The last passenger train journey was on March 2, 1968.
The Fairlie Flyer - sing
Listen and I'll tell you, a railroad tale that's true.
Of how the Fairlie Flyer ran down to Timaru.
Ill tell you of the shearers and the tons of wool that came
Along this line each season from the great Mackenzie Plain.
So firemen stoke the engine, steam down that railway track,
This train that's leaving Fairlie is never, never coming back.
There's stories in the country the locals love to tell
Of guards like Martin Fahey who served the district well;
For Martin loved the Flyer and folks remember too,
How he even did their shopping down the line at Timaru.
I'll tell you how the children went off to school each day
And climbed aboard the Flyer at stops along the way,
And all the many memories those boys and girls recall
But then the Fairlie Flyer was the greatest train of all.
Down the line at Albury where shuntings done no more
And at Mrs Gibson's tavern there's a welcome at the door.
They tell of far-off summers that will never come again
When the old goods shed at Albury was filled with golden grain.
At Cave the station's silent but the goods shed still resounds
When the local boys are training as the tug-of-war comes round.
When the last train passes they'll give a hearty cheer
While over at the local Ted pours another beer.
From Sherwood Downs to Clayton, Burkes Pass and Kimbell too.
The boys that drive the transports are the link with Timaru
And now the line is closing, the country folk agree
The stories of the Fairlie train will go down in history.
So firemen stoke the engine, steam down that railway track,
This train that leaving Fairlie is never, never coming back.
Bill Timmins & Picasso Trio
When its life is done
Through the cold of winter
Extract from an article in the Timaru Herald
Fairlie Flyer ends an era! March 4 1968
Leaving Albury at 11.30am, the Flyer began a slow seven mile haul up to the Winscombe Cutting. The two locomotives
(AB 718 and AB 798) laboured as they dragged their 500 ton load slowly to the peak of a 930 foot climb from Timaru.
Five minutes past 12 saw the Flyer pull into Fairlie.The main road had been closed for the occasion and passengers spilled out to enjoy lunch and refreshments. The first of four concerts was given from the tray of a Mackenzie County Council truck after lunch. Artists featured were Joan and Allan Linton from Timaru (songs); the Bambinos, a Fairlie vocal quartet; Jack Denley and Peter McLachlan (vocal and instrumental); Peter Sanderson, Albury (piano accordion) and the Picasso Trio. The compere was John McMillan. It was at this concert that the Picasso Trio sang for the first time the Ballad of the Fairlie Flyer, written by the
Timaru radio personality Bill Timmins.
Radio NZ Sound Archives
16 Jan 2013 ODT Sullivan marks 50 years of 'voices in the air'
New Zealand radio has remained unchanged in the 50 years veteran Dunedin broadcaster Jim Sullivan has been on air. ''Radio hasn't changed at all since I started. What's changed is technology. Radio, to me, is made up of voices and voices haven't changed in 50 years,'' he said yesterday. ''Once I push that button and the red light comes on, the next 10 seconds is going to make or break you. Even after 50 years, you still have to get it right. Those old-time pips wait for no-one. ''I always loved the live part of it. Broadcasting gets in your blood. There's a bit of the ham actor in the game. You can't do it and be completely retiring and shy. You have to have a bit of hoopla,'' the 66-year-old said. ''You get the chance to perform and deal with things you're interested in. It's a privilege to have some people tell you their story and you're just filled with respect for them.'' The popular broadcaster marked 50 years on air this week. ''- but there is satisfaction spending 50 years doing something you like,'' he said. Mr Sullivan started on air on January 14, 1963, at 3ZC in his home town of Timaru. ''I was keen to be a journalist and was on my way to the Timaru Herald for a job, but there was a radio station next door, so I thought I'd pop in to see if they were taking on any cadets. My only qualification was I liked The Goon Show,'' he recalled. ''Local radio stations in those days were a type of mini National Radio. You did everything, from working in the accounts department and archives to doing breakfast, writing current affairs and being a disc jockey. ''In the old days, you also did television and radio. Television was interesting, but there's just something about radio. ''I was never really that interested in music. There's more to radio than gramophone records. It's about ideas and voices in the air. That's what fascinated me; voices in the air. Radio is a word game. ''It's the historical aspect that's kept me interested. I've always been interested in history. Mr Sullivan later worked in Palmerston North, Christchurch, Wellington and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, before moving to Dunedin to host the 4ZB breakfast show, alternately, with Colin Lehmann. ''If anyone famous came to town, you rushed out to the airport and interviewed them,'' he recalled. Mr Sullivan is also a prolific author and has written more than 30 books and commissioned company histories. And he knows what he would be doing if not for radio. ''I'd probably have your job,'' he says, with a smile. Mr Sullivan can be heard every Sunday from 8pm-10pm on the Sounds Historical programme on Radio New Zealand National. Tuning in to Timaru : fifty years of radio in South Canterbury, 1949-1999 / Jim Sullivan. 23pgs Sullivan, Jim (Patrick James), 1946 Radio Reunion, 1999. Book. History. 3XC 3ZC (Radio Stations : Timaru N.Z.).
Queen's Birthday Honour 2014
Broadcaster Jim Sullivan received the Queen's Service Medal.
Sullivan, who now lives in Dunedin, started his broadcasting career more than 50 years ago in Timaru. He fronted Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme in the late 1970s. He has also been Radio New Zealand's chief archivist and manager of the Oral History Centre at the Alexander Turnbull Library. From the early 1990s, Sullivan compiled and presented the Dunedin-based programme Sounds Historical on Radio New Zealand National. He is also the author of more than 30 books, featuring aspects of New Zealand history.
- The Fairlie Flyer - A documentary on the Timaru to Fairlie railway which closed on March 2nd, 1968, after running since 1884. Reminiscences which end with the Picasso Trio singing "The Fairlie Flyer". Recorded in 1968.
- New Zealand Railway Songs features several works performed and composed by various artists. Musical details:
8) The Fairlie Flyer with the Picasso Trio. Dur: 3'28".
9) Recollections Of A Railway narrated by Jim Sullivan. Dur: 4'12".
10) Sounds of the Fairlie Flyer. Dur: 1'12".
- Sounds of South Canterbury with the Picasso Trio. A 7" EP of a recording taken on the Fairlie Branch out of Timaru in 1967. Contains interviews of the crew and live steam sounds sounds of Ab754 and Ab807.
1) The Fairlie Flyer and Recollections Of Railway (narrated by Jim Sullivan).
2) Ballad Of The Waitaki and Sounds Of The Fairlie Flyer.
Spolight SV 203.
- Picasso Trio - On the 29th January 1969 the Picasso Trio gave their final public concert at the Sound Shell on Caroline Bay, Timaru. 2,000 people attended this concert and the trio has subsequently disbanded. Members of the group are John McMillan, Murray Richardson and Barry Rhodes. Musical items include:
1) Ain't No More Cane On This Blazos
2) John Hardy
3) El Matador
4) River Come Down
5) Jesus Met The Woman
- Full head of steam at the Cricklewood goods shed
Martin Fahey was at the 'Flyers" last run 2nd March 1968. There were two runs that day from Albury - Fairlie and return. Martin married Theresa O'Malley in 1921, they had four children. He started at Omakau, Lyttelton and then Fairlie, and was with the railways from 1932 to 1946, Martin retired at the age of 60 and saved his foreman's hat that he wore on the "Flyer". Martin died at the age of 64, he died at Kew Hospital in Invercargill.
The line to Albury was officially opened 1st Jan. 1877. That first train was pulled by an 'F' Class loco (Canterbury No. 25). The line from Albury - Winscombe opened 24 August 1883 and on to Fairlie with the official opening in January 1884. The digging of the Winscombe railway cutting, about four kilometres south of Fairlie was the major obstacle in extending the railway line from Albury to Fairlie Creek [in 1892 the name was shortened to Fairlie]. It took four and a half years to complete with pick and shovel. The cutting was the highest point of the Fairlie line, at 930 feet (283 metres) above sea level and runs through several kilometres of farmland is actually made up of several small cuttings, ranging from several hundred metres to about a kilometre in length. They were constructed using a method called "cut and fill." Contractors laying the line would cut through hills and use the spoil to fill in the gullies. It would be dug by hand or by horse and scoop. A small narrow gauge railway would have run down to dump the spoil in the gullies. After closure of the Eversley terminus (just one mile) in 1 April 1934 the terminus was Fairlie. In 1954 passenger services on the Fairlie Branch Line ended. The Albury Station building was then used by Davidsons Apiaries who moved the building to their yard at Pleasant Point in 1960. The Te Ngawai bridge had a long trestle section at the Albury end, built to combat flood damage in the early days. Mawaro bridge in 1967.
In Fairlie the railway line ran on the right side of the medium. The railway tracks ran through the main street of Fairlie on the right side heading north to the Eversley goods shed and the rails stayed there a few years after the line finally closed. The train would shunt pass the stores on the right; Coutts the butchery, Carton Bros. builders, the large CFCA firm's building and cross the street, the start of the Fairlie to Geraldine route Hwy 79, heading towards the Allendale bridge then on the left the War Memorial monument, fire station and Plunket rooms and Denmark St. on the right to the goods shed. The turn table in Fairlie is now a sand trap at the golf course.
L to R. 1. What I knew as National Mortgage but perhaps an older building. 2.White building, Railway House in my day (1930s) the engine driver's, Gerry Kane. 3. Railway Good's Shed. 4. Station Building. 5. Gladstone Hotel 6. Fairlie Hotel. Three of the six buildings are still in Fairlie today, 2014. Can't see the railway line extending to Eversley.
