Opening of the Dunedin and Clutha Railway.
-♦ The railway Hue between Dunedin and Balclutba was finally handed over to the Government by the contractors, Messrs Brogden and Sons, on the last day of August — exactly -within the contract time — and the first train for the conveyance of passengers ran on the Ist of September, when the Government and contractors issued invitations to a large number of the leading residents of Dunedin and Milton to ride by rail to Balclutha, the present terminus of the line, and there partake of a luncheon that had been provided. During the last few months there has been a great deal of speculation as to whether the line would be really opened on the Ist of September, and even as lately as a week or two ago a great many persons who might be expected to know something about such matters were firm in their opinions that there would be no chance of the regular traffic commencing until the end of October or later. This belief was strengthened by the damage that was done to the line by the late heavy fall of rain, but the contractors seemed determined to overcome all obstacles, and, we are glad to say, succeeded in doing so. For the last two or three weeks a large number of men have been engaged on the works, and by the time the train left Duuedin on Wednesday morning the line was in first-rate 0' der. The contractors have to maintain the line for the next three months, and by the time they have ceased their connection with it we may expect the railwa}' to be as good a one as could be made anywhere at the same cost per mile. It would simply be waste of time and space to go into the history of the Dunedin and Clutha railway at the present time, for Mr Blair, the District Engineer, in the speech he delivered at the luncheon at Balclutha, went fully into the matter, and his remarks will be found fully reported in another column. It is also unnecessary to say much, at the present time, with reference to the advantages that will be gained by the settlers in this and other districts by the opening of the Clutha railway. The very few who at the initiation of the work failed to see how it would benefit the people, and who begrudged what they looked upon as a large expenditure of public money, must by this time have become convinced of the folly of their shortsightedness, and we think that it can be said without contradiction, that, leaving out those who were directly interested in the maintenance of the old means of communication by coaches and wag»oj»s > there will scarcely be found in this or the Glutija district a single man who does not hail jth.e .opening &£ ike railway as a great stride towards a better and more prosperous state of things. With reference tp the celebration of the opening of the line, we have heard a number of Milton rej-stdentsg rumbling at the fact that the festivities took place at the Clutha end, but we are of opinion that the terminus was the proper place for anyr thin" of the kind. The Milton Town Council certainly might haye done a little more ija the direction of making proper preparation for the reception of our Dunedin yisjtors m a suitable manner, but we believe that that jjarefalness in tfce expenditure of publip
money,' which has gained them the confidence of the ratepayers, alone stood in the way of the carrying out of their hospitable intentions. The Balclutha- folks certainly deserve credit for the manner in which the arrangements for the reception and entertainment of some four or five hundred visitors were carried put. A few days ago, at a meeting of the Balclutha Town Council, it was decided to entertain the officials and a number of the leading citizens of Dunedin, and a telegram to this effect Avas sent by the Town Clerk to Mr Blair, the District Engineer. In reply to this telegram Mr Blair suggested that a luncheon should be provided for two hundred, and stated that if the Council would bear one-fourth of the expense the Government and contractors would bear the other three-fourths. The Balclutha Town Council at once agreed to this arrangement, but afterwards it was decided by Mr Blair that if the Council would undertake the management of the affair the Government and the contractors would bear the whole of the expense. The invitations for the trip by rail and to the luncheon were issued by the Government and Messrs Brogden and Sons, and it was at first estimated that the number would not exceed two hundred. For these Mr John Dunne, of the Newmarket Hotel, undertook to provide; but as later on it was ascertained that the invitations would be extended to about three hundred, Mr Stanbrook undertook to provide for a hundred or a hundred and fifty in St. John's Hall. On Tuesday Mr Blair, accompanied by Mr W. Conyers, the general manager of railway, and a number of other officials, passed over the line, in order to make a formal inspection of the works before they were taken over by the Government. Everything was found to be iv a satisfactory state, and ready for the trip on the following day. On Wednesday, the day appointed for the opening of the line, the weather was all that could be desired upon such an occasion, and when the train left Dunedin, at ten minutes past 10 o'clock in the morning, those who were in the carriages had every prospect of J spending a most enjoyable