Wednesday, 23 August 2017

MSL Part 8: Washdyke - St Andrews

Washdyke at 165.6 km is only a little south of Seadown and is the main industrial area for Timaru. The siding shown to the right was pulled up some years ago and the industry it served is unknown at present.
Going out to the left in this picture is what used to be the first part of the Fairlie branch line which used to connect a siding into the Eastern Coal premises. It currently connects a siding at the rear of the Ballance Agrinutrients site but I have no knowledge of whether this siding is presently used. A new road has been built through the back of the site in the past couple of years and there appears to be a level crossing of the siding incorporated. The main Washdyke yard is to the right.

DB Breweries have long been based at Washdyke and the sidings to their premises run down the street frontage in this view as well as crossing three times to reach their site. There appeared to be wagons in the siding when the aerial photography was taken.

Finally at the south end of Washdyke we have the current McCain premises and the sidings appeared to have wagons in them at the time of the aerial photography.

Next station to the south is Smithfield primarily serving the freezing works and which doesn't appear to have been a general purpose station.

The loop siding had wagons in it at the time of the aerial photography so it is possible the premises is one of a few works that still use rail in some form. This is probably dependent on which port they export through as it is somewhat unlikely rail would be viable for the very short distance to PrimePort. Smithfield is owned by Alliance Group, their only site in Canterbury.

Timaru itself has not been included in this part due to the amount of work needed to draw in the sidings. This will be included in Part 10 of this series instead.

Heading south from Timaru the first point of interest is this track realignment between Normanby and Pareora. Coastal erosion has eaten away at part of the original route. I have yet to find any information about this. The exact location of the southern end is approximate.

Pareora is another freezing works siding near 182 km with this works being owned by Silver Fern Farms.
At the time the aerial photography was taken, wagons were present on a siding within the plant. As with all these aerials only the main buildings within the site are shown.

St Andrews is a crossing loop and former station near 187 km. There is still a loading bank on the disused siding at the site, which closed to public traffic in 1980, although Scoble does not distinguish between passenger and freight traffic.

The history of a line like the MSL is interesting to follow in this way as most people will not have the time when travelling south to visit many of these places which were once focal points of a local community but apart from the main freight centres, which so far have been Ashburton, Temuka, Washdyke and Timaru, plus several freezing works, there will not be a public focus to them. There are of course many other smaller stations of which there is next to no trace today and therefore it is not feasible to document more of them than the approximate locations shown.