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A PRIVATE RAILWAY.

TO THE WAIPA COLLIERY, i PEIME MINISTER TURNS FIRST 1 SOD. ; MANY LOCAL SHAREHOLDERS. : The Waipa Railways and Collieries, Ltd., is constructing a branch railway to serve the. coal-bearing area which it proposes* to exploit. TEe lino will be formed from To Akatea to a junction with the State Main Trunk line, at Ngaruawahia, where the ceremony of turning the first sod was performed by the Prime Minister yesterday afternoon. Sir Joseph Ward, accompanied by Lady Ward and Miss Ward and several members of Parliament, mad© a special visit to the town, and upon their arrival they were welcomed by a large gathering of residents. The capital of the company is £80,000, of which £60,000 has been actually subscribed. The shareholders number 700, among whom are most of the inhabitants! of Ngaruawahia and the fanners in the neighbouring district. The new mine, for which the railway will provide an outlet, will serve the city of Auckland, the goldmining districts of Thames and Waihj, and the Waikato district. In his report upon the enterprise the State inspecting engineer of mines stated that tho seam to bo worked is evidently a continuation of tho seam which is being worked at tho Taupiri collieries, from which high-class brown coal is being produced'. The company has options to mine coal on royalty over 1774 acres, and in addition, an option is held over 5121 acres, over which mining licenses and leases were taken by the Ngaruawahia, Coal Company. The quantity of coal is estimated at 22,500,000 salable tons, which will give a working life to tho colliery of 150 years if the production is at tho rate of 150,000 tons per annum, and of 90 years if the production is 250,000 tons per annum- The total length of the lino will be five miles 44 chains. The contractors for its construction are Messrs. Donald McLean and Son, of Wellington, tho contract price for its formation (exclusive of rails and sleepers), and for the largo bridge over the Waipa River, and the smaller bridges, is £27,000. Addtional contracts have been let for about £3000. Work was commenced on January 21 last, and the contract is to be completed on July 21, 1913. Tho visitors were driven to the' site of tho ceremony, and there they were welcomed by Mr. H. Marsland, chairman of the Ngaruawahia Town Board, and Mr. C. Johnson, chairman of the Raglan County Council.

Causes of Delay. Mr. W. M. Hannay, managing director of tho company, expressed regret that there had been so much, delay in the commencement of the undertaking, but he explained that the directors nad not felt justified in proceeding with the expenditure of the shareholders' money until they were satisfied that the way had been cleared of all legal difficulties. He expressed the gratitude of the company to the two local bodies for the manner in which they had assisted the company, while conserving the interests of the ratepayers; there had been such a reasonableness about' their demands and requests that the company had been able to meet. them. Mr. Hannay explained that the delay to which he had referred had been in no way due to either the Government or tho local bodies, and added that now the work had been commenced the company intended to push it on as rapidly as possible, and' with that view had offered a substantial bonus to the contractors if the work was finished within the contract time. As a souvenir of the occasion, Mr- Hannay presented to Sir Joseph Ward a miniature silver pick. * '■ No State Interference. The Prime Minister was received with hearty applause. He acknowledged the welcome, and said that as head of the Government he was proud to assist in setting an important industry fairly on its way. The initiation; of the construction work was the first stage in an undertaking that would he of benefit to the people generally, would provide employment for a largo number of men, and would add materially to tho"*\velfare of the district!. For those reasons the Government was anxious for its success, and that those engaged in it should receive all the return, which their enterprise deserved. Sir Joseph discounted the idea that the Government desired to dislocate industry by State interference. It did not wish to do anything of the kind. Sometimes the interests of the people made it necessary for tho State to step in, but the rule that was laid down by the Government was that so long as private enterprise carried on an undertaking on a basis that was satisfactory to the people generally there was no need for tho State to interfere.

Conforming with the State Standard. Sir Joseph Ward explained that tho lino was being constructed under authority delegated to the company by the Ngaruawahia Town .Board and the Raglan County Council. Its course would be intersected by the Waipa River, over which the line would ho carried upon a substantial bridge of ironbark, with a 70ft span on pile piers. Although officially designated a tramway, tho line wpuld be constructed in conformity with the standard fixed for State branch railways; it would be capable of carrying a 40-ton locomotive, hauling a train up to' its ordinary capacity, at a epeed of 20 miles per hour. Though tho line was being constructed primarily for the carriage of coal from the company's collieries to the Main Trunk railway at Ngaruawahia, the agreement provided that passengers and goods should be carried over the line at rates not exceeding those charged on State lines in the district. Authority to control the line had been delegated to the company for 21 years with a right of renewal for a similar term, though at the end of the first term tho local authorities would have the right to purchase the whole undertaking at a price to bo determined by arbitration.

The Value of the Scheme. Sir Joseph Ward commended the enterprise which the company was displaying. It proposed to spend between £50,000 and £60,000; it would provide employment for a large number of men upon the construction of the line, and when the undertaking was in full operation it would employ permanently some hundreds of men. Sir Joseph concluded by expressing a hope that the company would be successful, and then turned the first sod. Cheers were given heartily for him, and for Lady Ward and Mies Ward. An Official Luncheon. The visitors were entertained at luncheon in the Town Hall. Mr. W. M. Hannay (managing director of the company) presided, and among those present were Dr. C. P. Knight (chairman of directors), Messrs.. C. Stewart, J. W. Ellis (directors), G. Jones, M.L.C., J. Payne, M.P.. R. F. Bollard, M.P., J. A. Young, M.P., H. Marsland (chairman of the Ngaruawahia Town Board), 0. Johnstone (chairman of the Raglan County Council), A. Ashley Hunter (the company's engineer), Arthur Williams (inspector of works), H. D. Vic- , leery (secretary of the company), and W. C. Rhodes (resident engineer for the contractors). The toast of "Parliament" was proposed by Dr. Knight, who suggested that the new Parliament should devote its attention to four matters of essential importance , the need for better ■ local government, I means to secure industrial peace, improve- ! ment of the railways, and the- need for i closer settlement. ■ * '• j The Prime Minister, in reply, said the i Parliaments, of. New; Zealand had always i ■ ■ ■' "' .. .* /" .'.v.!

been a credit to the, people who had elected them, and on the whole a credit to themselves. The last session had been one > ot the most pleasant, and one of the most historical ; he believed it had been an assur-; ance that the progressive development ol the country would be continued. The four matters mentioned by Dr. Knight would receive careful consideration from the' new, Parliament, and he hoped it would succeed in improving the legislation in such a way that the desired result would be ucliiovcci. '■'■'■■'"' Mr. Bollard, the member for Raglan, said his introduction to Parliament last session had shown him that the bitterness which was displayed by members towards one another did not exist in.their relations outside the House. Mr. Bollard, said that in his opinion Sir Joseph Ward, was a splendid leader and a splendid general. (Applause.) .'■. ■ ~ „ The toast of "The Local Bodies was proposed by Mr. J. W. Ellis, and Messrs, C. Johnson and H. Marsland responded. Mr. J. A. Young, M.P. for Waikato, proposed the toast of "The Waipa Railway and Collieries, Ltd." He mentioned-that 600 residents of the district were shareholders in the enterprise. The compliment was acknowledged by the chairman, and this concluded the function. ;

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Bibliographic details

A PRIVATE RAILWAY., New Zealand Herald, Volume XLIX, Issue 14940, 13 March 1912

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1,441

A PRIVATE RAILWAY. New Zealand Herald, Volume XLIX, Issue 14940, 13 March 1912

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