Proposed Extension

The proposed extension of the Southbridge Branch Line

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Proposed Extension

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As Southbridge expanded, residents began to think that it could become the centre of a big, prosperous district. To achieve this, they thought it would be necessary to extend the Southbridge Branch Line over the Rakaia River to places such as Waterton and Longbeach in the Ashburton district.

In 1878, a public meeting was held in the Southbridge Town Hall. The meeting was crowded, and the resolution of the meeting was to petition the Government about building the new section of the line, with support from the district over the Rakaia River. A meeting was also held at Waterton, with the people being equally enthusiastic about the railway.

E.J. Lee, who was in charge of making people interested in the line, drew attention to the high productivity of the land in Ellesmere, and the great work being done at Longbeach.

By 1882, the Selwyn County Council supported building a bridge across Dobbins Ford to the Ashburton District. Engineers evaluated Dobbins Ford, the report being paid by both the Selwyn County Council and the Ashburton County Council, concluding that it was suitable for bridging.

Unfortunately, the Government and the Councils never acted on the proposed extension of the line, probably because the costs were too great, and the risk of the railway running at a loss.

 

More Information:

  • Ellesmere County (pg 139-140)