Saturday, 31 July 2010

The Waiau Branch – Part 2 : Waipara

The original article has been revised and updated.

Waipara is located 62.77 km north of Christchurch on the South Island Main Trunk Railway. Today it is a farming and tourism settlement, but in times past it was a railway town. Apart from the railway junction with the Waiau Branch, it is also the junction of State Highway 1 north to Picton and State Highway 7 westward through the Lewis Pass.

These days, Waipara railway station is quiet and sleepy, but in years past the yard was a hive of activity. The railway facilities here have, at various times, included station refreshment rooms, stockyards, engine shed, water vats, way and works depot, turning triangle and car and wagon inspector. In the 1960s, the dieselisation of the Main North Line made the engine shed redundant, and it was removed in the 1970s. The other facilities gradually disappeared as Railways restructured. The yard was resignalled in 1989 and converted over to Track Warrant Control in 1991, after which the station building was demolished (part was retained by the WPR for use as a carriage workship). Today there is a crossing loop (extended in 1989) and public siding; passengers have a small shelter shed for their use but no other public facilities now exist here, though some modern ex-railway houses will be found in the surrounding streets, and the old amenities building at the south end of the yard still stands. Since 1983, Waipara has been the home base of the Weka Pass Railway.

Here is some information about Waipara that I wrote in the "Frog Rock Times" in April 1992:

The first station at Waipara was built by P McGrath as part of a £21493 contract completed in September 1880, the building itself being valued at £300. The station was officially opened the following month. The file records that the building was altered in 1903 but details are not given.

In 1932 it was proposed to terminate all passenger trains north of Waiau, requiring extended facilities to deal with the transfer of passengers. In 1934 the possibility of relocating the station building from Cust was considered as Cust had ceased to be officered in 1930. Approval was given the next year and tenders were called for the work, that accepted was for £152. The chimneys were demolished, the building was cut in two sections and hauled away by traction engines. NZR staff shifted the verandah, placed piles, painted the reassembled building and did other work worth a total of £958.

The station staff moved into the new building in May 1936. The old building was temporarily shifted off site and sold later to a sporting body for a tenth of its original value. A plan indicates that it was a leanto style building with a floor area about 2/3 of the Cust building.

A 40x23 engine shed was located on the site of the current Weka Pass Railway engine shed. By 1925 AB locomotives were in use and the shed was too small for them. After the 1932 proposal to stop passenger services north of Waipara, the question of new or extended facilities was looked at again.

The new depot was built in the early 1940s at the south end of the yard. The old shed then became the train examiner's depot until burning to the ground in 1956, when a 30 foot guard's van body was obtained. Dieselisation in the late 1960s made the engine depot redundant, and it was closed in 1973. A proposal by the Ferrymead Railway to purchase the building fell through, and it was sold to a Christchurch company who removed it in 1974. The stockyards adjacent to the Weka Pass Railway engine shed closed in 1979.

After the Cust station was shifted in, it was extended (Les Dew in “The Great Northern” states this occurred in the 1940s) and this newer portion was purchased by the Weka Pass Railway and moved across the tracks in 1991 to become a carriage workshop. The WPR members demolished the rest of the station at the same time.

The section from Addington to Waipara was controlled by Tyers' Electric Train Tablet, even after the rest of the Main North Line had long since been resignalled with automatic signalling. Two-position semaphore signals also remained in use at all stations. Both were removed in 1989 when the section was converted to Track Warrant Control (although TWC was not fully commissioned until 1991). I do not now have access to the details of the operation of Addington-Waipara under tablet but it appears that Amberley was a switch out station. But in later years with Kaiapoi, Rangiora and Amberley closed or switched out most of the time, and possibly Belfast as well, train running in the section was on the “Safeall” system but Waipara and Addington remained staffed.

