Saturday, 9 February 2013

Oxford-Sheffield Maps

Here are the maps to accompany the previous posting.
This map shows Cust and the North Canterbury Mill Co’s siding (approximate location) to the right. The name of the siding appears in an old working timetable displayed in the Cust Museum.
The two Oxfords. Considering how small the town is, it still rated not one but two railway stations, neither of which has any substantial remnants today although a loading bank is still in place at the East site.
The largest bridge is the Eyre River crossing. This map doesn’t have waterways shown on it for some reason.
View Hill station and the adjacent small bridge are a little hard to find because of a hedge alongside the road. We didn’t stop for a closer look.
Bexley and surrounding land are now the site of a golf course. The clubhouse is at the station site.
The wide sweeping curve from Bexley towards the bridge was necessary to get a reasonable grade. The combination of the sharp curve, grade and 10 km/h speed restriction on the combined bridge would made train operations tricky. The old road crossed over the railway on a bridge. The cutting was filled in for the road some time after the railway closed but part of it away from the bridge can still be seen today. As can be seen there is about a 25 metre drop in quite a short track distance (1.3 km) from Bexley down to the bridge at about 280 metres, that equates to a continuous grade of about 1 in 50.
Once on the south side of the river, the road makes a zig zag course to get up the steep terrace. The railway just makes a climb on this time a fairly straight embankment. This climb is over a shorter distance of about 1.1 km which would make it closer to 1 in 40. The reasons for the grades were like many early railway bridges in NZ: the bridge was constructed at a lower level to save on cost.
The last little stretch of the line takes it into Sheffield, paralleling Curve Road. The map is slightly incorrect as the entire part of this route the railway is to the east side of Curve Road. There appears to have been a corridor set aside for a similar curve facing the other way as you can see. This section contains the abutments of two small bridges or open culverts (mislabelled above).