day. They were not disappointed, for the weather kept beautifully fine, and the attractive country that had to be passed through before Tokomairiro was reached looked its best. The stations at Kensington, Caversham, Abbotsford, Mosgiel, Greytown, Otakia, Waihola, Clarendon, and Milburn were passed iv due time, a short delay at Greytown giving the good people of that locality an opportunity of heartily cheering the visitors, who were not slow to return the compliment. At about twenty "minutes past 12 o'clock, the ten carriages, drawn by two engines, the Peveril and the Waverley, came iv sight of the large crowd that had assembled on the platform at the Milton station, and in five or six minutes the train drew up. Before going any further, it will be as well to mention the preparations for the event that were made in Milton. A half holiday had been proclaimed by the Mayor, who had requested as many as possible of the residents of the township and the district to assemble at the station at the appointed time to receive the visitors. There was nothing, however, in the shape of a formal reception. The Miltoo. Brass Band, under the leadership of Mr John Grant, turned out at about 11 o'clock, and discoursed sweet music in different parts of the town and on the platform upon the . arrival of the train. The Band played remarkably well, and the members deserve great praise for the success of their endeavors to enliven the proceedings, both at Milton and Balclutha. A large number of visitors arrived in Milton from the surrounding districts during the early morniug, and by the time the train drew up at the platform, a crowd of five or six hundred persons had assembled. The receptiou of the officials hy the Mayor and members of the Municipal Council could scarcely be called a formal one. Some light refreshments had been provided for the Council, in one of the offices at the Station for the representatives of the Government and the contractors, and after these had been partaken of, and the visitors from Dunedin had been allowed time to exchange congratulations with their friends upon the opening of the line, a general move was made towards the carriages. Just before the departure of the train for Balclutha, Mr W. J. Dyer, the Mayor of Milton, accompanied by several members of the Town Council, approached the carriage in which Mr George Turnbull, the Deputy-Superinten-dent, and Mr Blair, the District Engineer, and other gentlemen, were seated, and in a short speech congratulated them upon the opening of railway communication between Dunedin, Milton, and Balclutha. Mr Dyer went into a short history of the initiation of the line and of the various proposals that were at first made for the carrying out of the work. He expressed his opinion that it might have been better had a proposal that was made in the Provincial Council been adopted, namely, that the line should be formed by a Company and that the Government should have guaranteed interest at the rate of 6 per cent, upon the capital that would have been required to cany out the undertaking. He concluded by saying that he had becu told that the contract had been completed in a satisfactory manner, and that the engineers to whom the work had been entrusted had done their duty well. He had heard doubts expressed as to whether the line would really be opened on the Ist of September, within the contract time, but he had now evidence that this had been done, for he had seen the first train arrive upon the promised date. It was scarcely necessary for him to congratulate the citizens of Milton upon the opening of the Hue, and as he did not wish to detain those who were anxious to continue their journey, he would simply express a hope that the line would be as great a success as the people of the Tokomairiro district desired. Three cheers were then given for the Mayor of Milton. Mr Turnbull, the acting Superintendent, in replying to Mr Dyer, said that the time at their disposal was short, and he Avould make his remarks as brief as possible. In returning thauks for the remarks that had been made . with reference to the successful carrying out of the undertaking, he would congratulate the residents of the district upon the opening of the line, and express a hope that it would add to their prosperity. He heard music playing as they neared the station as if they were an army approaching. Perhaps they were an army, but they were an army of peace and progress. It had been a difficult matter to know where to have the entertainment to celebrate the opening of the line, and it had been decided to have it at the present terminus. He hoped the Tokomairir'G people would not think that they had been slighted, as there had been no intention of doing anything of the kind. He would conclude by wishing the undertaking eyery success, and by asking for _ three cheers for the Dunedin and Clutha raihyay. I'he cheers were given, and then Mr J. G. Dees, Messrs Brogden and Sons' representa-r Jive, acknowledged Mr Dyer's speech on jjehajf of tlje contractors, and My Blair pa
