- Main North Line, New Zealand
Main North Line
Start of the Main North Line, heading north under the old Blenheim Road overpass in the distance, and to the left under the new Blenheim Road overpass to Christchurch railway station.
Overview Type regional rail System KiwiRail Status Operational Locale South Island, New Zealand Termini Addington, Christchurch
Stations 65 (total)
Operation Opened 1872-04-29 Owner ONTRACK Operator(s) KiwiRail Character Provincial Technical Line length 348.04 km No. of tracks Single Track gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Route mapLegend Interisland Ferry Picton Wharf 347.98 Picton 129 m Waitohi Viaduct 16 m high 344.87 Elevation 341.85 Mount Pleasant 338.66 Koromiko 336.18 Para No. 24 Tunnel daylighted 328.57 Tuamarina 293 m Wairau River New bridge 1974 325.41 Spring Creek Blenheim Freight Centre 322.83 Grovetown (Grove Town) 319.50 Blenheim Riverlands Vernon loop 50 m No. 23 Tunnel daylighted 1979 70 m No. 22 Tunnel daylighted 1981 298.00 Dashwood Awatere River 294.40 Seddon 287.94 Blind River 284.21 Lake Grassmere (Kaparu) 281.00 Hauwai 276.82 Taimate 270.95 Ward 263.39 Mirza 164 m No. 21 Tunnel (Tar Barrel) Waima River 256.17 Wharanui 246.92 Kekerengu 236.82 Parikawa 226.34 Clarence Papatea loop 130 m No. 20 Tunnel 642 m No. 19 Tunnel 209 m No. 18 Tunnel 209.61 Rakautara (Aniseed) 187 m No. 17 Tunnel 123 m No. 16 Tunnel 217 m No. 15 Tunnel Mangamaunu 201.02 Hapuku Hapuku River 191.12 Kaikoura Kowhai River 184.18 Kowhai 180.67 Puketa Kahutara River 452 m No. 14 Tunnel (Rileys Hill) 116 m No. 13 Tunnel 897 m No. 12 Tunnel (Parititahi) 313 m No. 11 Tunnel (Kowhai) 100 m No. 10 Tunnel 253 m No. 9 Tunnel 154 m No. 8 Tunnel 114 m No. 7 Tunnel (Raramai Road) 126 m No. 6 Tunnel 172.28 Goose Bay 208 m No. 5 Tunnel 168.35 Oaro 188 m No. 4 Tunnel deviated 975 m No. 3 Tunnel (Amuri Bluff) Okarahia Viaduct 21 m high 51 m No. 2 Tunnel 76 m No. 1 Tunnel 157.98 Claverley 152.27 Hundalee Conway River 143.48 Ferniehurst Mendip Section formation only 133.19 Parnassus Waiau River 129.18 Spotswood 125.92 Phoebe 119.57 Mina Nonoti 113.54 Domett 105.43 Tormore 100.02 Ethelton Hurunui River 93.15 Greta 86.09 Scargill 76.98 Spye 72.32 Omihi Waiau Branch Weka Pass Railway 62.88 Waipara Waipara River 58.25 Glasnevin 55.91 Greneys Road (Greeneys Road) 51.57 Amberley 49.92 Grays Road Kowhai River 44.90 Balcairn 39.53 Sefton 32.87 Ashley Ashley River Deviation 1961-12-18 30.11 Rangiora Oxford Branch 27.15 Southbrook 23.29 Flaxton Eyreton Branch 18.93 Kaiapoi Waimakariri River Deviation 1958-09-01 15.22 Kainga (Stewarts Gully) 12.41 Chaneys 11.32 Belfast 8.58 Styx 5.33 Papanui 3.79 Bryndwr (Bryndwyr) 2.03 Riccarton Addington saleyards 0.51 Christchurch (Addington) Main South Line
The Main North Line, sometimes referred to as part of the South Island Main Trunk Railway, is an important railway line that runs north from Christchurch in New Zealand up the east coast of the South Island through Kaikoura and Blenheim to Picton. It is a major link in New Zealand's national rail network and offers a connection with roll-on roll-off ferries from Picton to Wellington. It was also the longest railway construction project in New Zealand's history, with the first stages built in the 1870s and not completed until 1945.
