When we lived in Tauranga we use to see trains all the time mostly carrying forestry logs which travel all over the country. KiwiRail is owned by Shareholding Ministers of the Crown for over 150 years the railways in NZ have connected our communities, delivered products and people and showed off our amazing scenery.
According to Wikipedia their main freight routes are:
- Auckland - Christchurch: domestic general freight, mostly via 10', 20' and 40' containers and curtain-siders or box wagons.
- Auckland - Tauranga: Containerized and bulk export products
- Kinleith/Murapara - Mount Maunganui: wood products only
- Midland Line: Bulk export coal from north of Westport and Reefton, coal containers for Fonterra, dry and wet milk between Westland Dairy plants at Hokitika and Rolleston, export dry milk from Fonterra at Darfield.
- Edendale - Taieri - Port Chalmers: export milk powder in containers.
- Wairio - Invercargill: solely coal in containers for Fonterra use.
- Invercargill - Bluff: run as a 'shunt', sole freight is exports to Southport.
I did find some information on the Tauranga Historical Society blog which says that the first reference for a railway to Tauranga was made in January 1873 when it was suggested that a line from Cambridge to Tauranga be built, but this was not favourably received at the time.
In March 1879 it was proposed that any railway to be built should be between Tauranga and Rotorua. The Government couldn’t find the money to carry out this work so The Tauranga and Hot Lakes and East Coast District was formed in 1882 to construct the line. A struggle to raise the capital continued until 1887 without result.
By 1905 the railway from Hamilton reached Waihi and interest was shown in a possible route to Tauranga via Waihi. In 1904 a survey was made from Waihi to Katikati and by December 1908 had reached Tauranga. In March 1912 Sir Joseph Ward, the Prime Minister, turned the first sod on the Waihi-Tauranga line. In 1910 the Government decided to use Mount Maunganui as the headquarters for the construction of the East Coast railway. The first sod was turned by the Minister of Public Works 12 April 1910. The first scheduled trains began running from Mount Maunganui to Te Puke on 10 October 1913.
Today only freight trains rumble along the Strand and over the bridge on their way to the port at Mt. Maunganui. The last passenger train to run in Tauranga was at the Jazz festival in 2009.
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