The Waiau Branch was originally all operated as open section, but tablet was installed between Waipara and Waikari between 1914 and 1916. This system remained in operation until 1971 when it reverted to open section. The bank-engine-key system was also used to allow trains to be banked out of Waikari to the section summit (the overbridge at 12 km, Bridge No.2) and for the bank engine to return to Waikari in possession of this key. Trains from Waipara were banked all the way through to Waikari so that a key was not required in this direction. The dieselisation of the line making it possible for trains to be hauled by two locomotives under the control of only one crew helped to bring about the end of banking and the tablet system.

Waipara was signalled with a basic system consisting of home and distant signals at each end of the station on the main line, interlocked by various mechanical means including Woods lock keys. Similar setups were used at stations heading south to Addington and remained in use until the 1989 resignalling, except at Belfast which was converted to a modern electrically operated system at some earlier time. Waipara also had a Home signal for trains approaching Waipara from Waikari and the signal remained in place long after closure until it became unsafe. The Weka Pass Railway has erected various semaphore signals around Glenmark station. Heading up the branch, Waikari had home semaphores that were replaced by coloured lights in 1966, the station being a special case due to the gradient uphill to the Weka Pass. Culverden had two home semaphores, and Waiau as the terminus had one home semaphore.

As noted above the Weka Pass Railway are based at Waipara and operate on the first 13 km of track as far as the State Highway 7 road crossing at Waikari. Their engine shed was the first building erected by them and in respect of the diagram below, has been built on the site of the former stockyards. The WPR used to operate their trains from a private crossing in Mackenzies Road but in 1985-6 they purchased the former NZR station building from Mina and relocated it to a new site off Old Main Road (shown as SH1 on this old diagram, SH1 was bypassed east of the town in the mid 1970s). Later they added the Waipara Social Hall [shown as "Admin Building"] to their collection and relocated part of the former Waipara station building across the tracks to become a carriage workshop. In 1991 the society relocated the former NZR Hundalee station which has been erected at Waikari Crossing. The society also demolished the Heathcote Station and incorporated some of the recovered materials into its other buildings.


This is a diagram of the Waipara railway yards which appeared in the NZ Model Railway Journal some years ago. These days all that exists at Waipara apart from the main line is the loop, which was extended in 1989, and a public siding which runs through the area of the old goods shed. Everything else in the area belongs to the Weka Pass Railway.


This is a gradient diagram for the part of the Waiau branch that is covered by this post. After traversing the home curve, the line runs straight alongside McKenzies Road and is relatively flat until it hits the foot of the hills and begins to climb and twist into the Weka Pass. There are several curves as sharp as 150 metres radius and grades as steep as 1 in 47 (compensated for curvature). The track twists one way and then the other before meeting State Highway 7 and paralleling it for several km. Frog Rock is located at the 9 km point on one of the steepest grades, where the railway is high above the road and passing through a deep rock cutting behind the well known landmark.


A Colin Duthie photo of Waipara in 1979. Although the branch had closed the year before, all the track was still connected and the first part of the line was occasionally used as a headshunt to cross long trains. The goods shed shown here was replaced by a smaller modern shed in the early 1980s.


Colin Duthie took this photo of the Waipara station footbridge during the filming of the “Hanlon” TV series in 1984. Waipara was used as a film location along with the K 88 steam locomotive from Ashburton and a period train made up of rolling stock from various heritage groups.


This is my own photo of the same footbridge looking the other way in 1986. By that stage there had been some alterations to the yard and plans were underway to remove much of the remainder. The footbridge was demolished the same year.


The north home signal being removed in 1989; it was in the way of the loop extension seen behind the excavator. This signal has been re erected at Glenmark.


At the south end of the yard, this is the view looking south. At left of the main line is the site of the engine depot. The small white building in the centre is the relatively new trolley shed. There was additional trolley track running at right angles into the depot area. 15 August 1987.


This special train ran from Christchurch to Waipara about 1990. By that stage the yard consisted merely of the loop and public siding but the goods shed was still on the site, this is the north end.


An inside view of the old Waipara station building at Easter 1987.


