Welcome to the New Zealand Rail Maps website. This site hosts free interactive web maps covering the past and present national railway network of NZ. We also publish e-book and printed editions of the same maps.

We currently have the following web maps available on this site:

We expect both of these volumes and the previously published Volume 5 maps hosted on our former web site to be available by 31 December 2020. Other volumes will be progressively released in the coming years.

Visit our blog for the latest news and updates about the project.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do the interactive web maps include historical aerial photography?

A distinctive feature of the NZ Rail Maps Project is its extensive use of LINZ aerial photography released on the Retrolens site. We intend to include as much as possible of the available historical aerial photography that we have used with the maps project as part of the interactive maps. Take a look at the Volume 6 preview above, which includes 15 historical imagery layers.

  • Why are there no scales displayed on the interactive web maps?

Web maps of this type are produced using a projection called Web Mercator (EPSG:3857), which represents the shape of earth as a perfect sphere, whereas in reality the planet is more ellipsoidal in nature. The errors inherent in this projection are particularly pronounced in New Zealand due to its distance from the equator, so that scale bars are likely to be significantly inaccurate. We feel that the kilometre posts and other distances marked on the maps give a reasonable feel for scale. Our e-book and printed editions are planned to be produced using a NZ specific projection (NZGD2000) which will be much more accurate and will include scale bars.