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There is no doubt that the construction ©I" branch lines of railway in suitable localities is attended with considerable benefit, as by bring* ing the districts through which they pass withia easier reach of market for the sale of produce grown therein, they improve the value of pro*, perty and tend to make things generally more prosperous. But this is not the only good they do, as, in addition, they act as feeders to tha main lines, and will of coarse tend to make) them pay better than they otherwise would do, Few branch lines constructed lately have afrtracted more notice than that of the Kaitsn.gata Coal Company from . Stirling to tL*« Kaitangata township. It is about four miles and a half long, and passes through marshyland. But in many places there are neverthe*less some fiee farms to be seen. The goods, shed at Kaitarigata is now almost completed, and the framework for the engine-house ia now ertcted. Of the passenger station, nothing;, so far, is to be seen except the platform. , Tha station is centrally situated in regard to ilw township, as it is only a short distance from, the bridge which sp&tis the ontlet from the lakes. The line runs through the township, and up to the mouth of the Company's coalmine, which is situated in a gorge about half-*, mile at the rear of the township. The oJA mines were more' ta the right, down by tha banks of the Molyneux river, where a shed and. jetty were erected for the purpose of enabling; crafts to bY supplied with coal for transhipment to wherever a demand for it might exists Operations were commenced at the new mtnss. in November last, since which time the work of opening them ; up has been, proceeded witht vigorously. There are now about thirty men employed at the mine. These are divided into three shifts,' of eight hotirs each. The seam o£ coal runs' lip a gully which crosses the. ranges ■ Borings have been made at several places for Ok considerable distance back, and with the inosism* tisfactory results, as a thick seam.of coal has been struck in each case. The mine is very favour*, ably situated for working, as the coal is reached by a drive leading into the.side of the hill; and sufficiently wide to allow of two rowi* of trucks to be worked. The main tunnel is now inabonft 200 ft., but there several branches are met with. which load farther into the bill, until that point is reached at which the supply ot coai will be obtained when the pit is in full working order, and which is about six chains from the mouth, of the pit—GOft from the surface. Here thexa are a number of miners busily ehgaged auttiygj:. a tunnel outward to connect -vith th* maia drive. The seam of coal where they are at work is about 27ft; thick. The quality is said, to be excellent, and equal, if not superior, to any hitherto found in the Kaitangata district. The supply, so far, appears, for all practical purposes, to be inexhaustible. Previous to* tha construction of the branch line ot railway, tatt only feasible way of sending coil from this district to market was by means of coasters, bu& as these used to charge from 17s 6d to £1 pet ton as freight to Dunedin, a very small margin, was left for profit if the coal was sold at anything like a reasonable price in town. This drawback will now however be removed, aai we believe that: when the mine is in working order, which is expected to be tbe case in about a fortnight hence, if no unforseen delays tak» , place, the company will be in a: pwitaon? to? deliver coal in Dunedin at about 25s a ton, «► -the cost. of forwarding, it„, by; rail will nojb^jft-. more than about seven or eight; shillings" a ton,, and the arrangements for delivering the coal afc the mouth of the pits or rather will be»Jfoi», they are not as yet quits completed, of the moafe convenient; kind. ; They may. be,rbriefly, d»»; scribed as consisting of a strong platform^ which extends down the line so for allow of any number of trucks being loaded without the least delay. The platform, is on a levdL with the tnoutK'of the pit, and when the trucks used in the mine are run out on it by the of a bolt in'one side of each of them, tha coal falls-into the waggons underneath, whfcfej, when filled in this manner, may be sent right into Dunedin without any further trouble. Hitherto-we-have been informed the Kautattgata coal^delivered,?in;l)unedin has' Hot been.a,fair sample of that" which the district produces^.' and thia may readily be Supposed to- be-th* case, as when forwarded by vessels it couid not escape being considerably broken up by being haudled so often before reaching roaiv ket. It is not in Dunedin alone the Com.-~ pany expebts to find a market for the coal obi' . tamed irom its mine, and it looks forward to supplying Lawrence, Milton, and the district* south of the Molyneux. There is at present another coalpit; or, rather pits, in operation Mi the locality. \Ve mfean' those Worked byMessiS Shaw and Moore, and situated on' th'tr bniw'oj a small hill between the township and tha Company's mine. They turn oixt about 15 tons a day; but no doubt eventually, if tha. demand warrants, it, the Company will be abl% to deliver. 10(50 ions, a week from the body <f coal which can even now be seen'in the mina. The b'ne from Kaitangata to Stirling is at present being worked by the Government for tha Company^ as it is hot at present iris possession of the necessary rolling stock. Butonetraaa» however, runs during the day each way, and as it completes the trip both ways between 3 ani 4 in the afternoan, it' will ba easily understood that the-residents in the district axe not as Tab. in a position to fully realise' the benefits which the construction of a railway almost to theat doors will confer upon them. But later o% when the Company will have- rolling stock: Qt its own, and the line and coal pitu in the diatrict in full working ordervthereis but little reason to apprehend that "Kaitangata, which*, even now is making considerable progress, will occupy a prominent position among our rural townships, ___'

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Bibliographic details

Otago Daily Times, Otago Daily Times, Issue 4458, 2 June 1876

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THE KAITANGATA COAL PITS. Otago Daily Times, Issue 4458, 2 June 1876