Saturday, 31 October 2009

NZ Rail Maps Site Reinstated

Today I reinstated this blog and the associated NZ Rail Maps website. I used to have two rail related blogs and about half a dozen websites. Early February 2009 I decided to abandon a 25 year hobby of railfanning and take up new hobbies related to gardening and nature. This continues unabated at this point. However I have decided to reinstate this blog and the Rail Maps website. In the past nine months I have continued to pursue an interest in geography with the ongoing use of Google Earth, and have published a few articles on other blogs about rail geographical subjects. Since February there has been a significant improvement in Google Earth coverage, especially with the addition of Cnes/Spot satellite coverage of the South Island. This new coverage means that practically the whole South Island is now covered. This makes it possible to update all the unfinished maps. This will gradually be done over an unspecified period. I have done some small scale updating of a few maps, particularly the ECMT, Midland Line and its branches including Ross. So the maps will be available at the site again.
However, there are and will be significant differences in the way the maps and this blog are updated in the future:
  • Blog postings will mainly be in relation to website updates. I am not writing a significant volume of other material related to this subject. Nor am I routinely undertaking research or investigation into rail related subjects
  • Map updates are limited to improving existing maps when coverage improves. No significant effort will be made to try to identify points of interest that are not already marked. No completely new maps will be drawn.
  • There will be no research in relation to maps. I don’t have contact with the railfan community in NZ as I am not a member of any groups associated with this community. Nor do I have time to look up other sources of information in relation to maps. Essentially the process of improving maps is limited to identifying features that can already be seen in Google Earth, rather than locating existing non visible features.
  • There will not be a set timeframe in which maps are updated. Rather it will be done spasmodically as free time permits.
In addition, all other rail related websites I have produced in the past are not going to be reinstated. I have no ongoing interest in the other subjects that these websites covered. Nor will former postings to this blog or the old NZ Rail Maps blog be reinstated. Although it would be very easy to repost from source, I don’t have the source files stored anywhere and they were not backed up when the blogs were originally removed.
So that is how things stand. If you go to the website you will find some maps have been updated recently. That’s about all I have time for right now.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Remnants of the old East Coast Main Trunk Railway

As Google Earth coverage keeps getting better, we keep discovering more about the geography of New Zealand, with one of my interests being former railway lines. There are still some areas of the North Island that use old Landsat low res coverage, I hope they will get some Cnes/Spot coverage soon. In a former life I was an avid railfan and drew maps of nearly every railway line in NZ, which are now to be found on Google Maps. Today I just happened to load up the map of the old East Coast Main Trunk line, and have had a look at some of this former route. I have got absolutely no intention of keeping these maps up to date in a major form as this requires many hours of work and I am disinclined to do any research, one of the great attractions of drawing the maps in the first place was that I did all the work at home on my computer and didn’t have to go anywhere else. However I have just chosen to pull up the old ECMT map because of the improvements and it has got a small makeover today, because some of the old bridges can now be seen in medium-high resolution coverage recently added. It is equally as clear that some locations that I thought would be bridges are culverts.
According to a file from the Western Bay of Plenty District Council the following remnants of the line are known to exist between Athenree and Apata. Their source is a 2002 report for the Historic Places Trust by Phillip Moore. Rather than embedding the maps into this blog post I have linked to maps of all the locations that I know of by converting the NZMS260 map references where these are given. There is one photo in that document of a concrete culvert where the road appears to go over the railway line. It isn’t identified but I assume it is Athenree Station.
1. Athenree Station (see below)
2. Athenree Station site – concrete foundations, rail formation, culvert near SH2,
plate layers cottages and Arden Cottage. [T13 E6903 N1177]
3. Railway Formation south of Athenree Road (800m) [T13 E6990 N 1153]
4. Prominent Cutting through hill (100m) [U13 E70021 N10383]
5. Concrete Culvert [T13 E69940 N10181]
6. Small Concrete Bridge Piles (Bridge No. 28) [T13 E69768 N09677]
7. Tuapiro Stream Bridge Abutment [T13 E6915 N0765]
8. Railway Formation south of Kauri Point Rd (800m) [T13 E691 N054]
9. Tahawai Stream Bridge (No. 35) Concrete Piers [T13 E6794 N0331]
10. McKinney (Tawherowhero) Bridge timber abutments (No. 37) [T13 E67833 N02574]
11. Uretara Stream Bridge (No. 40) timber abutments [T13 E67654 N00894]
12. Henry Road cutting and railway formation (200m)
13. Rereatukahia Stream concrete bridge (no.44) [T14 E67621 N98416]
14. Te Manaia Stream Timber Trestle bridge (no. 46)
15. Waitokohe Sream Timber Trestle Bridge (No. 48) and embankment (300m)
16. Aongatete River Bridge (No. 51) concrete and timber piers
17. Whatakao Stream Timber Trestle Bridge (No. 52)
19. Wainui River Timber Trestle Bridge (No. 56)
20. Apata Station Site – small station building
The Athenree Station is located at a new site at 360 Athrenree Road (Stewart Homestead). This site is encircled by a well known large horseshoe curve of the old railway route. I believe this is Street View’s view at the time of writing of the old station building. The photo is a bit dark but the building which looks just like a typical railway station is on the little rise about the centre of this view.
This post is not going to be a series of posts, nor is there going to be any more maps updated this year (if ever) because all this stuff takes forever to do. But if I had kept all the blog posts of the two former blogs that I used to write on this subject, I would gladly repost them herewith.