Sunday, 11 April 2010

Caversham’s Railways - 2010

This article builds on my previous one that was written a year ago, making use of newer information about Caversham and the deviation. Rather than a separate map, the overlay shown below is obtained from the NZ Rail Maps website, being the most recently updated version of the current map for the Main South Line throughout Otago. However, as these maps continue to be updated, that shown is not the most recently updated one, but the one that was current at the time of writing this article.

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Since writing the original article, I was digging around on the web and I came across photos posted by Darryl Bond on behalf of his friend, Ken Devlin of Dunedin, who is a prolific railway photographer. These photos showed me that the double track main line that was opened in 1910, was reconstructed and relocated as a new single track railway in order to make way for the motorway that was built through the Caversham area in the 1980s. The photos which have particular relevance are:
1814 3096 cav 
This shows a long train going around the curve and crossing the South Road bridges on what was then double track. The rail line is where the motorway is now. On the far side of the locomotives you can see a new embankment being formed, this is the new single track railway line. You can see that on the far side of the road, where the bridge is yet to be built, it will go on the near side of the little hillock, much closer to the houses than the present railway.
1808 1814 carisbrook stone A460_20090412_129
Taken from a different perspective illustrating the same scene, the left hand photo shows us on closer inspection that although this appears to be a double track railway, the second track was disconnected just west of the bridge. At this time, in fact, there was not a continuous double line from Dunedin through to Mosgiel; it was being singled in parts at that time. On the right we have the same scene today, one of my own photos showing clearly the way that the highway and railway are laid out today.
1808 1814 return carisbrook 
This photo implies fairly clearly that the second track was not in use at this location. In a double line area, this train would be running “wrong line”.
1814 1837 cav platform stone A460_20090415_011
The left hand picture shows the old Island platform at Caversham. What appears to be a road in the background parallel to the track is the new trackbed because the motorway now goes through where that platform was. This helps to explain why there is no real trace of Caversham station to be found today. On the right you can see more or less the same location as it looks today.
We now refer to the above map in more detail, as shown below:

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First of all, the motorway had been partially constructed at this time, from the city just as it is today, but it joined onto South Road just in the middle of this view, because the route through Caversham that it takes today had not yet been constructed. The first aqua line in the centre is the 1910s route as it was built and crossing South Road on a double track bridge, the route that now is followed by the motorway. The railway was deviated at the time of building the motorway, to take it onto the location of the red line, and the new single track concrete bridge was put across South Road. To the left of the picture you can see diverging aqua lines; this shows where I believe the 1870s and 1910s lines diverged.

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Now carrying on into Caversham itself, you can see that the line continued south of its former alignment into Caversham (1910s location) at the far left side. I believe that the 1870s station was a little bit to the east of the 1910s location. At Caversham the 1910s alignment meets the present (1980s) alignment as relocated for the motorway. What you see today at this location has been altered in appearance by the motorway works, which more or less completely cover the 1910s railway route.

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And then finally we have the bisecting of Caversham itself. Ironically two railways could not do this; but the motorway did. It says something rather strongly about the environmental impact of motorways. Those five black lines more or less vertically in the map are five streets that were cut in half by the motorway. When the first railway line was put through in the 1870s, there were five level crossings. Then in the 1910s the new railway was built and five overbridges were erected. Now with the motorway, only one overbridge remains, for pedestrian use. The streets were simply cut in half, and the halves got different names. And a lot of houses were bulldozed. The 1870s railway is the aqua line, the 1910 and current railway is the red line.