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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 6, Issue 7 (February 1, 1932.)

History of the Canterbury Railways — (Continued.) — Operation of the Provincial Railways

page 49

History of the Canterbury Railways
Operation of the Provincial Railways.

When the completion of the Lyttelton to Christchurch railway appeared to be in sight the Provincial Government made preparation for the working of the provincial railways. On 27th June, 1867, a select committee consisting of Messrs. Aynsley, Buckley, Jollie, Montgomery, Wilson and Sheath and the Provincial Secretary (F. E. Stewart), was appointed to report upon the Tariff for the Government Railways. On 10th July this committee was also requested to report upon the scale of wharfage dues at Lyttelton. The Council also passed the Railway Tolls and Management Bill, 1867, authorising the making of fares, rates, and other charges, and of by-laws for the guidance of the public, and regulations for the control and conduct of the staff.

The First Government Railways Tariff.

On 24th March, 1868, a select committee consisting of Messrs. J. S. Williams, Rhodes, Potts, Hillyard, Fyfe, Knight, and the Provincial Secretary (E. Jollie), was appointed to readjust the scale of charges on the Southern Railway. This committee reported on 31st March, and on 1st April the Council resolved that a copy of the report be forwarded to the Superintendent for his consideration. The Superintendent replied that he could not concur in the report as he was convinced that the tariff was not sufficiently high to enable him to make arrangements for defraying the costs of working and maintaining the Railways and paying interest and sinking fund on the loans employed in the construction of the works. He pointed out that both the Lyttelton and Christchurch, and Southern Railways were local in their effect, and it would be unfair to call upon the Province to sustain railways assented to by the General Assembly and projected as self-supporting. He considered 50 per cent, should be added to the proposed charges for wool, and 20 per cent. to the other items, except grain. The tariff was gazetted on 27th July, 1868, to operate on and after 1st August. This was the first Government Railway tariff showing in tabulated form the fares and rates between the various stations. The charges were not based on a regular mileage scale. For example, the fares from Addington to Riccarton (now Middleton) one mile, were:—First class, single, 6d.; return, 9d. Second class, single, 3d.; return 6d. For two miles, Christchurch-Opawa, the second class single fare was 8d., while for distances of two miles and three miles on the South line, the second class fares were 9d. single and 1/- return. The first class fares for the same stations were:—Two miles, single, 1/-; return, 1/6. For three miles, single, 1/6; return, 2/3. The fares from Christchurch to Lyttelton and vice versa were:—First class, single, 2/6; return, 4/-. Second class, single, 1/6; return, 2/6.

For the longer distances the fares worked out at approximately 4d. first class and 3d. second class per mile for single tickets, and fare and a half for returns. For example, fares between Christchurch and Rolleston, and between Christchurch and Selwyn, were:—

First Class. Second Class
Rolleston, 15 miles S. 5/- R. 7/6 S. 3/9 R. 5/9
Selwyn 23 miles .. S. 7/9 R. 11/6 S. 5/9 R. 8/9

There was no general classification of merchandise. On the Lyttelton and Christchurch line, general goods were divided into light and heavy goods to accord with the method of computing shipping charges. The rates between Lyttelton and Christchurch were:—

Light goods (by measurement) 5/- per ton
Heavy goods (by weight) 7/- per ton
Coals (by weight) 6/- per ton
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On the Great South line general goods were all charged by weight, but there were special through rates from and to Lyttelton. Coal, grain and wool were charged at separate rates. The rates from Christchurch and Lyttelton to the principal South Line stations were:—
From ChristchurchFrom Lyttelton.
General Goods. per ton.Coal. per ton.General Goods. per ton.
Templeton, 9 miles ..6/95/812/-
Rolleston, 15 miles ..10/-8/1016/6
Leeston Rd., 18 miles11/610/818/9
Selwyn, 23 miles ..14/-12/422/6.

Wool was charged 3/10 per bale Selwyn to Christchurch, and 6/- per bale Selwyn to Lyttelton. Grain was charged at per bushel. The charges for oats were lower than for wheat and other grain. The rates from Selwyn to Christchurch were: Wheat and other grains 2 1/2d. per bushel, oats 2d. per bushel. From Selwyn to Lyttelton, wheat 4d., and oats 3d. per bushel.

Early Rules and Regulations.

