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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 10 (March 21, 1927)

Recent Flood Damage — In Northern South Island

page 41

Recent Flood Damage
In Northern South Island

Railway traffic in Canterbury and Westland was recently disorganised as a result of floods. The rainfall in the mountainous district of Otira and Arthur's Pass was extremely heavy. During one interval of 24 hours, no less than 17 inches of rainfall was recorded. The deluge, aided by the melting snow on the ranges, flooded the rivers. The Waimakariri was in high flood, and, overflowing its banks at Chaneys on the Main North Line, flooded adjoining roads, farms and railway. Several breaks were made in the railway embankment in this locality, and two sets of cattle stops were completely scoured out. Fortunately the Maintenance Department had a steam shovel at work in the new Middleton ballast pit, and with a plentiful supply of wagons, filling was quickly transported to the scene of the washout. Passengers had to be transhipped during the two days the through service was interrupted.

At Cora Lynn, near Arthur's Pass, the Bealey River overflowed the protective groins and washed away several chains of line.

On the West Coast the damage was much more extensive. On the main line, about a mile from Greymouth, a very serious subsidence occurred. The railway track in this locality is cut out of the hillside, with the Grey River flowing at the bottom of the slope. The country is of a limestone formation, and for many years has received particular attention from the engineers. The whole country appears to be on a move towards the river. In the present instance the line subsided some four feet, and, although tons of filling have been deposited, it is extremely difficult to retain a “top.” At night the line having been lifted and packed, is left level, but it is not unusual to find a further subsidence of several inches in the morning. Naturally such a break requires a maximum of attention in order to allow the safe passage of trains.

The Blackball Bridge again suffered. On two occasions spans of this bridge have been destroyed, and with this flood two further spans of the original bridge have been washed away. Connecting as it does the mining townships of Blackball and Roa with the centre of export, the matter, from an economic viewpoint alone, is very serious.

Greymouth Railway Wharf in Flood Time.

Greymouth Railway Wharf in Flood Time.

On the Reefton-Inangahua line, the Larrys Creek combined bridge had piers destroyed, necessitating the driving of new piles. On the Westport section the main Buller Bridge suffered as a result of the flooded river carrying down huge trees and straining the piers. In addition to the above washouts, etc., there were several smaller slips and washouts scattered over the district.

The Maintenance Branch on the Northern District is thus very busily engaged on repair work. The bridge men are particularly busy on the very urgent reconstruction jobs, whilst permanent way men have had to work long hours on ballast trains, track inspection, and “washout” work.

Where Every Prospect Pleases.

Under the caption “Selling New Zealand” the Tourist League in a recent Bulletin thus summarises some of New Zealand's advantages:—

New Zealand has:

The rivers of France.

The fiords of Norway.

The forests of Sweden.

The sunshine of Italy.

The lochs of Scotland.

The lakes of Ireland.

The mountains of Switzerland.

The rolling downs of England.

The climate of California and Florida.

The thermal wonders of Yellowstone.

The finest sea and stream fishing in the world.

Trout and salmon fishing, sword and mako shark fishing, deer shooting, feathered game; 66 million acres of a sportsman's paradise—where the mountaineer finds his Mecca, and the stalker's dream comes true.

Britain In Occupied Territory.

During the British occupation of Egypt the progress of the country was unquestioned; industry and commerce developed steadily, public works were constructed, and financial order was re-established. There was strict honesty in the Government, and Egypt had never, in its long history, been so prosperous.

Professor Harvey Robinson.