Monday, 16 September 2013

Bridge over Highway 73 at Otira

Some of the posts which were made to my FB page will be reposted here, this is so they are archived here where they are easy to search for future reference. Not all the posts will be placed here, only ones that have significant substantial content other than maps or archival photos. Here is the first of the posts, the date will be set to be at the same time as it was originally posted on FB.


This is what drivers used to see at Otira, the one lane underpass under the railway line. (David Maciulaitis photo)


In August 2003, the old underpass was being replaced by the new bridge. (David Maciulaitis photo)


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Addington Workshops 20 years on [3]: The Addington Curve

Today’s post is about the legendary Addington Curve and its place in posterity.
Addington is the junction of the Main North Line and the Main South Line. As the Main South Line goes from due east through due west at Addington, the MNL starts as a 90 degree curve which is well known to railfans and the travelling public. This curve originally faced in the direction of the original Christchurch station in Moorhouse Ave, for well over 100 years. This meant that an important role of the Christchurch yards was to marshall trains and traffic to or from the North line. Even once the original Middleton yards became established in the early years of the 20th century, Christchurch still retained its important role until the mid 1980s when rail lost its long distance freight monopoly.
The Addington Curve is significant to the Addington Workshops due to the fact that until the 1990s it passed right on the eastern boundary of the workshops. The new curve that has been opened since actually passes through the middle of the workshops site and required an advanced degree of building and site demolition works before the track could be laid and completed. As shown on the map (below), Tyne Street and Lowe Street on the eastern boundary had to be truncated to allow this new curve to be laid. The land occupied by the old curve remained unoccupied for quite a long time and has only been recently developed, in the last 5 years approximately.
The relocation of the curve was done in order to enable the Christchurch and Middleton yards and many other facilities to be combined at Middleton. Christchurch sat on commercially valuable land and the extra capacity of both the station and yard was no longer required. The relocation of the Christchurch passenger station was inevitable once this was done. Its new location in the middle of the curve is about the closest to the central city that it could possibly be placed with the decision to remove the original curve. However in hindsight the lack of a full triangle must be seen as a short sighted approach due to the ongoing debate about the ideal location of the station. Similarly the sale of the original route land which has been partly developed, and failure to secure it for future use, shows a regrettable lack of foresight considering its relatively small area and value. Although the current story is that there is a claim that a smaller triangle can be developed closer to the station.

View Larger Map
Removal of the original curve also required the removal of the sidings that were associated with it at the time. Consequently the Fletchers siding was lifted along with the saleyards although both were disused by that time. These along with the MNL made up the four tracks that were crossed by the Lowe Street footway. Although there are some issues with the amount of land that is enclosed by a triangle, the site in the case of Addington is so large there was no good reason why the original curve could not have been retained and the station developed to the east of the junction, or even at the traditional Addington station site.
[Photos will be added to this article and it reposted later]