The first proposal for a line resembling the present day Main North Line was made in 1861. A proposal for a line linking Christchurch and Blenheim was put before the Marlborough Provincial Council in April 1861. Later that year, the national government passed the Picton Railway Act in October, approving a line from Picton to the Wairau River under the auspices of the Marlborough Provincial Council. However, the political authorisation did not translate into actual construction and no work on building the line was undertaken in the 1860s. In the 1870s the Canterbury Provincial Railways began to extend their 1,600 mm (5'3") broad gauge network north from Christchurch through Kaiapoi and Rangiora, reaching Amberley in 1876 and Waipara in 1880 - by this stage, the Canterbury network had been re-gauged to the national gauge of 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)) narrow gauge and acquired by the central government. At the other end of the line, progress had been made in Marlborough, with a line opened between Blenheim and Picton. Nelson also sought a connection to the national network, possibly via an extension of the east coast main line or a branch line from it, and the first portion of the Nelson Section railway had opened in 1877.
In the 1880s, work ground to a halt as debate raged over what route to construct. An 1880 Royal Commission on the state of New Zealand's railways felt that an east coast main line would be premature, but possibly necessary in the future. Contrarily, regional actors in Canterbury, Marlborough, Nelson, and the West Coast argued passionately in favour of the proposals that best suited their interests. Canterbury slowly progressed its "Great Northern Railway" and pursued an inland route from Waipara, reaching Waikari in 1882, Medbury in 1884, and Culverden in 1886. Also in 1882, the Middle Island Railway Extension Commission ('Middle Island' then being the name for the South Island) was established to study proposals for a line northwards, including the following routes:
- from Culverden to Hanmer Springs and Tophouse, with the line splitting into two branches in Tophouse, one to Nelson and the other down the Wairau River valley to Blenheim.
- from Culverden up the Waiau River to Reefton, New Zealand, establishing a trans-Alpine route to the West Coast, followed by a line up the Buller Gorge to Nelson. (At this stage, no route for the Midland Line connecting the east and west coasts had been chosen; this was one of a number of candidates.)
- from Waipara up the coast to Blenheim via Parnassus and Kaikoura.
Interests in Marlborough favoured the coastal proposal and began work on extending their railway south from Blenheim. Canterbury appeared indecisive on a route north; once Culverden was reached in 1886, it was treated as the terminus of the east coast main line, then after roughly 15 years of inactivity, work began on a coastal "branch" north from Waipara at the start of the 20th century. This reached Scargill in 1902, Ethelton in 1905, Domett in 1907, Cheviot in 1910 (the station was in nearby Mina), and in 1912 the line crossed the Waiau River with a 706 m long bridge and was opened to Parnassus. Over the next two years, work progressed from Parnassus up the Leader River valley, with roughly three kilometres of track laid, a few more kilometres of formation made, preliminary activity undertaken for a diversion of the Hookhamsnyvy Creek, and work commenced on a bridge across the Leader River. The line was envisaged to then follow a series of inland valleys (such as those of the Conway and Charwell Rivers) to Kaikoura. The outbreak of World War I led to a halt on construction and the track beyond Parnassus was removed. At the other end of the line, work south from Blenheim had completed the line through Seddon and Ward, but the onset of war meant that its construction halted at Wharanui.
Not all work was postponed by the war. A campaign to extend the line from Culverden to Waiau was successful and construction continued through the war, with the line opened to Waiau on 15 December 1919. This boosted the hopes of those seeking an inland route, and more work was undertaken, with 3 km of formation built for a line from Waiau to Kaikoura, but ultimately nothing came of this proposal and the terminus remained in Waiau. The 1920s saw little progress made on the Main North Line as various interest groups, governments, and expert reports contested to achieve their respective desired outcomes. At this stage, both the Leader Valley and Tophouse routes were still possibilities, but it was around this time that proposals of a route out of Parnassus in a more easterly direction than the Leader Valley began to be formulated. This became the present-day route.
In the late 1920s, construction finally recommenced on on the coastal line south of Wharanui, but this soon stopped again when the Great Depression's effects began to be severely felt. Public pressure for a resumption of work was strong, and as the economy was starting to improve in 1936 the government issued orders for completion in four years. In 1939, the line beyond Parnassus was opened to Hundalee, but the outbreak of World War II created more delays and the goal of completion in four years was not achieved. Construction continued through the war, and not long after the resumption of peace the northern and southern railheads met in Kaikoura. The Main North Line from Christchurch to Picton was completed and officially opened on 15 December 1945.
For a number of decades before the connection of the northern and southern ends, the Canterbury section was operated with its terminus in Culverden, even when the coastal route reached Parnassus. The most important passenger train was the Culverden Express, with carriages for Parnassus detached at Waipara. The express was supplemented by slower mixed trains. When the Waiau Branch reached Waiau in 1919 one goods train per day between Christchurch and Culverden was added to the schedule and the passenger train operated twice daily; these services continued to Waiau thrice weekly. The section of the Main North Line between Christchurch and Rangiora also saw commuter services and trains from the Oxford Branch and Eyreton Branch.
