Monday 28 January 2019

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

Following on from my post earlier today, I will be working on the direction proposals over the next few days and probably there will be a conclusion by Friday.

The twelve volumes are as follows and the work on each volume to date can be summarised as follows:
  1. Volume 1 - North Auckland Line. This route traditionally ran from Newmarket (Auckland) to Opua, a total distance of 181 miles. Its branches have run to Otiria, Port Whangarei, Dargaville, Donnellys Crossing and Riverhead, with the Opua to Kawakawa section latterly a branch that is now a heritage railway, and the expected development of a branch to Marsden Point a present day reality. Volume 1 was our very first fully completed GIS based volume as a set of diagrams with tabulated data in PDF format, back in 2013.
  2. Volume 2 - North Island Main Trunk. Traditionally it ran from Auckland to Marton, just over 309 miles in length. The modern day route for Volume 2 is assumed to run from Wellington to Auckland and be some 680 kilometres long. Branches of the NIMT or private industrial lines have been opened over time to Newmarket, Onehunga, Manukau, Mission Bush, Waiuku (incorporating a present day heritage railway), Glen Afton (incorporating a present day heritage railway), Wilton Colleries, Raetihi, Foxton and Johnsonville (formerly part of the NIMT itself). Parts of Volume 2 have been sporadically completed but no full volume has been developed.
  3. Volume 3 - East Coast Main Trunk. ECMT is a modern definition that was first imposed in the late 1920s when it was applied to a collection of lines that ran from Frankton to Taneatua. The first 44 miles at this time was originally designated in the Thames Branch and the original start of the ECMT itself was at Paeroa from which it ran to Taneatua at 110 miles. Due to realignments, reassignations, deviations and closures, the ECMT currently is designated from Frankton to Kawerau, a distance of 182 km, and branches, industrial lines or bypassed sections are found in the form of the Paeroa-Pokeno Corridor, Cambridge Branch, Thames Branch, Kinleith Branch, Rotorua Branch, Mt Maunganui Branch, Taneatua Branch, Murupara Branch, Matahina Tramway, and Paeroa-Apata Bypassed Section resulting from the Kaimai Deviation which incorporates a present day heritage railway. Publication has been of sporadic sections but a PDF volume was started a few years ago and has had only the tabulated data created so far.
  4. Volume 4 - Marton New Plymouth Line. This is the modern designation for what was originally the Marton to New Plymouth section of the Wellington New Plymouth Line, which was 253 miles long. In its present form it has a length of 212 km and it incorporates branches, industrial lines and bypassed sections at Stratford-Okahukura (including a current tourist railway), Whanganui (including a current heritage railway), Waitara (including a current heritage railway), Egmont, Opunake and Fordell-Okoioa. Volume 4 is in current development to a Basic level.
  5. Volume 5 - Palmerston North Gisborne Line. This route is 243 miles or 390 km in length. It  incorporates branches, industrial lines and bypassed sections at Moutohora, Ngatapa, Frasertown and Napier Port. There are two present heritage railways based in Gisborne and other heritage efforts in the Hawkes Bay section. A PDF volume of map diagrams was completed in 2014 as "Volume 8" and covered only the Napier-Gisborne section.
  6. Volume 6 - Wairarapa Line. The route has always run from Wellington to Woodville. Originally 115 miles long it is now listed at 171 km approx. It  incorporates branches, industrial lines and bypassed sections at the Melling Branch, Melling-Haywards, Silverstream Bridge - Silverstream, Hutt Park, Gracefield, Rimutaka Incline and Greytown. There are or have been a number of heritage railways around Wellington, Featherston and Pahiatua. Volume 6 has only been developed sporadically to date.
  7. Volume 7 - Nelson Section. The maximum extent of public operation reached Kawatiri, some 103 km from Nelson. This is the only volume based around a completely closed section. Apart from documenting this section and heritage efforts at Nelson and Tapawera, this Volume also takes in partially developed corridors from Gowanbridge to Murchison and Inangahua, and from Nelson to Blenheim, as well as an industrial tramway at Dun Mountain. A PDF publication of a set of diagrams was completed in 2013. A second edition was completed as "Volume 8" (a different use of this designation from the Volume 5 publication referred to above) in 2017. A full set of maps with aerial photography background have been published online.
  8. Volume 8 - Stillwater Ngakawau Line. This modern designation (164 km) covers what was historically the Stillwater Westport Line (84 miles) and the first 19 miles of the Seddonville Branch. In addition to those areas there have been branches, industrial lines or bypassed sections at Westport Port, Conns Creek, Denniston, Granity, Ngakawau, Charming Creek, Cape Foulwind, Mokihinui, Burkes Creek, Blackball and Roa, and heritage efforts in the area of Westport and Reefton. This has been a sporadic development with no real effort at putting together a complete set of maps or a PDF.
