Sunday, 24 April 2016

Stations on the Springburn Branch

Canterbury Maps has aerial coverage of Springburn, Mount Somers, Cavendish and Anama at present. It is possible this could be added to at a later date as they keep expanding their coverage. 

I have looked at the possibility of getting aerial scans of the remaining stations from Archives New Zealand, however I have had to rule this out because it is all small scale stuff. In fact Canterbury Maps' 1956 coverage that I have used for the above stations is at a scale of 1:18,000 which is impossible to work with on a contact print. And in fact on the CM site it is too hard to see all of the details especially for Anama. This is also probably the reason why some of the later coverage of the area is also at insufficient resolution, for example the early 1980s coverage.

When I drew up the maps of various parts of railway stations around Christchurch I relied mainly on coverage from the 1960s and 70s which was sharp enough to show individual railway tracks. In particular, the 1973 coverage of Christchurch Station was extremely sharp. I have cross referenced the survey number from that and found it was taken at a scale of 1:10,000. A lot of other, less clear coverage, was taken at much smaller scales. It is no coincidence because I believe Canterbury Maps is scanning off contact prints the same as I have sourced from Archives New Zealand. The problem is that the use of small scale imagery is widespread in a lot of areas of New Zealand. It costs a lot to get the original negatives scanned and that cost is impossible for me to achieve. 

Here in any case are maps of the four stations (plus one) which I believe are accurate (in some cases drawing on additional resources) but which may contain some errors because the aerial coverage is insufficient to confirm all the details exactly.

Springburn, based on 1956 aerial with additional diagram from 1930s. When the line opened to Mount Somers in 1885, that was intended as the terminus and it was not until 1889 that the line was extended to Springburn. The four houses are for locomotive running staff, not traffic staff. The locomotive depot for the line was located at Springburn but the lack of traffic there saw no need to have a stationmaster. In later years with a reduction in train services the loco depot was closed as trains were operated from Ashburton, but the turntable was left in place for turning steam engines until the line was cut back to Mount Somers in 1957.

Buccleugh. There was nothing to see on 1956 aerial coverage because the station closed 1952.

Mount Somers. This was the terminus between 1885-1889 and again in 1957-1968. The Mount Somers tramway shown coming into the yard at the top of the map closed in 1943.

Cavendish. Originally planned as the terminus of the line, as reaching Mount Somers required a long bridge across the Ashburton River. 

Anama. A local sawmill was served by the line here.

The entire set of updated maps for the whole line can be viewed here:

The next lines to be looked at are the Southbridge and Little River branches.