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New Zealands Branch Railways

What's left over when the tracks are gone ???

What is a Ghost Railway ???


Quite a lot actually. In most cases the trackbed or formation as I will be calling it remains. The bridge abutments survive as do some bridges. The old tunnels are exciting to walk through providing you have permission from the landowner.

30 years ago most of the branch railways in New Zealand began to close. All of the branch railways ran at heavy losses for all their working life. Up until the 1950s road transport was prohibited when the goods could be moved by rail. This was progressively removed over the years as the government slowly deregulated the railways. Total deregulation came in 1992 when the NZR was sold and now is known as Tranz Rail. By this time the branch railway network was pratically non-existant. From a track network of about 4,500km in 1952 when the NZR system reached its peak to about 2000km in 1992 after most lines had closed. A few remain though but are under threat. Click here to see a list of branch closures from the 1950s onward.

After the tracks have been lifted off the old line the vegetation only slowly grows back so even after 100 years the line can be easily followed. Sadly the buildings (which remain) usually get in such a state of disrepair that demolition is the only option. Click here to see a list of ghost railways which I have surveyed.


This site is here to provide information to the Ghost Railway Hunter and about Ghost Railways.

This New Zealand Railway Webring site is owned by Peter Wilson

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This page last updated on : Thursday, 30 September 1999