Cass, New Zealand

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Cass in 1911, when it was the terminus for the Midland Line
Cass is located in New Zealand

Cass is a locality in the Selwyn District of the Canterbury region in New Zealand's South Island.[1]

It is named for Thomas Cass, an important pioneer surveyor in the area.[2] State Highway 73 passes near the town, and the Midland Line between Christchurch and the West Coast was opened to the town in 1910, with the full line opened in 1923 when the Otira Tunnel was completed. Since November 1987, the world-famous TranzAlpine passenger train has run through the town. There are 5 houses in Cass today, but only one resident,[3][4] making it one of the few places in the world with a population of one resident.[5] The Cass Trust Hotel and Tavern Still Operates in the Old Ministry of Works Shed.

For some time from 1910, while the Midland Line was under construction (and in particular, the tunnel at Arthur's Pass), Cass was the railhead coming from the east coast. At that time, Cass had a population of around 800.[6] The Cass railway station was painted in 1936 by Rita Angus; it is "one of New Zealand's best-loved works of art".[7]

The University of Canterbury has a field station at Cass, commonly used for undergraduate field trips and research.[8]


  1. ^ "Place name detail: Cass". New Zealand Gazetteer. Land Information New Zealand. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
  2. ^ Peter Bromley Maling, "Thomas Cass", 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand.
  3. ^ Eagles, Jim (10 March 2010). "Cass: Colourful character right on track". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  4. ^ "Cass: A one-man town". Stuff. Retrieved 2018-02-10.
  5. ^ "Take a look at seven of the smallest towns in the world". Domain. 2016-10-23. Retrieved 2018-02-10.
  6. ^ "Cass". The Great Alpine Highway. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  7. ^ Atkinson, Neill (4 February 2013). "Railways - Stations and refreshment rooms". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 13 October 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  8. ^ "Cass | Field facilities centre | University of Canterbury". The University of Canterbury. Retrieved 2018-02-10.

External links[edit]

Cass Contracting

Coordinates: 43°02′S 171°45′E / 43.033°S 171.750°E / -43.033; 171.750