Sanson tramway vanished into history
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.