This photo was taken during my first occasion of working on the  the Weka Pass Railway in May 1985. A train comes through on the main line while the Weka Pass rolling stock occupies the yard, with locomotives and carriages being turned on the triangle.


A view of the station from the south end as an excursion train pauses at the platform. February 1987.


The station seen from the end of the turning triangle in August 1987. The land occupied by the head of the triangle is vacant today but the middle is occupied by the Weka Pass Railway’s carriage workshop and sidings.


A view of the north end of the yard in August 1987 showing the double slip that gave access to the triangle.


A picture of the Waipara station signalling panel in 1988.


Tablet machines and associated equipment inside Waipara Station in 1988.


The north end of the yard in 1986 with the home signal off for the approaching train. The branch curves around to the left and could be reached through two separate tracks, the leftmost connecting to the main yard on the west side while the right hand track originally crossed over the main to give access to the east sidings behind the station. In the branch’s heyday these sidings were used to marshall trains to and from the branch hence the need for direct access.


A similar view to the previous photo in 1989 after the NZR era links between branch and yard were removed along with the old signalling, and the loop extended.


In August 1987 in preparation for the yard rearrangement, the old siding connecting the former branch to the rest of the yard was lifted and eventually replaced by a dedicated connection to the Weka Pass Railway. In order to carry this out the WPR engine shed sidings also had to be removed and realigned which took several months for the volunteer workforce to complete.


In October 1987 the new private siding connection was nearly completed and work was well underway in reinstating and extending the WPR sidings. The rightmost track led to an inspection pit.


The south end of the Waipara yard about 1987 with the trolley shed to the left. The track immediately to the right is the main line, with the loop to its left. Loop extensions were at the time under construction which took the line through the heap of dirt, a considerable distance towards the SH7 level crossing. A train is visible in the far end of the loop. The trolley shed was later purchased by the WPR and re erected at Glenmark.


About 1987, this is a view of the way and works depot and trolley shed. A track was provided for material trolleys to be placed on or removed from the loop. The building immediately left of the trolley shed was the country works depot, a long white building with multiple doorways which can be seen in other pictures. It was built in 1976 but was only fully used for a few years as the closure of the branch and restructuring of the NZ Railways Department rendered it redundant. Waipara was actually a railway town up until this time as it had a good number of staff and facilities but these days it is just a crossing location and flag station for occasional passengers. The depot building stood empty for some years after closure but the site was later cleared and is now occupied by a private residence.


This is the signalling and interlocking diagram for the Waipara-Scargill section of the Main North Line dating from 1975. Such diagrams are not a realistic scale representation of the actual physical locations of facilities. As such the Waipara diagram is more useful for determining the type of signalling equipment and the existence of sidings and connections. The diagram suggests that the connection between the branch line and east sidings was removed by that stage. A colour light distant was in place to the south and the equivalent 3 position Arrival automatic signal to the north. North of Waipara the Main North Line was covered by automatic signalling at the time. Both of Omihi and Scargill stations are now just crossing loops without any public facilities. The whole area is now Track Warrant controlled without any signalling systems except for points indicators.

View Larger Map

This map is, like many that appear on this blog, an overlay of one of my KML files from the NZ Rail Maps site onto standard Google Earth imagery. It shows some of the historical and present features of the Waipara yard. In particular at the bottom of this view you can see the site of the former engine shed on the right and the works depot on the left as marked by the small white square placemarks. The site of the triangle is also clearly visible.

View Larger Map

The second map is of the branch line itself and shows the first part of the Weka Pass Railway with many local landmarks indicated.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

The Waiau Branch – Part 1 : Introduction

This article was first published in 1999. It has been revised for this republication in July 2010.

The Waiau Branch was a typical rural NZ Railways branch line, leaving the South Island Main Trunk railway at Waipara, a small settlement 63 km north of Christchurch, and running 66 km through mainly flat country to Waiau on the south bank of the Waiau River. The line was opened in stages from April 1882 to Waikari, September 1884 to Medbury, February 1886 to Culverden, and December 1919 to Waiau.

