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SERIOUS DAMAGE ON THE COAST.

Part of the Kangitikei Bridge Washed Away. Heavy Landslips on the Bailway Line. Barely, if over, has more boisterous weather been experienced on thi* coast than the south-westerly gale, whioh sprang np on Thursday afternoon. AU yesterday the wind blew with terrific foroo, accompanied by a drizzling rain, at timeß almost blinding. Towards sunset the gale increased in fury, and made things most unoomf ortable for those who had oooasion to leave their homes. All the excursions and other functions arranged for Good Friday had,- in consequence, to be postponed, few people daring to breast the storm even to attend their respective churches.

Telegraphic communication was interrapted early yesterday, all the lines between Wanganui and New Plymouth being interfered with. Yesterday morning the trains North and South were despatched as uaual ; the trains from Hawera and Palmerston North also arrived np to time, and the midday train for Wellington got away safely. The through train from Naw Ply. mouth waß detained somewhat by the greaßy Btate of the raile, and in consequence of having to travel a little slower than usual, it reached Kai lwi an hour lats, and the passengers were beginning to congratulate themselves that the time lost would be regained before they got to Wanganui. Thew hopes, however, were speedily dashed to the ground, for whon within three-quarters of a mile of the Goat Valley tunnel, a huge Blip, nearly a chain in length, came bodily down on to the mail-van and a passengercarriage immediately behind the engine. The pressure of the debris jammed the carriages, and stopped any further progress of the train. The van and carriage became derailed, and toppled over. The passengers, realising their danger,lost no time in making a skilful exit. There were five carriages on the train packed with passengers, in all about 200. Wearied with three hours' waiting, and shivering with the cold, they were taken back to Kai lwi by the engine wbioh had brought down the other train from the North, duo in Wanganui at 5 p.m. Mr A. Tawte, of the Kai lwi Hotel, did all in his power to relieve the temporary wants of the distressed passengers. A few hungry male individuals rushed the hotel table, leaving the women and ohildren to look after themselves the best way they oould. On the news of the accident reaching town several poople who had friends on the train, drove out and brought them in. Some of the passengers complain bitterly of the action of the authorities in keeping them at Goat Valley for three hours, ' when they could have immediately returned to Kai lwi, as there were two engines on the train. In justice to the Department, we may mention that there was no means of communicating from the head office here, with the train at Goat Valley, us no cabs could be procured and the only messages that could be sent were by telephone to Kai lwi. ' In the meantime,the front engine had been ' freed from the other portion of the train, and started again for Aramoho, bnt was once more stack np by another landslip between Brunswick and Aramoho. Luckily, the guard had gone back to Kai lwi, and from there he telegraphed to Wanganui. Mr Buxton, the Traffic Manager, at once gent out a Bpecial with a gang of a dozen men to clear away the slips. i By 4 o'clock the smaller obstruction at Brunswick was disposed of, and arrangementis wero then made for transhipping the ! passengers from the carriages at the other | slip. The train which should have left Wanga- ! nui »fc 3 o'clock was sent away abont 5, and on reaohing the soene of the accident, tho p&saengeiß, mails, and luggage from both the northern and the southern train were transferred from one to the other. The train reached town at 8.45 p.m , many of the passengers having boen eleven i hours on the journey from Hawera. It was originally iutended to delay the 4.40 train to Palmerston North, so as to take on the passengers who arrived by the New Plymouth express. As they had not arrived at 7 o'clock, and the Department had been informed that water was flowing over the line in several places between Wanganui and Marton, in addition to which the gale appeared to be increasing, •t woa thought inadvisable to send the Southern train out. The authorities were ! also influenced by tho newa thac two spans of the Bangitikei Bailway Bridge had been | washed away, and a very great risk would be run in goiog out even as far as Marton, as tho line was known to be in a dangerous ( state in several placeß. The Bangitikei Bridge waß originally built about 1878 on wooden piles, having Bpans of 60 feet eaoh. In 1833 the two spans next the south end were carried away by the piles scouring out. These two spans were replaced by one span of 120 feet, supported en cylinders at both ends. A portion of it was alao renowed three years ago, bo that in all probability it will be the old part of the bridge in the middle of the river that has carried away.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/WH18970417.2.21.1

Bibliographic details

SERIOUS DAMAGE ON THE COAST., Wanganui Herald, Volume XXXI, Issue 9126, 17 April 1897

Word Count
868

SERIOUS DAMAGE ON THE COAST. Wanganui Herald, Volume XXXI, Issue 9126, 17 April 1897

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