San­son tramway van­ished into his­tory

Horowhenua Chronicle - - OUT AND ABOUT IN FOXTON - By TONY HUNT

Af­ter last month’s ar­ti­cle on the Fox­ton -Palmer­ston North rail­way I had an en­quiry from a gen­tle­man who was puz­zled about the line.

He was sure he re­mem­bered rail­way ac­tiv­i­ties up near O¯ hakea, but be­ing el­derly won­dered if his brain was playing tricks.

But I was able to as­sure him his me­mory was right on and that what he re­mem­bered see­ing was ac­tiv­ity on the San­son Tramway.

In 1873, when the Fox­tonPalmer­ston North line was in place, peo­ple in the San­son area wanted a con­nec­tion to it.

A pri­vate com­pany was set up, but af­ter years of their at­tempts the Manawatu¯ County Coun­cil took over the task.

They were able to get the job done in 1885.

Clev­erly us­ing the def­i­ni­tion of a tramway (a line run­ning along a road), they had been able to get per­mis­sion and funds to help built a line from San­son to join the Fox­ton line at Hi­matangi. Dur­ing the 1930s there was talk of clos­ing the line. But there was a re­prieve in 1938 for con­struc­tion of Ohakea ¯ and the line was ex­tended down onto the bank of the Ran­gi­tikei River. This would en­able ma­te­rial for con­struc­tion of the airfield to be trans­ported from the river. The line was fi­nally closed in 1945.

When I ar­rived in the Manawatu¯ in the late 1940s there were still signs of this project and just west of the Bulls Bridge there were sheds and load­ing pits. Just south of the Hi­matangi Corner there was some of the rolling stock sit­ting on rails on the west­ern side of the road.

It was fi­nally re­moved in 1952 when it went for scrap metal.

Oth­ers will have mem­o­ries of the line es­pe­cially the “old­timers” of San­son.

If you wish to delve fur­ther into this topic there are two good sources. The San­son Line by K.R.Cas­sells (1962) and The Line of the Road writ­ten by M. H. Hol­croft, pro­duced in 1978 as part of the cel­e­bra­tions of the Manawatu¯ County’s cen­te­nary.

‘If you wish to delve fur­ther into this topic there are two good sources. The San­son Line by K.R.Cas­sells (1962) and The Line of the Road writ­ten by M. H. Hol­croft, pro­duced in 1978 as part of the cel­e­bra­tions of the Manawatu¯ County’s cen­te­nary.

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