Addington Workshops 20 years on: [4] Recent Site Development

For this article I am going to make use of Google Earth’s historical footage feature to illustrate how the site has been developed in the past seven years. This can’t be shown in Google Maps so perhaps you should install the Google Earth software and have a look yourself.
The oldest footage is dated April 2004 and shows that the Bunnings store and two other blocks of shops to its south west abutting the railway station were completed along with car parking. The Plant Zone site east of Whiteleigh Ave was undeveloped at this time, with Bell Street still visible. In the triangle between the MSL, present and former curves, the foundations of the old wheel lathe shed were visible indicating its recent demolition. Track was still in place and some wagons were in storage there. There was still a substantial block of the Tower Junction site that was undeveloped at this time.
The next date of coverage is December 2004 only for the triangle where work was now clearly under way on the foundations of the Turners Auctions building, and adjacent to which there was also a clear sight of the route of the Blenheim Road deviation.
By January 2005 the rest of Tower Junction except for the plant zone site had been completed. Earthworks for the embankment of the Blenheim Road deviation on the south side of the railway line had also commenced. A year later a contract had just been let for the deviation and preloading was going on on the north side to compact the ground. The Turners Auctions site was completed and opened with access off Lester Lane, although by this time Detroit Place which became the permanent entrance sometime later was more or less complete. The car dealerships on the north side of this new street were not actually built at this time. However the plant zone site had been developed by this stage.
Since January 2006 the major changes have been from the building of the Blenheim Road deviation which was the last major development of former workshops land. By this date the old Way & Works depot on the right angle corner of Moorhouse Ave was demolished in order to make way for the entrance to Detroit Place along with a commercial building. A premises at the rear of a Moorhouse Ave building was demolished and its former railway siding in the Addington North yard was torn up.
One year further on the route of the road deviation was well formed although the railway was not yet bridged. Detroit Place was open and being used as the main entrance to Turners, the Lester Lane entrance having been closed by the overbridge construction, which also required Bunnings to move its yard entrance on the north side; the car dealerships premises on Detroit Place were under construction. There had also been an encroachment into the Addington North yard with a piece of former railway land being sealed as a carpark. Presumably this piece at the rear of a business premises replaced some taken from the front when Moorhouse Ave was realigned into the Blenheim Road deviation.
The next date is February 2008 and the Blenheim Road deviation had been open some time by then, because the old bridge further north was demolished by this stage, although a small part of the foundations were still being knocked down at this time. But by March 2009 it was definitely all gone. Since then there has been little change although the most recent photos show some buildings or storage on part of the old Blenheim Road next to Deans Ave. The saleyards site has not been developed all this time and remains vacant today, its owner being in Korea for much of that period.

Addington Workshops 20 years on: [5] Photos, Demolition, Redevelopment

I have many of these photos already in my Picasaweb sites. The main albums being these ones:

Because it is easier just to keep them there I am planning that I will just put captions onto these photos and geotag them so that you can look at them in the albums rather than digging them out into blog posts. This post will be updated when this has been done.
I’ll also write some brief notes about the demolition of the shops after closure. The actual date that the shops closed is somewhat uncertain with some sources saying 1991 and others 1992. However I do remember when the announcement of its closure was made and that was December 1990 just after the General Election, the announcement rather obviously was held over by the Labour government of the time for political reasons.
From that time on I remember various stages of demolition. Some old locomotives were taken to the shops site for storage and later demolition, particularly old DSAs and DJs. Sometime in 1992 I remember going in to see that J 1211 was stored in the site on a siding, and there was also a 40 ton steam crane therein. I also remember the social hall being knocked down, as it was a well known building right on the outside boundary on Lowe Street. Unfortunately I have very few photos of the Shops as a whole (whether open or closed) because film was expensive.
The old railcar shed or some other building at the northeast corner was for a time used to store bulk toilet paper until it burned down. I think in a previous post I suggested the joinery shop might have been the building used for this purpose.
One thing I didn’t see anything of was the demolition of Plant Zone or the signals depot directly opposite. Likewise the Addington North or South yards. It wasn’t until 2003 that I was making much effort to take any photos at all around these areas when I first had access to a digital camera. Hence practically all of my collection of photos dates from that time.
What shows up on aerial photos and old plans (not the ones I have put onto my maps) is that there were pockets of railway housing dotted around the workshops. I will have to try and find aerials of the site to determine exactly where but I believe there was quite a lot on the west side of Clarence Street in particular and probably heading down to the north side of Bell Street. Both this street and another residential part, Margaret Street, have long since disappeared.
The main workshops and adjoining sites stayed vacant for more than 10 years. It was really not until the Ngai Tahu compensation settlement was concluded in the late 1990s that any development was taken seriously. That included the part that the council bought for the Blenheim Road deviation. There was much criticism of the fact that the land had to be purchased at commercial price from Ngai Tahu when the Crown had sold it at a much lower price some months earlier to the iwi. However it appears unlikely the Council had any choice as Ngai Tahu had first right of refusal on Crown land under the terms of their settlement. It was some time after 2000 that the first proposals for Tower Junction, as the development was called, came to public notice. The Bunnings store was the first part built on and the plantzone site, the last. The old wheel lathe building in the triangle opposite the station, the last of the workshops buildings, was knocked down around 2003/4 and the site was developed for Turners Auctions. Later on Detroit Place was built on the Main South Line boundary for access to Turners. The old Way & Works site was used as access to Detroit Place while it was under construction, after the buildings had been knocked down. The road deviation was built during 2005 and the previous overbridge demolished early the following year.
At the time of writing not all of the former Addington Curve land has been developed at all with only the part occupied by the Detroit Place car dealerships and Blenheim Road deviation built over. However the Addington North yard where a couple of the old tracks until relatively recently still curved up and stopped at the fence, has now largely been torn up and redeveloped as carpark, in part I believe as compensation for land and parks taken off the front when the deviation was built. There used to be access off Moorhouse Ave to the Addington Signalbox. I am not sure if this is still the case or whether alternative access has been developed since.

