This week the main focus is on the Midland Line because I need to update some maps of Otira for a requested requirement there. This means setting up a Volume 9 project in Qgis (it hasn’t been done yet, like several of the other volumes) and getting together all the base aerial photography for the rail corridor, which is from Rolleston to Hokitika. As this is part of the Volume 1-12 Basic coverage expectation to be developed throughout this year it is an important part of this year’s objectives for NZ Rail Maps development. However in addition to the basic coverage, I also will be updating the mosaic tiles I already did for Otira last year, as well as looking at making some for Darfield, Springfield and Arthurs Pass. These four locations constitute all the major stations between Rolleston and Hokitika that I can get aerial coverage for. The actual Retrolens coverage that I got for Otira last year has been blocked off for access since that time because Retrolens in a few areas apparently mistakenly scanned up a small number of images that were not supposed to be published on their site. For this reason I can’t get official NZR station surveys for Otira that undoubtedly exist. However I can get NZR corridor surveys for quite a distance west of Otira if I so chose but I don’t think there are any other major stations that will be in these surveys to bother with at this time.
If you look at the other articles in this series you can see some pictures of Otira which are worth taking another look at, and as I already have the map tiles for Otira in a mosaic project, it is just a matter of some tidying up and then importing them into Qgis to just check over and then republish for the Midland Line maps.
However the full extent of the Midland Line is only going to be Basic coverage and will proceed fairly soon and will be alongside the other stuff I am doing with Christchurch City at the moment including Christchurch Transport Blog. Since I have just downloaded all the corridor images then the next step is to get that into Qgis and once that is completed then mapping the whole route can be pushed ahead. I think the mosaics for those four stations will also be pushed along as a token gesture since we can’t get any aerial coverage for anywhere else on the West Coast.
We’ll finish off with some Weston Langford images from around the area. These were all taken when he visited New Zealand for a series of railfan specials between December 1963 and January 1964.
Otira. Permanent way overhead inspection vehicle is seen on the left whilst on the right is the vicinity of the steam engine depot with its coal dump ramp for unloading coal for the engines. The overhead inspection vehicle is now at the Ferrymead Railway.
An electrically hauled passenger train arriving at Otira from Arthurs Pass. On the left is the coal ramp and a rake of loaded (coal?) wagons beyond it. To the right can be seen the steam engine depot with what appears to be an AB class locomotive in steam.
Big Kowai Viaduct immediately north of Springfield. The Midland Railway Company, an unsuccessful private venture, built the original viaduct as part of the 4 1/2 miles of completed track under its contract that it was able to complete from Springfield to Otarama, although the work was actually subcontracted to Andersons Engineering of Christchurch. This consisted of the two viaducts across tributaries of the Kowai River and the No.1 tunnel. Progress stopped upon reaching Pattersons Creek where a temporary wooden viaduct was built, the permanent steel structure being put in by the government after taking over the Midland contracts. In any case this viaduct at the Kowai River lasted for around 60 years until it was washed out by a flood in 1951. It took more than ten years to replace it with the concrete and steel structure seen here, the original being on the right and lower down. This was subsequently demolished, although some of the track that approached it can still be seen at one end.
Big Kowai viaduct as seen in 1960. The original bridge being propped up by temporary wooden piles. Construction had not yet started on its replacement.