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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 9 (April 1, 1931)

The First Railway Tariff in the Dominion

The First Railway Tariff in the Dominion.

In anticipation of the opening of the line, the Provincial Council passed, on 19th August, 1863, the Ferrymead Railway and Wharf Tolls Ordinance. This authorised the Superintendent to arrange for working the railway, and to make bylaws for the control of the traffic. The Ordinance contains the first railway tariff in the colony. This tariff is a simple document. The charge's authorised were:—Passengers 3/- each. Horses 5/-each. Horned or neat cattle 3/- each. Sheep, pigs, and goats 1/- each.

General goods by weight or measurement, not exceeding 12/6 per ton. General goods in parcels of less than one ton, per parcel, not exceeding 12/6 per ton.

The schedule of wharf tolls was more elaborate and provided fixed charges for a list of articles of general trade in alphabetical classification. For example:— Anchors per cwt. 2d. Beef or pork per cwt. 2d. Beer or cider per cwt. 4d. Grain per bag 1d.; and so on to timber (per 100 ft.) 2d. and wool per bale 3d.

Goods unenumerated:—Heavy goods, 2/6 per ton; per package, tun or butt 1/3 per puncheon 8d.; per hogshead 6d.; per barrel 3d.; per keg 2d.; per jar or can 1d.; per bundle or case 4d.

The purchase of rolling stock was entrusted to Messrs, Holmes & Co. The engines and carriages were imported from England, and the trucks constructed in Melbourne. The schooner “Choice” (168 tons) was chartered to convey the rolling stock from Melbourne to Lyttelton, and arrived at the latter port with the first locomotive on board 2nd April, 1863. As the schooner was too large to navigate the Heath-cote River the locomotive was transhipped into a smaller vessel, the schooner “Saxon,” assistance in transhipment being rendered by Captain Rose of the ship “Mermaid” who gave the use of his ship's yardarm tackle. The “Saxon” left Lyttelton for Heathcote in tow of the steamer “Mullough,” but when outside Lyttelton Heads the “Mullough” broke down. The locomotive however, was safely landed at Ferrymead on 6th May.

After the arrival of the rolling stock good progress was made with the platelaying and ballasting of the line from Ferrymead to Christchurch, and the Railway, the first to be constructed in New Zealand, was opened for public traffic on 1st December, 1863.