Friday 27 March 2020

Wairarapa Line [7B]: Rimutaka Incline Section [0A]: Introduction

In the midst of NZ going to level 4 of COVID-19 lockdown we have continued with our progress on Volume 6 and the past few days has been spent on the "Rimutaka Incline Section" (unofficial name) from Upper Hutt as far as the second tunnel (shown as T2 on the maps and generally known as the "Mangaroa Tunnel". We have looked at a number of sources provided by David Castle, who is perhaps better known as the webmaster of the Valley Signals site, and distilled into the maps as much information as appears relevant and which we can be reasonably confident of, in the time available, and it is now time to move forward to the next section so undoubtedly there are going to be some questions over what to include or not but it is assuredly time to push things forward.

We have decided that owing to the immense historical significance of this line and the high level of interest, that instead of publishing just progress updates, we will produce a research series of articles for this section. At the same time the previous research article series has been renumbered to reflect a more structured system of article production. Hence the base series number for this article is that it is part of WL series 7 which is the series number for the Rimutaka Incline section. We have previously had WL [7A] RIS [1] which is the series of articles published in 2018 for part of this route. Now we are starting a new series, which will be WL [7B], and this is the introduction for that series. The breakdown of each area is shown in the diagrams below.
This particular post is an introduction to the Rimutaka Incline Section. The diagram below shows the entire section from Upper Hutt to Featherston both for the original route and the current route. We use a terrain relief background and contour lines to show what the topography of the area looks like, and you'll appreciate that it is very hilly. 

The research article series will be broken down into:

Rimutaka Incline Section [1] covering from Upper Hutt to Mangaroa Tunnel.

Rimutaka Incline Section [2] covering from Mangaroa Tunnel through what is now known as "Tunnel Gully", Kaitoke station, and near the entrance to the Rimutaka Incline Rail Trail as it presently exists.  (Note this map is rotated 90 degrees compared to the previous one to make the best use of the layout)

Rimutaka Incline Section [3] covering from the present day public entrance to the rail trail, into the Remutaka Range, as far as the true southern end of the Summit Tunnel, incorporating Summit station. In railway topography, this would have been called the "northern" end of the tunnel, owing to it being being a greater mileage from Wellington than the portal at the end of the Summit yard, which they would have called "southern"). Again this is rotated 90 degrees, so that true north is more or less the right hand side of the map rather than the top.

Rimutaka Incline Section [4] covering most of the Incline itself (from the true southern end of the Summit Tunnel) as well as Cross Creek station and the exit of the line from the Remutaka Range out into the South Wairarapa plains.

Rimutaka Incline Series [5] covers the last piece including Pigeon Bush station, up to Speedys Crossing just south of Featherston. In railway terminology this was called the 3431 Service Siding and was in use from the time the Rimutaka Deviation opened, until early 1957, once the track on the RIS had been removed. The diagram below doesn't actually show Pigeon Bush station.

So that sets out the series of articles. There will be one single article for each of WL [7B] RIS [1] to WL [7B] RIS [5] as we haven't got a lot of time to write articles and they are going to come out very quickly. In fact WL [7B] RIS [1] will be published very shortly after this introduction. The only holdup in reality is updating the maps and pushing them out, and the posts will be published as soon as the maps they include are produced.