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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 1 (May 1, 1932.)

The South Line Opened for Traffic

The South Line Opened for Traffic.

The contract for the South line of railway, from Christchurch to the Rakaia River provided that, if the financial condition of the Province required it, the work might be stopped completely at any stage, the contractors being paid for the work then done. In December, 1866, an arrangement was made with Messrs. Doyne and La Tonche terminating their agreement for the supervision of construction on the completion of the line to Selwyn, and the contractors were notified of the decision that construction would be halted in the meantime at that place.

On Saturday, 13th October, 1866, an official trip was made from Christchurch to Rolleston, and the Superintendent and party were entertained at lunch, the return trip from Rolleston to Christchurch being made in thirty minutes. On the following Monday (15th October) the line was opened for public traffic. The timetable was:
Christchurchdep.9.5 a.m.5.5 p.m.
Rollestondep.10.0 a.m.6.0 p.m.
Trains ran on Sundays as well as on week days. The fares between Christchurch and Rolleston were: First-class, single 6/6, return 10/-; second-class, single 5/-, return 7/-. Return tickets issued on Saturday and Sunday were available for return on the following Monday. The intermediate stations were: Addington, Riccarton, Racecourse, and Templeton.

Goods rates, Christchurch to Rolleston, were 10/- per ton, and Christchurch to Templeton 7/- per ton. A through rate of 11/- per bale of wool from Rolleston to Lyttelton via Ferrymead wharf was advertised, and the contractors also established a dray service from Rakaia Ferry to Rolleston.

On 7th October, 1867, a train service was commenced between Christchurch and the north bank of the Selwyn, passengers only being carried south of Rolleston. Three trains each way were run daily, leaving Christchurch at 6.30 a.m., 10.30 a.m., and 4.45 p.m., and returning from the north bank of the Selwyn at 8.30 a.m., 12.30 p.m., and 6 p.m.

In connection with the train service, L. G. Cole and Co. ran a line of Cobb's coaches from Selwyn to Rakaia, Ash-burton, Orari and Timaru. The coach left Timaru on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6.0 a.m., and left Selwyn on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays after arrival of the 6.30 a.m. train from Christchurch.

The timetable operating from 16th December, 1867, showed trains running to Selwyn station, but the bridge was washed away by the very severe floods of 4th February, 1868. The bridge was originally constructed with stone and brickwork piers and abutments founded on a shingle bottom, but these were scoured out by the floods and were replaced by piles when the bridge was rebuilt.