Addington Workshops 20 years on [2]

When I started working in rail preservation in 1985 the Addington Shops were still open and a familiar feature of the rail landscape in Christchurch. The Ferrymead Railway used to hold monthly members in the Social Hall which was next to the Main North Line at the end of Lowe Street (as seen on the maps below).

View Larger Map

View Larger Map
The left hand map shows the footprint of the social hall. The right hand map shows the surrounding area in more detail. Lowe Street then was longer than it is now as indicated by the thick black line. Tyne Street was also longer. The aqua and purple lines represent the Main North Line and sidings respectively. There was a pedestrian footway with its own crossing bells over the tracks at this point. Car parking for the workshops was located at the end of Lester Lane on the far side of the tracks and directly in front of the social hall. There were four tracks going across the pedestrian crossing, as shown on this S&I diagram of the area:
As shown upper left corner these tracks were the two saleyard siding tracks, the Main North Line and the Fletchers siding, which, I believe, also connected to the Publicity & Advertising Branch siding nearby. Whenever we met in the hall the meetings were usually disturbed to some extent by trains going past on the MNL just outside the front door.
Within just a few years the workshops had closed and Ferrymead was compelled to find another location in which to meet. The buildings were torn down and a new connecting curve track (red line on the maps above) was laid requiring the two streets to be cut short. The building outlined in the right hand map where the current line goes through was the works manager’s office next to the main entrance off Lowe St. The rest of the buildings were gradually dismantled. One of the last was the old joinery shops at the north-east corner, used as I believe a store until it burned down.
The last building left on the site of any sort was the wheel lathe shed (yellow in the maps) which stayed until the 2000s when Turners Auctions site was developed.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Port Chalmers-Dunedin-Mosgiel [3]

This is basically the “Dunedin Suburban Area”, which is the extent of coverage of suburban passenger transport in the Dunedin area. This is a three part article incorporating 33 maps which were originally produced at 1:2000 scale. N.B. Due to some vagaries of Blogger the maps get resized to a smaller scale so I can’t really help by saying what the actual scale is that you will see in the maps following.


Heading up through Green Island the Walton Park or Green Island branch went south off the main line, north/east of the station. The original route dating from 1874 when the line opened was deviated as part of the duplication works, although it’s not too obvious why such a large deviation was needed. Possibly the original junction was too close to Carnfort Street bridge, which I assume replaced a crossing, and perhaps also embankment construction was needed. Another possibility is that the later route already existed as a siding and in any case, perhaps it was just easier to make a new connection rather than lift the line up on the embankment like was done with the main line. I understand the latter route was kept as a siding after the rest of the line closed, and it got its own subway when the motorway was put through, which is still there today. As at other stations the main line was deviated through Green Island, this being an easier method of construction where there was enough space to deviate the main line. Where space was more confined, the original route was used with the tracks being lifted up in stages. The actual works carried out at Green Island were to “raise the dip” by which means the grade was levelled out.


Coming through Abbotsford there was again a main line deviation along with the duplication works. The Fernhill branch can be seen at the upper left of the map. The main works needed in the regrading of Abbotsford in 1911 were to lower the station yard by 18 feet (approx 5 metres).


Further south/west of Abbotsford can be seen a tramway at right angles to the track that apparently served a coal mine.


At lower right of this map is the Abbots Creek bridge. This bridge had to be raised in the duplication and the two sides were alternately lifted in stages with the abutments being extended, until the required height was reached (the embankments being built up in the same way and the bridges raised to match each embankment raising stage). The disused duplicate bridge at this location is still in place. Towards the middle/left of the map can be seen the original route leading to the original Chain Hills tunnel.


