Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Addington Workshops 20 years on [3]: The Addington Curve

Today’s post is about the legendary Addington Curve and its place in posterity.
Addington is the junction of the Main North Line and the Main South Line. As the Main South Line goes from due east through due west at Addington, the MNL starts as a 90 degree curve which is well known to railfans and the travelling public. This curve originally faced in the direction of the original Christchurch station in Moorhouse Ave, for well over 100 years. This meant that an important role of the Christchurch yards was to marshall trains and traffic to or from the North line. Even once the original Middleton yards became established in the early years of the 20th century, Christchurch still retained its important role until the mid 1980s when rail lost its long distance freight monopoly.
The Addington Curve is significant to the Addington Workshops due to the fact that until the 1990s it passed right on the eastern boundary of the workshops. The new curve that has been opened since actually passes through the middle of the workshops site and required an advanced degree of building and site demolition works before the track could be laid and completed. As shown on the map (below), Tyne Street and Lowe Street on the eastern boundary had to be truncated to allow this new curve to be laid. The land occupied by the old curve remained unoccupied for quite a long time and has only been recently developed, in the last 5 years approximately.
The relocation of the curve was done in order to enable the Christchurch and Middleton yards and many other facilities to be combined at Middleton. Christchurch sat on commercially valuable land and the extra capacity of both the station and yard was no longer required. The relocation of the Christchurch passenger station was inevitable once this was done. Its new location in the middle of the curve is about the closest to the central city that it could possibly be placed with the decision to remove the original curve. However in hindsight the lack of a full triangle must be seen as a short sighted approach due to the ongoing debate about the ideal location of the station. Similarly the sale of the original route land which has been partly developed, and failure to secure it for future use, shows a regrettable lack of foresight considering its relatively small area and value. Although the current story is that there is a claim that a smaller triangle can be developed closer to the station.

View Larger Map
Removal of the original curve also required the removal of the sidings that were associated with it at the time. Consequently the Fletchers siding was lifted along with the saleyards although both were disused by that time. These along with the MNL made up the four tracks that were crossed by the Lowe Street footway. Although there are some issues with the amount of land that is enclosed by a triangle, the site in the case of Addington is so large there was no good reason why the original curve could not have been retained and the station developed to the east of the junction, or even at the traditional Addington station site.
[Photos will be added to this article and it reposted later]