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IMLAKATOTE TO MARTON. SCENES BY THE WAY. : - THE . COACHING LINK. [BY OUR SPECIVu COMMISSIONER.] . " no. v. ' "■;:.•■■ Tine crossing of the Makatote viaduct brings us to the commencement of. the "gap,"' now only a few miles in extent, which has to be "laid with rails and sleep- ', era before the 7th of next month, if the proposal of the Government in regard to the bringing of visitors to Auckland for Fleet Week is to be carried . into effect. About a. mile beyond Makatote is. the Man--'anui-a-tc-ao viaduct, which spans a narrow, but deep ravine of some 120 ft in depth. This bridge, which is being constructed by the Messrs. Anderson, is the. one that the Public Works Department hardly expect to have completed in time . for the proposed through train on August 7. Air. Anderson, however, was hopeful that, given fine weather, he would be able to get the bridge finished by the date mentioned, but it was evident that to do so,' and also to enable the Public Works Department to succeed in its effort, the most favourable conditions must prevail. The next viaduct of importance is that ovei the Maungaturuturu, or "sulphur," stream. This is a smaller structure, also built, by the Messrs, Anderson, and recently completed. There are two other steel viaducts of considerable dimensions before reaching Ohakune,' at the Hapuawnenua and loanui streams respectively. These structures are erected on tlie curve, and both were carried out by the Public Works 'Department. The route followed by the line along this Section is considered shorter than the coach road, which follows a more circuitous route. / .■ J ; I .AN INTERESTING DRIVE. From the. railhead, at Makatote to the southern railhead, at Ohakune the journey is at present done by coach over the excellent service road constructed by the Public Works ' Department in connection with the line. The road winds about amongst- gorgeous bush-clad valleys and hills, and over gurgling mountain streams, some of which are crossed by means of fords and some by means of wooden bridges. The - route still lies under the shadow of Ruapehu, which stands guard, like a mighty sentinel, on the eastward, whilst on the westward glimpses of the broad expanse of the Waimarino forest are frequently obtained. From the box seat of the coach the prospect is one of the finest obtainable along the route, and as such essentials as a good road and good teams are not wanting, the two and a-half hours or so occupied by the break in the railway journey, pass pleasantly enough. At present there are rather long waits on the trip from Auckland, both at Makatote and at Ohakune. At the former place passengers have lunch, and the extra time available before the coach starts may be'spent in viewing the viaduct, but at the Ohakune station railhead {here is nothing to engage attention as it is some distance from the township. On the journey northward over . th© same route there is less time lost, but the present time-tables are, of course, of only a temporary .' nature. Horopito, a settlement for which great things have been prophesied, but* which have not yet come to pass, is passed through on the way, and the site of the R.s yet" unoccupied township sections sold last year, was pointed out. Ohakune was reached sliortlr ; afterwards,: and another stage in the journey was completed. ;.. OHAKUNE TO TAIHAPE. ■ The recent progress and future hopes of Ohakune—one of the most promising settlements on the 5 Main Trunk route—will Ibeji referred to in* a later article. ': The 'journey may be broken here, but just now ; it is not largely used as <■> halting place: With township and railway improvements it should, however." become one of the popular A stopping-places of the .future; Ohakune;is the present headquarters of Mr. F. - W. Fnrkert, : the engineer ;in charge of the southern section of the railway, which starts at Horopito. Mr. Furkert has at present some 600 or 700 men engaged in completing this portion of the line. From Ohakune the route of the line continues to run through bush country as far as Karioi. From this point tlie Murimotu tussock country, similar to that in the Waimarino. Plains, is traversed until the train reaches Waiouru-— 16 miles from Ohakune. Waiouru is situ;ated in a bleak, exposed spot, at an elevation of '2660 ft above the sea level, it thus' being one of the, highest; points on the line. From here another fine view of Ruapehu' is to be" had. A coach route from Waiouru leads to the eastward of the great mountains, and gives access to the tourist resorts in the Taupo district. In the other direction road communication is also provided with the Wangamu River by way of Pipiriki. This station will thus be an important one from the tourist point of view, and the future has been provided for by the erection of a commodious building. Waiouru is at present,the terminus of the Railway Department's service, the line having been taken this point from Mataroa from the beginning of the present month. .Beyond Waiouru tussocks continue to be the principal feature of the country until Turangarere—at.other eight miles—is reached on a rapidly falling grade. At Turangarere hush is again entered, and the quality of the land on both sides of the line shows a mnrketk improvement.! For the 17 or 18 miles that separate Turangarere from Taihape the line continues to run down hill, the height at the lastnamed town being 1463 ft above' sea level. A great deal of good milling timber is seen as the train passes through, and the heavy nature of the railway work is made evident by several deep cuttings and embankments and «:• a couple of tunnels near the Hautapu River, ; one of them, near Mataroa, being 30 chains in length. Tunnels are very numerous between' Horopito and Mataroa, there- being no fewer than 18 in this distance. The rapid fall in the country made it necessary for a detour of about a mile and a-half to be made at Mataroaa timber township—in order that the requisite grade might be obtained.' ' ' .'w'- ' TAIHAPE AND BEYOND. After a further run of five "or six miles the train pulls up at . the rising town— the title of township no longer befits its importance—of Taihape. This is the end of the second day's journey from Auckland, and from this point to the Martoh Junction, where the line joins' the Wel-lington-New Plymouth railway, the character of the country through which the line has been constructed is fairly well known. -. From Taihape to Marten the tram glides through several' fertile valleys and prosperous townships, T interspersed with broken country, until the flat, open country of the Rangitikei, which stretches away to the sea coast/comes into view. There several short tunnels on this line and two important viaducts, the principal one being that which carries the railway across the Makohine Gorge at a height of 238 ft above the bottom of the ravine. This work was carried out by the Public Works Department and it proved one of the most troublesome^ of the. engineering feats with which the line abounds. Though only about the. same length as the Makatote viaduct, and some 20ft less in height, it proved a more difficult undertaking, on account of the. absence of good foundations and the treacherous nature of the sides of the gorge. Owing to these conditions the bridge was built with only two '. intermediate piers, which consequently had to be of enormous \ strength to bear the great strain imposed upon them. Over 12,000 tons of concrete, some 1200 tons of steel and iron, ■ and upwards of. 26,000 ft of timber are contained in this structure. , The ironwork is of extra strength, and ; the i quantity, of.; steel and iron used is about 50 per cent, greater than that contained in the Makatote viaduct. The original estimate of the cost of. the" Makohine; viaduct was j £40,000, but thejwork actually, cost some £72,000. -". " ; - : ' '~ v .fi ' ■.' : -■': '. ' '•■ :v £

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THE MAIN TRUNK., New Zealand Herald, Volume XLV, Issue 13796, 8 July 1908

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THE MAIN TRUNK. New Zealand Herald, Volume XLV, Issue 13796, 8 July 1908