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Fitzgerald's Town

end near the

end near the southernmost corner of Southbridge. The dream of a rail connection to Lincoln was about to be realized. For Lincoln residents it was now necessary to decide on the location of their railway station. There were two choices. The first was on the Southbridge side of the L1 and the second, the preferred site, considered to be more central, was on the Christchurch side of the L1 and would involve land owned by Mr. Tod, who was apparently reluctant to lose it. The fact that the station would be located on a curve was also a disadvantage, but since both Christchurch and Selwyn stations were built on steeper curves this was not seen as a problem by the authorities. Despite their preference for the northern site residents agreed to accept the southern site if their first choice was rejected. In the event the southern side was chosen and later the Lincoln station was to become an important junction leading to Southbridge and Little River 16 . 26. An aerial view of Lincoln looking towards the railway with the Lincoln Store and the Liffey Cottage in the foreground. 78

Inevitably there were problems. Prebbleton residents were concerned that the crossing on Springs Road at the northern end of the village would prove to be a dangerous one because of the sharp angle at which it crossed the road. On a windy day a train might not be heard or even seen and since it was close to the school, children who had to use the crossing could be put at risk. It was decided to ask for gates at the crossing to be operated by a gate keeper. Indeed, some wanted gates at every crossing between Prebbleton and Lincoln, but this request was considered too demanding and was dropped. Although the Springs Road Board complained that delays in construction were not helping the farming community, the permanent way had almost reached the Southbridge terminus by mid 1874, fencing was expected to be rapidly completed, and contracts for the laying of sleepers and plates were advertised. The Provincial Government was in no doubt that the quick access to markets made possible by the railway would be of great benefit to the farming community. A trial run on the line was made to Prebbleton and speeds of up to 20 mph were reached. A number of railway employees were carried as passengers on this trial, and when the train reached Prebbleton the party adjourned to the hotel where the occasion was celebrated in an appropriate manner. The locomotive, christened the “Pride of Prebbleton”, was able to stop within 2 chains in a braking trial when travelling at 15 mph with a heavy truck attached. And finally, on 6 October 1874 17 , Lincoln folk watched as a train crossed the bridge over the L1 and steamed as far as Springs Road. It was expected that the line would soon open for business, but because of the slow delivery of parts from Dunedin it was not until July 1875 that the line to Southbridge was fully operational. 79

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