It was originally envisaged when the line was built that it would be the main railway line north to Picton, and indeed the current main line through Parnassus was terminated at that station in 1912 and the current route north not progressed until the 1930s. The original road bridge at Waiau was constructed to be a road/rail bridge if required (in NZ's classic single deck style) but the rails never actually crossed the river.

The line served mostly rural purposes with the main centres of population through which it passed located at Waikari, Hawarden, Culverden and Waiau. At Balmoral there is a forest from which logs were railed to Waipara and then on to other destinations. Some local industries in these towns also had rail sidings.

The branch went the way of many other rural lines in the 1960s and 1970s, with falling traffic, declining maintenance and increased road competition, and was closed to all traffic on 15 January 1978. The tracks remained in place for some time after this due to a "black ban" placed by the railway unions. In December 1982 a public meeting formed the "Weka Pass Railway" to purchase the first 30 km of line from Waipara to the Hurunui River with the possibility of extending it to the Hurunui Hotel. Tenders for removal of the remaining track were called in August 1982 with the work carried out soon after.

In May 1986, Weka Pass Railway members (including myself) began lifting the track between Medbury and the Hurunui River, which was not required for their goal of operating to the hotel. Subsequent decisions taken in 1986 and 1988 to lift all track beyond State Highway 7, took until mid-1991 to complete, most of the work being carried out by volunteer labour.

This photographic essay covers the major points on the entire line as seen between 1985 and 1990, seven to twelve years after closure (although some photos from outside this era are used for comparison purposes). This of course was historical even then as the remnants of the line will change and gradually disappear, except on the 12 km preserved section operated by the Weka Pass Railway. In fact there have been a number of changes on parts of the track since I first started photographing it. It is inevitable that further change will occur and that in 50 years time, it may be very difficult to locate everything that is shown in these photographs, even as it was difficult to do so in 1985 and 1986 when I first visited the line. My main interest as a railway "enthusiast" is in the history and geography of lines and these photographs reflect that interest.

My first encounter with this line was in the late 1970s on a trip to the West Coast through the Lewis Pass. Travellers on this route from Christchurch drive north to Waipara where the branch leaves the Main North Railway. The road then runs through the Weka Pass, the railway paralleling it for the last few km and then the two formerly crossed at Waikari. The railway was then not seen again until Culverden where it ran alongside the highway for a few kilometres to Red Post Corner, where the line continued on north while the highway crossed over on its way west. On one trip in about 1980 the line was overgrown with weeds and then the next time we went over it had recently been lifted through Culverden and north. The line however was still in place through the Weka Pass and I learned later that it had been purchased by a preservationist group. In 1985 I became a member of that group - the Weka Pass Railway.

For those of you who are considering tracing the line, the book "Exploring New Zealand's Ghost Railways", by David Leitch and Brian Scott, is highly recommended. Also the NZ Railway and Tramway Atlas by the Quail Map Co provides route and distance information. I hope to have a curve and gradient diagram from the RES on these pages soon. Maps from Terralink (NZMS1 or NZMS260) are highly recommended for tracing the route of the old line.

As to the history of the Waiau Branch, Les Dew of the Tramway Historical Society and Weka Pass Railway, published his history of the line, The Great Northern, in 2001.

The march of time ensures that the line will continue to disappear. Since 1999 I have kept a watch on the route by using Google Earth, which even today allows many remnants to be picked out. A full map of the line, including the preserved Weka Pass section, can be seen below; it can be viewed in Google Maps or the KML files can be downloaded from my NZ Rail Maps site for use directly in Google Earth (recommended). Parts of the route are preserved for public access, including:

  • Formation at Waikari (public walkway) and the station yard area.
  • Culverden station yard.
  • Waiau station yard.

View Larger Map


In this guide, former facilities are shown in italics. Facilities are where they are known to have existed so may be incomplete. Facilities shown to still exist may of course be subject to changes beyond the author's knowledge.