Here we see the tracks entering the two tunnels. The new Wingatui tunnel is about twice the length of the old Chain Hills tunnel. Below we see the tracks coming out at the south/west ends of the tunnels. The Chain Hills tunnel still exists today. The new double track tunnel was rather difficult to build costing 3 1/2 times as much per lineal yard as the Caversham Tunnel due to the nature of the ground that was encountered in building it. On reflection the conditions at Caversham were unusually good compared to a more typical experience of most railway tunnels in NZ, that Wingatui would tend to represent.


The site of Wingatui Station was changed to be closer to Dunedin and is directly adjacent to the tunnel portal.


Approaching Mosgiel the junction with the Outram Branch is encountered. Mosgiel (below) is the end of the double track section from Dunedin.


Port Chalmers-Dunedin-Mosgiel [2]

This is basically the “Dunedin Suburban Area”, which is the extent of coverage of suburban passenger transport in the Dunedin area. This is a three part article incorporating 33 maps which were originally produced at 1:2000 scale. N.B. Due to some vagaries of Blogger the maps get resized to a smaller scale so I can’t really help by saying what the actual scale is that you will see in the maps following.


Just north/east of Dunedin there is this interesting deviation that involved a station called Pelichet Bay (see the third map, below).


Because of the construction of Forsyth Barr Stadium at Awatea St, the powers that be decided they wanted to push State Highway 88 through on a new route alongside the main line. This involved ripping up a number of railway sidings so that part of the rail corridor could be stolen for the highway.


Here we can see the site of Pelichet Bay station at the corner of Frederick St and Anzac Ave (approximate location). There in fact was a bay there at the time the railway was originally built; the line was deviated onto a causeway in the 1920s, unlike the other bays north of Dunedin this one was completely filled in, in fact the land on both sides was reclaimed so the shoreline has moved out a lot.


The doubling project of 1908-1914 between Dunedin and Mosgiel involved a lot of work to improve the gradients and eliminate level crossings. The work more or less starts about where the Dunedin Loco sidings come off at the left; the main line was raised up on an embankment at 1 in 100 to take it over Andersons Bay Road which was the first crossing removed. The dashed line to the right is approximately where the main line would have run originally. The DP & Ocean Beach Railway ended up going under the main line and the segment as far as Strathallan St is still in place today. The embankment was built up by constructing trestling, which was then buried, an old-school method of constructing embankments used around NZ before the advent of heavy earthmoving machinery.


The Andersons Bay Rd bridge still carries double tracks today but the extent of double track now reaches only a short distance to the south/west of this bridge. The original site of Kensington Station near King Edward Street, on the level, was replaced by a new station on the embankment at the north side of the new King Edward St bridge. The station had only pedestrian access, gained by a stairway entered through the bridge abutment rising between the twin tracks to the island platform. One side of the bridge was removed at the singling of the line and it has since been rebuilt with new abutments. A siding crossing Wilkie Road just south/west of King Edward Street bridge was probably removed when the line was raised, if not before. Just to the south/west is the current siding into the Hillside Engineering site. Wilkie Road Bridge has also been singled but retains its dual track abutments.


As the line came around the back of Carisbrook Stadium, this is about where the extent of the raising from Dunedin Station ended. My research found an old photo that shows there has always been a railway bridge over South Road. There have been not one, but in fact two, deviations of the line between Murrayfield St and Caversham Station. In 1910 the duplication work required a new double track replacement of the Caversham Tunnel at a lower level. A deviation was put in to take the railway line down to this lower level. This new section of double track remained in use until the 1980s. It was then that a proposal to build a new motorway through Caversham was put into effect. Up until that time the main traffic route was via South Road which was well clear of the tracks. In order to make room for the motorway a new single track railway embankment was constructed from Murrayfield St to Caversham so that the old route could be taken over by the motorway. This required a new railway bridge over South Road. The map above therefore properly shows this new section as always being single track. Due to the motorway construction, no trace can be found today of Caversham Station with its island platform, nor of the original 1874 railway route. The new railway route of the 1980s did bring one benefit and that was curve easing, the previous curve had a speed limit of 60 km/h, the realignment considerably eased what was quite a spectacular S bend at this location. The 1910 route on the other hand was first started in 1907, but was not finished until after the new tunnel had been built, due to a lot of unstable ground in the area causing many problems with the construction.