In the mid-1920s Parnassus became the primary terminus and the carriages detached in Waipara were conveyed to Culverden. During this period the train was used for trials of the 'Midland Red' paint scheme that came to be used nationwide for passenger carriages until the 1990s.
In 1930 a Royal Commission on New Zealand's railways suggested all passenger services on the southern and northern sections be replaced by mixed trains, but this was not positively received by the public. However, on 29 January 1939 the passenger services on the Waiau line were cancelled.
When the line was completed, the Picton Express began operating between Christchurch and Picton. A decade after it commenced, the RM class 88 seater railcars were introduced to New Zealand and they were placed in service between Christchurch and Picton.
The scenic value of the route, especially through the Kaikoura area, led to the creation of the tourist-focused Coastal Pacific, an express passenger train that ran between Christchurch and Picton in 5 hours and 20 minutes. It began on 25 September 1988 and runs today as the TranzCoastal. In the summer of 1994/1995 the Lynx Express met the Lynx fast ferry service in Picton and ran to a faster timetable than the Coastal Pacific. It was unsuccessful and did not operate in subsequent summers.
- Eyreton Branch (junction at Eyreton Junction, closed in 1954)
- Oxford Branch (junction at Rangiora, closed in 1959)
- Waiau Branch (junction at Waipara, closed in 1978)
In 1960 work commenced on a line to link Nelson and Blenheim, but a change of government led to a change in policy and this project was halted. Presently, no lines branch from the Main North Line, though the first 13 km of the Waiau Branch has been restored as the Weka Pass Railway and it retains a connection to the Main North Line in Waipara.
- Churchman, Geoffrey B., and Hurst, Tony; The Railways of New Zealand: A Journey Through History, HarperCollins Publishers (New Zealand), 1991 reprint
- Leitch, David, and Scott, Brian; Exploring New Zealand's Ghost Railways, Grantham House, 1998 revised edition
New Zealand Railway Lines Main linesNorth IslandSouth Island Secondary linesNorth IslandSouth Island Branch linesUpper
Private linesDun Mountain Railway · Dunedin Peninsula and Ocean Beach Railway · Glen Massey Branch · Hutt Park Railway · Kaitangata Line · New Zealand Midland Railway Company · Riccarton Racecourse Siding · Sanson Tramway · Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company (Wellington–Manawatu Line) · Whakatane Board Mills Line Significant proposals See also: New Zealand railway museums and heritage lines
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Main North Line — can refer to the following railway lines: Main North railway line, New South Wales, Australia Main North Line, New Zealand This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the same title. If an i … Wikipedia
Midland Line, New Zealand — Midland Line Two DX class locomotives hauling a 1,600 tonne coal train on the Midland line Overview Type Heavy Rail System … Wikipedia
List of main streets of New Zealand cities — The following is a list of the names of the main streets of New Zealand s cities, and of the larger towns in New Zealand known unofficially as cities (see List of cities in New Zealand for explanation). In some cases, it is difficult to ascertain … Wikipedia
North Line — may refer to: Far North Line, Scotland Gjøvik Line, Norway Main North Line, New Zealand Main North railway line, New South Wales, Australia Milwaukee District/North Line, Illinois, United States New North Main Line, England North Line, Chennai… … Wikipedia
New Zealand — New Zealander. /zee leuhnd/ a country in the S Pacific, SE of Australia, consisting of North Island, South Island, and adjacent small islands: a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. 3,587,275; 103,416 sq. mi. (267,845 sq. km). Cap.: Wellington … Universalium
New Zealand wars — New Zealand Land Wars Memorial in the Auckland War Memorial Museum for those who died, both European and Māori, in the New Zealand Wars. Kia mate toa can be translated as fight unto death or be strong in death , and is the motto of the … Wikipedia
New Zealand Defence Force — Te Ope Kaatua o Aotearoa Service branches Royal New Zealand Navy New Zealand Army Royal New Zealand Air Force Headquarters Wellington Leadership Com … Wikipedia
New Zealand Railways Corporation — Type State owned enterprise Industry Transport Founded 1982 Headquarters Wellington, New Zealand … Wikipedia
Main South Line — This article is about the railway in New Zealand. For the railway in NSW, Australia, see Main Southern railway line, New South Wales. Main South Line Main South Line and shunting yards at Dunedin. Ov … Wikipedia
New Zealand State Highway 74 — State Highway 74 Christchurch Ring Road Route information Maintained by New Zealand Transport Agency … Wikipedia