New Zealand has many abandoned and derelict Railway lines, closed for reasons ranging from simple economics to the strange machinations of politics. Whatever the reasons, many of these artifacts are readily explorable. I take it as a sign of a maturing interest in New Zealand's history and thing's railway that I am now interested in having a look at some of these relics.
My "Bible" for this is the book "Exploring New Zealand's Ghost Railways", written by David Leitch and Brian Scott. If you're interested, buy yourself a copy (get the one that advertises itself as the "Revised Edition"). I have no connection to or interest in .... etc etc. My intention with this web site is not to replicate the book but to visit some of the sites and show a few of my photos. The book gives you clear instructions on how to get to these places and what to look out for.
A trip to the South Island's Wet West Coast (one of my most favourite places) in 1999 provided an opportunity to have a bit of a ferret around these places. It's great to be able to have an idea of the geography of a "famous" place, the Rewanui and Denniston inclines being foremost in my mind as I write this. Time was against us to some extent, so we missed a few, most notably the Blackball Branch, which I visited on my next trip in late 2003. In early 2005 I took my old pet car for a road trip to Otago and Southland, and explored a few of the ghost lines in this area as well.
My pages will show a few of these, but it's amazing just how many there are in New Zealand. The following image is my rough map re-drawn with the locations drawn in. Get the book, it's better!
September 2012 update: While catching up with the back catalog of NZ Railscene (an ongoing video documentary series put out by Majik Video Systems) I found an excellent section on an Otago and Southland railway tour. Organised by the Railway Enthusiasts Society during the Christmas of 1959/60, it was filmed by Dawson Wilkinson. The tour took 75 enthusiasts behind locomotive A178 and others. It was the largest railfan tour ever undertaken in New Zealand.
The film was split over 3 of the DVD's, numbers 28,29, and 30. These are currently available as a single set from the Warehouse, for a mere $9.99!
Locomotives shown are A178, A426, WF844, A67, and X442. The list of places shown is extensive, and includes the following:
Browns Branch, Tuatapere, Mossburn Branch, Kingston Branch, Ohai Railway Board, Wyndham Branch, Edendale, Waikaka Branch, Tapanui Branch, Riversdale, the Central Otago Line, Roxburgh Branch, Catlins River Branch, Balclutha Branch, Cromwell, Ranfurly, and Middlemarch. Highlights for me were the area around Cromwell including the river bridge, a good shot of a Model T Ford driving along the platform at Takahope station, A178 arriving at Takahope, and passing the windmill and water tank on the Waikaka Branch that I photographed.
It would be wonderful to show some stills from the movie in these pages, next to my more recent photos, but I haven't sought permission yet and my to do list is a mile long!