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We are glad to see that Ministers are fuelling the promise made last session, namely, that the Premier and Minister for Public Works should personally visit interior Otago during the recess wifh a view to enabling them to advise Parliament next session as to what course should be taken with a view to the completion of railway communication therewith. There is no doubt whatever that what they will see during their travels will fully convince them that it is most desirable, m the interests of the colony, to bring the fertile lands at present practically locked up from settlement for want of communication with the coast, into direct railway connection therewith, and the point to which they will need to devote chief attention is not whether this should be done, but how it should be done. Mr Pyke's scheme is; as is wellknown, the completion of the railway to a point to be determined upon—probably Alexandra or Clyde —by means of the land grant system, by a private Company, but fco tbjs the objection taken by a large number of pur public men is that it not only involves parting with a large | slice of the public estate, but the setting up m the shape of another lar^e landholding company, yet another imperium m imperio. The alternative, if the railway is to be completed, is of course its completion as a Government work. The indications point to the latter being chosen, and if this is to be the case then it becomes a matter of great importance ! to decixjLe wisely as to the route and the ! nature of the work itself. And it must | be remembered that concurrently with the efforts brought to bear to indqee the Government to carry on the costly lino which has been for so many years crawling from Dunedin up the Strath-Taieri, there v an agitation now afoot at Oamaru and Naseby renewing the proposal of 11 years ago (which unfortunately led to th<3 cpstly and mistaken Dunedin-Strath Taieri development) for the opening up of communication witty the interior by way of Dansey's pass, or by of Ojfcekaike. Eleven years ago the proposal was for a railway, now a dray-road is being asked for, and the large balance of evidence now, as then, is strongly m favor of the Dansey's Pass route, w^ich is indeed shorter by 8 miles. This is the way the railway should have gone from the first, and had this been the case the money spent, go far utterly abortively, on the extravagant Strath-Taieri blunder would have completed railway communication at least as far as Clyde, and so have saved the half million of money which will certainly be required if the Strath-Taieri line is to be carried pn from Middlemarch to that point. It ig now well worth considering whether the present 3ft 6in gnage railway should not stop at Middlemarch, the extension thence to Clyde being constructed on the 2ft guage system of light railway, which is being used so extensively m Switzerland. As such a line could be built for £2000 a mile, about one-third of the cost of carrying on the railway on the existing guage and plan, it would be possible to link up also between Kyeburn and Tokorahi (the terminus of the Oamaru-Livingstone line) thus giving through communication with both Port Chalmers and Oamaru to the interior of Otago, at a cost which ifould be fully 50 per cent, less than that of completing the present 3ft Bin line alone. It may be urged that the objection would be a break of guagp, but though that may be a disadvantage it would be far outweighed by the enormous saving, and the immenoa advantage of com manication with two ports jnj»tead of one. Besides which the disadvantage of the b?ejjk of guage may easily be reduced to a minimum by the simple expedient of transferring $fc the junction, or junctions, the rolling-stock, otjjer than locomotives, of the narrow-guage line on to platform trucks of the broader guage, and on the return journey running the narrow-guage rolling-stock off the platform trucks on to the narrowguage line. The transfer of an entire train could be effected by a very simple arrangement by one shunting operation. Or, there is the other,, and, perhaps, on the whole better alternative, of laying down a third rail from the junction points to the termini at the ports. As there would be no sleepere to be provided, but only rails, fishplates, and bolts, and the third rail would consist of light metals, of sty 24 or 281bs to the yard, the cost would not be very large. The djfjiculty as to break of guage is therefore on* which need not stand m the way —indeed, it can pcarpely be called a difficulty at all; and we think that the suggestion we have tbrown out is at least well worthy of consideration.

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Bibliographic details

THE OTAGO CENTRAL., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2007, 7 December 1888

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THE OTAGO CENTRAL. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2007, 7 December 1888