The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 1 (May 1, 1930)
Proposal for Tramway over the Hill
Proposal for Tramway over the Hill.
Meantime, the Superintendent advised the Chairman of the Commission that he was not inclined to spend money on the Sumner bar, or on the railway from Gollan's Bay; in the first place because the filling in of the rocks would not divert the danger of the overfalling sea outside the rocks (which was the real cause of the navigation of the channel being so frequently closed), and in the second place, because if a railway to a deep sea jetty were desirable, the railway through Lyttelton would still be the shortest line of communication therewith, and the value of Lyttelton property would not be injured. The position reduced itself to the question of a railway under the Bridle Path hill, or a road. Without expressing any opinion on the merits of the proposals he considered the railway should not be started if the existing means of communication could not be improved for five years, pending completion of the tunnel. It was therefore requested that particular attention be given to the question of opening some temporary, but efficient means of communication. Mr. Bray was asked to report upon a suggestion that the railway be completed from Christchurch to Martin's (Heathcote Valley), and on the provision of a temporary tramway (to be worked by a fixed engine on top of the hill) to give communication with Lyttelton.
Mr. Bray reported that the tramway proposal was feasible. He estimated the cost of the railway at £37,300, and of the tramway at £6,734. The power for the tramway was to be provided by a powerful gin, worked by bullocks on the top of the hill, with a wire haulage rope on each side. He proposed that the line be double from the terminals, so as to allow the ascending and descending wagons to pass each other. He pointed out that owing to the steepness of the grade the work would be very slow. It would take about 1 1/4 hours to move a wagon containing one ton from Norwich Quay (Lyttelton) to Martin's (Heathcote Valley). The capacity of the tramway would be 10 or 12 tons a day. Because of the time of the journey and the risk of accident the tramway would be ill adapted for passengers. Assuming wages to be at the rate of 5/- per day, and using four bullocks, the working expenses would be £5 per day. The traffic in view would fall considerably short of 10 tons per day, so that high rates would be necessary to meet the working expenses.
(To be continued.)