Timaru Herald, 26 March 1884, Page 2
Fairlie Creek - The greatest proof of faith in the future prosperity of this township is the erection large substantial two-stored brick hotel, by Messrs Morris and Gall, opposite the railway platform. (The Gladstone) It is a facsimile of Mr Young's new hotel at Winchester. It will be nearly finished by Easter, when the local races are run. Winter's almost new wooden hotel is a fine two-storey building, so when the second one is finished Fairlie Creek will be pretty well off for hotel accommodations. The business place in the township now include two stores, two smithies, a wheelwright's, a saddler's, and shoemaker's shop, a boarding-house, and two livery stables. From the last run coaches carrying mails and passengers to Burke's Pass and the Lakes. The water mill is at a standstill, owing to financial difficulties.
Timaru Herald 11 June 1914 pg11
Fairlie remains a service town supporting the farming community. Dalgetys written on the building to the right. The Farmers was across the street to the left and PGG was to the right, out of site. Farmers were loyal though generations to firms.
Main St. Fairlie, on Monday 19 April 2014. Fairlie Hotel to the right. The medium with the Peace oaks still there.
The steam locomotive class Ab 816 ran on the branch line in 1966 and later the Ab699 used to on the Fairlie run, a westward run of 39 miles from Timaru. The final run was on Saturday, March 2, 1968 with a train of two locomotives and 18 carriages ending the railway's 84-year-old link between Timaru and Fairlie. I understand why the 35 miles Washdyke - Fairlie branch railway line closed in 1968 as the farmers were not using the line as transport firms offered faster and more flexible door to door service. Cattle, lambs and fat sheep were trucked to the works and Temuka saleyards and wool to the Timaru wool stores by Barwood's, Fred Allan's and Mt Cook transport all of Fairlie in the 1960s and 1970s. Over the decades the roads and transportation had improved remarkably. All the farmers had there own private cars and would race the train to Timaru and park at their local stock and station firm's car park. The Albury railway station and all the goods sheds were sold for removal and actual line where all removed. In December 1976 the old 30m three roomed iron and wood Fairlie Railway Station with a cantilevered verandah was relocated and remains in Fairlie on the left near the Mabel Binney cottage up the Mt Cook Road and became part of the Mackenzie County and Western Society and the Fairlie Horse Drawn Museum site now the Fairlie Heritage Museum; focus is pioneering farm equipment and early modes of transport. Two Alexandra ODT 2003 readers, Margaret Gardner and Denise McIntosh, were brought up in Albury. Margaret (81) attended Albury School and for a brief time the small Cricklewood School. Regretfully, she says, "things declined" once the railway line closed. Only 2.5 kms of the railway line remain, at Point.
The Fairlie Branch Line history
Timaru Herald, 2 January 1877, Page 3
Tekapo Mail. Mr Cramond having the successful tender for the mail between the Opawa and Tekapo, one of his coaches has taken the place of the late mail carriers' Messrs Gardner and Stock. The new coach ran for the first time yesterday.
New Year's day was observed in the time honoured way. A general holiday was held, and everybody appeared to have given themselves up to merry-making. Numerous bands went to places, far and near, on picnic excursions, many made their way to the Waimate Races and the Burke's Pass races, but the great majority of the pleasure seekers went to Timaru to attend the Caledonian Sports. Every train arriving from the north, from the south, and from the direction of Pleasant Point was crowded. Not a few people left Timaru by train, several being excursionists who were taking advantage of the opening of the Opawa railway to view the country between here and Albury, which is distant from Timaru about 28 miles. The day wore away most enjoyably, and consequently speedily.
Grey River Argus, 12 January 1877, Page 2
A contemporary remarks that there must be some sharp inclines on the Canterbury Railways, as a number of trucks, after being started at the Opawa station [Albury] went without the application of any, propelling force by those in charge of the train to Pleasant Point, a distance of sixteen and a half miles, in three quarters of an hour.
Evening Post, 20 February 1877, Page 2
Timaru. 19th February.
The destruction of the Opawa railway is considered a great misfortune, as farmers have to drag machinery up the country and produce down. It is wholly owing to faulty engineering.
Otago Witness, 17 August 1878, Page 8
(Timaru Herald, August 3rd.)
A railway accident, fortunately unattended with loss of life or injury to anybody, occurred yesterday evening. The down train from Albury, consisting of the engine, two trucks, and two carriages, was within a short distance of the Sutherland platform, between Pleasant Point and the Cave, when the driver observed a cow lying between the rails, just in front of the engine. The time was 6.30 o'clock, and the gloom prevented the animal being observed before. It was, of course, impossible to stop the train immediately, and the engine ran over the cow, as did also the two trucks and the front wheels of the first carriage. The concussion caused the engine to be thrown off the rails, and it rolled down an embankment some 18 feet in depth, finally stopping wheels upwards. The two trucks followed suit, but the carriages, in which were about a dozen passengers, fortunately remained on the line. Indeed, owing to the slow pace at which the train was going, the passengers would have known nothing about the accident but for the wheels of the front carnage bumping over the unfortunate cow" As soon as the train stopped the passengers, feeling that something was wrong, rushed out, and the first sight which met their eyes was the engine lying down the embankment, enveloped in a cloud of steam. Search was at once made for the engine-driver (John Newton) and the fireman (Hurt), and, much to the surprise of the passengers, they were found unhurt. Their escape from instantaneous death or dreadful injury may be considered as simply miraculous. Hurt, it appears, was jerked completely clear of the engine when it struck the cow ; while Newton, although in its cab during its downward course, sustained no injury whatever. Both driver and fireman must have expected to find the other crushed to death, and, we have no doubt, were agreeably surprised to find such was not the case. As soon as ever the driver recovered himself, he procured a horse from Mr Sutherland, and started for the Washdyke, that being the nearest telegraph station, to apprise the Timaru station of what had occurred. About 14 miles had thus to be travelled before his destination was reached. On the news arriving at Timaru, about 8.15 p.m., Mr Jones, the station-master, at once gave orders for a special train to be got ready to proceed to the scene of the accident, and for a gang of men to assemble to be conveyed to Sutherland's, for the purpose of putting the broken-down train in its legitimate position. By 8.45 p.m., all was in readiness, and the special, taking Mr Jones, Mr Lloyd, his assistant, Mr Blackmore, the locomotive foreman, and the gang of workmen, started away. On arriving at Sutherland's it was found that the passengers, including several ladies, had been hospitably entertained by Mr Sutherland and Mr F. Sams, who had spared no pains to make them comfortable during their enforced stay. Had the houses of those kindhearted gentlemen not been handy, the passengers would have had to wait about for between three and four hours in the open air or in the cold carriages, with the temperature at about 30deg. No time was lost by Mr Jones in starting back to Timaru, where the passengers arrived about 11. 15 p.m., none the worse for their adventures. The gang of men were left at Sutherland's to get the engine and trucks replaced on the line, an operation which will probably be completed this morning at the latest. The engine, we hear, despite its heavy fall, sustained very little damage. If ever human beings had reason to be thankful for their escape from almost imminent death, or fatal injuries, the passengers, driver, and fireman on the Albury train yesterday evening have. Fortunately, we have only the death of the poor "coo" to lament ; but it is only by a special act of Providence that it is not those of a dozen men, women, and children. When will the Government consider it their duty to protect the lives of the public and their own servants by fencing these lines? Imagine, as might have been the case and only by a miracle was net the case— half-a-dozen or a dozen maimed and dying human beings lying on the cold ground at Sutherland's for three hours, in such weather as this! There is no telegraph station nearer than the Washdyke, and until a messenger should reach there, and a special train with assistance travel back, the sufferers must either "grin and bear it," or — die.
North Otago Times, 12 October 1878, Page 2
Timaru. October 11.
Owing to a fresh in the Rangitata River, again a mishap to the railway bridge has occurred, delaying the trains considerably. The Opawa accommodation house in the Mackenzie Country is likely to be washed away, owing to the heavy volume of water in the Opawa River.
Otago Witness, 7 June 1879, Page 16
The Albury contract for the extension of one of the Canterbury interior lines has been let for the sum of L7878 15s. The contract is for an extension of the line from Timaru to Opawa, for a distance of one mile and 28 chains, and for a wooden railway bridge over the river Opawa. The bridge will consist of three spans of 40 feet each, and two of 11 feet each, the whole length being 134 feet.
North Otago Times, 11 December 1880, Page 2
Tenders are now being called for the construction of a railway bridge over the Tengawai River, on the Albury Downs section of the Opawa branch railway extension. The formation, includes a culvert, etc., from Tengawai to Fairlie Creek, a distance of ten miles, has been nearly completed by the unemployed contingent, and it is expected that the sleepers and metals will be laid after the completion of the bridge. This bridge will be 1128 feet long, and will consist of 26 spans of 40 feet and eight spans of 11 feet. It will he constructed of timber on piles.
North Otago Times, 27 March 1882, Page 2
Timaru, March 25.
At a meeting held at Fairlie Greek, it was resolved to urge Government to complete the Albury railway extension and telegraph to that place. The Albury rai1way is the best paying one in the colony, and owing to non-completion of the line to Fairlie creek, large quantities of wool and grain from the back country are drayed into town.
North Otago Times, 22 August 1883, Page 2
Timaru. August 21 The opening of the railway to Winscombe, a distance of seven and a half miles on the Fairlie Creek extension, takes place tomorrow, and will be celebrated in due form. The extension will give access by rail to one of the finest agricultural districts in the colony.