Waipara (Junction) 0 km (62.77 km from Christchurch)

72 metres above sea level

  • Engine shed
  • Water vat
  • Goods shed
  • Triangle
  • Way & Works Depot
  • Car & Wagon Inspector
  • Refreshment Rooms
  • Social Hall (now owned by WPR)
  • Footbridge
  • Stockyards
  • Station building (formerly Cust station) (replaced by a passenger shelter)
  • Tablet section
  • Semaphore signals (now Track Warrant)
  • Low level loading bank
  • Passenger halt for Coastal Pacific Express
  • Crossing loop
  • Private siding for the Weka Pass Railway
  • Weka Pass Railway engine shed, hall and carriage workshop (latter part of old Waipara station)
  • WPR's Glenmark Railway Station is nearby.
  • Public siding (used by WPR)
  • Crossing loop
  • Passenger platform / shelter


14.67 km from Waipara.

225 metres above sea level.

  • Engine depot
  • Water vat
  • Turntable
  • High level loading bank
  • Low level loading bank
  • Goods shed
  • Stockyard
  • Tablet section (bank-engine key)
  • Station building
  • Two-position signals
  • Crossing loop
  • Crossing alarms at State Highway 7 and Princess Street level crossings
  • Flour mill siding
  • Lime works siding
  • Timpendean Walkway follows part of the old railway formation uphill from the Princess Street crossing.
  • WPR's Waikari station (not the original but the relocated Hundalee station building) is located 1.9 km from Waikari at the former State Highway 7 level crossing.
  • Flour mill now a private residence
  • Parts of formation in the area are kept as public tracks. 
Hawarden 21.43 km from Waipara.

241 metres above sea level.

  • Stockyards
  • Low level loading bank
  • Goods shed
  • Crane
  • Station building
  • Crossing loop
  • Stockyards
  • Unknown
(closed 1974)
26.75 km from Waipara.

238 metres above sea level

  • Stockyards
  • Goods shed
  • Low level loading bank
  • Water vat/tank
  • Station building
  • Goods shed relocated to adjacent site
  • Much of the yard has been excavated as a shingle pit (now closed)
Balmoral 34.7 km from Waipara.

228 metres above sea level.

  • Stockyards
  • Low level loading bank
  • High level loading bank
  • Station building
  • Forest Department private siding
  • Station building relocated to Medbury vicinity
  • Unknown
Pahau 40.98 km from Waipara.

196 metres above sea level.

  • Station building
  • Possibly a public siding?
  • Station building relocated to Medbury vicinity
  • Unknown
Culverden 45.95 km from Waipara.

175 metres above sea level.

  • Station building
  • Semaphore signals
  • Engine depot
  • Turntable
  • Goods shed
  • Crane
  • Low level loading bank
  • High level loading bank
  • Stockyards
  • Hoist
  • Crossing loop
  • Water vat
  • Shunting tractor
  • Station building retained by local government, sold for removal in 1986. Relocated to a farm in the district. Former Prebbleton station.
  • High level loading bank
  • Station yard is accessible.
Achray 54.34 km from Waipara. 191 metres above sea level.
  • Station building
  • Loading bank
  • Unknown
Rotherham 57.32 km from Waipara.

181 metres above sea level

  • Station building
  • Stockyards
  • Goods shed
  • Low level loading bank
  • Station building remained on the site after closure, passing to the adjacent farmers. It was to have been relocated to Waikari but this did not occur.
  • Unknown
(Terminus station)
66.55 km from Waipara.

139 metres above sea level.

  • Station building
  • Semaphore signals
  • Engine shed
  • Turntable
  • Water vat
  • Crane
  • Low level loading bank
  • High level loading bank
  • Stockyards
  • Shunting tractor
  • Lime silo siding
  • The station building burnt down in 1980.
  • Lime silo
  • Public reserve.

Recent Articles

As you can see, I have focused on posting the series of articles covering the Weka Pass Railway from 1985 to 1991 of late. These have now been completed in 14 parts. At this stage I have not determined how to present photos taken since that time; probably these will appear in a Picasa web album.
Completion of this series means I can move on to the Waiau branch article series and other similar material.

