Friday, 8 February 2019

East Coast Main Trunk [2A]: Kinleith Branch 1

So last year I wrote some posts about Rotorua, specifically the old railway station in the middle of the city. I also wrote I didn't expect to do any more of the ECMT for a while. Well here I am nearly 8 weeks later writing about the ECMT again. This is because at the moment I am working on maps of the Kinleith Branch and Tokoroa.

Kinleith Branch is an interesting line with an interesting history. The first part from Morrinsville to Putaruru was originally the Rotorua Branch and opened in the 19th century. Then along came an outfit called the Taupo Totara Timber Co, and they built a bush tramway from Putaruru to Mokai, which is near Lake Taupo. This crossed the Waikato River on an interesting wooden suspension bridge, which was eventually replaced with a steel structure. The idea was that the government might later take over the tramway and convert it into a railway to Taupo. This never actually eventuated as such, but just after World War II, when the TTT was looking to close down its rail operation, the government did buy the full line and they reconstructed the first 30 km of it to become the Kinleith Branch from Putaruru to Kinleith, where a forestry mill was built that operates to this day. Tokoroa became the principal service town for the mill and has developed from a mere siding and industrial plant (not sure what for exactly) in the middle of bare land, into the sprawling metropolis that it is today. The other 52 km of TTT line was lifted and the bridge over the Waikato, which would have become submerged below the waters of hydro Lake Whakamaru was, we assume, dismantled.

Fast forward a little and with the opening of the East Coast Main Trunk itself to Taneatua in 1928, the inadequacis of the main line route via the Karangahake Gorge became apparent and pressure developed for an improved route to increase capacity. Thus the Kaimai Deviation was born and took shape in the 1970s. The new route, opened in 1978, joined the Rotorua Branch at Waharoa, resulting in the first part of the Branch becoming the main line, and at the same time, the Branch section from Waharoa to Putaruru was reincorporated into the Kinleith Branch, now 65 km in length. The Rotorua Branch origin was thus relocated to Putaruru and its length was reduced to 50 km.

What we know today is that the Kinleigh Branch over its last 30 km can be mapped against the TT Co route because full aerial photos were taken in 1944 of this first part of the route. This means I can use this coverage to be able to draw in where the line was deviated when it was adapted into a railway, and publish maps showing the old route. Unfortunately there are considerable gaps in TTT coverage south of Kinleith but parts can still be seen on some older aerial photos, and this will be incorporated into these maps wherever possible.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

NZ Rail Maps Project Direction/ Development Proposals 2019 [4]

This is a more in depth look at what we hope to see developed in the Project in 2019.

All of Volumes 1-12 will be developed to a Basic level. In addition the following content is planned to be developed to a Comprehensive level:
  • Volume 1: Selected stations in the Far North.
  • Volume 2: Auckland Central, Te Rapa/Hamilton, and the parts of Wellington already covered. No other plans at this stage, partly because of lack of Retrolens coverage of the Central North Island.
  • Volume 3: Selected stations on the Kinleith, Taneatua and Thames branches, and on the closed section between Paeroa and Apata.
  • Volume 4: No comprehensive development planned due to lack of Retrolens coverage in the area.
  • Volume 5: All stations between Napier and Gisborne, and selected stations in other parts of Hawkes Bay. Limited by lack of Retrolens coverage south of Ormondville.
  • Volume 6: Some areas of the Wairarapa already completed, which may be added to. Limited by lack of Manawatu coverage of Retrolens.
  • Volume 7: Some stations on the Nelson Section.
  • Volume 8: No comprehensive development planned due to lack of Retrolens coverage in the West Coast.
  • Volume 9: Comprehensive coverage of Otira, Arthurs Pass and selected stations on the Canterbury side. West Coast is limited by lack of Retrolens coverage.
  • Volume 10: Selected stations within Christchurch, North Canterbury, Waiau Branch, Picton and Marlborough.
  • Volume 11: Selected stations within Christchurch, Mid/South Canterbury, Methven and Springburn Branches, North Otago, Dunedin, Invercargill
  • Volume 12: All stations on the Otago Central Branch. Selected stations on the Kingston Branch and its branches.
That is a lot of work but I have left myself plenty of wriggle room by using the discretionary term "selected" to avoid getting too committed to particular locations.

Because work is going on in a number of different areas all at once, in addition to the regular diet of posts about specific stations or sections, a weekly progress report will also be written.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Main North Line [13A]: Glasnevin

Glasnevin was the station on the Main North Line that was located between Greneys Road and Waipara. Apart from the platform and building or shelter, there was a separate siding for the Amberley Lime Co and and for the ballast pit just north of the station. Just north of the pit, the highway used to cross over the railway line and go down to an old wooden single lane bridge across the Waipara River, upstream from the railway bridge. This was replaced with the present two lane concrete bridge about 1971/72. Like Greneys Road, Glasnevin was closed to the public in 1966. The date of the lime siding being closed is unknown to me at present, and when the ballast pit ceased to be used or the track, which is clearly visible on the aerial photo, was lifted, is also unknown.

The lime siding consisted of a facility for receiving lime loads from vehicles, which dumped into a pair of hoppers, from which it appears conveyors took the lime into a building or shelter under or in which rail wagons were loaded. The truck dumping facility with its two hoppers, made of concrete, is the part which can still be seen beside the railway track to this very day, the rail loading structure having been removed. The ballast pit remains clearly visible as it has not been filled in to any significant extent.

Lime loading facility remains seen in 2008 from the Coastal Pacific.
Glasnevin ballast pit which for many years was bare gravel but has in more recent times been dressed with soil and sown in pasture.

Here are the maps.