The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 6, Issue 1 (May 1, 1931)
Building the Rakaia Railway Bridge
Building the Rakaia Railway Bridge.
On 7th April, 1864, the Provincial Council was called together to consider the programme of Public Works, including the building of the Rakaia Bridge and the construction of Railways from Christchurch to Timaru and to the Kowai, and to authorise the purchase of the land required in this connection. Mr. W. T. Doyne, an engineer of experience and standing, had been engaged to report as to the bridge over the Rakaia. It was decided to proceed at once with the bridge, and the railway from Christchurch to the bridge, and that for these purposes a sum of £300,000 be raised under the Canterbury Loan Ordinance, 1862.
Although the financial arrangements had not been concluded, the first sod of the Great South Railway was turned by Mrs. Samuel Bealey, wife of the Superintendent, on 24th May, 1865, and a contract was arranged with Messrs. Holmes and Richardson for the construction of the line from Christchurch to the north bank of the Rakaia, 33 ½ miles for £210,000, payable, half in cash, a quarter in Provincial debentures, and a quarter in land at £2 per acre, the lands estimated at 5 per cent. depreciation of value. The work was divided into sections of approximately seven miles, and the Provincial Council retained the rights to suspend operations at the completion of each of these sections. For reasons hereafter explained, the work was temporarily suspended at the south bank of the Selwyn River.
(To be continued.)