New Zealand Rail Maps Project Development Report – April 2022

Welcome to the New Zealand Rail Maps project development report for April 2022.

This month the project has supported the launch of the new Transport Safety Blog NZ site. Whilst this is not directly related to the NZRM project, it is hosted on the same platform and shares common resourcing. It will focus partly on rail safety, but also on road safety.

The main thing in the project itself for this month has been a field trip in South Canterbury looking at some ghost branches, particularly the Methven, Springburn, Fairlie and Waimate/Waihao routes. Whilst the first two have been studied in the past, it was interesting to catch up on those as well as see the other two for the first time. The Fairlie line is especially of interest as there are considerably more remains to be found, including embankments, cuttings and yard structures, than for the Methven and Springburn lines in which much has disappeared as a result of dairying conversions. However, the work put into developing the maps provided a great enhancement to all of the explorations, giving new knowledge and insight everywhere. It is entirely possible that another field trip taking in the Fairlie line for a second time, parts of the Springburn branch and other lines further south could happen in the next couple of years, but before then, visits are planned to Southbridge and Little River, and North Canterbury.

Following the rearrangement of Volumes 11 and 12 last year to be more evenly balanced in trackage terms (each now encompasses half of the total corridor length of the MSL and all its branches), further changes are now afoot, as follows:

  • Volume 1: NIMT from Rukuhia to Auckland and the NAL, and all the respective branches; ECMT from Frankton to Ruakura and Cambridge.
  • Volume 2: NIMT from Rukuhia to Hadfield; PNGL from Milson to Whakarongo; and all the respective branches.
  • Volume 3: ECMT from Ruakura to Kawerau.
  • Volume 4: MNPL, SOL, branches
  • Volume 5: PNGL from Whakarongo to Gisborne and branches.
  • Volume 6: Wairarapa Line, NIMT from Wellington to Hadfield.
  • Volume 7: Nelson Section
  • Volume 8: Stillwater Ngakawau Line and all branches etc.
  • Volume 9: Midland Line and all branches etc.
  • Volume 10: Main North Line full length, MSL from Lyttelton to Rolleston, plus branches.
  • Volume 11: Main South Line from Rolleston to Mosgiel, plus branches.
  • Volume 12: Main South Line from Mosgiel to Invercargill, plus branches.

These changes in the boundaries of each volume have been carefully thought through and are intended to ensure each major centre is covered by only one volume, as main centres are often the junctions of multiple main lines, which would put parts of them into different volumes with the previous definition of what volumes are. Work has begun on setting up the new volume definitions especially Vol1/2 and Vol10/11.