behalf of the engineers. Then amid a great deal of cheering the train started for Balclutha at about one o'clock, carrying a large number, of Milton residents in addition to those gentlemen who had come from Dunedin. The Clarksville, Lovell's Flat, and Stirling stations were passed, and at twenty minutes to two o'clock the end of the rails, on the bank of the Molyneux river, was reached. The carriages were soon empty, and most of the visitors were quickly on board Mr G . F. Reid's new steamer, the Balclutha, and on their way up stream, to the jetty near the bridge. A few Balclutha residents had buggies ready at the terminus of the line, and kindly drove a number of the passengers by the train, over the decidedly rough road that leads to the township. As the steamer approached the landing place, the crowd that had assembled on the river bank gave some nearty cheers, which were returned by those on the boat. Owing to the shallowness of the water, there was some little delay in getting ashore, and this was taken advantage of by an enterprising local photographer, who secured a good picture of the steamer decorated with flags and crowded with passengers. The little township of Balclutha wore quite a holiday appearance. Flags were flying in all directions ; nearly all the shops were decorated with ferns and branches of trees, and the residents seemed determined to treat all their visitors in a hospitable manner. Appetites had been considerably sharpened by the ride from Dunediu — which, by-the-bye, occupied exactly three hours and a-half — and there were anxious enquiries as to where tLe cravings of the inner man could be satisfied, and what time lunch would be ready. As we related before, Messrs Dunne, of the Newmarket Hotel, and Mr Stanbrook, of the Crown, were the caterers, the first-uamed gentleman accommodating the largest number of guests. Over 200 were soon seated at lunch at the Newmarket, where the tables groaned under a profusion of good things. Of course, with such a crowd, with such appetites, it was a case of " Devil take the hindermost," and those who were not smart enough to secure seats had to stand or go elsewhere. At St. John's Hall, where a splendid repast had been provided, there was just as great a crush ; but both the caterers proved themselves equal to the occasion, and if all the invited guests were not satisfied, they must have been indeed hard to please. THE LUNCHEON. As we before mentioned, most of the visitors sat down to luncheon at the Newmarket Hotel, and here the Deputy-Superintendent, Mr Turnbull, took the chair. Amongst the large number present we noticed his Lordship Bishop Nevill, his Honor Mr Jastice Williams, Mr 11. S. Chapman, Professors Macgregor, Shand, Coughtrey, Black, and Sale ; Drs. Hocken, Murphy, Blakewell, and Brown ; Mr J. Davie, Provincial Treasurer; MiGreen, Secretary for Works ; Mr M'Kellar, Goldfiekls Secretary ; the Revs. R. L. Stanford, Will, and Rigg ; Captains Baldwin, Thomson, and M'Kinnon ; Mr 11. J. Walter, Mayor of Dunedin; Mr Dyer, Mayor of Tokomairiro ; Cr. R. R. Jones : the Mayor of Port Chalmers : Mr Fraer, Mayor of Lawrence : Messrs. 11. P. Fish, jun., 11. Bastings, J. Mills, John M'Neill, M'Dermid, Mollison, and J. Shand, M.P.C.'s; Councillors Leary, Isaac, JChapman, Gibson, Grant, and Woodland, of the Dunedin City Council ; Warden Carew : Messrs. A. C. Strode, L. O. Beal, James Smith, R. M. Robertson, R. Wilson, W. Blair, (C.E.), G. F. Reid, K. Ramsay, R. Gillies, C. Stewart, A. D. Lubecki, J. Copeland, 11. Tewsley, J. 11. Harris, J. M. Massey, A. Willis, J. Brown, W. Hepburn, Howden, R. B. Martin. Anderson, Ross, Sievwright, Dunbar, Dees, Barr. C. Reid, Hudson, Scoular, J. S. Webb, D. F. Main, and J. L. Butterworth. After the health of " Her Majesty the Queen" had been drunk, the following letter was read : — " Balclutha, Ist September, 1875. To His Honor the Deputy-Superintendent of Otago. Sir,— l regret exceedingly that through indisposition I am prevented from joining your party to-day, and taking part in the celebration of the opening of the railway to our Municipality. I assure you the citizens are jubilant over this successful consummation of their long-cherished hopes, and in their name I thank you for the interest you have manifested iv the progress and prosperity of Balclutha, and the. kindly consideration you have shown towards the inhabitants on this occasion. — I am, &c, R. Ceamond, Mayor." The Rev. Dr. Stuart, of Dunedin, sent a telegram apologising for his non attendance. The Chairman proposed the toast of " Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, and the other members of the Royal Family." He was sure, he said, that the flame of loyalty burned as brightly on the banks of the Clutha as in the city of London, the metropolis of the world— (hear, hear) ; and he was also sure, believing as they all must do, that her Majesty was the best sovereign that had ever adorned the British throne, that they would willingly and cheerfully drink in bumpers, and with enthusiasm, the health of her Majesty, and of the other members of the Royal Family. (Applause.) The toast having been drunk with enthusiasm, Mr 11. S. Chapman said he had been requested by the Chairman to propose the second toast : and it was a toast which almost naturally followed that which they had just drunk. They had just drunk the health of her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, who was distinguished amongst the Princesses of the present generation, and. amongst those who had reigned on the throne of England, as the most