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THE OPENING OF THE NORTHERN TRUNK RAILWAY.

LAYING THE LAST RAIL.

It requires no appeal to the imagination, or to merely local interests of the citizens of Dunedm, to regard August 2Gth as a red-letter day in the annals of the history of the Provincial Dis. trict of Otago and of the Colony of New Zealand. A simple statement of the fact that the two great commercial centres of the Middle Island are now connected by a line of railwayis sufficient to suggest the importance of the Colonial undertaking the consummation of which was celebrated yesterday. Although for several years past the public have been looking forward to this work, the completion, of the missing link partakes somewhat of the character of a surprise. The enthusiasm which was evidenced at the ceremony of laying the last rail was something more than affectation i it was sincere as well as demonstrative. That the journey from Dunedin to Christchurch can be accomplished by rail, and within the space of eleven hours, will even now seem strange tothose who have made the journey by the long, dangerous, and wearisome method of travelling by stage coach. But the " iron thread" is now complete, and within a few months the difficulty will be how to duly appreciate the troubles previously experienced in the overland trip. The last link in the railway was the second section of the Kartigi contract. Thecpntract was not finished within the specified time by about six months ; but this is accounted for by the fact that serious engineering difficulties had to be contended with, and that in. view of them, it was advisable to proceed with caution, rather than to have regard chiefly to making it a good time contract. Ifc is also right to mention that a large portion of the contract was finished in May last, and has been used since that time for passengertraffic, the passengers being conveyed from. Palmcraton to Blueskin, and more recently to Waikouaiti, by coach. The last section of the contract, from Palmerston to Waikouaiti, consists _of about five miles. Messrs Munro and Culling were the original contractors, and their tender for the construction of the line from Flag Swamp to Moeraki Junction—a distance of 17 miles 67 chains—for £58,747 5s lOd, was accepted, but was sub-let to Messrs M'Kenzie Paisley, and Co. The contract is almost finished. In three or four days the line will be ballasted, and will then be ready to behanded over to the charge of the traffic department of the railway. The junction of the line wa3 made yesterday in front of Goodwood Station, seventy-two chains from the southern end of the contract which joins the section, constructed, under the supervision of the Government officers, by labourers who applied to ths Government for work as unemployed. At the request of the contractors, Mr W. N. Blair, M.1.0.E., the Engineer for the Middle Island, consented to lay the connecting rail of the line, and preparations were made to celebrate the event in a becoming manner. A large number of invitations were issued, and most of them accepted. Free trains were run from Palmerston and Waikouaiti to Goodwood, and the visitors from Dunedin were conveyed by special train. The train left the Dunedin station shortly before noon with about forty guests, including His Worship the Mayor (R. H. Leary, Esq.), Messrs Blair (C.E.), A. Grant, M'Arthur, Venner (Inspector of Locomotives, Christchureh), J. Armstrong (Inspector of Locomotives, Dunedin), Low, Mackerras, Buchart, and Sibbald ; Mrs Blair, Miss Macandrew, and Miss M'Arthur. After a run of fifty minutes the train arrived at Blueskin, and left again at twelve minutes to one o'clock. From Blueskin to Waikouaiti the trip occupied 44 minutes. The train was then delayed for 13 minutes taking on more carriages, so as to accommodate visitors from Waikopaiti, and arrived at Goodwood station nine minutes afterwards, where the train from Palmerston was found, waiting. A large number of visitors came from Palnierston, so that there must have been nearly three • hundred persons present to witness the laying of the connecting rail. As everything was in readiness on the arrival of the train from Dunedin, the ceremony was gone on with at once, the last rail laid, and mutual congratulations exchanged.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ODT18780925.2.47

Bibliographic details

THE OPENING OF THE NORTHERN TRUNK RAILWAY., Otago Daily Times, Issue 5181, 25 September 1878

Word Count
708

THE OPENING OF THE NORTHERN TRUNK RAILWAY. Otago Daily Times, Issue 5181, 25 September 1878

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