Waiuku and Mission Bush Branches

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Waiuku and Mission Bush Branches
Overview
Status Open to Mission Bush, Waiuku branch partially open as GVR
Termini Paerata
Mission Bush (Glenbrook Steel Mill)
Waiuku (GVR)
Operation
Opened 10 May 1922 (Waiuku)
7 October 1968 (Mission Bush)
Closed 31 December 1967 (Glenbrook to Waiuku)
Owner KiwiRail
Operator(s) KiwiRail
Character Rural
Rolling stock None
Technical
Line length 17.09 km (10.62 mi) Pukekohe - Mission Bush
18.08 km (11.23 mi) Pukekohe - Waiuku
Number of tracks Single
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)

The Waiuku and Mission Bush Branches are two branches on the New Zealand railway network which are closely linked. The Mission Bush Branch connects the North Island Main Trunk railway to the Glenbrook Steel Mill.

History[edit]

Proposed as early as 1880, the branch line to Waiuku was finally authorised in 1912, following the election of William Massey, the local MP for Waiuku, as Prime Minister. The first sod was turned in February 1914, in a ceremony at Waiuku.[1] Progress was slow, and the branch did not open until May 1922. The line was not very profitable, and passenger services were withdrawn on 17 July 1948, being replaced by buses.[1]

Traffic continued to decline, until the line was closed on 31 December 1967 to Waiuku. However, the construction of a steel mill at Mission Bush proved to be the line's savior. A new 5.5 km (3.4 mi) spur line was built to Mission Bush to serve the Steel Mill. The spur line was opened on 7 October 1968.[1]

The remaining section from Glenbrook to Waiuku was in the process of being lifted until it was taken over by the Glenbrook Vintage Railway. The line has been extended into Waiuku following the old branch as far as the last curve where it deviates. The line presently terminates at Victoria Avenue in Waiuku, a short walk from the centre of the town, with plans the eventually terminate the line at the Tamakai reserve, next to the old wharf.

The extension to Victoria Ave was completed by Easter of 2010 with the first passenger carrying train running on the line on 3 April 2010, hauled by JA 1250. The extension was officially opened to the public on Labour Weekend (23 October 2010) by Kevin Lawrence, former Waiuku Borough Mayor, and Len Brown, Mayor of Auckland.

Services[edit]

Services currently consist of three trains per day.[2] Inbound trains include bulk lime and coal trains, and outbound trains carry export steel to the Port of Tauranga.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Churchman, Geoffrey B. & Hurst, Tony (1991). The Railways of New Zealand: A Journey Through History (reprint ed.). HarperCollins Publishers (New Zealand). 
  2. ^ "North Island Master Plan" (PDF). 24 May 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Hermann, Bruce J; North Island Branch Lines p 11 (2007, New Zealand Railway & Locomotive Society, Wellington) ISBN 978-0-908573-83-7