Hawera & Normanby Star, 12 October 1883, Page 2
RAILWAY ACCIDENT. Timaru, October 12. A man named A. Sutherland met with a serious accident on the Fairlie Creek railway line. He was working in a gravel pit, and, stepping-back to avoid some of it falling on him, got in front of an advancing ballast waggon, which went over his right leg. He was immediately conveyed to the hospital. On examination it was found that the, leg was injured so much as to render amputation necessary.
New Zealand as it is - Page 84
by John Bradshaw - 1883 - 392 pages
Passing on we camped for the mid-day halt a mile or two beyond the " Cave " — a solitary hotel and railway station, looking dreary and uninviting in its lonely desolation. At last we were away, and rolling along in quiet vetturino fashion towards Albury, a small settlement, and the present terminus of the Timaru and Albury branch line. It consists of a store, a blacksmith's shop, two or three houses, and two somewhat pretentious hotels. To the ordinary mind, one hotel would have been thought sufficient under the surrounding circumstances. Here a halt was made, during which the ladies filled their pockets with " lollies," and the gentlemen made an opportunity for a quiet " nip."
Leaving Albury, the road followed the course of the new railway works, which, when completed, will carry the line about fourteen miles further, to a new terminus at the village of Fairlie Creek. Shortly, the hills between which we had been travelling began to recede, leaving a pleasant and fertile valley, dotted with numerous well- to-do-looking homesteads. These followed us until the valley once more contracted, at a point where the road commenced slowly to ascend towards Burke's Pass.
Taranaki Herald, 30 January 1884, Page 3
OPENING RAILWAY EXTENSION. Timaru, January 30.
The opening of the railway extension, Albury to Fairlie Creek, was celebrated to-day by a public holiday in the town, and special excursion trains were run. The weather was tolerably good. The holiday was generally observed, and two trains crowded with excursionist, left between 10 and 11 this morning. A sale of sections is to take place on arrival at the township.
Waikato Times, 31 January 1884, Page 3
Timaru, Wednesday. The opening of the railway extension from Albury to Fairlie Creek was celebrated to-day by a special excursion train.
Timaru Herald, 31 January 1884, Page 3 OPENING OF THE RAILWAY TO FAIRLIE CREEK
The extension of the Albury branch railway from Albury to Fairlie Creek was opened for general traffic on Monday last and this event was celebrated yesterday by the running of an excursion train from Timaru to the new terminus of the line. The importance to Timaru of increased facilities of communication with the interior was practically acknowledged by the townspeople, a requisition being handed to the mayor asking him to proclaim a public holiday in Timaru, in order to allow business people and others to honour the occasion by joining in the excursion. The proclamation was made and the holiday was well kept, nearly all the shops being closed. Special arrangements were made by the railway authorities for the excursion, a number of carriages being brought down from Christchurch on Tuesday night. Yesterday morning a train was made up consisting of fourteen carriages and brakes van and two engines, - an American, the "Washington," and one of the F class - and, seeing the numbers of people who were crowding the platform as the hour of starting drew nigh a couple more carriages were put on. The total number of passengers disembarking at Fairlie Creek being estimated at about 600 - a nice little crowd, however, to turn loose in that unsophisticated little country township. ... Mr F. Bank, District Traffic Manager, Mr A. Smith, Superintendent of the Locomotive Department, Mr J. Jones Stationmaster at Timaru, and Mr Dickenson, Locomotive Foreman, accompanied the train, and among the excursionists were the Mayor of Timaru, Mr Sutter M.H.R for Gladstone, a large number of businessmen of Timaru and a good many "old identities", who had been familiar with Fairlie Creek in the old days and desired a pleasant "shock" from seeing the iron horse careering over ground where they had been accustomed to canter their horses of bone and sinew, without a thought of railways or excursion trains.
The train started punctually at the time appointed and as the long string of carriages wound around the curves near town, allowing its length to be seen by the passengers, many were the jokes made about its "astonishing the natives." The two engines laboured heavily in taking the train, with cold and stiff wheels, through the cutting round the bay, belching forth steam and dust and ashes like miniature Krakatoas....The only stations called at were Pleasant Point and Albury. At the former about 100 persons joined the train, and a good many were included a host of cheering and hat and hankerchief waving school children were assembled to see the train pass. As a matter of course, no such train having passed up the line before, every resident along the line came out to see it pass, both going out and returning. At Albury a score of adults and school children in a body, were added to the load. The scenery along the route presents little that is very remarkable, but plenty that is interesting enough. A mist obscured the distant hills, compelling a loser attention to the nearer features of the country passed through. As far as Cave there were crops of grain to be seen, whitening to the harvest, and plump cattle and sheep happy among plentiful feed, and cottages and homesteads scattered among the paddocks, looking very peaceful in contrast with the hurry and rattle of the train. At Cave the cave was looked for, and its vicinity declared to be just the place for a picnic ramble. The Tenagawai river here runs near the line, it is seen to be discoloured, though not in high flood, indicating that a good deal of rain had fallen. The cave on the right hand side has its opposite on the other side, in the shape of a prominent block of limestone. For several miles beyond the Cave, nearly all the way to Fairlie Creek in fact, the line runs along a narrow valley. The country to the left is monotonous and not at all interesting from a scenic point of view. On the right, however, rises the steep, slip- scarred western face of The Brothers, its general brown tints relieved by many strips and patches of green scrub in its narrow gullies, by black or yellow stripes of water channels running straight from top to bottom, and here and there by a silver thread of water trickling over a rocky ledge. Half way from Albury to Fairlie Creek the line enters Mr Gillingham's downs, through which it passes by a series of heavy cuttings. ... The new stations for Cricklewood and Winscombe, one at each end of the series of cuttings, were passed at full speed. Each station consist of a siding and a shingle platform, a small portion of the latter covered over by a lean-to shed- forming a "sixth class," not a first-class station. Mounting the grade made the engines puff; descending the down grade, which is contained over a long embankment across Coal Gully, steam was shut off, and gavity took the train down, flying, at a very cheap rate. In one of the hallows between the cuttings the 'Fairlie Creek coal mine' was passed. The mouth of the pit or drive is within a few yards of the line. There was no sign of activity in the coal trade stinks like H___sdes" says they who have tried it. While crossing coal Gully the Fairlie creek district comes into view, a triangular plain surrounded by mountains or high downs backed by mountains. Right ahead lay the Two Thumb range, its upper half unfortunately hidden by clouds, to the left the western continuation of the Hunter range; and to the right close at hand, the western end of the Brothers, cleft by the really stupendous and almost impassable gorge through which the rive Opihi finds its way out of this deep basin, and further off, the rugged western summit of Mount Four Peaks. The Ashwick Flat, on which the outline s of a few good sized farms were to be made out, backed by a long sloping stretch of tussock, lay in the middle distance,, and in the foreground, divided from the last by the now muddy stream of the Opihi, Mr Gillingham's and Mr McLean's well-grassed paddocks, A little more expenditure of stream, and houses of Fairlie Creek appeared in sight; still a little more, and the excursionists were jumping from the train at the station, and reading from a conspicuous placard, "Welcome, Timaru. Better late than never."
On arriving at terminus, each was left to his own devices. Three or four coaches were in readiness to convey to Burkes Pass those who desired to make the trip. .. eventually six or seven coach and express loads set out for that township. About dozen persons procured vehicles and visited the Gorge; a number drove as far as Silverstream; the rest contented themselves with strolling about the township and in the riverbed, where a fresh in the river obliged them to observe that the Upper Opihi resembles other Canterbury rivers in having a decided aversion to bridges. Mr J.G. Allen's new mill came in for a good share of attention, a large number taking advantage of the permission given to inspect it. Unfortunately, it could not be sung: "Merrily goes the mill wheel", because the stock of grain was exhausted, and it does not pay to grind millstones for exhibition or for any other purpose. Soon after the party arrived, the sun, aided for a time by a light breeze from the west, succeeded in dissipating to a considerable extent the clouds which had hidden the mountain tops, and during the afternoon the Two Thumb range looked very beautiful, its rich brown summits, flecked and chequered with brilliant patches of snow, appearing above thin clouds which western the range, while Mount Four Peaks stood clear and bold, but snowless and less coloured. The sky overhead became quite clear, and after three o'clock the sun shone very powerfully, making the air rather uncomfortably warm.
A large marquee had been erected near Mr Winter's hotel, and various conjecture were hazarded as to its purpose, "luncheon booth" being the most favoured. About half an hour after the arrival of the train this was thrown open, and its purpose was then more surely guessed. Along the middle was erected a table on which were displayed bottles of "fizz" provided by the residents and champagne glasses. The only formal ceremony of the day was commenced.
Mr F.W. Marchant, engineer and clerk to the Mackenzie County Council, within whose territory Fairlie Creek lies, addressed the visitors. He had been be requested by the inhabitants to bid them welcome to Fairlie Creek, and he did so with very great pleasure. The Fairlie Creek line, if he might take the liberty of a quotation, had been a case of "linked ironwork long drawn out". It was now nearly finished, however, and he trusted that it would be of great service both to the district and to Timaru. He ventured to predict that the district opened up by the extension of the line had a great future before it, and that with the important means of communication now provided, time alone was needed to render it a source of great commercial benefit to the town and port of Timaru. He had much pleasure therefore in bidding a hearty welcome to His Worship the Mayor of Timaru, to Mr Sutter, Member for Gladstone, and to the other visitors from Timaru.
