Wednesday, 23 August 2017

MSL Part 9: Otaio, Studholme, Glenavy

The bridge across the Otaio River (Bridge 105) north of Makikihi was rebuilt during 2014-15 on a new alignment directly to the east of the existing bridge. All parts of the old bridge were removed after traffic transferred to the new bridge.

Studholme had significance as the junction of the branch line to Waimate until it closed in 1966. The township itself once had a population of more than 100. Today there is almost nothing left of the once thriving community as the main site seen in the large rectangle to the left is occupied by a dairy factory built about 10 years ago. This is now owned by Fonterra, who have roadbridged freight via the eastern siding in the yard. 

Both these photos are from the Whites Aviation Collection in National Library and show the township in 1974.

Glenavy is the southernmost station in Canterbury, on the north side of the Waitaki River, the traditional boundary with Otago. In the last of the four maps, it can be seen how close the south end of the yard is to the bridge itself, with the track deviation that was necessary to reach the new rail bridge starting almost at the same point.

There was only one bridge at this location until 1956, when the road bridge was opened upstream. The original combined bridge was then used for rail only until about 1964 when the new rail bridge was completed immediately downstream. Today if you look carefully you can see remnants of one or two of the pile foundations in the riverbed.

These two photos show the bridges between 1956 and ?1964? when the old bridge was being used solely by trains. You can see the water tank towers at each end of the wooden bridge, which were used in case fire broke out, a risk particularly with steam engines on trains.

Whilst appearing to be similar to one of the previous photos, a closer look at the rail bridge will show it is a different design, and the train is hauled by a DJ class diesel locomotive instead of a steam engine, confirming it was taken considerably later. All three photos are from the Whites Aviation Collection.