Continuing south/west from Caversham we can see how the railway and the motorway bisected Caversham. There were six north/south aligned streets that all got bridges to replace level crossings when the new line was opened in 1910. The advent of the motorway resulted in all of the streets except Barnes Drive being closed, and given new names on the true north side. The bridges were all removed except at Barnes Drive, and at Goodall Street (between Catherine Street and Asquith Street) where it is still used for access to a footbridge over the motorway. Before there was a motorway, South Road came along to Caversham Place and crossed over the railway line on a massive bridge that is still in place today, although now on a dead end. Just south/west of this bridge the present day Caversham Tunnel is encountered. This is constructed through sandstone and is completely unlined except at the portals. This is a very wet tunnel and at the time of completion was discharging more than 60,000 litres of water a day, which was piped to Hillside.


Continuing to the south/west are the two Caversham tunnels. The portal of the original is now below the motorway which at the time of the recent reconstruction (2009-10) was carried directly over the top of it, when formerly it was to the side of it. The tunnel remains accessible and has in recent years been used by the DCC Waterworks department to carry water and sewerage reticulation. The approach to the north/east portal is made through a deep sandstone cutting and there used to be a footbridge over the top at the end of Lindsay Road (off Rockyside Terrace) but this was removed in the recent motorway works.


The original tunnel came out below Kaikorai Valley Road which crossed over the top of it. Since closure of the 1874 route the overbridge was removed, but a culvert was put underneath the road to carry waterworks pipes. The railway bridge over a stream just to the south/west of the road is gone but a road bridge was built parallel to it to give access into the old fertiliser works site. Sidings shown on the map at the old Cattleyards station are those which existed in about 1964, all of the industries at the site now being closed. The current Caversham tunnel exits into a cutting just to the north/east of Kaikorai Valley Road. The line then passes through the former site of Burnside station.

Port Chalmers–Dunedin-Mosgiel [1]

This is basically the “Dunedin Suburban Area”, which is the extent of coverage of suburban passenger transport in the Dunedin area. This is a three part article incorporating 33 maps which were originally produced at 1:2000 scale. N.B. Due to some vagaries of Blogger the maps get resized to a smaller scale so I can’t really help by saying what the actual scale is that you will see in the maps following.


Port Chalmers showing the wharf and freight terminal sidings and the tunnel.


Heading down to Sawyers Bay, a curve easement can be seen to the left. This work was done about three years ago.


Sawyers Bay station and continuing south, the eponymous tunnel (double track width).


Between Sawyers Bay and Dunedin are numerous realignments of the original railway route, which followed the shoreline of various bays. These were bypassed by causeways which were built to accommodate double tracks. However the last of these (Blanket Bay) was never completed as a double track section and the tunnel has subsequently been used to accommodate the single main line and the Sawyers Bay station loop. There was also a tunnel in the original shoreline route which was demolished to make way for a realignment of the highway.


The completed double track section to the north reached to St Leonards and was singled again in the 1980s.



South of Ravensbourne is Dunedin’s only remaining double track mainline section.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Maimai Siding