  9. Volume 9 - Midland Line. This has always been the designation for the line from Rolleston to Greymouth (130 miles, now 211 km). There have been branches, major industrial lines or bypassed sections at Whitecliffs, Avoca, Ruru, Rewanui, Rapahoe, Greymouth, Hokitika and Ross. Heritage efforts include Springfield and Shantytown. There have been many industrial tramways along the West Coast section of this line not mentioned above and there is only limited coverage of these in the maps due to restricted availability of historical documentation. Volume 9 has not been pulled together into a complete publication to any real extent to date.
  10. Volume 10 - Main North Line. What we now know as the Main North Line was originally several different parts, such as the Great Northern Railway from Christchurch to Waiau, the Cheviot Branch from Waipara to Parnassus, and the Picton Section from Picton to Wharanui. The current use of this designation applies to the 216 miles or 348 km from Addington to Picton. Branches, major industrial lines or bypassed sections have existed at Waiau, Oxford and Eyreton, with heritage efforts at Blenheim and Waipara. A complete volume of diagrams (for the main line only) was produced in 2012 and appears to have been the first coordinated effort to produce this form of publication in this project, followed by volumes for each branch individually.
  11. Volume 11 - Main South Line. Originally part of the South Island Main Trunk it ran from Lyttelton to Bluff over 392 miles and is currently Lyttelton to Invercargill at 601 km. It has the most branches, major industrial lines or bypassed sections in any of the maps volumes, including those at Ferrymead, Southbridge, Little River, Methven, Springburn, Mount Somers, Fairlie, Waimate, Kurow, Ngapara, Tokarahi, Moeraki, Shag Point, Dunback, Makareao, Port Chalmers, Walton Park, Fernhill, Outram, Roxburgh, Kaitangata, Catlins, Tapanui, Waimea Plains, Waikaia, Waikaka, Glenham, Seaward Bush and Bluff. There are a number of heritage efforts around Christchurch, Ashburton, Timaru, Oamaru, Dunedin and parts of Southland. Parts of the main line and some branches were put into PDFs in 2012 and 2013.
  12. Volume 12 - Otago Central Branch and Kingston Branch. These major branches of the MSL which also have other branches were put into a separate volume to reduce the size of Volume 11. The Otago Central Branch from Wingatui to Cromwell was 147 miles, and the Kingston Branch from Invercargill to Kingston was 87 miles. Branches, major industrial lines or bypassed sections have included Wairio, Ohai, Mossbank, Tuatapere, Orawia, Browns and Mossburn. A considerable heritage effort has been incorporated throughout the entire Otago Central corridor, and there have also been other heritage efforts at Mandeville, Kingston, Fairfax, Te Anau, Lumsden and Wairio. An early PDF volume for the Otago Central Railway was produced as a set of diagrams in 2013. The second revision of this as "Volume 17" was started in 2015. A major effort to produce a Comprehensive set of maps for this volume has been underway in the past several years and is ongoing.
The maps incorporate a number of formats and these are being kept as they have been developed to this point.
  • Maps are the format that incorporates aerial photography background (colour and monochrome) and are only published online. The online format is essentially a photo album with a series of tiles that can be serially scrolled through. These albums can be downloaded to a device for offline use.
  • Diagrams are the format that includes only greyscale information and are designed for low bandwidth online use like Maps, low resource offline use via downloading the photo albums to a device, and PDF publication. The latter is the format that is optimised for a physical format such as printing on a home printer, photocopying and a bound volume that can be produced by a print shop. 
In both formats, full track layouts are included, and the main difference is in the background to these maps, the Maps format including aerial photography, and the Diagrams format including greyscale terrain rendering. Diagrams are subtyped into an online format and a PDF format.  The PDF format for recent editions has focused on efficient space optimisation to reduce the number of physical pages and therefore production cost.

In revising this table of information about how the project has been published to date I have discovered there was quite a lot of diagram publication prior to this time, particularly in the South Island. The early PDFs used a relatively inefficient layout and the largest one produced was around 150 pages. With the work that has been done to optimise the use of space into the PDF editions, we expect each volume should compromise a maxmum of 50 pages but it will be interesting to see when Volume 11 is first produced in a complete PDF how close to this goal we can come.

As the Wordpress blog for the project probably has sufficient server capacity (in its free form) I expect all 12 PDFs should be able to be hosted there directly and so there would not be a need to have them separately hosted on Scribd although copies might be placed there for the sake of wider availability. Google Photos would continue to be used for all online formats.