On the 1st February the extension of the Great Western Railway to Dubbo was formally opened, which brings up the total length of this line to 278 miles; the ceremonies connected with the important event were very successful. Three special trains went from Sydney. Then Ministers and fiarty were the first to arrive at Dubbo at noon. Then fol owed the trains with the visitors and the general public. There was a great crowd at the station, which received the party with cheers. Sir John Robertson and the Hon. F. B. Suttor took their seats in the carriage of Mr. Taylor, Mayor of Dubbo, and a procession having been formed, they drove round the town to the park, where a platform had been erected. Sir John Robertson then formally declared the rail- way open, drew attention to the progress of railway extension during the past few years, and stated that the profit of our lines last year was 1 per cent, more than that of the previous year. The Mayor presented an address on behalf of the Corporation, and also of the inhabitants of the district, and Sir John Robertson and Mr. Suttor both replied, congratu- lating the district upon the railway being open. The school children sang the National Anthem, and cheers were given for the Queen, the Ministers, and the Mayor. The proceed- ings terminated with a banquet in the Masonic Hall.
On the 3rd the most ioiportant event in our railway his- tory took place, the virtual connection of Sydney with Mel- bourne by rail. On that day the lino from the metropolis to Albury was declared opon. Three trains went from Sydney and one or two from Melbourne. The Ministerial train from Sydney arrived at Albury at noon. There was a large attendance in the statien yards to meet the visitors, and various friendly societies assembled. Rounds of cheers were given for the Governor and the Ministry. The Mayor of ' Alhurv read an addzaaa- of wal»
come, to whioh Sir Henry Parkes made a reply. In his address on the occasion the Minister for Publio Works (Mr. Lackey) said :-" The extension of railways was being carried out in such a way as would in a fow years cause not only Melbourno and Sydnoy to bo united by rail- way, but would be the means of connocting Victoria with the northern colony of Queensland, which he was sure would bo a means of keeping up the trade and friendly communication between one colony and another. It hud boon his lot to open several extensions of the railway system, but all of thoas sank* into a minor position when compared with the grand international work they were then carrying out. This wus a work which would confer a large and boundless ben of it on the people of these colonies, the effects of which they could not at present anticipate. He felt sure that the dey was not fur distant when not only Queensland and Victoria would be connected by-railway, but when tho iron horse would extend itself to tfie south-west portion of tho continent, and there would be a network of railways from Adolaide, in the south, to Queensland, ia the north. In open- ing the line to-day, he might take the opportunity of saying that as far a« Now South Wales was concerned, they wero engaged in opening an extension which would give us a considerable number of additional miles of railway. We had boen accused of being somowhat glow ; but he would appeal to the intelligence of those people who had criticised tho milway operations, in respect to the stupendous diffi- culties we hud had to contend with. While the neighbour- ing colonies hud bud to construct their railways near the seaboard, and through lertile country, we had" had a very heavy work to do to surmount the dividing chain of moun- tains which separated the alluvial lauds on the coast from the rich plains inland ; and this would account for tho delay under which our early operations had been carried out. Although we bud, perhaps, to nharge ourselves with not having been as expeditious as our neighbours, yet ho believed it would bo admitted that now we were doing the best we could with vigour and energy. Wo had now contracts in hand for railway construction to the extent of 878 miles, and we had a gross length of line? open, in- cluding that opened to-day, and that from Junee to Nar- randera, which would be opened very shortly, being now completed-including these, we had open something like 1636 milos of railway extension. These lines were not con- structed on any temporary basis, but had been constructed on a firm and creditable basis : and our railway gauge, whether correct or not, had bean regarded by the people of
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one best calculated to bring about permanent success. Our works had been constructed under the vigilant eye of the Engineer-in-Chief, Mr. Whitton, aud that, he might say, was a guarantee that they had been carried out in an effioiont manner. He referred to Sir Hercules Robtn&ou's remarks some years ago in regard to tho slow manner in which the lines of railway had been constructed, and pointed out that the engineering difficulties we had at the time to contend with would account in a great measure for that slowness, in addition to whioh we had not at that time the population to enablo IIB to carry out the works so oxpo ditiously as they now could be carried out. Sir Hercules had then anticipated that in 25 years the population, in- creasing at a rate of 4 per cent, annually, would amount to five million souls, und in 25 years more to twclvo and a half millions, while in tho vonr 1950 it would amount to no less than 3lt millions. If these figures were to bo renlised-and he hail no doubt as to their accuracy-it was clear that we must havo railway communication from one end ot the land to the other, in order to allow the people to engatre in those pursuit« which were essential to the progress of the popu- lation generally. (Applause.) He thought it necessary that we should as soon us possible bridge over tho smull gap which still existed between the Victoriun line and ours, so that there should bo no more break in the communication between the two large centres of popularon, und he hinted thal at no distant date some mutual arrangement might be come to which would be the means of bringing the two lines together." The distance by rail from Sydney to Albury is S86 milos. Mr. Berry, the Premier of 'Victoria, and a large number of visitors from the sister colony were
The Government has made a- considerable reduction in the rates for the carriage of goods by railway, especially ia regard to agricultural and dairy produce. In regard to the railways of New South Wales, recently prepared statistics show that after paying all the working expenses of the railways there is a net return of £499,308, which pays over 4-246 per cent, on the capital invested in the lines open fur traffic, or nearly one per cent, in excess of the profit yielded in.1379, and this notwithstanding that there was £1,351,062 additional capital invested. The earnings per average mile of line in 1879 were £1314. The eirnings por average mile of line in 1880 wns £1473, showing an increase of £130 per mile. The expenditure m 1S79 was £853 per mile, but in 1880 it was reduced to £839 per mila, showing a decreased expendi- ture of £14 per mile.