Maimai (~50 km) is a small locality on the Stillwater Ngakawau Line, near Reefton (~62 km). It is divided from the latter by the Reefton Saddle. Suttons Mill operated at some past time to the north of Maimai with a bush tramway. Maimai is just before a 70 degree bend in both the railway and State Highway 7 which are parallel at this point. Just downline from Maimai is the bridge crossing the Mawheraiti (Little Grey) River. Maimai is the last location before Reefton that is in the valley of the Mawheraiti River, therefore the last bit of flat land before a train has to climb the Reefton Saddle, pass through the Tawhai Tunnel and descend again to Reefton.
Birchfield Coal established an opencast coal mine at Giles Creek in 1984 and the operation has developed to produce 500,000 tonnes of annual output. The mine is situated in the Rotokohu Coal Measures at an altitude of about 200 metres on an escarpment directly overlooking the Inangahua River Valley. Due to the topography and lack of bridges across the Inangahua River, road access to Giles Creek Mine runs on a north south alignment, towards Maimai, rather than heading east towards Reefton (or more correctly, Cronadun). From Maimai, the route goes north for the first ~7.5 km on the sealed Maimai Road. Reaching the turnoff to the mine, the road climbs steadily through forest to reach the mine after about another 7 km. All of the mine’s output is trucked via Maimai as there is no other road access. Here is an area map of the country between the Mawheraiti and Inangahua Rivers.
Due to the proximity of the railway line to Maimai and the desire to rail coal for customers, a loading facility has been established at Maimai, consisting initially of a loading bank made out of old highsider wagons (similar to the loading bank at Waimangaroa for Denniston coal traffic that closed in the mid 1990s) with a single ended siding. The map below shows the layout.
Fonterra has contracted to bring coal from Maimai by rail to its new dairy factory at Darfield. The siding is now being redeveloped and may have a different final layout to that shown above.
Maimai is one of numerous locations on the Stillwater Ngakawau Line and Midland Line and their branches where coal is or has been historically loaded for customers. Some of the other locations for coal loading include Stillwater, Rapahoe, Dunollie, Rewanui, Reefton, Westport, Rahui, Cascade, Waimangaroa, Conns Creek, Ngakawau, Granity, Summerlea, Seddonville, Mokihinui Mine, Ikamatua,  Ngahere, Blackball, Brunner. As of today, active locations include Ngakawau, Reefton, Maimai and Stillwater, while Rapahoe may be mothballed due to closure of the Spring Creek Mine (except for other possible Solid Energy production such as at Strongman or future new production at Rewanui). Sergeants Hill is proposed as a loading point by Bathurst Mining which is establishing new opencast production at Denniston.
Acknowledgements to the Newzealandlocomotives group for contributions.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The five faces of Paeroa Junction

Well the previous article said there were only four. But things got more complex because there were two different bridges across the river between the junction and Paeroa town. So here are five faces of Paeroa Junction.
N.B. The parts that were operational at each image are in red, parts in black did not exist or operate at the time.
In 1898, the railway from Frankton to Paeroa opened. A single track wooden bridge was used to cross the Ohinemuri River south of the town. The railway station was a little north of this bridge.
In 1905, the branch line to Waikino was opened. This needed a curved track towards the east which had a set of junction points just to the south of the bridge. The signals over this set of points were controlled by a signalbox and ground frame at Paeroa station.
In 1925, stopbanks were constructed along the banks of the Ohinemuri River. This meant the railway bridge had to be raised about 8 feet (2.5 metres). This made the gradient from Paeroa railway station to the bridge severe, so that it was decided to move the station 1 km further north to ease out the gradient. Therefore it was also decided to move the junction of the two lines to the north side of the river. This meant the new bridge had to be built for two tracks, and it was opened in 1926. The track from Frankton was on the west side of the bridge, and the track to Waikino was on the east side of the bridge. The new bridge was constructed of steel girders replacing the wooden Howe Truss original. Within two years the East Coast Main Trunk was completed. All through trains had to go into Paeroa and were then reversed to continue their journey. This did not matter much as steam engines had to be serviced at the locomotive depot, and an extra engine could be attached at Paeroa for trains heading to the east if it was needed. Because of the loss of the passenger station just to the north of the bridges, the new flag halt of Paeroa Township was opened in 1932 at the location of the old station. Only one platform and shelter were provided so that passengers could only board trains travelling on one of the tracks.
In 1959, traffic on the line was increasing because of the output of timber processing plants at Kawerau and Kinleith, which had been built earlier the same decade. At the same time, dieselisation of the ECMT meant that the locomotive servicing stop at Paeroa was not as essential any more. It was decided to shift the junction of the two lines south again, by opening a new station at Paeroa South. A deviation in the eastward route was made to make room for the new railway yard at this location. The direct link from Frankton to Paeroa was removed and all trains to or from the Thames Branch had to reverse at Paeroa South. ECMT trains had a direct connection to Frankton via the new south curve and saved about 5 km in distance and also in time by being able to run straight through instead of reversing. Paeroa Township station was closed, while Paeroa became a station only on the Thames Branch. The second track and bridge between Paeroa South and Paeroa were no longer needed and were removed.
In 1978, the Kaimai Tunnel opened. This resulted in the closure of the railway between Paeroa South and Katikati and it was lifted about five years later. In order to continue with the Thames Branch, which was now extended by 43 km back to Morrinsville, the new ECMT junction, the direct link north to south needed to be reinstated. This was installed as the new curved route shown rather than the more direct link of 1898 to the west. Some say that the original formation had been built on in the intervening 19 years, while others suggest the curved route needed less new track laid and reused the existing level crossing of SH26. Paeroa South station was closed, and most of the track to Apata was eventually lifted, except for the section now owned by the Goldfields Railway between Waihi and Waikino. The track between Apata and Katikati stayed open for several years after 1978 but a railfreight terminal proposal at Katikati came to nothing.
The sixth face (not illustrated) happened after 1995 when the Thames Branch closed. All track and most structures on the branch were removed beyond Waitoa. Railfans can still trace some of the site of the junction and branch today. The most notable remnants on the entire former ECMT route and Thames Branch today are
  • The Te Aroha railway station building preserved at its original site.
  • The bridge just to the south of Te Aroha.
  • The Thames railway station at its original site.
  • The Karangahake Tunnel which is part of a public walkway, along with the old railway bridge at the east end.
  • The station at Athenree which was relocated to the nearby site of Athenree Historic Homestead.
  • The Paeroa station which was taken to Waikino as part of the Goldfields heritage railway project.
  • The Waihi station on its original site as part of the Goldfields heritage railway project.
  • A culvert just east of Waihi where the railway crossed over a tramway
  • Between Katikati and Apata some of the larger bridges are still in place, used to carry power lines.

