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THE RAILWAY WORKS.

NOTES ON THE TANGAIIOE SECTION. Work on the Tangahoe section of the railway line has been pushed ahead so vigorously of late, owing to the energy of the contractor, Mr. "W. Gr. Bassett, who certainly has had his task greatly lightened by the long spell of fine weather with which we have recently been favored, that it is now easy to describe the general features of the line and the country through which it passes. The first work of any importance is where the line, having swept from the station round the back of the Anglican Church, crosses High-street (where there is to be a crossing with cattle-guard) and meets with a gully of considerable depth. At the bottom oi the gully there is put in a 2ft. concrete culvert to carry off water. That embodiment of observation and experience, the "oldest inhabitant," 'says there has never been more water in the gully, nor is there likely to be, than could be com* fortably carried off by a 2in. pipe ; but the engineers have wisely determined fco be on the safe bide, and there is the 2ft.

culvert. In Mr. Davidson's paddock, a little further on, there is another gully to be crossed, and here also there is a culvert. At the rear of Mr. Isaac Bayly's residence there is. a pretty heavy piece of work of the same character, the culvert being 200 ft. long, and the depth of the embankment 83ft. The next property entered is that of the Messrs. Iredale, and it may be here mentioned that the Messrs. Iredale certainly receive' more injury than any other property owners along the line, the paddocks being cut about badly and the farm being made difficult to work, a drawback which will be the more felt as the proprietors are going in for dairying on a large and systematic scale. The Government is endeavoring to minimise the inconvenience caused, by giving, in place of the ordinary level crossing, an over-bridge, spanning the line, with gates at each end, so as to make access to the main road as easy as possible. A few chains further on is located a station to be called Whereroa, accessible by a district road which is crossed. There is along here a stretch of a mile almost ready for ballasting, and then at 50 miles 14 chains (reckoning from New Plymouth, or two miles 14 chains irom Hawera) there is another concrete culvert, succeeded by a mile of line ready for ballast. The next object of interest is a gravel pit which has jnsb been discovered on the Messrs. Hicks' property, a very valuable "find" for the contractor if it should turn out to be as good as it is expected and so far appears to be. The gravel is of excellent quality. For ballasting purposes it is all that could be desired, and after some of fie sand has been washed out it is capital stuff for making concrete for Tangahoe bridge piers. The gravel for this latter purpose was being obtained from the Kapuni, near Manaia, but when this pit opened out so well, carting from there was discontinued, and this gravel used. As before mentioned, the sand has to be washed out of it, but there is a running stream within a chain, and the process is easy enough. The pit is within a few chains of the railway line, and a siding would be very inexpensive, so that should the pit hold out it will be valuable to the contractor. It is estimated that about 14,000 yards will be required for ballasting. The line for some distance from here is a succession of small cuttings and sidlingg, which are well in hand. Then comes a rough piece, wheve the line .passes around a aeries of spurs before getting down into the valley of the Tangahoe. First, there is a heavy cutting and a long tilling, aveiaging 20 feet for a considerable distance. At the lowest point of this there is an 18in. pipe 150 feet long, set in concrete. Then comes another short cutting, succeeded by a deep gully to be filled, with culvert 140 feet long, strengthened in the centre where the pressure is most severe. The embankment is 40 feet deep in the centre. Another small spur is got through, and then the line descends on an embankment to the bridge, a rnosfc important and expensive piece of the work. It is to be a trestle bridge 220 feet long. There are nine spans, the centre one being GO feet, and the four on each side varying in length from 40 feet to 10 feet. The smaller spans will rest on piles driven into the papa rock, but for the centre span, there are being constructed on each side of the stream two large concrete piers, imbedded in excavations 18ft deep, and 35ft x lift 6in. Special care is exercised in reference to the material used, and the mixing of it, a cadet in the Public Works Department being on duty to watch the process. Each course is of a specified thickness, and a certain time must elapse before a fresh course is started. The superstructure will be built of totava, which, it may be remarked, comes from theManawatu, as do also the sleepers, and a good proportion of the other timber used. The floor of the bridge will be 80 ft above, the ordinary level of the river, 65ft above flood level, Across the river the country is very rough for nearly a mile. The cuttings are heavy and the gullies deep. At one point where a spur has to be rounded the department has not yet determined whether it will be cheaper to cut out the solid or to construct a retaining wall of masonry down the face of the bank. In either case the cost will be great, but the department retains the option of choosing which shall be done. A few chains further on (on Mr. George T. Bayly's property) it has been necessary to divert a fine stream, on the banks of which the natives at one time had a flour mill, the stones of which are still to be seen. The diversion has involved the construction of a long race and a 100 ft. tunnel, there also being a sft. culvert under the line where it crosses the old water course. The line then runs on tolerably level ground lor a few chains, when there is met another gully, in which has been placed a 4ft. culvert, one of the cleanest aud best pieces of work on the line — probably a better could not be found anywhere. From here to the end of the contract the land is almost level. Near Mokoia village there are preparations going on for an extensive station yard, a large amount of excavating being in course of progress. The aroa appears larger than, that of Hawera Station. Ifc may be said that the line passes through rather broken country, especially on the other side of ihe river, but a very good line has been obtained. There was great difficulty, we imagine, in getting down to the river and up again at a fair grade without going to too much expense, and if a layman's opinion is of any value, we should say the line has been located admirably. The steepest grade, we are informed, is 1 in 50, and some of the curves have less than a tenchain radius. The contract is a very convenient one for sub-contracting, and Mr. Bassett has taken the fullest advantage of this. It is satisfactory to note that of the many contracts let, only one has been thrown up, the inference being that the contractors are making good wages. There are parties at all points, pretty nearly 200 men being at work ; and as the weather is favorable, things are being pushed ahead at a very satisfactory rate. Men on wages receive Is per hour, and the money is paid fortnightly on the worka. With ordinary good fortune, work should be sufficiently advanced by July or August to allow of a locomotive being brought into use. In addition to the work referred to, fencing has been going on apace, quite two miles of this work (seven plain and one barbed wire) having^ been completed. It is morally certain that the section will be finished long before the Manawapou section, The work is under the immediate charge of Mr. Gillies, assistant engineer at Hawera. and Mr. Koch, of the Public Works staff, resides on the ground ; while Mr. McGonagle acts as clerk of works. Mr. Bassett has for overseer Mr. Matchett, who is very well known on the coast.

It is somewhat peculiar that notwithstanding all the cutting and excavating that. has been going on, very little of, interest from the antiquarian's point of ' view has been nnearfcbed. The only remarkable " find " has been that of an ordinary English band-saw file',- which; was discovered embedded 14 feet beneath** the surface. It was in a very good state of preservation, and it is not easy to suggest the circumstances under wbiefhthe solitary article should have got into . such, a position. - A short carbine has - also been fottnd. Ifc is noticeable that the papa rock occurs for the last time on the section at a point between three and four niiles from Hawcra station, and is not again seen between here and New Plymouth.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/HNS18840426.2.9.3

Bibliographic details

THE RAILWAY WORKS., Hawera & Normanby Star, Volume V, Issue 782, 26 April 1884

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THE RAILWAY WORKS. Hawera & Normanby Star, Volume V, Issue 782, 26 April 1884

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