Thursday, February 5, 2009

North Island closed and semi-closed rail

In a previous post, I put up some links about vanished railway lines in the South Island. Now, it's the North Island's turn.

The North Auckland Line has had a stop-start patchy history of operation. I've travelled on a special Railway Enthusiasts excursion to Whangarei and back, but passenger trains usually don't go any further than Helensville these days. Certainly Opua, the terminus from 1925 until the end of freight runs in 1985, is today unreachable by rail from Auckland for the average member of the public. However, the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Trust has revived the Kawakawa-Opua section of the line. (Their website has a history section, and a gallery section with some lovely train whistling and chuffing sounds, by the way.)

Kumeu-Riverhead section (closed 1881, replaced by the North Auckland line.) Some info here via the Helensville Pioneer Museum.

Waiuku Branch (passenger services withdrawn 1948, closed 1968, but now being restored between Waiuku and Glenbrook by the GVR.)

Rotorua branch. This in particular strikes me as a great, great shame that it's closed (since 2001). It is a derelict line in places now -- parts of the line up in the Mamaku Ranges just outside Rotorua have, I understand, been uplifted by vandals. I would dearly love to travel to Rotorua from either Auckland or Hamilton by rail. Maybe if I live long enough ...


  1. Hopefully there'll come a time in the not too distant future when the Govts in both Oz and NZ realise what a fabulous resource rail travel really is and (fingers crossed) restore some of the currently-defunct lines back to working order.

    You've got a One Lovely Blog Award over at my blog to pick up :)

  2. Hear hear re the rail comment, Jayne. I'm with you 100% on that one.

    And thanks for the award -- sorry I don't know 7 others to pass it on to, though. (Heritage hermit that I am ...)