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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

Railway Department

Railway Department.

The Christchurch Railway Station is really situated in the borough of Sydenham, being on the southern side of the South Belt, near the end of Manchester Street. It comprises a large, handsome stone building, two long platforms, connected by bridges, the usual yards, and a number of commodious goods-sheds, as well as a telegraphic office and the apartments needed for carrying on an important and growing department. The express train to Dunedin leaves at 11 a.m., and the express from the south arrives at 8.15 p.m., going on to Lyttelton at 8.35 p.m., generally in time to catch the steamer for Wellington. The fares to Dunedin are: Single, 1st, £1 8s 10d; 2nd, 19s 3d; return, 1st, £2 17s 8d; 2nd, £1 18s 6d. Trains from Christchurch run north, south, east and west. Early in the morning workingmen's trains run to Lyttelton and other places, returning at suitable times, and on certain occasions, such as races, sports, public picnics, and school excursions special trains are run, to suit the convenience of the people. There is frequent communication with the port, which is reached in twenty minutes. Culverden is the terminus of the line north of Christchurch. A branch line is now under construction from Waipara to the township of McKenzie, at Cheviot. To the south-east the line runs as far as Little River. A proposal has been made to continue this line to Akaroa, but, so far, no definite steps have been taken in the matter. To the west, up in the higher land, there is a terminus at Otarama, beyond Sheffield, and another at Whitecliffs, west of Darfield.

page 153

Mr. Thomas William Waite, District Traffic Manager of the Christchurch Section of the New Zealand Railways, was for a number of years Chief Clerk at the head office in Wellington. In that connection a sketch of his life is given at page 153 of the Wellington volume of this work.

Mr. John William Piper, Stationmaster at Christchurch, was born in Shoreditca, England, in 1850. He arrived in Lyttelton in 1858 with his parents, by the ship “Strathallan,” and was educated at Christchurch, where he joined the Provincial Government telegraph department in 1866. Two years later Mr. Piper was transferred to the railway department as telegraphist, and entered the goods department in 1869. Since November, 1874, the has acted as a stationmaster, and was stationed successively at Styx, Heathcote, Southbridge, and Addington till January, 1895, when he was appointed to Oamaru, whence he was promoted to Christcurch in 1901.

Mr. John Dickinson, Locomotive Foreman at the Christchurch Railway Station, was born in Cumberland in 1885, educated at Gateshead, and brought up to railway work
Standish and Preece, photo.Mr. J. Dickinson.

Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. J. Dickinson.

on the Durham-Sunderland Railway, subsequently serving on the Stockton-Darlington line. Leaving at the age of twenty years for the Australian Colonies he was for seven years working on the Victorian railways, four years as a fireman and driver, and three years as yard foreman. Mr. Dickinson came to Christchurch In 1863, and after serving eleven years as a driver was promoted to the position he now holds. He was married in Victoria to a daughter of Mr. William Ruddle, of Belfast, and has one daughter.

Mr. James Ashley, Goods Agent at the Christchurch Railway Station, was born in Kent in 1847, and educated at Woolwich. He entered the service of the North British Railway Company in 1863, as a boy, and served eleven years, rising to the position of station agent at various stations. Arriving in Lyttleton in 1874 per ship “Canterbury,” he joined the New Zealand Railways on the second day after his arrival, first as guard, on the opening of the line to Ashburton, and afterwards on the Southbridge section. Mr. Ashley was appointed assistant traffic, inspector in 1878, and inspector at Oamaru in the following March. Six months later he was appointed traffic inspector at Christchurch, which position he held until 1890. Up to 1896 he was stationmaster and goods agent at Lyttelton, when he was promoted to his present position. Mr. Ashley was married in 1878 to a daughter of Mr. Andrews, one of the “Canterbury Pilgrims,” and has three sons and four daughters.

Mr. George Samuel Ffitch, Chief Clerk of the Goods Department of the Christchurch Railway Station, is a native of Essex. England, where he was born in 1840, and was educated at Brunswick House School, Kelvendon, Essex. He accompanied his father, who was one of the original Canterbury land purchasers, to Lyttelton in 1851 per ship “Sir George Pollock,” and after some years' experience on his father's farm, joined the railway department as a junior in 1868, and was promoted to the position of chief clerk in 1886. Mr. Ffitch was married in 1869 to a daughter of the Rev. Mr. Lawrence, vicar of Marnham, Nottinghamshire, England; this lady died in 1878. He was married in 1881 to a daughter of Mr. J. Younghusband, of Canterbury.