Sunday, 20 May 2012

SOL - Tangarakau

In my last post I showed some photos of Tangarakau, specifically some of the old bridges. This time around we are going to look at a little more of the area.
Tangarakau was where the Egmont Coal company set up in coalmining in 1929 with a small mine in the Tangarakau Gorge linked by a 610 mm gauge tramway to Tangarakau railway station. The tramway followed the river to the mine over a distance of about 6 km. A small steam locomotive was employed to work the tram. Coal in the area is generally sub-bituminous and was used to fire the PWD power station boilers and locomotives during railway construction, for local needs and was railed out. It was generally a low quality coal. The mine was closed in 1936, about three years after the railway was completed. The tram is not marked on current topo maps so it is guesswork as to where it went, however the New Zealand Railway Observer a few years ago had an article – I am advised that issue 238 and 239 of 1999 covered it. Here is a guess as to the route (green line) and also the location of the mine and Tangarakau in general.

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This map is of Tangarakau itself. You can see some features like where the old road bridge used to be (see the previous article) which was parallel to the railway bridge, and on the east side where the PWD powerhouse was during construction of the railway.

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