Saturday 21 March 2020

Wairarapa Line [0R]: Volume 6 Progress Update 18

Good day to our readers. This update is quite soon after the last one but that one was so delayed waiting for us to put in maps of Silverstream that we just sent it out incomplete. We do now have these maps and some examples are below.

A key focus for this update has been a schedule revision as work has slowed a lot over the past few days, but is going to pick up again. We are now looking at a more realistic schedule for completing the work to Masterton, and we expect that could be one week but quite possibly two. The base maps are completed to Upper Hutt at this stage but the historical maps will include several sidings at Trentham that previously existed. Because we have already mapped Upper Hutt there is no additional work needed. Beyond Upper Hutt we will be relying on previous work done on this section and only limited revision will be needed until we get to Featherston and have aerial photos available of the three station yards. Beyond Masterton we are just using the base imagery and not planning to add any aerial coverage, and Woodville is already well covered.

So it is possible now a more realistic completion could be somewhere around the 10th of April, one month later than originally planned. The reason why the schedule has slipped so much is we have not taken into account the large amount of detail in the Wellington suburban area and the time it takes to research it and add it to maps. However as there are only four urban areas of similar size in NZ it does not follow that every volume of maps is going to be slowed down the same amount, but it does follow that the schedule overall is probably going to slip a bit more. It is hard to say at this stage whether two years might be a more realistic prospect. We are quite certain now that the full 12 volumes of maps will not be completed to the original schedule of 12 months but we still think we may get 9 or 10 volumes completed in 2020 and possibly just volume 2 and 12 would be pushed into 2021, since so much work has been already done on some of the volumes.

Some other news is we can get survey 570 taken up the Hutt Valley in 1951 directly from Linz although at the moment there might be a delay. If there is a delay, it's possible we may push on to the expected completion timeframe and re-publish affected maps once we can get those aerial photos, which cover the Western Hutt section, Silver Stream, Upper Hutt to Mangaroa and one or two other interesting places. The scale is at 1:7000 which especially for Western Hutt would be really useful as what we have at the moment in the area taken in 1939 would have been good but most of it is in shadow.
Another useful resource to date has been the Valley Signals site and we have since obtained further resources from the webmaster of that site. We are being choosy about whether to incorporate any of those into mosaics, which is time consuming, or just transcribing information. Nevertheless there is additional valuable information therein that will fill in a few gaps here and there. We will also soon have access to a North Island working timetable but this will mainly inform more recent history and probably that will mainly affect the line north of Featherston where we are not doing anything in depth like we have in urban Wellington/Hutt.

1945 aerial view of Silverstream Bridge going across into the siding on the south side where the hospital was.

Silverstream Bridge Siding as in 1945. This is currently the site of McKirdy Station on the Silver Stream Railway and some of the markings shown on the map such as the turntable, engine shed and station building are related to that. There appears to have been no passenger station there, only what looks like a goods loading shelter over the siding. The siding itself was just alongside the main line and did not run into the hospital site as we had earlier thought.

A 1970 map showing the site of both Silverstream stations.  Work was then underway to build an underpass at Field Street and the site of the two railway bridges with the rail tracks diverted around them can be seen.

This diagram corresponds to the previous aerial map.