Canterbury – Full Steam Ahead 1863 – 1878 : The History of the Canterbury Provincial Railways

Author: Cross, Alastair Adrian

Date: 2015

Publisher: University of Canterbury

Type: Theses / Dissertations

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This research essay examines and investigates the history of railway transport in New Zealand by utilising the Canterbury Provincial Railways (in operation 1863-1878) as operated by the Canterbury Provincial Government as a case study. The Canterbury Provincial Railways are considered by New Zealand historians and in particular transport historians to be the beginning of the modern-day New Zealand Railways network and the start of the rail-making era of New Zealand History. I consider the role that the Canterbury Provincial Railways have played between 1863 and 1878, and to what extent the railways benefited the region of Canterbury. In addition, the place of other Provincial attempts at railway construction are also briefly considered and their place in New Zealand’s railway history next to that of the Canterbury Provincial Railways. All previous revisions of the Canterbury Provincial Railways’ history have either been to look at it in a regional rail perspective or to solely focus on the railway, but not within the wider context of Canterbury region, which this research essay seeks to do. Overall, this research essay seeks to develop better the understanding of the place the Canterbury Provincial Railways plays in the wider history not only of the Canterbury region but also New Zealand too.

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