Mr J. Jackson, Mayor of Timaru, returned the thanks for the welcome given them. He quite appreciated the remark of Mr Marchant that the line would be of great benefit to Timaru for if were not for the trade of the country districts, he for one would not be able to live. The town, he had always felt, was dependent on the country; it was through the prosperity of the country people that the townspeople must look for theirs. He believed with Mr Marchant that this district had a great future before it, and the opening of the railway would bring that future nearer. Mr F. Back, District Traffic manager, proposed "Success to the Fairlie District." In doing so he said that if the country were likened to the backbone of the town, the railway might safely be likened to its spinal marrow. Many years ago he and been a cadet in this district.. Mr Back remarked that he looked upon this district and the Mackenzie Country as the sanatorium of Canterbury. ...
Mention must not be neglected of the preparation made by Mr Winter, of the Fairlie Creek Hotel, to meet the demand for refreshments for a large influx of visitors. On the way up it was remarked that he could not have expected so many and would be ill prepared for them. Suffice to say that the table in his dining room was laid and relaid time after time, and the last man got a capital luncheon as well as the first, while the ladies, of whom there were a good many among the excursionists, were well attended to and supplied with a good cup of tea in a separate room. A good many small parties took "hampers" with them, and lunched on the grass beside one or other of the many little streams near the township, and other were invited guests of neighboring settlers. By the appointed time, 5.20 p.m. all had taken their seats on the train without confusion or trouble. The platform was crowded with residents of the township and neighborhood, and as the train moved off hearty cheers were given on both sides. The return journey was made without mishap and in good time, scarcely two hours being consumed.
Timaru Herald, 31 January 1884, Page 3
LAND SALE AT FAIRLIE CREEK. One of the attractions for some of the visitors, and one of the pastimes for others, was an auction sale held by Messrs W Collins and Co., of horses and land, during the afternoon. The horses, about a dozen light harness horse and hacks, were sold first, at fair prices. The land offered consisted of a 20-acre section belonging to Mrs Freame, which had been sub-divided into building Allotments. The section presented its "frontage" or smallest dimension to the Allandale road, its longer one being parallel to and abutting on the railway, to the west of the township, reaching neatly to the mill, one corner (section No. 1) being 1 near to and nearly opposite the Fairlie Creek Hotel. Great interest was taken in the sale, and the biddings were keen for most sections —up to a certain point-, beyond which they were, as usual, confined to perform who really wanted the sections. Sections 1 to 10, it may be stated, are those near the present township; sections 14 to 18 are on broken ground, and sections 38 to 86 1 lie towards the mill. These remarks will explain the differences in the prices obtained. The following is the result of the auction —
No. 1, la Or 4p, Mr J. Feeney (Fairlie Creek), £133;
No. 2, lr 23p, Mr Watts (Bank of New Zealand), £50
No. 3, lr 33p, Mr D. McKay, £38
No. 4, lr 26p. Mr W. Manning, £18
No. 5, lr 34p, Mr W. Manning , £17
No. 6, 1r 34p, Mr W. Collins, £18
No. 7, lr 37p, Mr P. Clancy, £22
No. 8, lr 38p, Mr P. Chapman, £18
No. 9, lr 35p, Mr B. Chapman, £17
No. 10 lr 37p, Mr J. Urqnhart. £17
No. 14 2r 3p, Mr D. McKay, £20
No. 15, 3r 3p, Mr D. McKay. £16
No. 16, lr 29p, Mr W. Jones. £18
No. 17, 2r 2p, Mr J. H. Bennett, £12
No. 18 2r 13p, Mr W. McLeod, £12
No. 28, lr 26p, Mr J. Hartney, £10 6s
No. 29, lr 12p, Mr J. Hartney, £10 6s
No. 30, lr 4p, Mr W. Burgess, £9 5s
No. 31, lr 2p, Mr W. Burgess, £9 6s;
No. 32, lr 1p. Mr A. C. McAllister. £8 6s
No. 33, lr 2p, Mr W. McLeod, £7
No. 34, lr 5p, Mr Saunders, £6;
No. 35, 83p, Mr S.E. Graham, £5;
No. 36, 2r 45p, Mr T. Hennessy, £10 10s.
The sections whose numbers are not given were withdrawn at the auction, but two of them were sold privately afterwards, and enquiries have been made about most of the others. It is said that one buyer sold his purchase at an advance of £5 within a few minutes of his name being taken by the auctioneer. 1891 progress of Fairlie Creek early days recalled oak
Site of the Fairlie Railway Station January 1884 to March 1968. Written on the hub of the axle is
Timaru Herald August 21 1884 pg 2
Fairlie Creek - The telegraph line to Fairlie Creek has now been completed. On Monday next it will be thrown open to the public, the railway station, the telegraph office, and the post office, having been placed under the charge of Mr E.G. Wilson, at present of Albury, whose place will be taken by Mr E.J. Bowley, from Selwyn.
Evening Post, 13 January 1890, Page 2
A Railway Station Burnt Down
Timaru, This Day. The Railway Station at Fairlie Creek was destroyed by fire this morning, with all the contents, including those in the iron safe.
Timaru Herald, 14 January 1890, Page 2
The railway station at Albury was destroyed by fire between four and five o'clock yesterday morning, with all contents, even those in the iron safe. Detective Neil went out by train yesterday afternoon to make enquires.
Timaru Herald, 18 April 1895, Page 2
Mr Bowie, who has for many years been guard on the Fairlie branch line of railway, has been transferred to the Orari run. Yesterday Mr Macintyre, the stationmaster, on behalf of the employees on the Fairlie branch, presented to Mr Bowie a gold albert chain, as a token of the esteem m which Mr Bowie is held by them.
Otago Witness, 19 July 1900, Page 33
Mr and Mrs Robertson, who have been removed to Fairlie, after a residence of ten years in Waitahuna, were the recipients of an address and several tokens of esteem by their Waitahuna friends prior to their departure for their new home. In Mr Robertson we had a courteous and obliging station-master, who combined attentiveness to his departmental duty with a generous consideration for the public, therefore his promotion to Fairlie is a decided loss to Waitahuna. [Mr Robertson and family left by the afternoon train on Thursday en route for Fairlie railway station, and a goodly number assembled on the platform, the ladies predominating, to bid them good bye.]
Otago Witness, 5 September 1900, Page 33
Our Railway Station. — The question of building a verandah at the Fairlie railway station seems to be too great to be hastily settled. Probably if the Minister for Railways were to land in Fairlie on a dark, snowy, or rainy night in winter and have to hunt for his luggage on the wet platform he would see the question from the point of view of the Fairlie public.
Wanganui Herald, 30 July 1901, Page 2
Mr H. T. Clinch, of Temuka, has, says the Leader, been experimenting lately in the matter of incubating some emu's eggs. His experiences are rather interesting. It appears that Dr. J. S. Hayes, while visiting Mr J. S. Rutherford, at Albury, was presented by him with eight emu eggs, from one of several nests on the run. These at first were designed to be converted into ornaments, but on arriving at the Albury station Dr Hayes remembered that Mr Clinch is the possessor of an incubator, and he decided to try and get these eggs hatched if possible. The services of the engine-driver were enlisted, and the eggs were kept as warm as possible by being placed in a handy spot in the cab of the engine. It may be stated that they had already travelled some six miles. On arrival at Pleasant Point the doctor placed a hot water bottle with the eggs, and, they were brought right on to Temuka and placed in Mr Clinch's charge. There was no information as to how long the eggs had been laid, nor did anyone appear to know the period of incubation. The eggs were duly placed in the incubator, and experience showed that several were sterile. In thirty days one egg chipped, and there issued a chick about the size of a bantam. This chick now occupies quarters in what is known as the "foster mother," and it appears to be thriving well.
Bay of Plenty Times, 21 November 1894, Page 2 A NZ Emu.
The following appears in the Timaru Herald of Friday last:— Mr John Rutherford's hen emu appears to have regarded the laying of eight eggs, already recorded in these columns, as the limit of her maternal duty. With a callousness begotten of a diet of cast horse- shoes and road metal, she vacated her nest and left the future care of her unhatched family to her husband. Six of the eggs were removed, and the male bird set about the incubation of the remainder. The sitting place was in the open, and to guard against cramp and rheumatism serious complaints for a bird made up principally of legs was covered with a tent. After eighty days one emu hatched out, and is now a lusty young bird about the size of a turkey, and with the traditional appreciation of things indigestible.
Evening Post, 17 July 1903, Page 5
Timaru, 16th July. The engine which was stuck up on the Fairlie line, near Cricklewood, on Tuesday was released to-day, after picking away a quantity of ice from the wheels and bumping with another engine. It took the relief engine about two hours to go from Albury to Cricklewood — four miles — ice having to be chipped off the rails nearly all the way by a gang of twenty-three men. An attempt was then made to get the engine through to Fairlie, but the engine stuck through running out of water, consequent on the incessant skidding of the wheels on the ice-covered rails. Snow is lying eighteen inches at Cricklewood. Snow is still lying very thickly around Fairlie, Temuka, Geraldine, and the surrounding districts. The stock is suffering severely. In the Mackenzie country the fall has not been so heavy, and the stock there is not greatly affected.
The Cricklewood goods shed is shown in the "Fairlie Flyer booklet" on July 11, 1903 in 28 inches (71cm) of snow after what is recorded as a 43deg F frost.
