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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 76

Railway Construction—Narrow-gauge Railways

Railway Construction—Narrow-gauge Railways.

I believe in railways. I believe in narrow-gauge railways as opposed to common roads, because they are the best roads, and are equally good in winter and summer. They are also, in this country at any rate, the cheapest, for with their rolling stock they can certainly be constructed for less than a macadamised road and its rolling stock. They also render a much more efficient service, are much cheaper to work, and save an immense amount of time.

I have paid considerable attention to this question of narrow gauge railways, and from all the information obtainable consider the 2ft. 6in. gauge the best to adopt.

My proposition is to join up all our present sections by 2ft. 6in. lines.

North of Auckland I would join up the lines now made, by these narrow lines from Makarau to Whangarei, from Whakapara to Kawakawa, from thence to Mongonui and Herd's Point, and from Herd's Point to Kaihu. This would practically open up all the lands north of Auckland, and I estimate that it would take 230 miles of railway to do it.

Going south from Auckland, via the East Coast, I propose to run a line from Rotorua, via Galatea, to Gisborne, with branches from Gala, tea. to Opotiki and Napier, and also from Galatea to Tokaanu, at the southern end of Lake Taupo, and from Te Aroha to Tauranga. This for the present would complete the south-eastern system, which I estimate at 459 miles.

On the south-west, I propose to carry a line from Mokau to Stratford, and from Taumarunui, on the Upper Wanganui, to Tokaanu. This would complete for the present the southwestern system, and would take 150 miles. Total mileage for the North Island, 839 miles.

The effect of constructing these lines would be to connect even town of amy importance in the North Island. It would also connect the East and West Coasts at the Northern end, and also right across the centre of the island, and put Napier and New Plymouth in direct communication with each other.

This scheme of railway construction has been spoken of as an Auckland affair only, but certainly it would not benefit Auckland so much as it would Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, and Wellington. page 72 Wellington having already secured the inland trade of both the East and West Coasts, would be at once placed in a position to extend her trade right up to Lake Taupo, to Gisborne, and Opotiki. No city would benefit so much by this scheme as Wellington. It certainly would bring her much more than the central route ever can. If carried out it would give to the North Island:—
New lines—839 miles at £2,500 per mile £2,097,000
Lines now open—806 miles, cost 6,759,073