Thursday, 19 July 2018

Wairarapa Line [6]: Upper Hutt-Mangaroa

So here are first draft maps for Upper Hutt to Mangaroa. There are a few things to add and fix up before eventually releasing them.

Upper Hutt station has changed a lot in 70 years. The turntable is long gone, the King St level crossing closed many years ago and the yard tracks rather than being for freight operations are now used to store electric units for the Metlink passenger services. The old line over the Rimutakas started on a 1 in 35 gradient east of Upper Hutt and in the right hand of this map would have already been on that grade. Latterly there was a sawmill east of the old level crossing and sidings did serve these premises but the area has recently been redeveloped further.

Here we see the obvious disparity in height between the old and new routes. This is harder to appreciate today because the old embankment from Upper Hutt station appears to have been planted over with scrub and possibly lowered in the public reserve, and cut through at Park Street where an underpass was built many years ago. Just when King St crossing closed in favour of Park St underpass is not very clear, but some time between 1965 and 1984. There was certainly no railway bridge over Park St when the deviation was put through.

There was enough height difference when the two lines crossed over each other just outside Upper Hutt for a bridge to be required on the old line. This bridge was only in place for the last three or so years of the deviation works even though the entire project had begun in 1948 and the earthworks further east were well under way by 1951. The cutting for the new line was not fully lowered until after the old line had been closed (there was a three day cutover period) and the bridge removed. The embankment at the bottom of the picture was bulldozed some years ago when the area was subdivided for housing.

Some of the prominent curves, cuttings and embankments east of Upper Hutt. Much of this remains undisturbed today.

About 1 mile or 1.6 km east of Upper Hutt was the line's first tunnel, known during the construction era as Cruickshank's. This tunnel was around 220 metres long. The tunnel still exists today and Upper Hutt Council has constructed an access track to it which can be accessed from Cruickshank Road in Upper Hutt.

There is no ready access to the railway route between the tunnel and Mangaroa station because of the demolition of the bridge over the Mangaroa River and redevelopment of the area in lifestyle blocks.

There was another bridge at Cooleys Stream just outside Mangaroa Station. This station was not built when the railway originally opened in 1880, but came into existence several years later.

Mangaroa was a small country station for the first 50 years or so of its existence. However during the Second World War, the Government decided to establish military bases at dispersed locations outside the major population centres. Hence there was an RNZAF stores base built there with sidings. The buildings still exist today and it was not until some years after the war that the site was closed. There was also in an earlier era a bush tramway along the line of the side road next to the base.

There was also an army base built at Mangaroa during WW2. It's not clear at this stage whether this also had its own railway siding or whether they used the Mangaroa yard or air force sidings. The site is now under private ownership but the perimeter road still exists today. During the First World War there was an army camp further east of Mangaroa and this location will be shown on the next series of maps covering from Mangaroa to Kaitoke.

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.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Otago Central Railway [63L]: Ranfurly-Alexandra 12 (Lauder-Auripo 1)

Here we have a 1951 diagram of Auripo. It looks like the proposed extension of the loop was constructed.

Auripo was one of the smallest and most remote stations on the Otago Central branch. It had just a small shelter, loading bank, one loop and a stockyards. There were no extra sidings or goods shed so it was very minimally equipped. There was a small rural population in the general area but the nearest township was some distance away.

I can't publish this actual diagram in the official maps without ANZ permission which I can't be bothered getting, so the reason for having this diagram is just to check positions of key structures and the track.

I have a few plans of Auripo but there isn't really any more detail than is in this plan. But the aerial photography I had hoped would be available hasn't come online yet, so I don't expect to be able to show anything better than the low res 1976 stuff I have been working with up till now.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Wairarapa Line [4]: Hutt Valley Line 2

So now I have the complete set of aerial coverage for the Hutt Valley route here are some samples showing what these locations looked like in 1939/41.

