This is a brief update on progress with Volume 9. Currently we have completed the route alignment as far as Otira and the details of the Otira yard tracks are being drawn in. A decision has been made to use the available aerial photography we have as far as Kotuku to draw layouts of all stations for which the photographs cover west of Otira.
Route alignment which consists of drawing tracks and station markers is one stage of the mapwork and the second stage after that is to put in bridges, tunnels and milepost markers where applicable. We expect to push on with route alignment towards Stillwater, Greymouth, Hokitika and Ross, although the last section is mostly done already, so there isn’t a lot to be done in that respect.
Visits to Archives New Zealand over past and coming weeks will fill in in the details of the major yards of Stillwater, Greymouth, Hokitika and Ross in lieu of any available aerial photography. We hope this should enable Volume 9 to be completed by the end of August.
The location of Bealey Bridge is an interesting question. Working Timetables and Kiwirail maps place it on the eastern end of the bridge as shown to the right corresponding to 68 miles 45 chains. However NZR file information shows the placement of the passenger stop at the western end of the bridge corresponding to 69 miles.
The other question is the location of Bealey Quarry and at this stage we are not confident of being able to determine that with our current level of research.
Apart from the ballast siding at Waimakariri Bridge there was also one at Cora Lynn for a period probably around the 1940s which is likely to be the one with wagons in it shown above. This was not a source of high quality ballast and was only used for emergencies.
Another location where ballast was taken along the Midland Line was Sawmill Stream at approximately the location shown above. Probably this dates from the construction days and only one reference to it from 1923 has been found so far.