Stillwater Ngakawau Line [12]: Mackley Ballast Pit

A date of opening or closing is not currently recorded for this location. It was still open in 1981 when a metric distance of 99.75 km from Stillwater was recorded in the WTT. However the siding was shown then as “Private Siding” so whether it was being used for other purposes than the ballast pit, is unknown. The station was still recorded under its full name (as in the title of this article) at that time.
Mackley was not accessible from the south (railway east) until the bridge across the Buller River from Inangahua was completed, which from recollection (having previously researched Inangahua Station’s history) was the early 1940s. It was used in conjunction with NZED’s transmission line construction project based at Inangahua in the 1970s/1980s and this may be the use recorded in the WTT. I don’t have any details of the ballast pit, when it was used or how it came to be named, but Mackley was also the name of the NZR’s general manager in the 1940s. The river is marked on maps as “Orikaka or Mackley River”.

The NZED has a substation at Inangahua where high voltage pyloned lines head due north. One single line on pylons heads east, initially alongside State Highway 6 and eventually reaches Blenheim. The second circuit is a pair of pyloned lines heading into the Buller Gorge which roughly parallels SH6, crossing first the Inangahua River (the township is on the east side of the river while SH6 is on the west side) then crossing the Buller River to parallel the railway for a short distance. The lines then turn north to run up the visible clear corridor that can be seen to the right of this image. This is a relatively short line run which ends at Waimangaroa having crossed en route the Denniston Plateau and the Mount William Range. A sawmilling company was operating for a short period (Orikaka Sawmilling) in the Mackley area in the 1950s.