Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Dargaville and other North Auckland Branches

Following on from the update of the North Auckland Line files, the NAL Northland file is now released in its updated format. Both of these are now more or less Stage 2 or 3 status, where they will remain unless new sources of information come to hand, such as the locations of specific closed stations or new high-res GE coverage.

The main line of interest in the North Auckland area is the Dargaville Branch and is the focus both of this article and the map shown, which is a segment of the NAL Northland file itself. The file now includes the complete route taken by this branch, including the Kirikopuni Balloon Loop which at one time was the terminus of the line. The original approach to Dargaville is also shown. Some construction work was carried out on this route, shown as aqua from Te Wharau, but when the branch was officially completed in 1943 a deviation had been constructed taking the railway around the northernmost boundary of the town and entering it from the north. This also resulted in the construction of a new railway station about half a kilometre north of the riverside original, the building from which may still exist today. It was done this way in order to take the station and the numerous level crossings of the railway line out of the town centre. The link from the present yard to the site of the original station is also shown in aqua. The connecting line between the two points is shown in green as a hypothetical route, since there is not evidence at this stage that anything was actually constructed. On the other hand, some of the original eastern route was built, including the original Te Wharau station, the platforms of which can still be seen, as well as the nearby cutting and an embankment closer to the town. Thanks to geoff_184 and keithdsf for contributions.

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