constitutional monarch who had ever sat on the throne of the British Empire. —(Great applause.) In proposing the next toast, which was that of " His Excellency the Governor," he need hardly remind those present that his Excellency occupied in relation to this country— to the constitution of this countiy — the same position that her Majesty the Queen occupied in relation to the British Parliament and to the Empire at large ; and the people here had this advantage — that the nobleman who presided over their destinies at the present time had had experience in other Colonies, and from the manner in which he had filled the position of Governor, they had a pretty fair reason to believe that he would be a constitutional Governor, In proposing the health of the Governor, he could hardly sit down without congratulating that gentleman, as Avell as the people of this country, on the event in connection with which the toast was now proposed, They had just come 56 or o7 miles— he did not know which, but at auy rate over 50 miles— by rail. They had travelled ou a railway which had been formally opened that day for passenger traffic at all events— though there had been goods traffic on the same line during the last 12 months ; and- speaking from much experience of railways, he must say that he thought the line could nQt have been worked better fttr the speed at which they had travelled. Of course, had they flown at the rate of 50 miles an hour, they might haye expected a few rubs, but it
must be acknowledged, he thought, that, under the circumstances, the line had been well worked, and that it offered a brilliant hope, and a brilliant prospect in the future. — (Applause.) He could not help, therefore, in proposing the health of his Excellency the Marquis of Normanby, the Governor of this Colony— he could not help, he said, congratulating him and the public at large upon the occasion on -which he now proposed his health. — (Applause.) The toast having been drunk, Mr Dees, Brogden and Son's representative, said he was sure the toast he had to propose would be received with the utmost enthusiasm by everybody. He had risen to propose "The health of His Honor the Superintendent of the Province of Otago." — (Applause). Mr Macandrew, he reminded the company, had taken a great interest in the work, the formal opening of which they had that day witnessed. — (Hear, hear). And, indeed, he could not help thinking that when speaking of a man so widely known, and so much esteemed as Mr Macandrew undoubtedly was, the fewer the words that came from a man like himseif (Mr Dees) the greater the honor to the gentleman whose health he now asked tkem to drink in bumpers. — (Applause.) The toast was drunk with musical honors. The Deputy-Superintendent, in the absence of Mr Macandrew, returned thanks, and said that he was sure that his Honor would be much gratified to hear that his health had been proposed, and received in such warm ! terms. No man had spent more of his time ; no man had devoted more attention, or shown a greater consideration for the welfare of the settlers than Mr Macandrew ; and nothing, he was sure, would be more gratifying to him than that the toast should have been proposed, and so favorably received, in connection with an undertaking to which he had devoted many years of his life. (Applause.) The Deputy-Superintendent then rose to propose " Success to the Dunedin and Balclutha Railway." It is not my intention, on the present occasion, to enter into the merits or demerits of railway construction. These have been long known to the British public, and it is therefore not necessary for me to say anything on that score. It is nearly two hundred years since the first wooden tramway was constructed in England. Down to the present time, the opinions of the public have been so favorable towards railways, as to cause the system of railway construction to be adopted in almost every civilised country under the sun. (Hear, hear.) With respect to the particular line about which we are rejoicing to-day, I may say that ever since my first connection with public life, and long before, it has been a subject of great anxiety to the settlers in this district, as well as one of much interest to all persons in this Province. (Hear, hear.) Indeed, the first time I took part in public affairs, in the Provincial Councils, was in connection with this very railway ; and since that time — up to the present time, in fact — it has been a subject of great interest and much discussion. There have been, as, no doubt, there always will be, doubters as to the success of schemes like the present, and, in point of fact, many obstacles have been thrown in the way of the completion and cai*rying out of this undertaking. But, latterly, I think the whole community have come to the conclusion that this is not only a line that should have been made long ago, but that it is one which is absolutely certain to pay ; and if there should still be any Didymuses amongst us, the traffic during the next four or five months will induce them to see and believe as I and others do now. (Applause.) This morning we left the largest town in New Zealand — the greatest commercial city in the Colonv — by rail. We passed throngh the suburbs of Caversham and Green Island, with their large and increasing