Sunday, 15 July 2018

Wairarapa Line [5]: Haywards-Silverstream

Haywards to Silverstream is interesting because of various route changes. Haywards was originally reached from the first route of the Wairarapa Line up the western side of the Hutt Valley via Lower Hutt, Melling and Belmont. In February 1954 the Wairarapa Line was deviated to the eastern side of the valley so that Haywards (Manor Park as it became) was a junction until the old route was fully closed. The present Manor Park station is slightly to the south of the old one. 


Manor Park has recently had an overbridge built replacing pedestrian level crossings.

The next location of interest is Haywards Junction. This name signifies the location where the new double track line and the old single track line to Silverstream crossed over. Whether there was actually a connection like a set of points is unclear. There may have been a connection at the Silverstream end as this part was used as a siding for some years and in fact was where the Fell engines were put in for scrapping. If this was the case it seems odd there would need to be connections at both ends over such a short section. The main value would have been if Railways had built the new bridge themselves and used their own track mounted cranes from both ends at once.


"Haywards Junction" showing the difference in routes between the original single track and the present day double track.


The old Silverstream Bridge showing how the double track embankment cuts through the single track route. This made a junction at "Haywards Junction" as shown in the previous map unlikely unless "Haywards Junction was actually at the point shown above. Note I am relying on the Quail Atlas's suggestion that Haywards Junction was actually this location and not back at Haywards where the eastern and western lines joined. Silverstream Bridge actually had two separate wooden bridges in different eras, upper quadrant signals at the west end, and a ballast pit.

The original railway between Haywards Junction and Silverstream was closed in November 1954 with the opening of the double track deviation to the north. It was then abandoned until 1977 when the Silver Stream Railway heritage group moved in to establish there. The bridge had been demolished soon after closure, so the part available which is operated today consists of the formation from the east side of the bridge up to Silverstream station. 


The SSR has a main entrance off Reynolds Bach Drive near the old bridge and their main depot is located there. The old 1536/1537 signals gantry and signals have been replicated on the heritage site.

The Silver Stream Railway took a few years to be developed but in 1984 they were ready to move their rolling stock into their site by temporarily connecting to the NZR network at the new Silverstream station. They had to lay a few hundred metres of track and bridge a stream to make this happen. After the move was completed the temporary track was all taken up as there is no permanent or semi-permanent connection to the site (unlike the situation at Ferrymead where the connecting track was left in place and used a number of times over a period of years until the eventual permanent switchlock was installed).

 1941 view of Silverstream across the single track station in its original location.
 1984 with the temporary connection to the SSR site going in.
2017, the "North End" of the SSR has been developed with several rolling stock sheds, one of which is used by NZRLS for their ex-WMR carriages.