Rules and regulations for the servants employed on the Canterbury Railways were issued, prescribing the duties and regulating the conduct of each grade. The Executive Departments were two, viz., the General Traffic Department, and the Engineering Department. It was provided that the General Traffic Department would embrace all matters connected with the public traffic, whether passengers, parcels, mails, merchandise, live stock, shipping, warehousing, or other matters or things where the public duties of the Department and the collection of revenue are brought into operation. The conduct of persons employed, and the expenses, and all the arrangements of this Department were placed under the supervision of a Traffic Manager, who was responsible to the Superintendent of the Province for carrying out such orders and regulations as were issued for the government of those employed in this Department. The Engineering Department combined the construction and mechanical branches, and embraced the construction, maintenance, and charge of all works, including all matters connected with the building, repairing and working of steam engines (whether locomotive or stationary), the building and repairing of carriages, wagons and other running stock, and the fixed machinery, such asturntables, weighing machines, cranes, points and crossings and the manufacture and repair of all implements for the Stores Department. The Engineer, and such assistants under his direction as were considered requisite, were held responsible for the efficiency, proper management, competency and conduct of all platelayers and other persons and workmen employed in this Department.

The general conditions of service required that each man shall devote such time as may be required of him to the service of the Department, shall serve and reside where required, obey all orders of his superior officers, and shall not receive money without authority. His pay will always include his service during all such hours whether early or late, as the arrangements of the business or accidental circumstances may require. For incompetence, disobedience, or other misconduct he was subject to immediate dismissal or other punishment as provided by the Act. Inebriety was considered a grave offence, and the offender was liable to fine or imprisonment by the Magistrate in addition to dismissal. Among other general conditions employees were specially warned against rudeness or incivility, and forbidden to enter into any altercation whatever the provocation.

Persons receiving money had to find a security bond. Every guard was required to give security for the honest and faithful discharge of his duties to such amount as may be required.

Rules were included for the guidance of stationmasters, porters, guards, pointsmen, enginemen, platelayers, and gatemen, and general rules as to signals. Semaphore signals had three positions, viz., danger, caution and clear, showing respectively red, green, and white lights. A danger signal had to be shown for five minutes after a train had left, and then a caution signal for fifteen minutes—flag and arm signals by day and lights by night were also described. An obstruction on the line had to be protected on both sides by a red danger signal at a distance of half a mile.

page 51

Interesting By-laws.

The by-laws, twenty-eight in number, were re-issued. One of them provided that no person shall enter or leave a carriage after the train had been set in motion, or ride outside a carriage, and any person doing so or attempting to do so shall be liable to be expelled from the premises and forfeit his fare or ticket, of what kind soever such ticket may be. Persons smoking in non-smoking carriages or on the railway premises, after being warned to desist, or intoxicated persons were liable to be expelled and forfeit fare or ticket. Loiterers and touts if refusing to quit the premises could also be expelled.

Goods (whether free or under bond) not removed within twelve hours after arrival were subject to a storage charge of 2/- per ton per day, and goods at country stations not removed after twelve hours might be removed to Christchurch for storage.

A speed limit of fifty miles an hour for passenger trains was enacted.

On 1st July, 1868, the Provincial Government by advertisement invited applications from persons willing to undertake the duties of Traffic Manager.

A Cleaner at Work on The N.Z.R. (Photo. W. W. Stewart.) A night study at the Locomotive Running Shed, at Auckland.

A Cleaner at Work on The N.Z.R.
(Photo. W. W. Stewart.) A night study at the Locomotive Running Shed, at Auckland.

On 17th July, John Marshman, who was also Provincial Treasurer, was appointed Secretary for Railways, and on 29th July Henry Thomson was appointed Traffic Manager, and Edward Dobson, Resident Engineer, for the Canterbury Railways.

Having come to terms with the contractors, the Provincial Government of Canterbury took over the railways on 31st July, and commenced working under direct control on 1st August, 1868.

An Excellent Performance

An example of the keen spirit which is permeating the railway service was seen in the Christchurch goods yard a few days before Christmas (says the Christchurch “Star”). A truck, with coal which was urgently wanted by a North Canterbury farmer, developed a structural defect and was not allowed to leave the yard. The damage was discovered at 3.20 a.m., and the head shunter had orders to attach the truck to a train leaving at 4.30 a.m. He at once pressed a couple of men into service, obtained another truck and seventy minutes later the six tons of coal had been shovelled from one truck to the other. The job was completed before the 4.30 a.m. train left and the farmer got his coal on time.