populations ; coalfields, public institutions, flour - mills, fellmongeries, and I don't know what besides. We then entered the bowels of the earth at the Chain Hills, and shortly emerged on the Taieri Plain, dotted with thriving farms and smiling homesteads. We passed along land fertile as any in the habitated globe, and fitted to produce everything suited for the necessities of man. Soon afterwards we saw the Waihola Lake, and the road to the Taieri Mouth, which will be the scene of many a future regatta, and the resort of thousands of seekers after pleasure and health. Shortly afterwards we passed through the Waihola Gorge, teeming with lime and building-stone, and arrived at the township of Milton, which is sure to become a great manufacturing district. But I am almost afraid to refer to Milton, because I know there are present the Mayor and others who have such an exalted idea of its capabilities, that anything I say will be regarded as something like what the Queen of Sheba said about Solomon — " The half is not told 3 r ou." (Laughter.) Having left Milton, we passed over a district which, I am ashamed to say, I never before travelled, till we reached this fertile valley, with its noble river, and I felt more than ever convinced that this railway is a public necessity. The time must come when this river, with its tributaries, must be teeming with salmon ; and with your coal, timber, and other natural resources, this district will attain a position of prosperity which the most sanguine settlers of Balclutha never dreamt of. (Applause.) I need scarcely add that the opening of this railway constitutes a i?ew era iv the district through which it runs. Indeed, it is hardly|possible to indicate tt\e advantages that must result from its construction. Those advantages yon can imagine better than they can be described. (Hear, hear,) Amongst other things, it Avill enable the settlers to send their coal, wool, grain, manufactures, and farm and dairy pro- 1 duce to the city for consumption and for export ; and as Mr Chapman has just reminded me, it will also enable the young men of Dunedin to visit the blooming girls of the Clutha, (Laughter and applause.) Well, gentlemen, if that result follows, it will, I think, tend more than anything else to cement the friendly feelings and relationships of the town and country — better than anything else I can suggest. But as our time is limitedMr Conyers having intimated that we must be prepared to return to town at a quarter to 4 o'clock-— I will not further enlarge on this very interesting subject, (Hear, hear.) This is, undoubtedly, a red-letter day in the history of Balclutha, and I am sure it will afford us all great pleasure to go.me here in twelve months hence, to witness the opening of a railway to go still further south, (Applause,) I do not think I can more satisfactorily bring my remarks to a close than in similar words to those of his Excellency the Governor and the Superintendents when they open the respective Parlia^ ments, namely—" I deolare this line open for the despatch of business," (Applause.) And I say this, that before anybody declares it to stand prorogued, the march of human intellect and the genius of men will have to devise some "better means of locomotion. (Great applause.) Well, gentlemen, I don't think tljere fe anything else I can, say, Wha,t jjas
been so long talked of has this day been reduced to a reality. We have to-day travelled on rails from Dunedin to the Clutha. In Wellington politicians may be sitting on rails, but we have been running on them ; and I think ours was not only a more dignified but a more progressive course. (Hear, hear, and laughter.) I have now to ask you to drink " Success to the Clutha and Dunedin line." (Applause.) The toast was received with applause. Mr M'Kellar, G-oldfields Secretary, proposed " The Health of the Engineers and Contractors." He most heartily wished that the Secretary for Railways had been present to propose the toast, because by him it would have been much better done. But having heard what the Chairman had said in regard to the limited time at their disposal, he thought it would be best that his remarks should be of a limited character. In alluding to the engineers and contractors, — in order to swell, as it were, the enthusiasm in their favor, — it was only necessary for him to say that they had made and completed successfully the Dunedin and Clutha line. — (Applause.) And it was^right, on an occasion of that kind, that they should acknowledge their indebtedness to those gentlemen. — (Hear.) There were other large and important works yet to complete — some of which he (Mr M'Kellar) mentioned — en route to Hokitika. With the toast he coupled the name of Mr Blair, on the part of the engineers, and the names of Messrs Dees and J. Smith on the part of the contractors. — (Applause.) Mr Blair said— ln responding to the toast which you have drunk so heartily, I need scarcely say that it gives me the greatest pleasure to meet you under such auspicious circumstances as the opening of the Dunedin and Clutha Railway. There is a certain amount of gratification in commencing a large work of this kind, and the turning of the first sod by a Prince or a Governor is an important event in the history of any railway scheme. It proclaims the