Otago Witness, 12 October 1904, Page 36 CAVE (South Canterbury)
Post Office. — In response to a petition from about 40 settlers in the locality the Postmastergeneral has authorised the opening of a post office at Coal Creek, on the Fairlie line, for the convenience of the compact block of the Rosewill settlement, which is served by Coal Creek station. The office is named Mawaro, which is the Maori equivalent for Coal Creek. For the present mails will be exchanged with Timaru three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. There is no railway official or employee living at Coal Creek station, but a request has been, made that one, of the surfacemen may be given a cottage there, and his wife could act as postmistress. In the meantime the post office is at Mr Werford's, and this will be a great convenience to a considerable number of settlers who live away back from Coal Creek.
A New Riding Proposed.— Mr Wreford gave notice at last meeting of the Mackenzie County Council that he would move at next meeting that a new riding be formed for the Cave, to comprise about one-third of the present Albury Riding.
Timaru Herald, 16 April 1906, Page 4
If the devotees of that entrancing and delight-in-the-open-air game of golf are excepted, it may be truly said that Timaru to-day will be a town on which the card 'To Let could honestly be hung for at least some hours, for the Easter holiday attractions are all in the country. The earliest movers will catch the first train South at 7.20. to as the writers usually put it, assist at the Hook race meeting. The next to go, on pleasure bent, will be the excursionists for Fairlie, who will hear the guard's warning. "All seats, please." at 8.20 a.m. It expected that the alpine township, which was under a hot fire on Saturday last, will be quite the pivot of South Canterbury to-day. Its attractions are many. At its annual show, visitors will see the pig that pays the rent, the cow that gives the tone to Filbert butter, and the turnip that puts the juice into prime Canterbury; if they do not care for the Show, Show, they can see the Bazaar, tread on velvet among raffles and find that one of the new notes of the Union Bank will go a long way in bran pies and sixpenny dips; yet again., if they will have none of these the visitors can see the volunteer camp, and crack a joke with the men in kharkee over the amount of lead they wasted on Saturday era they perforated innocent and unoffending dummies. With all these distractions, it would be well in bear in mind that the train leave Fairlie for Timaru at 5.45 pm.
Otago Witness, 6 February 1907, Page 25
GRASS AND CROPS BURNED NEAR TIMARU.
TIMARU, February 1.
Serious fires among the grass and crops are raging at Rangitata, and shortly after the first train from Temuka passed this morning reports came to Timaru that a large fire was burning at Seadown, just north of Timaru. The fire started in the grass alongside the railway, and spread to the fences and a plantation on the farm of Mr Robert Campbell. The outbreak was quickly noticed, and soon 70 men were at work in a howling north-west wind fighting the flames. Gaps were cut in the fences to minimise the risk of the flames reaching the homestead. Then the unexpected happened. The high wind carried some gorse and burning twigs across a paddock and set fire to a crop of oats, 20 acres of which were destroyed before the fire wa6 got under control.
A slight fire also took place on the Fairlie line, near the Levels. It was started apparently by an engine on the evening train. Some fences were destroyed.
The Hastings Standard February 29, 1908
When a postmaster happens to miss putting his mail bag on the train it is due to be sent by (says the Timaru Herald), it sometimes answers to follow up on a bicycle, especially if the train is a long and heavy one, and there are stiff grades to be mounted not too far away. Someone at the Fairlie Post Office, failing to catch the Fairlie-Timaru train on Tuesday morning, dispatched the mail bag per boy and bicycle (so states a passenger) to where the train was struggling in vain to ascend a rise near Cricklewood, and the mail bag was safely delivered to the keeping of the guard. The train men's troubles were heavy that morning - the train was a long and heavy one, and several attempts were made to climb the grade before succeeding, the job being finally accomplished by hauling the train in two lots as far as was thus got over, but the process consumed much time and the train was late all down the line to arrival.
Hawera & Normanby Star, 10 August 1908, Page 8
RAILWAY STATION DESTROYED.
Timaru, August 10. The passenger train at Fairlie combined with the post office and telephone exchange, was burnt to the ground on Saturday nights.
Tuapeka Times, 12 August 1908, Page 3
The railway station at Fairlie (fourth class), combined with the post office exchange, was burned down early on Sunday morning. No one saw where the fire originated, and no further particulars are available. The stationmaster rode to Albury and telephoned the fact, and arranged for material for today's business.
Wanganui Herald, 21 September 1908, Page 5 Shops Destroyed at Fairlie.
Timaru, September 21
About 1.30 on Sunday morning a fire was discovered in a row of small wooden shops at Fairlie. As there were no fire appliances, the four shops and a building used temporarily by the Post and Telegraph Office (since the destruction of the railway station a few weeks ago) were burned. The block was owned by H. Fraser and occupied by Sutherland and Phillips (butchers), H. Fraser (auctioneer), Mrs Watts (general store), and Parks (draper). A building adjoining, temporarily occupied by the Bank of New Zealand, was considerably damaged. The insurances on the stock total £600. The contents of the Post Office were saved. Incendiarism is suspected.
Otago Witness, 26 August 1908, Page 51
The meaning of the words "Ma waro " to say that "Ma" is a curtailment of "Manga" a branch of a stream — otherwise a "creek." "Waro" means coal : hence "Ma-waro," equal to "Coal Creek." There is a post office of the name "Ma-waro" on the Timaru-Fairlie railway line, at Coal Creek.
Otago Witness, 4 November 1908, Page 70
A swagger named Long happened around Pleasant Point the other day, when he coolly appropriated a trolley on the railway, and used it as a means of locomotion for a distance of five miles, after which he took it off the line and left it on the roadside. He was called to account for his conduct before Mr C. A. Wray, S.M., at Timaru and fined £1 or seven days, and £2 or 14 days on another charge of using obscene language.
Evening Post, 17 January 1911, Page 3
LAND SALE. TIMARU, 16th January. A paddock on the east side of Fairlie, next to the main road and the railway, was cut up into twenty-one building allotments of one-fifth and one-quarter acres and sold by auction to-day in a few minutes. The purchasers were all local men. Two sections were sold at £50, one at £65, two at £80, and one at £84. With three exceptions the others sold at prices between £40 and £50. This was the best land sale held in the district for a long time.
Evening Post, 14 March 1912, Page 8
Two little boys belonging to Geraldine, aged 6 and 8 years respectively, who came into Timaru by an excursion train one day last week, missed the train when it returned at night (states the Timaru Herald). Not knowing what to do the little fellows set out to walk home. At Smithfield they took the railway line, and they negotiated the bridge at Washdyke by crawling over it and just managed to get clear of it before the slow train from the north came along. At Washdyke station the boys separated, one taking to the road, and the other one keeping to the railway line. The stationmaster (Mr. Williams) seeing the boy on the line, ascertained from him what had happened, so he took the lad to his house, and went after the one on the road, on his bicycle. On catching up to him he brought him back and kept the two at his home for the night. He got word through to the parents of the little fellows that their boys were all right, and sent them home by the first train next morning.
Grey River Argus, 5 July 1918, Page 3
INTERRUPTED WIRE FROM TIMARU. Timaru, July 4 Much snow has fallen inland, a few miles from, the coast. The fall was heavy in the Fairlie district and east of the Mackenzie country. Fairlie reports that 27 inches have fallen, but the train ran through after an engine with a snow plough had passed over. At Burke's Pass there is 3ft, at Tekapo 3ft, Ashwick and Sherwood Downs Settlements 3 to 4 feet. On the Grampians and Haldon runs only 7 and 8 inches, at Pukaki 12 inches. There were 27 inches at the Hermitage on Monday evening. This is the first heavy snow since 1911, when 17 inches fell at Fairlie.
Snow in Fairlie in 1903 with a train arriving with corrugated iron improvised as a snow plough. Derailed. The Gladstone Hotel was more or less opposite the station and opposite the goods shed which can be seen on the left in the distance. Main St. and School Rd intersection. The tiny bit of the Fairlie Hotel (or Manaton's as we used to call it) looks like the corner of the verandah on the front right of the photo. Building on far left is Jack Fraser's old accountant's office. It is thanks to James Dundas Hamilton of Clayton Station who inspired John Pigott that we have these wonderful photos of Fairlie. John Ernest Pigott was a long standing employee at Clayton and Dundas was into photography. Dundas left Clayton in 1903 and Pigott continued with the photography. By 1909 the Pigott family was living in Timaru and John had a photography studio, Talma Studio, in Stafford St. J.E. Pigott died July 21st 1932, buried at Timaru. John Ernest Pigott married Mary Emily (Mollie) Deamer in 1891. Children:
Phyllis Ethel Neville Pigott b. 1893
John Ardsley Pigott b. 25 Jan. 1987 in Fairlie, married 3x.
Kate Daphne Pigott b. 1904 m. Alfred George Harding in 1932
The first engine is one of the original "J" class pioneering freight locomotives (the "J" classification was recycled for a different class of locomotive in the late 30s). 32 of these locos were built for NZ, all in the UK, but using five different builders between 1875 and 1885. None survived. These little locomotives weighed about 38 tons. 2-6-0 represents their wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle, six powered and coupled driving wheels on three axles, and no trailing wheels. This class was well suited for burning wood but there was no wood to burn on the southern line. The locomotive behind it is an "F" class which were also built in the UK using quite a few different companies. The line to Albury was officially opened 1st Jan. 1877 and that first train was pulled by an 'F' Class loco (Canterbury No. 25). NZ’s railways were predominantly steam-powered until the 1950s. Most 19th-century locomotives were small British-built tank engines (which carried their fuel and water supplies in tanks on the machine, rather than in a trailing tender). Best known was the outstanding F class; 88 were imported between 1872 and 1888.
July 11 1903
The Timaru to Fairlie train became snow bound at Cricklewood.
