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Encyclopedia > Ferrymead Railway
Contents

Introduction

The Ferrymead Railway is a New Zealand heritage railway built upon the formation of New Zealand's first public railway, the line from Ferrymead to Christchurch, which opened in 1863. The line was closed in 1867 and lifted. In 1964, rail enthusiasts began relaying track on the historic formation and the Ferrymead Railway was officially opened in 1977. It now operates steam, diesel and electric trains regularly and is recognised throughout New Zealand as one of the most significant rail preservation developments. Introduction Ferrymead is a suburb in southeast of Christchurch, New Zealand. ... For other uses, see Christchurch (disambiguation). ... 1863 is a common year starting on Thursday. ...


Early History

The original line was built to a broad gauge of 5 feet 3 inches (1600 mm) to suit the rolling stock, which was imported from Victoria in Australia. It serviced ships which docked at the Ferrymead wharf. At this time, construction of the railway tunnel to the port of Lyttelton was in progress. When this was finished in 1867, the line to Ferrymead was closed.


The Museum of Science and Industry, as it was then called, began in Christchurch in the early 1960s when a group of like minded individuals banded together to set up a pilot project at Garvins Road in Hornby. At that time the Canterbury Branch NZRLS applied to the NZ Railways Dept to lease part of the old Southbridge Branch at Prebbleton. When this was turned down, Ferrymead became a serious possibility. The Museum of Science and Industry together with the Canterbury Branch decided that the historical Ferrymead site was ideal as a base for its operations. The centenary of the original line was commemorated in 1963 and the beginnings of the present Ferrymead Railway date to November 1964. Beginnings In 1944, a group of railway enthusiasts across New Zealand came together to form the countrys first dedicated railfan organisation, the New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society. ...


Ferrymead Historic Park

It was decided that the plans for the site, which was later named Ferrymead Historic Park, should include both railway and tram tracks, the latter operated by the Tramway Historical Society, linking the entrance with a historical village development. The Canterbury Branch started construction of the Ferrymead Railway with the necessary infrastructure and facilities including the workshop, engine shed, stations, signalling systems and other facilities. The Railway began to operate trains during 1972 and was officially opened in 1977. Up to that time, locomotives and rolling stock were transported to the site by truck. In 1978, the track was extended to permit a temporary connection with the New Zealand Railways main line near Heathcote, and this permitted the largest locomotives, the Vulcan railcars and other rolling stock to enter the Ferrymead site. The arrival of the Vulcans, the first real example of economical diesel motive power, allowed Saturday services and steam substitution to become a practical reality.


During the late 1970s, construction began on the electrified section of the railway, using materials and equipment obtained from the former electric mainlines between Christchurch and Lyttelton, and Arthur's Pass and Otira. Following the withdrawal of the DG class diesel-electric locomotives by NZR in 1983, a separate society, the Diesel Traction Group, was formed to preserve one of the class at Ferrymead and subsequently purchased DE and DI class members. In 1988, the Ferrymead Railway was an integral and key part of the Ferrymead 125 anniversary celebrations, which saw passenger train shuttles operated daily direct between Christchurch and Ferrymead via a mainline connection, returning via Lyttelton. Locomotives and rolling stock also left Ferrymead by rail to participate in other parts of the rail festival, including several mainline excursions. DM and D class electric multiple units from Wellington arrived at Ferrymead just after the 125 Festival.


In 1990 there was another steam festival in conjunction with the NZ Sesquicentennial, as well as a Vulcan Railcar tour of the South Island using RM 51 and RM 56. Also in that year, the NZRLS Canterbury Branch was reconstituted as the Canterbury Railway Society. Restructuring of New Zealand Railways which had begun in the early 80s resulted in the closure of various local railway facilities and produced further opportunities for the Canterbury Railway Society to acquire additional equipment. Changes in employment law and its consequent effect on New Zealand society after 1990 had major consequences for nearly every railway preservation organisation in New Zealand in terms of voluntary labour supply. The economic recession of 1991 also had its effect upon the Society. Ferrymead Heritage Park was also in financial trouble as a result of the economic downturn and a dropoff in Park visitors. Tranz Rail Ltd was also formed in the mid 90s following the privatisation of the national railway network. This era ushered in a number of changes for rail preservation groups including the introduction of new safety systems under the Land Transport Safety Authority.


Present Day

In 1995, Ferrymead Historic Park was taken over by the Christchurch City Council when its financial losses became unsustainable. Since that time there have been a number of changes in the way that the Park is run, with a greater reliance on voluntary labour. The Ferrymead Railway now operates a more limited running season to take into account the reduction in visitor numbers during the winter months and to allow for track and rolling stock maintenance as required. A feature of recent years has been the Waipara Vintage Festivals held every second year from 1995. Ferrymead Railway and Diesel Traction Group locomotives and carriages have participated in each of these steam-based festivals, held on the Weka Pass Railway, except for the 2003 event. Introduction The Weka Pass Railway is a New Zealand heritage railway based in Waipara, North Canterbury. ...


See Also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Ferrymead - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (587 words)
Ferrymead is a suburb south-east of Christchurch, New Zealand.
Ferrymead is located on the estuary of the Avon and Heathcote Rivers, close to the point where the Heathcote drains into the estuary, and three km west of the eventual outflow into Pegasus Bay.
The Moorhouse Tunnel was completed in a much shorter time than envisaged; and consequently the Ferrymead Railway was officially closed on 9 November 1867, the same day as the railway line to Lyttelton was opened.
Encyclopedia: Ferrymead Railway (993 words)
The Ferrymead Railway is a New Zealand heritage railway built upon the formation of New Zealand's first public railway, the line from Ferrymead to Christchurch, which opened in 1863.
Ferrymead Heritage Park was also in financial trouble as a result of the economic downturn and a dropoff in Park visitors.
Ferrymead Railway and Diesel Traction Group locomotives and carriages have participated in each of these steam-based festivals, held on the Weka Pass Railway, except for the 2003 event.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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