Early Years of the Weka Pass Railway – Part 14 : 1990-91

Please note that this blog is a personal journal and does not purport to be officially representative of the Weka Pass Railway in any way.
As the year of the New Zealand Sesquicentennial (150th anniversary), 1990 offered special opportunities to community groups to receive government funding for commemorative events. The railfan community was just as quick to seize the moment as any other, and the year saw the Canterbury Steam and Rail Festival organised by Ferrymead Historic Park as the first inter-society event of its kind since Ferrymead 125 two years before. Another group at Ferrymead organised a Vulcan Railcar tour of the South Island; this had an unexpected outcome when railcar RM 51 broke down at Waipara on its way north and the organisers made use of the Weka Pass Railway's facilities to ready the car for towing back to Christchurch. June 1990 saw steam locomotive W 192 operated on the line during the Queens Birthday weekend. During 1991 the Railway also began to develop its Japanese tour train operation and the first trains ran towards the end of that year.
Track refurbishment continued and at Easter 1990 the line was open to the 6.5 km peg. By December 1991 this had been extended to 9.5 km, past Frog Rock where a temporary platform was built. An NZR tamper and ballast regulator worked along the major relay site at Antills in May 1990. Track in the whistle board cutting was lifted in May 1991 and the trackbed was dug out by a scraper and the fill used to form an embankment for a proposed siding. The track was then replaced, ballasted and tamped by the Society's 04 tamper, probably the last occasion it was operated successfully on the line. Recovery work continued between Waikari and Hawarden. During 1990 scrap metal contractor Railbase Systems assisted in the recovery of surplus rail in this section. The work was finally concluded in August 1991 and enabled the track workers to focus their efforts solely on the operating railway. Progress after 1991 was however slow and it took another eight years to complete the last 3.5 kilometres to the Waikari Corner terminus. A major milestone came towards the end of 1990 when repayment of the NZR track purchase loan was completed. Following the completion of recovery from Medbury the road metal/ballast pit was extended right across the former station site. The backshunt at Glenmark station was aligned with the help of the crane and the loop points were completed.
Major restoration work was carried out on the Weka Pass Railway car-van during 1990 and 1991. As NZ Rail had changed its colour scheme to blue, the WPR's blue carriages were repainted red during the period. Bogies were also changed on the 50 foot guard's van. Battery boxes were removed from the carriages as the batteries were not in use and acid leakage posed a maintenance problem. A KP wagon was purchased as a dangerous goods store. The WPR purchased a 3 wheel hand trolley, WW 198. Work continued on A 428 with a replacement smokebox manufactured and the boiler almost completed. DG 791 was fitted with a new set of batteries, while TR 275 was trucked to Nelson by its owners. DSA 822 was sent up to Waipara for trials and as these proved successful it was later purchased by the railway.
Other events during 1990 - 1991 included the Easter 1990 Waipara Fair, demolition of the Waipara station (a part of which was recycled as a carriage workshop and shelter), purchase and transport of the Hundalee Station to Waikari, a bus trip to Waiau looking at some of the remains of the branch line, relocation of the gangers hut from Bentleys Road crossing near Hawarden, repairs to the social hall, purchase of land in the Waipara yard, purchase of six Tyers Train Tablet machines, purchase of a new diesel powered air compressor, commissioning new train control huts along the line, installation of a shower in the social hall, a members day in February 1990, purchase of sleepers from Addington Workshops, painting of Glenmark Station, and purchase of the Waipara trolley shed.
1991 was the last year that I worked personally on the Railway, as I no longer had the free time to travel to the site and work on Sundays, the main work days. I also allowed my membership of the Society to lapse after this time. Over the succeeding years until about 2003 I continued to take an interest by attending the biennial Waipara Vintage Festivals. However due to having severed my participation in the local railfan community in the last few years, I have not maintained contact since that time.
August 1990. This is the Gemmells Road level crossing just south of Hawarden. There was still some track in place at that time.
August 1990. Track had recently been removed just west of the Waikari level crossing at this time. This section of the formation is now a walkway.

