Midland Line Maps Nearing Publication

In the past week, more progress has been made on preparing the Volume 9 (Midland Line) maps of the New Zealand Rail Maps Project for publication. The existing historical mosaics have been brought together and preparations made to add some more from requests made to Linz from the Crown Aerial Film Archive for NZR aerial surveys made of Greymouth, Stillwater, Hokitika, Rewanui and Ross stations. In some of these areas, aerial coverage of high quality is relatively sparse, especially the latter two. There is a delay to get orders fulfilled for images from CAFA, so the time schedule for publishing Volume 9 is a consideration as to whether there is time to get these West Coast stations into the finished volume. One possibility is to produce the maps right now for just the Midland Line as far as Otira and finish the West Coast section later. It is still preferable to have this volume completed as rapidly as possible just because of wanting to get all the volumes published in some form this year. Well of course the other option is produce the full maps and then revise the parts just for those stations releasing them as an update at a later time.

Apart from those five stations there will be a focus on cramming as much into the release for Volume 9 as possible, so given that most stations from Sandy Knolls to Otira are as well documented as could be considered reasonable in the current environment, nevertheless a check will be made to see if any station surveys exist for stations within the Canterbury section of Volume 9 that have not been included so far, and possible improvements for the coverage of existing stations. The West Coast part of Volume 9 is the least well historically documented at the present because the Retrolens site has such a sparse level of coverage of the region. There are plenty of surveys of the Coast available directly from CAFA but with the proviso that as yet the archive’s contents can’t be directly downloaded from the LDS site and so requests have to be emailed. So at the present a look is being taken at CAFA coverage of the Rapahoe/Rewanui branches/stations and of course the Hokitika-Ross branch to see what can be reasonably be added quite quickly to the existing coverage of the area. Meanwhile Palmerston North / Volume 2 is on hold as previously indicated.

Here is a full list of all the stations and other stuff on the Midland Line main line and what has been covered so far. There is no corridor survey known to exist before Springfield, so the majority of stations before then are covered by aerial photo runs for the highway, plus the official station surveys produced for Darfield and Springfield. The corridor survey is in most cases about all that is available for the more inland or remote sections of the line, but wasn’t flown until 1982, so a lot of the stations would have closed before then making it of limited value. However at least some of it is available on the Retrolens site, where it can be directly downloaded without waiting for Linz to fulfill order requests. The corridor surveys for Stillwater to Greymouth, the Rapahoe Branch and the Hokitika Branch along with the five station surveys mentioned above are, regrettably, amongst the large volume of West Coast aerial surveys not carried on Retrolens.

Sandy Knolls1961 aerial coverage
Aylesbury1965 aerial coverage
Kirwee1965 aerial coverage
Darfield1940 and 1970 (station) aerial coverage. Possible addition of other eras for viewing only.
Racecourse Hill (original station)1965 aerial coverage
Waddington1958 and 1965 aerial coverage
Sheffield1965 aerial coverage, mine siding diagram
Annat1965 aerial coverage
Springfield (incl deviation)1943, 1965, 1976 (station) aerial coverage, diagrams for original station and mine.
Big Kowai deviation
Joyces Creek deviation
1943 aerial coverage for original routes.
Kowai Bush1943 aerial coverage.
OtaramaClosed before aerial surveys available.
Patersons Creek Ballast Pit1943 aerial coverage.
Staircase1943 aerial coverage. Consider 1982 corridor addition.
Avoca1948 and 1982 (corridor) aerial coverage, various diagrams of station and mine railway.
Craigieburn1948 and 1982 (corridor) aerial coverage.
Cass1982 (corridor) aerial coverage. Consider adding 1966 or 1977 aerial coverage.
Mount White BridgePassenger train flag stop only, no station infrastructure.
Waimakariri Bridge deviation
Waimakariri Bridge Ballast Pit
1966 aerial coverage (BP and original bridge), will add 1943 aerial to show siding junction, will add 1977 SH73 aerial to show part of new bridge under construction.
Cora Lynn1943 and 1982 (corridor) aerial coverage.
Bealey BridgePassenger train flag stop only, no station infrastructure.
Bealey-Arthurs Pass highway realignement1982 (corridor) aerial surveys TBC.
Arthurs Pass1938 / 1943 / 1966 / 1971 (station) / 1974 / 1977 / 1982 (corridor) aerial surveys, diagrams of old station.
Midland Railway Co incline proposal over Arthurs PassDiagrams of Otira side only at present. Possible future addition of Arthurs Pass side.
Otira1938 / 1943 / 1960 / 1969 (station) / 1982 (corridor) aerial surveys.
Aickens / Aickens Ballast Pit
Wallis Sdg
Te Kinga
Moana1974 station survey TBC
Arnold Sdg
Stillwater1971 station survey TBC
Brunner1962 SH7 aerial coverage TBC
Wallsend1950 / 1962 SH7 aerial coverage TBC
Dobson1950 / 1962 SH7 aerial coverage TBC
Omoto / Omoto deviation1943 and others TBC
Riverside1945, 1988 aerial coverage.
Greymouth1945, 1988 aerial coverage

So apart from the above list there are the branches and some of their stations to be looked at. Arahura and Kumara are a couple of stations on the Hokitika Branch that have already been looked at, and some earlier coverage of Ross and Hokitika have also been previously created, but the station surveys which have been requested from Linz would be worthwhile as well. The Rewanui Branch and its stations apart from the terminus with a station survey available, is also covered by a non-railway survey from 1981, and it looks like there is a railway survey of Runanga and Dunollie Stations available. A corridor survey was made of the Rapahoe Branch in 1986. Most of the early coverage of Greymouth comes from the 1945 survey of the town which is at quite a good scale and shows things like the Elmer Lane roundhouse and the Riverside wharf sidings where coal was craned onto ships, as well as the tiphead and quarry lines on the north side of the river and the tiphead line on the south side.

Looking quickly at Hokitika/Ross branch, apart from the stations already mentioned, some highway surveys exist that would be of use, such as one from 1963/1964 of SH6. Most of the time the route is close to the highway so that the coverage would be good and useful for most of the stations between Greymouth and Hokitika. South of Hokitika, coverage becomes quite sparse. The highway did not cross the combined bridge (the route it follows today, albeit on a new concrete road bridge) but went to another bridge upstream at Kaniere, and then came back in at Ruatapu, before diverging again, so that SH6 coverage does not include most of the Hokitika to Ross section. Other surveys do exist that cover the Ross section, but not being available on Retrolens means they will have to be requested from Linz directly.

Essentially, the issue of unavailable surveys means it is unlikely that the missing coverage for the Midland Line main line section will be added for the stations that do not already have coverage, and coverage on the West Coast side will be limited to the stations that had their own surveys flown by NZR. So far the station surveys for Moana, Runanga and Dunollie have not been requested and adding them to the existing list of survey requests is being considered. Because high resolution Linz basemap coverage of Rapahoe also does not exist, the corridor survey images covering this station are being considered for request from Linz. Nevertheless, over the present weekend, as well as preparing maps for publication, it will also be investigated how much work is needed to add all the missing stations, and determinations will then be done to work out which can most readily be added in time to have the maps finished as quickly as possible.