article is in its tail, and after we have gone over a column or so of abuse of the Mount Somers line, we come at what the writer would be at. Mr. E. G. Wright was the soul of the Railway Commission, and to some of the “ political ” railways of die south he showed no mercy. To his clearheaded discrimination between the proposed lines that were genuine and those that were frauds—those likely to be colonial or even district benefits, and those that gave promise of being white elephants the colony owes the light that was let in upon railway rnattem south, and the discarding of duffer lines as a consequence. No man can look scornfully at anything appertaining to Otago and live—at least in the sunshine of Otagan good graces. Mr. E. G. Wright did his duty in the Commission by the colony, and by the projected lines in Otago, and by the execution of that duty the latter suffered, some of them at least, a sweeping away from the Government’s plan. Because he did so, he is attacked by the Otago paper in connection with the Mount Somers Railway. The railway will no doubt benefit land along the line to Mount Somers, and all those who own land in that direction will benefit by it; but so long as it is left in its incomplete state, the short length of the line now existing will be small benefit to Mr. E. G. Wright, or any one else, and nobody is more alive to this fact than the railway department. In proof of this, we have only to adduce the fact that the line is not worked at all. When the proposed extension of the line is completed—the extension which the learned Otago writer was so ready ro seize upon as an opportunity for throwing dirt at Mr. Wright, for we can see no other aim the article has—when that extension is complete, we shall be only too glad to see the Otagan man of figures, once more take .his pencil and* give us'the per centage of loss. . , . .

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 201, 26 November 1880

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TOWN EDITION. [Issued at 5 p.m.] The Ashburton Guardian. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1880. The Mount Somers Railway. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 201, 26 November 1880