Kawakawa is the other end of what is now the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway, which was mentioned in some detail in the first post of this series. For whatever reason, the vintage railway was started at Kawakawa, even although it should have been possible to take in the line back to Otiria, although not initially as the section to Moerewa was probably still being used to serve the sidings there in the 1980s. In the course of these articles on the NAL we will take in Moerewa and Otiria, as well as Kaikohe and Okaihau which are also in the works. But for now, Kawakawa.
Kawakawa is only a small station, although under preservation it has grown due to being the main base of BOIVR. Their operation as BOISR started more or less as soon as NZR had vacated, or fairly soon after that, and it’s not clear how much infrastructure was left at Kawakawa when they moved in, as we can understand that in the same context as Opua.
Here are the maps of Kawakawa.
The main station site in 1975.. As we can see, not that much to it. A station, goods shed and loading bank.
Today Kawakawa is very different. There is the turntable relocated from Opua where the loading bank used to be. There are sheds and other buildings, while the goods shed has gone. In fact the station building is probably about all they have there that is the same as NZR days. And let’s face it – Kawakawa is a small site. It was small in NZR days, but it’s smaller now because a road has been pushed through a part of it. Another example like Opua of what can happen when a local government abuses their power to push stuff through.
There are only two places in New Zealand where a railway line runs along the middle of a state highway. One is at Kawakawa, and the other is at Ohai.
At the end of the street is the first bridge on the BOIVR. There used to be a road bridge next to it. This has been replaced in more recent years by a footbridge.