Friday, 31 July 2020

KiwiRail in Tauranga

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.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.


  1. the US freight moves by rail and people not so much.

  2. Thanks for the interesting history of trains in NZ. I know funding and government support has always been an issue.

  3. Interestingly railroads are still popular for moving large volumes of cargo because of their fuel efficiency and large capacity. They will be with us for some time. It sounds like your country has a pretty well developed infrastructure.
    When I was a child back in the 1960's our family went from Utah in the west to my grandparents house in Connecticut in New England and went by train. It was a great adventure.
    When we lived in New Mexico my father would take the train from Albuquerque to Flagstaff, Arizona for meetings. He liked it because he could leave late at night, sleep on the train and get off the train just a block from where his meeting was. I'd be miserable sleeping in a chair and no shower the next morning.

  4. Really really interesting. I can remember taking the railcar from Te Puke to Tauranga for a days outing when I was young. An exciting ride.
    Now The Puke railway station is a cafe. Well, 10 years ago it was

  5. Hello,

    The trains and tractor trailers are important for moving goods across the country.
    Interesting post and photos. Take care and stay safe! Enjoy your day, have a great weekend.

  6. I've been watching a few programmes recently on New Zealand trains. We had a station in Napier but one rarely saw a train there. We did have a lot of trains from the docks though.

  7. When I travel to Europe, I depend on trains to get me around. Here in the US, passenger trains are rare except on the east coast around New York City.

  8. I still like to stand and watch the trains going past - and counting how many carriages they have on behind them!

  9. I wonder if the many promises of a revival of our railway lines in the north will ever happen. Years ago we would hear trains trundling along at the back of our farm, that's long gone. If it weren't for Dargaville Rail Carts, our lines would not be used at all now. I get quite nostalgic about the trains.

  10. That was interesting Amy. I think transporting heavy cargoes by rail is the simplest and easiest way to go. I've been in Fremantle unable to cross the track for ages as the trains that take supplies up to the Kimberley's go past, soooo many carriages, it's an impressive sight. As well as the train into the city from the suburbs we also still have a few trains that go to the country towns.. must do that soon 😊

  11. I wish I could visit NZ again. So many years have gone since I was there. I loved Rotorua. :)