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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 2 (May 1, 1937)

A Link with the Past

A Link with the Past.

Still living in Lyttelton is an old lady, Mrs. D. Williams, who as a little girl cut the ribbon of the first railway line in New Zealand, the Christchurch to Ferrymead (now Heathcote) line in 1863. Her father was captain of the ship which brought the train, or part of it, out to the colony, and the old lady recalls how when she cut the ribbon she was afraid the train would be let loose to run over her.

This railway whose gauge was 5 feet 3 inches was later sold to the South Australian Government, but some of it was lost in the wreck of the Hydrabad on the Otaki beach.

Many years later Mrs. Williams rode as a guest of honour on the first train drawn by an electric engine from Christchurch to Lyttelton.

Besides having played her part in New Zealand's railway history her sons served in both the Boer and Great Wars.—D.D.