Friday, March 25, 2011

The Thames Railway

After years of planning, the people of Thames turned out in their thousands for the opening of the Thames Line (Thames to Auckland) on the 19th December 1898.

A full report of the day and the history of the track are in a special Thames Star supplement put out on the afternoon of the opening."As soon as the train steamed into the station from Paeroa, and as the engine arrived at the platform, it breasted a broad length of blue ribbon which was held across the line by Miss I Scott (sister of the worship the Mayor) and Mrs T A Dunlop.  As the critical moment arrived, there was general and enthusiastic cheering."

This railway line would go onto to prove to be a vital link for Thames businesses, specifically A & G Price Ltd who manufactured many Steam engines; but also in later years the railway was used extensively for transport by the Toyota car assembly plant.

Good background reading on the railway is in the following books:
"The Thames Line 1898-1990" by R Brett Gree & Trevor J Lees
"Steam at the Rainbow's End" by K I Bullock, 1964
Articles at The Treasury by A Stewart Ball

Opening day at Grahamstown Station - 19 December 1898