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Horowhenua Chronicle - 2021-07-23

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Reminders of Foxton railway remain in photo

News

Tony Hunt

Now all that there was of the Foxton railway has gone except for the Historic Walk photo readers might like to have a look at. It all began in 1873 when work began on building a tramway from Foxton to the newly established Palmerston North. The wooden construction of this did not stand up to the traffic so it was converted in to a railway line. The line of the railway virtually followed the road from Palmerston North to Foxton. Signs of it can be seen on the western side of the Longburn Straight. At the end of this straight the road bent towards O¯ piki and then around Half Crown Bend but the rail went straight ahead, the course the road now follows. At Rangiotu there was a bridge over the Oroua River. At Himatangi the railway cut the corner with a curve to the south before coming out beside what is now State Highway 1 and continuing down that before crossing into Victoria Street near the racecourse. In Foxton it ran down the Main Street, into Wharf Street, and down to the wharf at the end. Later in 1881 the route was changed so it didn’t run down Main Street. It continued on Victoria Street before cutting through the sand dune, along has now become a housing crescent. From there it ran across the College grounds and down to the new station beside the Manawatu¯ River. To accommodate this change and the need for bigger yards, a reclamation in the Manawatu¯ River was constructed. This is the area where the new park has been developed. A new, much larger wharf was built. There was a new station building as well as sheds and several lines of rails for the movement of cargo to and from the ships at the wharf. This extended almost up to The Loop Hall. The line ended just over the Te Awahou stream to the south. Further information can be obtained from Foxton 1888 to 1988 ed A N Hunt, The Foxton and Wanganui Railway by K R Cassells.

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