Friday, 15 January 2010

North Island updates; Rimutaka Rail Trails

I forgot to post about recent North Island updates when I last posted to the blog. Some of the lines which have received major improvements in the maps include the Stratford Okahukura Line and Wairarapa Line. Less major improvements have been made in a number of other areas including NIMT and NAL, PNGL, MNPL etc. Most has focused in general on eliminating the yellow lines in favour of red lines. The yellow lined sections were where there was only low res Landsat coverage of an area. Since medium res Spot/Cnes coverage of all NZ was introduced, we now have good enough resolution to change all yellow lines into red for currently operational railways. There are still quite a few files, I think all in the North Island now, that still have yellow line sections. I don’t know when they will get updated as it is very time consuming to do this since the maps are usually fairly rough and need a lot of realignment.
In future postings to this blog will not just be about maps, they will be about all related interests since it covers quite a lot including photographs etc. For example I do have some photos posted to Panoramio which I expect will get added to from time to time, but not sure when. I would expect to see a lot of new photos put into an album around something like a holiday as these are the few times that I am likely to have a major interest in updating a map or posting lots of photos or other content. For example I am hoping to go to Wellington for a holiday, perhaps this year but it might be next year. This has caused me to load the Wairarapa Line maps and take a good look especially at the Rimutaka Incline route and at the same time change the way the map is drawn to be the same as other maps that have a rail trail section in them. But of course it was also a time to notice a picture loaded in Panoramio of Cruickshanks Tunnel and coincidentally when I was tidying up at home the other day I found all the material I have about Upper Hutt to Cross Creek. Dave Castle’s web site has good information about the old tunnel just near Upper Hutt.
If I went to Wellington I would at least like to have a look at how easy it is to get at some of the old formation between Upper Hutt and the tunnel as subdivision only covers part of it and the newest high-res Google Earth coverage taken 2 years ago shows a big cutting which is marked on the map. Apart from that the access to Tunnel Gully has been improved in recent years as there is now a formed access track from Maymorn Station which means you can catch the train to Maymorn and get up to Tunnel Gully quite easily. Public transport access to the main Incline rail trail is still a bit tricky by comparison. On the Featherston side the eponymous station on the Wairarapa Line is the closest. It is 2 km from there back to Speedys Junction and a further 9 km from there to the entrance. However access on the Wellington side is now improved by providing access from Tunnel Gully to Kaitoke. In terms of rail mileage Maymorn would be approximately equivalent to 37.8 km on the old line and Cross Creek is at 59.8 km. So a complete trip from Maymorn to Cross Creek is roughly 22 km. If you can get picked up by public transport at the other end you could have a good trip, especially as you would be going down the steepest section of the the Incline itself.
The web site needs a good tidy up and some articles about the Otago Central Railway need finishing; I’m unsure when that might happen.