victory over the financial and other similar difficulties inseparable therefrom ; but to those who have charge of the work, the turning of the first sod is but the commencement of incessant anxiety and trouble. (Hear, hear.) When one difficulty is removed another springs up. It is therefore peculiarly gratifying to me to think that the fight is ended and the day ours. To uso a trans- Atlantic expression we can "holler" without restraint, for we are fairly " out of the wood." (Laughter and applause.) It is seldom the privilege of an engineer to be connected with a railway from first to last, as I have been with this one. I have watched it, not from its cradle to its grave, but from its birth to its bridal ; and I feel to-day in the position of a father who is giving away in marriage his eldest daughter. The bride is rather aged, but as she brings a rich dowry, and has other substantial charms, that defect may be overlooked. (Laughter and applause. ) It is difficult to say when this railway was first proposed, for its construction seems to have been one of the earliest dreams of the, settlers. I find, however, that in 1860 tho present Superintendent, Mr Macandrew, when opening the Provincial Council, for the first time alluded to the subject. He is therefore in all probability the originator of the scheme, for we know that his ideas were then 20 years in advance of those of his fellow colonists. (Applause.) The first practical step towards the construction of the line was taken in 1864. A Commission had been appointed to inquire into the question of providing improved means of communication with the interior, and on their recommendation the survey was commenced by the late Mr Paterson. I came out to Saddle Hill on the 18th March, 1864, in charge of a survey party, and camped in the gully below' the Ocean View Hotel. I was then a new chum, of three months' standing, and did not know a Maori-head from a cabbage tree — much less a totara from a black pine. I think some of the other survey parties were in the field a few days sooner ; but as I wag with the first batch, I may safely say that I saw the first chain stretched, the first sod turned, and the first train run on the Dunedin and Clutha Railway. (Hear, hear.) I need not recount the ups-and-downs of this railway scheme, as they are familiar to you all. One year the Province was to construct it from its own resources, and the next a guarantee was to be given to a company. One year we went in for flat gradients and long tunnels, and the next we were climbing in tortuous paths over the mountains. But nothing succeeded in starting the work till it merged in the general system of railways which is intended to connect the four corners of the plain. This took place in 1870, and on the 18th March, 1871 — exactly seven years to a' day, after I commenced the survey — the first sod was turned by his Excellency bir George Bo wen. At that dite the engineering work began in earnest, and, I can assure you wo had not always fair weather and smooth sailing. Not only had we to raise the valleys and lower the hills, but we had a much harder task in removing the prejudices of those who continually prophesied failure, or whose selfinterests were at sllake. One authority— the « Guardian ' of our lives as well as liberties —says that the Chain Hills tunnel is a mere film of brickwork, that will collapse like an egg-shell. Another predicts the loss of the first train in the Kaitangata Swamp, and that bullocks must be provided to pull it out. As for the tunnel, I may say that every lineal foot of the arch contams 200 square inche3 of the best brickwork, and as each inch can sustain a weight of two tons, 1 am sure that geologists will agree with me that, " barring " earthquakes, there has been no force in nature since the glacial period sufficient to overcome that resistance. (Laughter.) With reference to the swamps — the heavy weights of the metropolis having passed over them in safety to-day, I think they can carry the lighter ; so the services of the bullock-team, and its ' Leader ' can be dispensed with. (Hear, hear.) What shall we say of those who persist in assertiag that the railway is not properly laid out, and that the stations are misplaced ? I fear they must be answered in Sootoh fashion, by another question, Where is your section ? (Hear.) It is much easier to engineer matter than engineer men : and the only way to achieve a victory in either case is to do your best and wait the issue. As to engineering men, I flatter myself we have succeeded tolerably well. Although there have been s^oout 50 contracts connected with this railway, there has never been a serious dispute between the engineers and the contractors. We frequently looked at matters in an entirely opposite light ; but as there has always been a desire on both sidts to forward the common object, the dispute went no further than the point at issue. I can also speak in the same terms with regard to the settlers. It sometimes took a good deal of reasoning to convince an Old Identity that a level crossing was better* than a bridge, or that one crossing was better than three ; but on the whole, I never found them unreasonable. Every settler between Dunedin and Clutha seemed anxious to forward tb? work ; and. I belioYo that, notwittatand^