Monday, 1 April 2013

The four faces of Paeroa

With my change of focus today to mapping part of the old ECMT route I got to Paeroa and then started drawing up the notorious junction triangle at the south end. This story is well known but I will repeat it here with these four images.
In all of the images, the red lines are the ones that were in use at the time. The black ones are shown for interest but did not actually exist or were in use at the time. As you will see this was not a triangle as we would ordinarily know it since there were not three legs in use at any one time.
Paeroa in 1898. The Thames Branch had reached Paeroa from the south, and the red route went north to Paeroa and south towards Frankton. A pretty straightforward layout.
Paeroa in 1905. A branch to Waikino (which later became the ECMT) had started to be constructed. Therefore a connecting curve was added so that trains could run from Paeroa to the east.
Paeroa in 1959. In conjunction with the dieselisation of the line, the direct link curve to the ECMT was added. As the direct link to Paeroa from the south was closed, a new junction station called Paeroa South was added, which required a realignment of the approaches to it. All trains for the Thames Branch would now have to reverse or be shunted at Paeroa South.
Paeroa in 1978. The ECMT along with Paeroa South station was closed. The direct link from Frankton to Paeroa was reinstated, albeit on a new alignment because the original route had been sold and built on.
Work will continue on this in the coming week heading out to find the Pokeno-Paeroa deviation proposal of the 1930s (formation was constructed, but never completed). This is well covered on several NZMS 1 maps almost all the way through. This is where you can begin to wonder why it was that this route was never actually completed, certainly most if not all of the formation was surveyed and a lot of work done on it. Info received indicates the work was started 1938 but it was never finished. In hindsight this only moved the junction of the ECMT further to the north and did not address the problems of the difficult Paeroa-Apata section which was addressed by building the Kaimai Tunnel. Post war efforts focused on the latter and the Pokeno-Paeroa cutoff line was abandoned and forgotten.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Cattleyards Station (1964)

I have taken a momentary escape from the PNGL to map in Cattleyards station in Dunedin.
As seen here Cattleyards used to be on the 1870s main line which passed through the old Caversham Tunnel until a new deviation and tunnel were opened in 1910. The three industries were established at the site of the old station and had various sidings.
A closer view of the station area showing all the sidings. The freezing works is the only site still remaining and closed a few years ago, probably remaining today as coolstores, but without rail access.
One of the numerous White Aviation photos used to source the map.