Evening Post, 20 July 1903, Page 6
Fairlie, This Day. After a thaw yesterday and to-day, an engine with a snow-plough got through from Timaru to Fairlie this morning. It is a week to-day since the line was first blocked. After reaching Fairlie the engine and a car endeavoured to reach the terminus of the line, but the engine was derailed.
Otago Witness 22 July 1903, Page 29 A TRAIN SNOWED UP.
Timaru, July 15. The evening train to Fairlie yesterday reached Cricklewood at 9 p.m., and could get no further on account of the 6now frozen on the line. Twelve passengers were in the train (three of them women). A trolly came to Timaru at 1 a.m. for assistance. An engine was sent up to the belated train, taking food and blankets for the passengers. The train frozen in was brought back to Timaru minus the engine, which is stuck fast in the frozen snow. Another try will be made to-night to pull it out. A report from the Mackenzie Country says that there is 3ft of snow on the plain one of the heaviest falls on record.
July 16 The engine stuck up on the Fairlie line near Cricklewood on Tuesday was released to-day after picking away a quantity of ice from the wheels and bumping with another engine. It took the relief engine about two hours to go from Albury to Cricklewood, four miles, ice having to be chipped off the rails nearly all the way. A gang of 23 men was employed on this. An attempt was to be made to get the engine through to Fairlie. The engine stuck through running out of water consequent on the incessant skidding of the wheels on the ice-covered rails. The snow is lying to a depth of 18in at Cricklewood. The snow is still lying very thickly around Fairlie, Temuka, Geraldine, and the surrounding districts. Stock are suffering severely. In the Mackenzie Country the fall was not so heavy, and the stock there are not greatly affected.
Otago Witness, 12 August 1903, Page 16
Farmers around the Pleasant Point and Geraldine districts and also in the Mackenzie Country are suffering heavy losses as a result of the recent snowstorm. The snow still lies thickly over many farms in the districts named, and the severe frosts prevent a thaw. Sheep are in many instances suffering severely, and it anticipated that when the spring feed comes there will be heavy losses, as the sheep in their weak condition will scour very much. On farms where lambing has commenced, it is being found that the long period of starvation and cold has brought on abortion, and in many cases lambs which are born alive are so weak that they do not long survive. One large station-holder considers that had he not been fortunate enough to get a large percentage of his sheep down to feed near the coast, he would have lost fully half of his flock. A Geraldine settler has lost 50 sheep as a result of the snow, each worth from 16s to £1; another settler at Rapuna has lost 250 hoggets, and there are very many other similar losses. Mr Jones, of Mount Nessing, Albury, was in Timaru Friday last, and he informed a member of the Post staff that the snow at Albury is now only about 3in depth, and that at the back of the township there are a good many bare patches, though the snow has by no means gone yet. The thaw is extremely slow, wing to the severe frosts. Mr Jones says that his losses of sheep to far has not been large, owing to the fact that he was able to remove over 3000 lambs from his run to more congenial quarters at St. Andrews, this leaving sufficient room for tie remaining sheep on the station on the bare patches, whore they congregated. Had it not been for this transference of so many lambs Mr Jones considers that he would have lost fully half his flock. It is quite impossible, he says, to estimate the losses, or even the probable losses, as a result of the snowstorm, as he heaviest losses are likely to come later on when ewes are lambing and when the spring feed.
Press, 16 July 1903, Page 2 another version
The Fairlie train. About one o'clock on Wednesday morning the station at Timaru, Mr C.A. Marcus, received word that the Fairlie train, which left Timaru on Tuesday night, had been unable to reach its destination, and that it was snowbound at Cricklewood, a side station 55 miles from Timaru and six miles this side of Fairlie. The Fairlie train left Timaru at 4 o'clock on Tuesday afternoon, as usual, and a slow, wearisome journey was experienced to Cricklewood. The cold was very severe, and the train was delayed by the frozen snow, the rails being very slippery. It was 9 o'clock before the train arrived at Cricklewood, and the steep incline, combined with the state of the rails, effectually prevented further progress. Fortunately, a railway velocipede was available, and two railway men, Mr Drummond, foreman bridge carpenter and another, whose name could not be certained, who were going back by the train to their work, at once started for Timaru. It may readily be imagined that the journey was not a pleasant one, but the distance was done in very good time. Mr Marcus, on being informed of the unpleasant predicament of the passengers and officers on board the Fairlie train, lost no lime in ordering out an engine to go to the assistance of the train. He also obtained a supply of refreshments from the Railway Refreshment Rooms. Luckily the barman happened to be sleeping on the premises, and sugar, tea, spirits, coffee, cakes, etc., were quickly packed and placed on board the engine, which left Timaru at 2 a.m.. and was expected to reach Cricklewood about 4 o'clock. There were twelve passengers, including three ladies, on board the Fairlie train, and when the message for assistance was despatched they were making the best of a very unpleasant adventure, though they were feeling the intense cold very keenly.
The relief engine reached the frost-bound train at Cricklewood and succeed in getting it back to Albury at 8 o'clock yesterday morning with the exception of the engine which could not be moved. A relief engine was afterwards sent back to Cricklewood with a view to moving the disabled locomotive, but up to last night this has found impossible, and the engine remains frozen in on the line. The belated train, with the passengers arrived in Timaru at 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon after a very trying experience. The express was kept waiting till the arrival of the belated Fairlie train, to meet which a large crowd of anxious and curious spectators had gathered on the platform. Interviewed by a Timaru "Post" representative, a lady who "stuck by" the train throughout the adventure, stated that her experiences, and those of her fellow passengers, had been the reverse of pleasant, though everything possible was done by the railway authorities to mitigate the discomfort of the situation. All the twelve passengers were gathered into a first-class carriage, and the guard supplied what sacks were available, as well as a lot of chaff which, fortunately, constituted part of the contents of the van. Long before midnight, the foot-warmers were cool, before long freezing. The rugs and wraps in the company afforded quite inadequate protection, and every article of wool or other warm material was unpacked and used for keeping out the terrible cold. The arrival of the relief engine with provisions, spirits, etc, helped to lessen the sufferings of the half-frozen inmates of the snow-bound train, who were finally taken back to Albury. Arrived there, the party found a huge fire ready for them in the waiting-room, and hot coffee and the remainder of the provisions sent from Timaru were served out, and, needless to say, much appreciated. In the meanwhile the relief engine started back to Cricklewood to bring in, if possible, the derelict locomotive, frozen in there on the line, but it was found impossible to move it; and, lacking water and coal, it could not help in any way to extricate itself, and had, perforce, to be abandoned for another attempt, or until nature released it. It was thus impossible to continue the journey to Fairlie, which was the intention at first, and shortly after 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon the train started back for Timaru, arriving as described. Some of the passengers elected to remain at Albury while the majority returned to Timaru, after an unique experience. [The guard was Mr Low]
Mr Robert Scott, the well-known coach-driver of Geraldine, returned to Timaru yesterday from a trip to the Grampians (Mr Wm. Grant's station), in the Mackenzie County. He describes the country as one sheet of snow two to three feet deep, with no "black country'" visible anywhere. He reached Fairlie on Tuesday night, and rode to Cricklewood, where he joined the train. The relief train was unable to move the snow-bound train, and it was only going back and making a dash at the frozen snow that any progress was possible. He pays a high compliment to the skill and perseverance of the engine driver of the relief train.
Photograph taken by J.E. Pigott on 11 July 1903.
Photograph taken by J.E. Pigott 1912-16.
Gladstone April 2014. The garage to the right was operated or managed by a family called Elms. There was a Mr Elms and Charlie & Tui, whether they owned it or managed it for the Mt. Cook Co. The buses certainly stopped there on the way through Fairlie to the Hermitage.
Timaru Herald, 16 June 1906, Page 3
TO BUILDERS. Tenders up to JULY 2nd, for the erection of MOTOR GARAGE BUILDINGS (Brick), at Fairlie, for the Fairlie Mount Cook Motor Car Company. Plans and Specification to be seen at my Office. FRANK E. LAMB, Architect.
Photo taken opposite the Gladstone Hotel on the right and the old Fairlie Railway Station on the left. Ernie Butters, on the left, driving the sheep with Mackenzie and his bullock followed by Sidebottom and two Maoris at the New Year's Day Parade.
Jan. 2nd 1975 the Swaggers Walk to Kimbell.
Before the move the chimneys and fireplaces were removed and the verandah.
At the museum site up Mt. Cook Rd.
Press, January 1919, Page 7
January 2. When the train from Fairlie arrived at Mawaro siding this morning, the guard found a boy, eleven years of age, named Brosnahan, lying at the side of the line with one leg almost severed. After applying first aid, the guard brought the boy to Timaru, and he was taken to the hospital. The boy had gone to the siding alone, and it is presumed that he had been amusing himself by starting the trucks, and as the line has an inclined grade, he would not be able, to stop one once it was in motion. The little fellow bore his injuries stoically.
