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Constructed in the 1860ts under the auspices of the Canterbury Provincial Council, the 2.870 yardlong Lyttelton railway tunnel cost £195,000 to complete. Mooted by W.S. Moorhouse after his election as Superintendent of the province in 1857 as part of his policy to improve communications, the tunnel scheme was initially considered so daring as to be unsupportable. The English firm, Smith and Knight, which had undertaken the contract for the tunnel's construction abandoned work after meeting with hard volcanic rock, but after Moorhouse obtained a favourable geological report on the Port Hills from Sir Julius von Haast in 1860, the Superintendent awarded a new contract to the Australian firm Holmes and Richardson. The tunnel was completed without mishap and was opened for traffic on 9 December 1867.
The collection comprises the records of official correspondence of the Provincial Council concerning the tunnel.
Lyttelton railway tunnel records
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