North Auckland Line [0S]: Weekly Progress Report – Week 31, 2020

This week we completed maps to Helensville and posted maps on the group list of the Helensville station, which was a major freight yard between Waitakere and Wellsford on the North Auckland Line (65.82 km from Westfield). This was also the site of an engine depot until about the late 1960s, probably when steam locomotives were phased out in the area. Work is now going ahead on the next section of 54 km to Wellsford, which takes a few days to draw, hence the next set of historical maps to be produced will be the ones of Wellsford early next week. Right at the time of writing this post we have got to 100 km leaving 19 km to Wellsford.

As detailed on the list we are now working towards having this Volume 1 of the maps completed by the end of August if at all possible. However, that does require a lot more productivity than we have experienced lately. The whole section is 281 km to Otiria but there are also the branch lines to Dargaville and Okaihau to cover as well. At the moment we are going to keep working up to and including the aerial mosaics of Wellsford, Maungaturoto and Waiotira, then break off into the Dargaville and Kaihu branches (with some mosaics still to create), come back and push on towards Whangarei and include the mosaics of that area, then up to Otiria and its two branches to Okaihau and Opua. Kauri just north of Whangarei with the dairy siding is a part we haven’t yet managed to get a good aerial of. It may end up just being contemporary coverage.

One of the fun things when doing historical stations is the distances that have to be shown in miles where they closed before a metric working timetable was introduced. We have a strict policy of only using distances that were in a working timetable or other official NZR document, thus ruling out the Quail Atlas with its straight metric coversion of the historical measurements that leads to confusion with official metric measurements. In the case of the NAL, checking confirms that the origin used at the time the 1947 working timetable reprint was produced, was at Newmarket rather than the modern origin at Westfield. The first edition Quail atlas, published in the early 1960s, also uses Newmarket as the origin. However, the fourth edition has “made up” metric distances for old stations apparently by recomputing imperial mileages from Westfield and then converting them to km. Hence you can see why we prefer to use the working timetables. But it means that the mileages we are showing for those old stations don’t line up with metric distances for current stations and km pegs because of the different origin. So it can get a little confusing. We could adjust the mileages to be shown from Westfield but they would not correspond to where the milepegs actually were in pre-metric days. The NIMT is especially problematic in drawing maps around Auckland, because until metrication the origin was Auckland and that was changed to Wellington. We will probably put some extra labels in here and there to help in understanding these differences. Putting in names of lines for the pre-metric routes could be done as well if we can find information on these.