Fairlie: 52km from Timaru. Fairlie Creek (formerly Opawa Branch, opened in 1880) 35miles and 6 chains off South Island Main Trunk line at the Washdyke junction. Albury - Fairlie Branch 1882. Section Winscombe - Eversley 3m 30chains opened 9.1.1884. When the railway extension to Fairlie was completed the Station-master became the postmaster. 1886 Post Office amalgamated with Railway. Originally Fairlie Creek but name shortened to Fairlie in 1892. 1902 verandah added. 1908 verandah additions. Station destroyed by fire 9.8.1908 and replaced by 'B' class station. The temporary Post Office which had been moved after being burnt out in the railway station fire of the 9 Aug.1908 also got burnt there. When the station burned the first salaried postmaster was appointed, John France. He carried out work in a temporary building on the site of the present Mount Cook Garage and later moved into the former post office building which was constructed by Thomas Foden and opened by the Minister of Post & Telegraph, Sir Joseph Ward on 15 January 1909. Lady Ward was present. Telegraphic communications were established at Fairlie on August 22 1874. photo. After closure of 1m o6chains to Eversley in 1 April 1934. The terminus was the of Fairlie station. Line closed 1 March 1968. Station incorporated into Mackenzie County and Western Society Museum. Moved there December 1976 (25).
1.10.78 Abraham Morris
25.8.84 E.G. Wilson (R)
19.2.85 H.C. Smith
11.1.90 S.W. Smith
28.12.93 Alexander Watson
18.4.00 David Low
19.8.07 William S. Smith
1908 Mr Bennetts
30 Nov. 1909 Mr J. France
1920 Robert Peebles postmaster at Fairlie d May 1928 aged 54 at Thames.
Press, 8 March 1924, Page 5
The many friends of the late Mr C. J. Lennon will regret to learn of his death at the early age of 45 years. The late Mr Lennon was stationmaster, New Zealand Railways, at Fairlie, up to the time his health broke down two months ago. He was born at Orepuki, in the Southland district, and at the age of 15 years joined the Railway service at Otautau, and during his thirty years' service was stationed in many parts of the South Island, including Invercargill, Timaru, Lyttelton, Rangiora, and Fairlie. He was also in Auckland for some time. The late Mr Lennon took a very keen interest in the development of hydro-electric power, and was a keen advocate of the Lake Tekapo scheme. He was at one period organiser for the S.C. Development League, and did very good work for that body. He was also a very great lover of music, and will be remembered by many friends in the Fairlie district for his work there with the Choral Society. For some years the late Mr Lennon's health has not been what it should, and a very promising career was retarded on that account, and finally cut short by an early death. He was widely respected by a large circle of friends. The late Mr Lennon's wife predeceased him some three years ago.
Marlborough Express, 2 October 1908, Page 5
Mr J. France, postal clerk in the local post office, has been promoted to the postmastership at Fairlie. Mr France is a capable and obliging officer and will be greatly missed by the general public.
Evening Post, 16 February 1914, Page 7
Mr. J. J. France, postmaster, Fairlie, is to be transferred to Picton. Mr. W. Canning, postmaster, Ohakune, is to succeed Mr. France.
Grey River Argus, 2 August 1917, Page 2
Mr. T. Pope, postmaster at Arrowtown, to be postmaster at Fairlie.
Timaru Herald, 18 July 1917, Page 11 FAIRLIE MAIL.
SUBSIDIARY SERVICE. The following is a complete list of Fairlie subscribers to the Fairlie mail subsidiary service:—Mr and Mrs W. F. Hamilton 7s, C. J. Talbot 5s, Mrs Hayter 4s, R. Moir 4s; the following 3s 6d each:—F. Piper, S. Gillingham, Maze Bros., E. Baker, F. H. Buckley, John Mcintosh, A. Robertson, D. O'Neil, J. E. Scott, Andrew Geddes, Geo. McIIwrick, G. McDonald, Herbert A LeCren, Father LePetit, W. Wreford, R. A. Grant, A. McKellar, Jas. .Wood, W. Ross senr., Geo. Morriss, H. A. LeCren, D. LeCren, Mrs H. A. LeCren, W. H. Cook, Rev. Hanby, W. Bain, K. Anderson. R.L. Banks, Fairlie Library, D. H. Doyle, D. Harvey, C.B. Jones, E. Saunders, C. Woodgatt, A. S. Smith, R. Leitch, J. Dunnett, Jas. Barron, W. T. Sams, G. O'Dowd, F. J. Carter.
Sun, 1 October 1920, Page 4
Mr C. W. Keinan, of Gore, has been appointed postmaster at Fairlie.
Side view. Not the front. It hasn't changed over the years. 13 Nov. 2011. It is a bit shorter and a chimney is missing.
The old maternity house, now Moreh House, a nursing home, with a grey roof, Gibson Bros. Ltd, an engineering & welding firm, run by Frank Gibson in the 1950s and Bob Gibson in the 1970s, next to the old post office, in April 2014. with a chimney removed.
Albury 27 August1877- 5 June 1924
Fairlie (originally Albury) Branch 25 miles from junction on South Island Main Trunk Line, Washdyke. Section opened for traffic 1 January 1877.Station built by Derby and Philps and included in contract for other buildings on section. After a visit from John Lawson, Traffic Manager for the Canterbury Provincial Railways, it was decided that the station at the end of the section would not be called Opawa but Albury after a sheep station in the area which had been named after Albury in England. There was already a Opawa Station in Canterbury near Lyttelton. Section Albury – Winscombe 7miles, opened 24 August1883 Station 5th class B type on opening with Stationmaster J.C. Revell.
Station destroyed by fire 13 January1890
An appropriation for a Telephone Room and Post Boxes is being made at the Albury Railway Station. This is very much needed (Timaru Herald, 5.1. 191_)
Additions of to station building for postal purposes building estimates 1906. AJHR F1 1907. Closed as officered station 2 May1954. Business previously conducted at Railway Station transferred to new department building. Station moved to private residence at Pleasant Point (Timaru Herald, 7.9.1960). Line closed 1 March 1968.
Postmasters/Postmistresses - Albury
1.1.77 John C. Revell
27.8.77 John C. Revell reopened in Railway station
1.8.78 Lewis Gillard
25.10.78 Alfred Lawrence
1.7.79 Geo. Muir (died)
7.6.82 William C Payne
6.10.82 H.R.N. Hamilton
8.3.84 E.G. Wilson
21.8.84 E. Bowley
6.2.86 C.I. Denby (R-Known)
21.10.87 W.B. Henderson
24.7.90 J.I. Appleby
17.9.98 Samuel Dale
7.10.07 Gordon L. Brown
23.5.11 Roger Frederick Patterson
1.10.13 F (Life & Accident)
25.11.16 Chas. E. Vigers
9.1.24 Robert Boswell
5.6.24 Post Office made permanent.
Cricklewood - 1897-1943.
Cricklewood is another farming settlement six miles or 10k south of Fairlie or 33 miles north-west of Timaru. Had post office in a railway house.
Postmasters / Postmistresses
1.12.97. Willean J. Hampton, at house of plate layer.
12.12.05 Patience A. Ruddle
6.12.06. Mary Manning
Cave: 35km from Timaru. 16 Nov.1883 – 19 July 1922
The section Pleasant Point – Opawa (Albury) 16.75 miles, opened 1 January 1877. Cave station and SM houses built by Denby and Phillips and completed May 1876. Station 5th Class. Officer withdrawn 5 June1880 and station worked as Platform (Timaru Herald 1.6.1880), and station later became flag station and now incorporated in a garage at Washdyke. Station building sold for removal 16 Jan.1961
16.11.83 William Johnstone ( R ) PO reopened in railway station
1.07.85 Thomas Gardner
12.04.87 Thomas Smith (Railway Ganger)
1.12.87 S. Trevella
17.08.97 John P. Rigby
6.04.08 Mary Condon
Since 1905 to store. This appears to have not been in the railway since at least 19 Aug. 1901 but salaries include payment for the conveyance of mails probably from the railway station until office made permanent 19 July1922
1.10.08 Martin Condon
11.11.08 William A Johnstone
1.08.11 Ernest F. Small
1.11.11. William L. Henderson
1.04.15 Robert Gordon
8.11.17 Mrs Winnifred A. Brinland
TELEPHONE EXCHANGE GOES 17 January 2007 Timaru Herald
After being made redundant, Cave's original telephone exchange and post office has been demolished. It was built in the 1920s or 30s and the manual exchange also housed the post office. Its use as a post office ended in the late 1980s and the manual telephone exchange was replaced by an automated one in 1970. Store owner Sue Mair said while the building had become run down and shabby, it held a sense of nostalgia for when it had been a functioning part of the community. Telecom spokesperson Sarah Berry said the building had become an eyesore and had been redundant for a long time. She said it had become rotten to the point where demolition was the only option. The site will either be grassed or concreted over. Alison Smith worked on the exchange in the 1950s and can remember at one time the mail was dropped off by the Fairlie Flyer train. In the early days telegrams came to the postmaster on Morse code, but then were called through on the telephone. As well as the postmaster three operators worked shifts on the phones. The service ran from 6am to midnight, but closed earlier at 8pm on Sunday nights.
Sam Dale b. 1870, Port Chalmers
Apollos DALE married Anne McKURDY 9 Oct 1867 Knox Church, Dunedin
The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District] 1903
Mr. Samuel Dale, Stationmaster and Postmaster at Washdyke, was born in Port Chalmers, in 1870. He entered the railway service in 1885, and was stationed at Dunedin, Caversham, Albury, and Purakanui respectively. Having gained leave of absence he went to South Africa with the Sixth Contingent, and came back unhurt. He was appointed to his present position in May, 1902. [Purakanui, Otago. A small fishing village and seaside resort. 12 miles north by rail from Dunedin. Post and telephone office. Nearest doctor at Port Chalmers, 4 m.]
Samuel Dale Serial No. 3723 South African War, 1899-1902 - Otago Section - No. 20 Company of the sixth contingent
Otago Daily Times 21 February 1900, Page 8
Mr S. Dale, stationmaster at Albury, has been promoted to the charge of the Purakanui railway station. He was tendered a complimentary social at Albury on Saturday evening, and the residents intend to make him a presentation. Mr C. Pilkington, at present at Invercargill. succeeds Mr Dale at Albury.
