Nightcaps is a town in the Southland Region of New Zealand's South Island. According to the 2006 New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings, its population is 312, consisting of 168 males and 141 females. This represents a decline of 27 people since the 2001 census. State Highway 96 passes through Nightcaps as it runs between Ohai and Winton. The town has a golf course and two primary schools that cater to students from Nightcaps, the surrounding rural area, and since the 2003 closure of its own school, Ohai.
It has a community website, designed to give information to all new and existing members of the surrounding community. TAKITIMU ONLINE
Nightcaps has a more industrial history than most Southland towns due to nearby coal deposits. A private railway was built from the terminus of the New Zealand Railways Department's Wairio Branch to Nightcaps to provide more efficient transport of coal; operated by the Nightcaps Coal Company, it opened not long after the state's railway reached Wairio in 1909. In 1918, a proposal was made to build another line to coal interests around Ohai, and the construction of this line was fiercely opposed by the Nightcaps Coal Company, fearing a loss of business. However, construction was approved in July 1919 with a deviation through Morley Village, considered part of Nightcaps. The first section of the line, including the part serving Morley Village, opened on 1 September 1920. Ohai was reached four years later, and in 1925, the Nightcaps Coal Company ceased to operate; they handed over their railway line to the Railways Department, who dismantled it in 1926 as the Ohai line was capable of catering for traffic from Nightcaps. The Ohai line continues to operate, primarily for the carriage of coal, and it is one of the few remaining rural branch lines out of many that once existed throughout New Zealand. It has been part of the national rail network since 1 June 1990.
- "QuickStats About Nightcaps". Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- Map of Nightcaps showing golf course, highway, and schools.
- Churchman, Geoffrey B., and Hurst, Tony; The Railways Of New Zealand: A Journey Through History, (Wellington: Grantham House, 1991), pg. 210.
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