ing our petty akirmisheß, we part good friends. (Hear, hear.) Now, as to the capabilities of the railway. First, the public screw ' down the engineers to the lowest penny— cheapness is the Alpha and Omega of our instructions ; but if we attempt to carry out these instructions, and cut our coat according to our cloth, an outcry is at once raised against the proceeding. The works are so flimsy that the line will be washed away by tfie first flood ; the trains go too slow; and the whole railway. and its appliances is such a "onehorse concern " that it won't carry half the traffic. As to the character of the works, you have seen them to-day, and can judge for yourselves. There is certainly nothing imposing in any of them, but I feel confident that they will be found substantial and durable. The damage done by the flood of last week, which was one of the heaviest ever experienced, did not amount to £3 per mile, although the works were all new and untried. With reference to the speed, it is proposed to ran about 20 miles an hour. This gives a Clutha settler the whole business day in Dunedin, and he only spends a third of the time he used to do in travelling ; but the saving is in reality much greater, _ for by coach he could not do one day's business in town without spending three. The difference between high speeds and low speeds is less than one hour on a fifty-mile journey, but it involves the whole question of profit or loss in working a light railway, no matter what the gauge may be. I therefore beg of you to be contented with moderate speed. It should be borne in mind and that we are all shareholders in the undertaking, and, as such, are directly interested in the returns. (Applause.) The following short calculation will show the stride made in abandoning the old mode of carriage fur the new : — One of the Btnall engines pulls 65 tons of paying load over the heavy gradients between Dunedin and the Taieri, but three times as much on the remainder of the line. Taking it, however, all through at 60 tons, and giving the engine an ordinary day's work there and back, we have 60 tons of goods arriving at each end per day. To keep up this stream continuously by the road would require the services of 60 six -horse teams. That is for one engine alone ; but we can have four or five of greater power, doing the journey every day without unduly taxing the carrying capacity of the railway. I think that this is sufficient to prove that the line will meet the requirements of the traffic for many years to come. (Hear, hear.) I cannot allow this opportunity to pass without acknowledging the great assistance I have received from my subordinates in carrying out the works of this railway. To them in a great measure is to be attributed its success, and I wish to transfer to them their share of the credit. It gives me great pleasure to see mauy here who were at the turning of the first sod, and one or two who were on the first survey, and who have been on the work all through. In again thanking you for the compliment you have paid us, I must congratulate not only this district, but the Province generally, on the completion of this important adjunct to our material progress. The benefits to be derived from the opening of the railway are incalculable, and I have no doubt the enterprise which has characterised the Otago people in the past, is a guarantee that every advantage will be taken of them in promoting the prosperity of the State. (Prolonged applause.,) Mr Dees, in responding on behalf of the contractors, said that in his opinion Mr Blair had rather understated the capabilities of the line. Mr Jerusalem Smith, who was also called upon to respond to the toast, mentioned the fact that ballast trains had been running over the line for over a year, so that it ought to be fit for traffic. He was more of a "thinkist" than a " talkist," so he would say no more. Mr Green, Secretary for Works, proposed, " The Agricultural and Pastor.il Interests," coupled with the names of the Mayors of Dunedin, Port Chalmers, Milton, Balclutha, jmd Lawrence. The Mayors of Danedin, Milton, and Lawrence briefly responded. Mr Stewart replied on behalf gf the Mayor of Balclutha, who was unable to be present, and made a long speech, which, under other circumstances, might have been considered entertaining. The toast of " The Press," proposed by Mr H. S. Chapman, was responded to by Captain Baldwin, editor aud manager of the ' Otago Guardian.' Bishop Nevill proposed the health of "The Chairman," and the company dispersed. THE KETUR>*. Most of the visitors reached the terminus of the line by the steamer Balclutha ; a few left early and preferred to walk, while a number ■were again driven to the place where the train was waiting. A start was made for Dunedin at about ten minutes past five o'clock, and after a stoppage of about half an hour at Milton, and short delays at Waihola, Greytown, Mosgiel, Green Island, and i Caversham, the train reached Dunedin at five minutes past nine o'clock.
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Opening of the Dunedin and Clutha Railway., Bruce Herald, Volume VIII, Issue 731, 3 September 1875
Opening of the Dunedin and Clutha Railway. Bruce Herald, Volume VIII, Issue 731, 3 September 1875
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