Wairarapa Line (Volume 6) Webmaps Preview

Good afternoon. In our last blog post we proposed that web maps for Volume 6 (Wairarapa Line), based on the previously published static images for Volume 6, would become available this week. We are pleased to announce that a preview for part of Volume 6, from Wellington to Waterloo in the Hutt Valley, is now available for use.

Click here to view the preview interactive webmaps for Volume 6

These maps incorporate 15 historical aerial or base layers covering from 1900 to 2009 and these can be selected using a layers control that is displayed in the browser at top right. When the page first loads, Diagrams are loaded and displayed by default, but selecting a different layer in the list available from the layers control will display maps using that particular base layer.

The Volume 6 preview is intended to show how a variety of different eras of aerial photography can be incorporated within the maps. The diagrams and base maps are all available at zoom levels 12-19 and we expect that this will become the standard for NZ Rail Maps webmaps on this site.

As with our Volume 1 preview we are expecting that further content will be added to both volumes over time as part of the development process. We are expecting to develop a scripting system to automate the generation of tiles for the various eras represented in the maps and use this to produce the rest of the tiles needed to complete all volumes. The Volume 6 preview in particular also need adjustments and corrections made in some of the historical aerial layers and captions need to be provided for all of the aerial photos (in the same way as they are presently displayed in Volume 1).

North Auckland Line [0Y]: Weekly Progress Report – Week 42, 2020

Good morning. Last week’s blog referred to samples of Southdown and suggested a method of providing access to specific levels of aerial photography for each station. This week, instead of other map work, time was taken to reflect on further options for displaying aerial photography, and even although another week has gone by with seemingly limited progress, having arrived at what we believe to be a much better solution for displaying aerial content, we don’t regret having waited, for the implementation of this solution will be far simpler to create as it does not require a specific solution for each individual station and is practically seamless for the end user.

Leaflet (the Javascript library that runs in the web browser to provide the user interface) has within it the capability to switch the display to different layers. This includes allowing the selection of different base layers, as well as allowing overlays to be displayed on top of a base layer. By leveraging this capability, we have created sample Diagrams for Westfield-Auckland at zoom levels 12-19, and sample Aerials for the same area and zoom levels from 1972 only. (Although previous demos have gone up to zoom level 20 in aerial photos, we’ve settled on level 19 for now, because of the volume of output that will be produced, so there is enough room on the server to store all of it. Also, we will still have to have some non map galleries for stations that we don’t have aerial maps for, like we were doing for some stations on the Smugmug site.)

The demo web page for demonstrating this multi layer capability is here:


When you go to that site you’ll see this:

This is similar to what our other demo pages have shown, with the zoom buttons top left, but now you have a layers button top right (the thing that looks like a stack of paper). Click on that and a little menu pops up, giving you the ability to choose between Aerials and Diagrams (diagrams is the default). The effect is easier to see when you are zoomed in a bit (maybe to level 17 or so). So now you can go between one and the other seamlessly for a particular location and compare them easily.

In a lot of areas, of course, there is more than one generation of aerial photography available. So the next demo, which will be Volume 6 Wairarapa Line, one of the existing completed volumes, will include multiple levels of aerial photography, and therefore have these multiple layers able to be switched between. We’ll put a post up when that is ready for testing, as it will take a while to format a different project with the webmaps specific styles in the GIS, and export all the tiles needed, especially for multiple aerial eras. For now, enjoy what you can see in the latest Volume 1 demo.

NZRM Project Releases New Zealand Rail Maps Volume 6 (Wairarapa Line)

Good morning. This post is to announce we have released New Zealand Rail Maps Volume 6. Volume 6 is hosted on our new website at the address below.


Volume 6 consists of 8 map sets, each of which contains diagram and aerial maps, with multiple generations of aerial maps possible. The number of maps totals 1414, which is the largest volume produced to date. The map sets cover the following route sections:

  • Main Line – the main line of the Wairarapa Line today, from Wellington to Woodville.
  • Rimutaka Incline Section – former mainline section of the Wairarapa Line between Upper Hutt and Featherston, via the Rimutaka Incline. Closed 1955 when replaced by the Rimutaka Deviation of the current main line.
  • Western Hutt Section – former mainline section of the Wairarapa Line between Petone and Manor Park., via Lower Hutt and Melling. The section from Petone to Melling is today the Melling Branch, whilst the section from Melling to Manor Park was closed in 1954 when replaced by the Hutt Valley deviation of the current main line.
  • Silver Stream Section – former mainline section of the Wairarapa Line between Manor Park and Silverstream, via Silverstream Bridge. Closed 1954 when replaced by a realignment with a new bridge 200 metres upstream. Most of the route has been re-opened as the Silver Stream Railway heritage railway since the 1980s.
  • Hutt Park Railway – former private branch line from the Wairarapa Line at Petone for race trains to Hutt Park. Opened 1885, closed in the 1910s when races were moved to Trentham. A part remained in use for siding access to the local freezing works but has closed in the past 30 years.
  • Gracefield Branch – branch line from the Wairarapa Line at Woburn. Opened 1929 to give access to the new Hutt Railway Workshops, and subsequently extended to Seaview to connect industrial sidings to a number of premises there.  A station at Hutt Park served race trains in the mid 20th century. The line now exclusively serves Hutt Locomotive Centre, the Gracefield yard and industrial siding connections having been closed in 2002.
  • Greytown Branch – opened in 1880, this short 5 km line was provided as a political promise when Greytown was excluded from the route of the Wairarapa Line due to engineering issues. It was closed in 1953.
  • Featherston Camp Siding – opened 1915 for the Featherston Army Camp in World War 1. Closed 1927. Although a portion of the former site was re-used in World War 2, the siding was not reinstated.

The maps are drawn typically at scales from 1:1000 to 1:9000 and are optimised for use on handheld devices. They can be used in this fashion online from the website, or the complete map sets or individual maps can be downloaded free of charge. Content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution- ShareAlike. Maps incorporate the NZRM Project’s original railway specific content, and aerial photography and additional data layers produced by Land Information New Zealand.

The maps are authored with QGIS, aerial photo digitisation and georeferencing is performed with Gimp. The Project’s computers run Debian GNU/Linux, so all of our work is carried out with Free and Open Source Software.

Volume 6 may be viewed at our maps web site as below:


NZ Rail Maps Project Development Report [2020G]: New Milestones

Good evening. Today is a big day in the NZ Rail Maps project. We’re launching our website, we’re publishing Volume 6 of NZ Rail Maps for the Wairarapa Line, and we’re starting to write our blog posts directly on this WordPress site.

After looking at some ideas of how we could host a website, we have decided to host most of the content on a SmugMug site which will cost $132 per year and is really a great platform for any type of graphic content, although it is mainly aimed at photography. SmugMug is the company that purchased Flickr from Yahoo several years ago, and we previously hosted our graphic content (the maps themselves) on Flickr until the free tier was cut back following its sale. We also pay $28 per year currently for our domain registration which is separately managed by a local domain registrar here in NZ.

The content that will not be hosted on SmugMug is this blog, the old blog, and the content on the old Trainweb site. All these sites will continue to exist as they do now, but will be gradually updated to reflect the change to the new SmugMug site for most of the electronically produced and accessible content. So this WordPress site is a bit of a mess at the moment until we get all the content currently linked from it, hosted on the main site. Since the new site is very much a work in progress, it will take a while to learn how to use it and fully transfer everything to it.

The publication of Volume 6 will be separately announced on this blog shortly.