Press, 29 March 1906, Page 5
A fitting of the Railway Appeal Board opened yesterday afternoon in the Traffic Manager's office. Judge Ward presided, and associated with him wore Mr John Gray (representing No. 1 Division, traffic); Mr J. W. Jones (No. 2 Division, workshops); Mr A. Williams (No. 2 Division, traffic). Mr McVilly appeared (or the Department. The next case was that of S. Dale, stationmaster at Washdyke. Appellant stated that he desired to call attention to the peculiar situation that the recommendation made by responsible officers had placed him in. He desired to elicit why discrimination should be made in the case of a person who was capable of filling the position of S.M. in grade 8, and was yet not considered competent to take clerical, position in the same grade. Appellant contended that when a man had to be an operator, postal officer, and stationmaster, and do his own clerical work, he was surely eligible for the position of a clerk. His clerkship work at Washdyke was satisfactory, and his audit reports had given satisfaction. His Honour asked why it was that five station masters had been promoted over appellant's head. Witness said the men were more experienced. Albert W. Morgan, chief clerk in the Timaru station in 1904 and 1905 stated that he considered train-running of more importance than ordinary office work. He had had experience of Washdyke, and considered that appellant's was a satisfactory man in the position.
It may be interesting to point out that the service is divided into two sections - No. 1 division the men start as cadets at a salary of £40 a year. In division 2 the men begin as porters, lad surfacemen and juniors generally, at a wage of 4s per day; it will be seen, therefore, that between the two divisions there is somewhat of the same distinction as between the midshipmen and the ordinary seamen in the naval service - in the second division men have to rise from the ranks, so to speak. A man goes to the bottom of the 9th grade when promoted to No. 1 division, although he may be receiving 8s to 9s per day. A man might be promoted from the second division into the first division provided he proved his fitness for the promotion, and was recommended by two district officers.
Another Samuel Dale 17 June 1810 - West Heath, Astbury, Shropshire, England- died 19 Feb. Fairlie Creek. Wife Eliza Hazeldine b. 7 Jan. 1811 - Edgmond, Shropshire, England
Children: Fanny, Thomas, Joseph, Alfred, John, Eliza Ann (aka Annie), Mary, Samuel (b. 1852 - Lancashire, St Helens, England - died 17 Aug. 1920, Botha Rd, Penrose, AUK), Eleanor, Emily
Farewell to the Fairlie-Flyer, January 1884-March 1968 : a record of 84 years service
2nd ed. Timaru : Fairlie Flyer Committee, 1968. Pleasant Point Railway and Historical Society.
Farewell to the Fairlie Flyer
3 editions. 20 pages; black & white photos; drawings; map; card covers; mint copy; Pleasant Point Railway and Historical Soc.; A record of the 84 years of service of the branch line from Washdyke to Fairlie - 31st January 1884 - 2nd March 1968. 1884 to 1968. Speed restriction on that line was 30 miles per hour. 2nd edition : 48 pages. 70cents.
Oliver, O. P. (Olwyn Pearl), 1926 Pleasant Point : a history: Pleasant Point Railway and Historical Society, 1990 [Timaru : Printlines] Bibliographical references.
The Point station was built of wood and iron in 1875 and still stands. AB 699
Trains may no longer be the transport mode du jour;
but, like disused lines they once travelled on,
they do remind us of where we've been.
The NZR AB class was a steam locomotive built to operate on New Zealand's national railway system. The first members of the class were constructed in 1915 as a development of the A class, and a total of 141 were built. This makes the AB class was the most numerous steam locomotive class in New Zealand's history, and the second most numerous class of any New Zealand locomotive, five behind the 146 of the DA class diesel-electrics. The AB class had a wheel arrangement of 4-6-2. Temuka - southbound AB express. Most of the 141 Ab classed locomotives made for New Zealand were cut up for scrap metal. Seven remain, but only two, including Pleasant Point's Ab699, were mobile, as of 2013. She is on display inside the Keanes Crossing loco shed. On most Saturdays, the Keanes Crossing site is open for you to wander around for just a gold coin donation. Entry is off Keanes Rd, at its intersection with State Highway 8. Pleasant Point also has a mobile D 16 and a Model T Ford railcar and a RM4 and a motorised track jigger ( a small rail vehicle used for transport by the gangs who worked on the railways). The jigger is a small double-carriage unit, which seats seven other people, containing a 40-horsepower motor, with three forward gears and a reverse, and can go a maximum of about 64kmh and 2km of rail. The little D 16, 2-4-0 engine was built in 1878 by the Scottish locomotive manufacturers Neilson and Company of Glasgow. It carries their maker's number 2306. 1968 March 2. The official closing of the Fairlie line and the running of a special 18-carriage train pulled by Ab locos 718 and 798. One thousand people ride the last train.
Evening Post, 3 September 1912, Page 4
MAIN TRUNK LINES Linking-up
The assertion that "Picton will never be the terminal point for passengers travelling by railway between the two islands" is a bold one, but one that time will disprove. "N.M.U.L." asks : "Is it likely that people will travel that way? "Yes," I answer, "people do so now, even with two sections of coach journey to accomplish." He speaks of the s.s. Maori. She is a superb ferry steamer, and recalls to my mind the "old Maori,' the first (or one of the original steamers) of the "Red Funnel" fleet. What a contrast! The "old 'little' Maori" with the "young 'large' Maori" — the former not much larger than a "jolly boat," in comparison. I was travelling, on a glorious day, in the old packet, a smart little boat, between Timaru and Lyttelton about forty years ago. Her genial skipper, Captain Malcolm, pointed out to me, as we coasted along, the smoke from a locomotive engaged in hauling a ballast train on the Canterbury Plain, somewhere about the Rangitata River. Said "dear old Malcolm, pointing in the direction, "Do you see that Tom-Fool of a thing going along there? They are making a railway; to connect Timaru and Christchurch that will never pay and will never carry any but local passengers. The track will cost too much to maintain to pay. Now, it doesn't cost anything to "maintain our run on the trackless ocean." As the young "son of a salt" I knew very little about railways then, and I had heard similar arguments by landsmen, so I simply contented myself with the remark that I understood - that the Lyttelton to Selwyn line was a success. Captain Malcolm's 'second "never" has proved as unfounded as I am satisfied will the future prove the "never" of to-day. A still finer and, faster Maori than "No. 2 " will be put on the Picton-Wellington (perhaps Porirua) run by the State in conjunction with the North-South Island Trunk railway, New Zealand will enter into, the "business," and run its railways, ferry steamers ; and hotels like the Canadian-Pacific Railway Company does.
10 April 2003 Timaru Herald
A temporary workshop shift for Washdyke mechanic Ross MacKay has ended after 37 years. Ross moved into the former AV Martyn joinery premises thinking he would only be there a year but never got around to shifting out. The iconic tin shed on Washdyke Flat Road is finally making way for a new development, with Ross on the move to a brand new building down the road. "Originally I had hoped to have petrol pumps to make it a complete service station but it never happened." The Washdyke landscape had changed dramatically since he moved in. There were only a few buildings - including the hotel, service station and McKendry's concrete works, he said. And while Washdyke had grown in the many years he had been there, a range of businesses had come and gone. At the same time he had experienced a change in the type of work he undertook. Ross said all the Zephyrs and Vauxhalls had gone and there were very few gear boxes or differentials put into cars. It had also been a long time since he had worked on a horse float on the grass outside, he said. The mechanic said he was looking forward to the shift and his new premises would provide a welcome change. "They will be light and bright and I may not need a fire in the winter." ...The Pleasant Point Museum and Railway Society will benefit from his move. "The two sheds at the back are old railway workers huts that I managed to get hold of when the Fairlie Flyer stopped its run and I've given them back," he said. As for the tin shed - it is being spared from demolition and will be shifted to another Washdyke site is packing up after a temporary 37 years in his tin premises on Washdyke Flat Road.
Train Pupils 1917-18
Fifty years ago, up in the early morning, wind sun or rain
Five miles to bike from Silverstream to the Fairlie Flyer train,
The road in those days was always very rough,
So both ‘Pedaller” and tyres had to be pretty tough.
A free pass on the Railway to the Pleasant Point District High School,
Punctuality was one hard-learned rule.
Two sister pupils came here to live after the 1918 snow
They had a pony and gig to travel to and fro,
When the elder became a teacher, then the younger had to bike,
Except when homeward bound in a nor’wester, it was easier to hike.
We all had fun on the train journey- but in moderation,
Nothing compared to what we hear from the later generation.
There was Guard Jim Agnew and Guard Sammy Moore,
They were always cheerful; they’d had pupil passengers before,
Maybe they were thankful, only 5 schooldays a week,
For its only natural some pupils would give cheek,
However, the three from Silverstream were never ‘on the mat’
Just a stoke of luck, there is no doubt of that
One of their train classmates, if it’s of interest to you,
Was in 1954, the Mayor of Timaru.
by Kitty Ross.
The 1931 Transport Licensing Act protected railways from competition by road transport operators for fifty years. There was a restriction on the distance that goods could be hauled by road. For many years it was 30 years then progressively increased. The highway system really extended after the Second World War. Trucks were seen as more flexible for transporting farm and other goods. In 1986 the road transport industry was freed from all restrictions. Road user charges in increased the early 2000s saw rail tonnages grow. Straight Furrow Dec. 19, 2011 page 9