Wairarapa Line [7B]: Rimutaka Incline Section [1B]: Upper Hutt – Mangaroa Tunnel [2]: Mangaroa Station-Mangaroa Tunnel

So here we are with the second part of a two part series on the Upper Hutt to Mangaroa Tunnel segment of the “Rimutaka Incline Section”. In this part we look at the part of this route from the Mangaroa station to Tunnel 2 (the Mangaroa Tunnel). We will follow this with the first article on the present day route from a historical perspective as there is still 65 years of history that has unfolded since the opening of the Rimutaka Deviation.
One of the challenges for researching Mangaroa station is that Cameron’s book hardly mentions it. It may be that we have missed some detail in the book having not read it for some considerable time, but there is no entry for Mangaroa in the index section for stations, so it is difficult to find the detail for it in the book.
Generally for the coverage of this article, we can refer back to the yard diagrams and aerials published in the previous article and general data from the gradient diagram in Cameron. So for a general description let us refer to this diagram from the series introduction.
The general description of this route is there is an initial traverse of the Cruickshank Saddle or Mangaroa Hill from Upper Hutt with very steep gradient of 1 in 35 and very sharp curves down to 100 metre radius. The line then enters the Mangaroa Valley. It climbs more gently and straightly, with a long straight portion between the two former stations, both of which were called Mungaroa at one time or other, the average grade being around 1 in 100. It then starts to climb off the plains into the hills around Kaitoke and at this point the corridor becomes publicly accessible, being used for various cycle trails as it enters “Tunnel Gully Reserve”. The map finishes at the Mangaroa Tunnel which is publicly accessible as part of Tunnel Gully and the cycle/walking trails of the area. Gradients on the climb to the tunnel are around the 1 in 50 mark until Kaitoke itself is reached.

Aerial and diagram for the first section of the route past Mangaroa. At upper left is the World War II army base that was established at Mangaroa. As of 2015 this was still defence force land with housing along Alamein Ave, which was mostly built postwar, but the rest of its functions have long since ceased, and it looks very different nowadays, although the circular road is still in place. We don’t know if they had their own siding into this base or if they used the RNZAF sidings or the yard. At lower left, Seeds tramway can be seen coming into Mangaroa along Flux Road.

This aerial and diagram cover our next point of significance which is the original Mungaroa station. There’s not a lot of documentation on why this was chosen to be the site of a station; Cameron isn’t any help on this at all. It was at about 23 miles 20 chains from Wellington. There seems to have been a sawmill and brickyards both on the south side of it at various times and the brickyards might have had their own siding. The yard definitely ended before the bridge. The sawmill had its own short tramway to bring product into the railway yard for loading onto trains.
Mungaroa (according to Juliet Scoble’s work “Dates And Names”) was operated as a station from 1878 to 1891. The station was then relocated to Flux Road where it stayed until the line closed in 1955. However, in the early 1910s, a company called May Morn Estates was set up with the involvement of Arthur Seed (part of the Seeds referred to previously) and a siding was installed for their use. They had a sawmill in Maclaren Street at about the marked point. The tramway which was worked by a steam engine ran all the way up past Twin Lakes crossing the Hutt River on a large wooden bridge into Akatarawa Forest. It was operated for a relatively short period, closing down at the advent of World War 1. During 1915, part of the site and some buildings were leased by the NZ Army to establish the Maymorn Camp. It is important to note this was a different and separate site from the World War II Mangaroa army camp which we referred to at the top of this article. The history of May Morn Estates can be found in the research notes published on the Valley Signals website.
This location is about where the straight and flat part of the line ends and where it starts to climb into the hills towards the Mangaroa Tunnel. To the right on the diagram you can see the connecting siding into Maymorn Station (it was also called Mangaroa for the first few years) that was put in during the construction of the Rimutaka Deviation. We will look more into this when we talk about Maymorn Station in another article about the current railway from Upper Hutt to Featherston.
 This is a 1957 aerial map of the next piece of the railway line climbing towards the tunnel and of particular interest is the siding we referred to going up to Maymorn, which can be seen heading into what was part of the Rimutaka Deviation works construction camp. Of which more later. In the top right corner we can see the present Wairarapa Line going into the entrance of the Remutaka Tunnel, also covered later (both topics in another post, not this one).

1943 aerial and a diagram of the last bit of the route covered by this article, as the line crosses a bridge and reaches the Mangaroa Tunnel. Referring to the diagram, you can see “Tunnel Gully Access” coming in next to the bridge upper left, and that is a cycle/walking trail built in recent years from Maymorn Station up to the existing Tunnel Gully tunnel trail which passes through Mangaroa Tunnel, as the diagram shows. The bridge was sometimes referred to as “Dry Creek” and according to Cameron on page 276-277 it was built after a track subsidence there in 1903. There may be some remains of this bridge still at the site but having visited there in the late 1990s, we did not then attempt to locate the bridge as the trail at that point simply ended there and the bridge site was well hidden in the scrub. The access from Maymorn appears to have been cut in the 2000s.
There is one other point of interest in this map just past that bridge and that is whether a siding has been put in to some location along the railway. We have not found any records of any railway siding being there but what can be seen on the aerials at this point should be looked into further at some point of time. 
Tunnel Gully is an interesting location in its own right and is separate from the main area of the Remutaka Rail Trail, because of the privately owned land section around Kaitoke Station that has not been opened up along the old corridor. We will look into these topics in more depth in the article about Kaitoke (WL [7B] RIS [2]).