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START WANTED FROM WMROJ; END. Along with thoir agitation for aSi/ open port from Wairoa, the residents of that district have also been makings strenuous efforts to forward the coo-, struotion of the Bast Coast They have had the assistance of out*t side local bodies, for it is over thirty* years since Napier people first called!' the attention of the Government of thevi day to tho need of a railway line con 3 necting Napier and Gisborne. Several! surveys of routes have been made from, time to time, and the question has; beeu before the public on a number of' occasions, but it was not until 1908 that an organised "effort was put forth by. business people and residents from every portion of tho route. , A glance at a map of New Zealand; shows at once that the East Coast contains by far the largest aiea in the Dominion which Is still unrailed. At one- • time before settlement had progressed to its present position, there was a. general idea that the land in that re-, gion was comparatively worthless, buti since settlers have opened up the back country and felled bush and destroyed scrub,, it is now known that much ex-, cellent grazing country lies in this area. The Napier and Hastings Chambers of Commerce took steps to form an East Coast Railway League early in 1909,, and hearty support was received from Borough Councils, "and Hawke's Bay and Wairoa County Councils. In 1910 a conference was held at Palmerston North, at which _ representatives- were,, present from all districts from Whangarei to Wellington, and they unanimously place the East Coast railway first on the list as requiring the immediate attention of the' Government, and a strong deputation, headed by Mr. H. Heydon, of Palmerston North, ed on the then Prime Minister and the; • Minister of Public-Works, to push thai claims of the North Island generally, and of this line in particular. Things moved rapidly from this time onward until the beginning of 1912, when it wasannounced that construction would be commenced at once at the Napier end, and fhe first sod was turned on January 28 of that year. The line was formed tor 12 or 13 miles from the West Show to a point halfway up. the Esk Valley, and the working survey was considerably in advance of that point, when it was announced that work was going toi cease. Numbers of local bodies met and" protested against the cessation, and the. Railway League immediately urged the Government by telegram and deputation not to allow the work to be hung> up, with the result that the Hon. W. ftaser (Minister of Public 'Works)' agreed to visit Napier and see for himself how matters stood. On his visiti he stated that the delay was being caus-j ed by disagreement between the Napier Harbour Board, Hawke's Bay County Council and Hawke's Bay Rivers Boards and that if these bodies would come to\ a agreement with regard to the,construction of an embankment and! bridge across the Inner Harbour, he would give every assistance. The Minister would not agree to go on witt : the formation of the line at that time, but in August, 1913. he undertook that when the bridge and embankment were completed there would be sufficient length of line finished to open the firstsection of a reasonable length. local bodies have since come to a defi-j nite arrangement, and signed afj legal agreement with the Public Works j Department, by which the embank-1 inent has to be completed within two J years, so that nothing now stands m'i the way of a rapid prosecution of the-i work. The whole district is looking for-1 ward to a substantial portion of the lino J being completed within the nest few j years. The Government have secured) several Native blocks "along the route,: and Mr. Massey has undertaken not to" let the matter of acquiring further areas rest, and to push through' lation'for the purpose if necessary. Formation has proceeded for a con-i siderable distance from the Gisborne-; end south, and the question of making a start from Wairoa also is under con-, slderation. When once Wniroa and Gis-; borne have a regular railway connecJ tion with tho rest of New Zealand, onai can hardly over-estimate the impetus." which will he given to settlement andj progress in that portion of the East! Coast.

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Bibliographic details

Dominion, Dominion, Volume 8, Issue 2382, 11 February 1915

Word Count

THE EAST COAST RAILWAY Dominion, Volume 8, Issue 2382, 11 February 1915