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WAIKATO TO WEST COAST. FIFTY-SEVEN MILE TRACK. PORTION OF NORMAL GRADE. Further particulars of the scheme for building light railway lines from Frankton to Raglan and Frankton to Kawhia by an Australian firm were given yesterday by Mr. H. D- Dansey, who is handling thja engineering side of the project for the' Waikato-West Coast Light Railway'! Board. The chief construction engineer to the Australin firm, he explained, was in New Zealand some weeks ago. He inspected the route, investigated the scheme, and reported, to his principals. They have intimated that they-are quite keen to undertake the work. Tho line, Mr. Dajnsey states, will run in the first place from Frankton to Moerangi, a distance of 20 miles. Just prior to this point it runs into the Waitetuna Valley, cutting the ridge with an IS-chain tunnel. From thiat point a branch connects with Raglan aiid its deep-water harbour, a distance of 34 miles from Frankton. Another branch goes to Kawhia* running along the Waitetuna Valley. Seven miles from Moerangi it cuts through a dividing ridge by a tunnel about 10 chains in length Thence it reaches Kawhia, close to the harbour, by proceeding along the valley of the Oparua River from the tunnel mouthThe distance from Moerangi to Kawhia makes the length of the whole line 57 miles over all. The line crosses the Wai"a River 10 miles from Frankton This will bo the largest bridge on the route, and the only one of any magnitude. ' The ruling grade between , Frankton and the two terminal points is 1 in 50, which is the, ruling grade on the standard railways. The minimum radius on curves is five chains. It is proposed to run a normal gauge railway of light construction from Frankton to the junction at Moerangi, and from there to have narrowgauge feeders connecting with Raglan and Kawhia. Operation Within Two and a-half Years. The undertaking by tho Australian firm, Mr. Dansey explained, will include station buildings, engine-sheds, and all other accessories. When their work is completed the line will be ready to operate. It is estimated that the Tailway will be operating in two and a-half years, connecting up Kawhia and Raglan with Hamilton. It is understood that the financial arrangements are of a favourable character. The permanent board for the Waikato-West Coast Light Railway has yet to be constituted. This is the last link in the chain hefore the scheme is launched. The Australian firm proposes to make the fullest use of mechanical appliances in construction work, thus hoping to obviate, as far as possible, the question of obtaining sufficient labour. Potentialities of the Country. With regard to the potentialities of the country to be traversed, Mr. Dansey states that 16 miles from FranktQn the line will tap mountains of limestone of very rich quality. A few miles further pn it will make available a practically unlimited supply of blue metal suitable for reading purposes. On the Kawhia branch it will run along the Waitetuna Valley, touching a rich\ milling area, carrying valuable timber, largely rimu. It will also tap deposits of blue metal suitable for reading purposes. The class of country between Frankton and Moerangi is well known. It is very rich and fertile, and already is a densely settled farming area. It is estimated that the timber to be made available will provide traffic more thaif sufficient to pay the whole cost of construction. Timber experts estimate that the Waikato alone.; can absorb 10,000,000 of timber annually, and this supply is within 25 miles of Hamilton. The line will also run through a Government block of settlement land, 40,000 acres in extent, at present practically inaccessible. It is also held that this railway, working in co-ordination with the shipping enterprises on the Waikato, must develop river traffic to a very considerable extent. The'Te Awamutu to Pirongia line of light railway, about nine miles in length, will be carried out on the same basis as the Waikato-West Coast light line. In this case also the formation of a permanent board is also being awaited. It will be necessary in the case of both schemes for the rating areas over which tho boards are to have authority to be denned.

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Bibliographic details

LIGHT RAILWAY LINES., New Zealand Herald, Volume LVIII, Issue 17801, 7 June 1921

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LIGHT RAILWAY LINES. New Zealand Herald, Volume LVIII, Issue 17801, 7 June 1921