Thursday, 12 September 2019

Project Diary 2019-09-12: Hornby Industrial Line

As we continue assembling maps for Christchurch Transport Blog use, currently we have shifted to the Hornby Industrial Line, which is historically the section of the former Southbridge Branch from Hornby to Lincoln. It was designated as such in July 1962 after the branch was closed beyond Lincoln. In December 1967, the section of the Hornby Industrial Line between Prebbleton and Lincoln was closed. Subsequently, the section from around 3 km to Prebbleton was closed, although most of the track is still in place as far as Springs Road, except for the section now crossed by the Christchurch Southern Motorway, SH76. The Prebbleton overbridge was demolished in 1997, and all of the corridor south of Springs Road has been built over. The section from south of SH76 to Springs Road has been reused for a rail trail alongside the mothballed track. 

From time to time the idea is floated that the line could be reopened to Lincoln and if this were to take place, the route beyond Prebbleton would have to be changed due to the reuse of the corridor, including new station sites.

The maps below show some of the sidings which can be traced in the 2015 aerial photography. We know that many more will be visible on the historical map mosaic tiles when they are finished.

Around 1 km, with a siding visible across the site of a demolished building.
Around  1.5 km, at least three sidings are still partly in place.
Quite a notable siding around 2 km.  These premises are currently occupied by Pengelly Transport and may possibly have been used by Toll Freight at one stage.
The lengthy Watties-Tegel siding at around 2.5 km. This was the last siding used on the line. With the closing of this siding, there is no traffic currently moving on the line.
United Empire Box Co Ltd (known today as UEB) seen above in 1973 with a siding. There is no obvious trace on the aerial photos of this siding today.
UEB in 2015.
Prebbleton yard seen in 2012.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Project Diary 2019-09-07

As some will know, this week CHAT Club released their "MaRTI proposal", which suggests the Middleton rail yards could be turned into a housing development. A couple of posts about it have appeared on Christchurch Transport Blog, but the indepth analysis hasn't been done until the historical maps of Middleton are ready. As per usual this has taken longer than expected but right now they are about to be saved in their final form.

The Gimp project covering this part of the MSL takes in from Middleton to Sockburn in order to keep the project at a reasonable size but it still has nearly 80 layers and a file size of just over 30 GiB. As per usual we start with 1940 as the first era covered, then 1950 and 1961. These three eras in particular are pretty much what can be found to cover any part of the railway landscape in Christchurch, but they are not rail specific. They vary up to about 1:16,700 scale. What is rail specific for this particular part of the MSL rail corridor are the NZR station surveys, which are in particular for Middleton in 1967, Hornby in 1972, Middleton again in 1975 and Sockburn in 1980. The actual areas covered extend outside those named stations. Typically the station surveys have a scale of around 1:4300.

Then we have the MSL corridor survey starting at Lyttelton and heading to Ashburton in this case, and it dates from 1984. Scale for these corridor surveys is usually 1:5500. To finish off we have two more non-rail surveys which are again standardised over much of Christchurch, and they are from 1994, and the only colour one which is from 2000. These last two are at a scale of 1:50,000 and because they cover such a large area at that scale, they have to be trimmed down to covering only the base tiles that we actually use in order to avoid a lot of unnecessary pixels having to be saved in the file and blowing it up too big. To explain further, these are the only layers that cover the whole area of the project canvas in one single layer, and with a canvas that is only half filled, due to the shape of the base not being a nice and regular, we have to avoid covering areas of the canvas that aren't occupied by the base layers, because it just wastes file space unnecessarily and it can add up to a few extra GiB each time we save, which is a big deal.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Project Diary 2019-09-03

Chat Club, a group of transport professionals that has been running rail passenger workshops in Christchurch, proposed at a seminar on Monday evening that the Middleton rail yards could be closed down and relocated further west, to enable the land occupied to be redeveloped for medium density affordable housing (1600 homes approximately). About 50 people attended the presentation, including a number of candidates in the upcoming local elections.

There have been two articles in the "Press" so far:
The first one is the details of the proposal and the second one states that Kiwirail is not planning to move from the Middleton site.


At this stage it will be interesting to see where the proposals go as it will now have to be looked into further as an option if the Minister of Transport decides to investigate the idea. At the same time there are several other possible sites nearby, such as Addington Saleyards, Waltham freight yards and Linwood Loco Depot land which has either been undeveloped or minimally developed.

As for NZ Rail Maps we have historical maps of Middleton currently in the works and these will probably be posted on this site later this week or early next week. We also will have the historical maps of Linwood and Waltham available soon as well.