August 1990. The cutting at Waikari which was partly filled several years before is seen, very overgrown and waterlogged. The overbridge No.2 can just be seen in the background.

August 1990. This is the former station building at Rotherham. It was owned by the WPR and intended to be used at Waikari, but was assessed about this time to be unsuitable for restoration due to its deteriorating condition. This caused the society to purchase the Hundalee station instead and the Rotherham building was then sold.

May 1991. The whistle board cutting before removal of the track.

May 1991. A contractor lifts the track in the whistle board cutting.
May 1991. Formation at the whistle board cutting after the track was removed.
May 1991. A road scraper starts work on lowering the formation at the whistle board cutting.

May 1991. The formation being scraped at the whistle board cutting.

May 1991. Just south of the whistle board cutting, the scraper is dumping earth at the site of a proposed siding. At the time it was considered desirable to have an intermediate crossing point in the Weka Pass for use on busy days.
May 1991. After the earthworks are completed, the track is lifted back in by Gray and Lewis’s excavator.
1991. A work train ballasts the relaid track in the whistle board cutting.
1991. The track gang at work at 8.5 km, just below Frog Rock. The terminus reached Frog Rock soon after, and then advanced very slowly towards Waikari; the last 4 km took some seven years to complete.
1991. The Plasser 04 tamper at work at the whistle board cutting. Probably this is the last time it was successfully operated on the railway.
1991. A closeup of the front of the Plasser 04 tamper working in the whistle board cutting with Shane Ward checking the operation.

Early Years of the Weka Pass Railway – Part 13 : 1989 (B)

Please note that this blog is a personal journal and does not purport to be officially representative of the Weka Pass Railway in any way.
See part 12 for a narrative of 1989 events.
June 1989. Harold Feather’s truck is loading at one of the banks in Hawarden yard. At left is the main station building with the men’s urinal the enduring structure (that is possibly still there today).
June 1989. Getting ready to tow rails off the formation across a small bridge/culvert. Ken Parker and Lindsay May to the right, the location is just north of Hawarden with the township in the background.
June 1989. Track still in place just north of Hawarden (looking north) alongside the oxidation ponds.
June 1989. Loading sleepers onto a truck at Hawarden level crossing.
August 1989. The recently acquired 10 ton diesel crane lifting the air compressor. This was taken by road to Waikari for a day’s work lifting track north-west of the station.
August 1989. As the NZR Waipara yard works continued, the redundant home signal at the north end was removed by a contractor. This signal has been re-erected at Glenmark. At right the loop extension works can be seen, with the WPR sidings at left.
August 1989. A little later the loop extension was completed, the old turnout to the former loop is still in the mainline at right. On the left are the Weka Pass Railway sidings.
August 1989. Beginning a day’s work with a quick look from the vicinity of the 16 km peg in the direction of Fenwicks Road crossing. Here we are looking along the straight towards Waikari, this stretch includes Bridge No.4 of which the guard rails are just visible in the distance, and No.3 closer to the crossing.
August 1989. Fenwicks Road crossing and Bridge No.3. The line curves around to the north ending the long straight run up from Waikari station.
August 1989. Starting work at Fenwicks Road over Bridge 3. The air compressor and tools were at work here due to the track being screwspiked.
August 1989. Further up the straight, the trolley with the compressor is seen sitting on Bridge No.4.
August 1989. Glen Anthony is hard at work lifting track on Bridge No.4 with an old milepost to the right.
August 1989. Rounding the curve near 16 km, an old trolley stand is seen. The track here is held in place with elastic spikes requiring crowbars to remove. An alternative solution for separating the rails is to jack up the track and sledge hammer the sleepers off. The compressor and air tools are still in use, now just for removing the fishbolts at rail joints.
August 1989. Fenwicks Road, looking towards Waikari.
August 1989. Rounding the curve near the 16 km peg.