Whilst continuing with some stuff around the Wellington area I need to shift my focus back to the South Island so there won't be much more along this theme for a while except for completing the Johnsonville-Tawa stuff in the next few days.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Wairarapa Line [3]: Hutt Valley line

Well we have been relatively quiet over the past week as I have thrown a lot of resources into the Hutt Valley line, which looked very different in 1939. The line was opened to Waterloo in 1927, but was not further extended to Haywards until the mid 1950s, when it took over as the main line, with the line via Lower Hutt and Melling closed beyond the latter station. This means that the route between Waterloo and Haywards was just an empty corridor, and I have been busy creating mosaics for that section over the past few days and generating tiles to go in the maps.

Waterloo seen in 1939. The original island platform is visible albeit with track only one side of it, and an overbridge access. The subways seem not to have been provided at this time.
Waterloo in its present form. It was rebuilt in 1988 as a transport exchange for the area and this entailed re-adapting the island platform to its original format with track only on one side (Down Main) and another single sided platform for the Up Main. The subway on the south side still exists but it appears the one on the north side, which can be seen in a 1960 aerial photo, may have been filled in, or else there is access to it from within the station these days instead of externally. Subways do not appear to have been installed in 1927 as an overbridge was provided for passenger access off the north side.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Wairarapa Line [2]: Gracefield Branch 2

Well the last couple of days have been work in downloading the aerial photography needed to do the Gracefield Branch. This is split up into three sections: Woburn station, Hutt Park station and Gracefield station.

At the moment I have completed a mosaic for Hutt Park and am working on the mosaics for Woburn and Gracefield. Normally when creating a mosaic you have to overlap to the adjacent mosaics on all sides in order to ensure the tiles all line up properly when you bring them into the GIS. So I have to create a part of Woburn using the aerial imagery that is then used to overlap onto the Hutt Park aerial imagery, which in its turn overlaps onto the Gracefield aerial imagery. Hence the Gimp project has started with a large grid of 28 LDS tiles (4x7) covering the entire section from Woburn to Gracefield, which has now been split into three pieces. The Woburn piece will be further expanded with extra tiles and imagery because it only covers a part of the station, just the part that was in the first aerial image, which has been cropped to the edge of the tile boundary between Woburn and Hutt Park. The Hutt Park piece will be used to align the Gracefield imagery before it gets cut up into Hutt Park and Gracefield tile sections.

The mosaic for Hutt Park has now been extended with 1978 coverage which was such a high resolution that two images are needed to cover the area. The full set of images for 1939, 1978 and 2017 are below.


Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Wairarapa Line [1]: Gracefield Branch 1

Since I did a bit of Wellington station last month I have shifted my interest to Lower Hutt and various areas to be covered there. One of the first will be the Gracefield Branch and Hutt Workshops and right now I am downloading background aerial photography at high resolution of Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt (and also Porirua City for the NIMT). 

Here are a couple of aerial shots of interest in the Lower Hutt area.

Lower Hutt railway station as seen in 1939. The line that passed this station was then the main line from Wellington to Woodville over the Rimutaka Incline. In the lower right corner of this photo the "Hutt Valley" line branching at Petone can be seen as it approaches Ava station. At the time, Waterloo was the terminus of this "branch". The Hutt Valley branch eventually became the main line and the Lower Hutt route was terminated at Melling and has since then only been used by suburban electric units.

Hutt Workshops, also in 1938. The Shops is still a large site although some buildings have been knocked down and small parts of the site converted to residential or commercial subdivisions. The Gracefield Branch now only runs as far as the workshops, Gracefield having closed around 2000.

Otago Central Railway [63K]: Ranfurly-Alexandra 11 (Omakau-Lauder 4)

Here are the final maps for Lauder. Aerial photography alignment was pretty difficult for this set of maps and what you can see reflects the best outcome I could achieve.

The maps use the newest style that I am rolling out across all different map types for making them easier to use.

Next station down the line is Auripo.