North Auckland Line [0V]: Weekly Progress Report – Week 38, 2020

Apologies for failing to produce these posts for the previous two weeks. Since the last update the following has been completed:

  • Maps drawn of Portland Station, the site of the Wilson Portland Cement Company, now the only cement manufacturer in NZ, which once had its own private railway network and numerous locomotives it owned to work on the tracks over almost a century.
  • Complete the next section of mainline corridor from Waotira to Portland. This means it is almost up to Whangarei, the next station further north.
  • Taken a side trip to Whanganui to draw a revised set of maps of the old Taupo Quay station and the Castlecliff Branch having discovered a NZR corridor survey from Aramoho to Castlecliff.
  • Completed a set of mosaics for stations on the Dargaville and Kaihu branches. Full maps of these routes will be drawn in the coming week.
  • Created a set of historical mosaics for the Okaihau extension. Okaihau is sometimes touted as NZ’s most northerly railway station – however Opua is actually slightly further north. The extension to Rangiahua via Puketi and Okoro was constructed in 1926 following completion of the Otiria-Okaihau railway and was intended to reach Kaitaia. It was never formally handed over to NZR and was closed in the late 1930s with the rails lifted around 1940 to be used elsewhere. Having found 1942 and 1953 old coverage, 1961 and 1986 also being included for reference, the latter being highway surveys, it is expected to produce really good maps of this section. The line from Otiria to Okaihau was closed in 1987 and the track lifted, the corridor is now being used as a cycleway.
  • Started editing the existing set of mosaics for Otiria-Kaitoke and Otiria-Opua. It needs to have Opua and Kaitoke added back in, as the layers have either been lost from the file due to corruption, or were in a separate file that doesn’t exist any more.

With the progress over the past week the mosaics for the rest of the North Auckland rail corridor are nearly all complete or should be completed this week enabling mapping to push ahead. The remaining areas to be mapped are:

  • Main line from Portland to Otiria, 78 km
  • Branch from Waiotira to Dargaville, 47 km
  • Branch from Dargaville to Donnellys Crossing, 34 km
  • Branch from Otiria to Opua, 17 km
  • Branch from Otiria to Okaihau, 39 km (plus unknown extension length)

Therefore maps required to cover about 220 km. This is quite a lot considering the main line corridor has a total length of 281 km and 203 km of that has already been completed. It means that the total length of railway network in the NAL corridor and Volume 1 of these maps is about 420 km, so actual mapping is only a little past half way. However, mapping is the quick part of the process – the historical mosaic work is the slow time-consuming part. The previous deadline for completing the project was the end of September. At the moment it is unclear how much progress towards that can be made, but a month is a more realistic expectation.