"Napier To Gisborne Railway Line In New Zealand"

  The Napier to Gisborne railway line in New Zealand, was once a busy route travelled by passenger trains and freight trains through wild country in the east of the North Island. The only station of any size was in Wairoa, about halfway between the city of Napier and Gisborne, where the eastern North Island railway line from Wellington ends.

   Long tunnels and spectacular viaducts - including the country's highest over the mighty Mohaka River - punctuate the journey from Hawke's Bay to Poverty Bay.

  Major sections of the Napier to Gisborne railway line are far from any road, and thus pass through scenery not accessible to travellers by car or bus.

  Sadly, as passenger trains no longer make the trip, this means that visitors to this isolated part of New Zealand miss out on seeing these landscapes.

  The video below thus includes a rare peak at sights that were familiar to inhabitants of Wairoa, Napier, Gisborne and the tiny settlements along the track who once made the journey frequently.

  The last of the mighty steam locomotives on the route was replaced by diesel locomotives in the mid Sixties that continued to haul goods trains sometimes so long they seemed to never end. Passengers meanwhile travelled by railcar.

Twice a day the railcar made its journey from Napier to Gisborne and Gisborne to Napier. Being a single track, trains frequently had to wait while another passed in the other direction - often for what seemed to passengers an interminably long time.

  The route is subject to slips and subsidences after heavy rain, and on one such occasion it was so bad that work to repair it took longer than usual and both passengers and goods had to travel by road.

  As demand for passenger rail travel had meanwhile dropped, when the line was reopened the goods trains had the track to themselves - passenger services were never reinstated, since that time the only option has been to take the bus. (Meanwhile even the railway station in Wairoa was burnt down many years ago.)

  Now even the goods train is reduced to three journeys a week, and in this video we see one of them, Number 688. The film begins in the parched brown Esk Valley north of Napier, normally known for its green fields, orchards and vineyards. (Just ignore the subtitle, which refers to the final scene of the video! And the very European pronunciation of the Maori names....)

  We see impressive viaducts over deep gorges, fields burnt brown by the summer sun near Wairoa, Black's Beach on the Pacific Ocean between Nuhaka and Opoutama and the somewhat desolate scenery heading into the Whareratas.

  Towards the end of the film then, the scene announced in the subtitle at the beginning, a sight unique in the world ... waiting for a plane to land on Gisborne Airport runway before crossing it to continue the last few miles to the end of the 
Napier to Gisborne railway line in New Zealand.

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