As referred to in other posts I am currently putting the map document together for the Nelson Section. This new format has several firsts. It is the first map document to have one table of stations and features together as they appear in sequence along the line. So major bridges and tunnels will appear all in the same table with the stations, with their names in italics. Doing this with the Otago Central Railway will be interesting when I start work on that in a day or two because unlike most lines so far I have access to a detailed table which also shows the distance on the line for each bridge and tunnel, the kind of data that would be really useful to have for all the lines. Up to now I hadn’t looked at how this data was to be formatted but it makes sense to me to have it all in the same table so that when you are reading along the line from the start to the finish in the table, you have the list of where all the features are, in order by the distance from origin. It is also the first map document to use vector graphics, which will result in a much higher quality when printed, this has been explained in more detail in previous posts.
Right now I am going to post a few highlights from the map for interest in this blog post. The full map should be up at the NZ Rail Maps Skydrive site later today. These pictures are screendumps from those maps.
Here is the map of the 1960 line and the Founders Park Railway. Founders Park itself is at the location of the Wakefield Quay station towards the right, and the railway has been built in two different directions from this location, resulting in the Grove and Tui stations being built. The site of the 1960 railway station construction is to the left, as noted in the map this today is the site of the Maitai Bowling Club. The historical plaque for the turning of the first sod of the construction works has been relocated by the Nelson Railway Society into one of the stations. Two survey routes were shown on the source document but it is unclear which would have led to Rai Valley/Pelorus, the chosen route which was aborted by the change of government.
This view shows the relationship between the 1960 line and the 1870s line. The 1876 station is at the bottom of the picture, along with the Port station and its line extension which opened in 1880. This resulted in the Port station becoming the location of the zero peg.
Just beyond Bishopdale are the first two significant structures that I know about at this stage. The overbridge about 200 metres below the station on the ascent up from Stoke came off what is now Scotia Street and was used to take a photo from which appears in O’Donnell. Other than that I have no information about it. The better known overbridge at Annesbrook Drive was built around 1926 and remained until quite recently (2000/2001) when the motorway (Whakatu Drive) was put through on the old railway route requiring its demolition. This motorway follows the rail alignment onto the Richmond bypass, an earlier re-use of the railway formation for a major road. Hence it is now much more difficult, between Bishopdale and Richmond, to find much of the old rail route today. This reuse has also happened at Brightwater, as the highway at the time of the railway had a series of rather strange right angle bends as it made its way south, the straighter more direct rail formation was therefore an obvious target for realignment works.
At Belgrove we saw the first and probably only major realignment of the railway in its history. The original Belgrove station was opened in 1881 with the completion of a 3.5 km section from the Wai-iti station (originally called Foxhill, a new station of that name was the first station on this extension). 4 km of formation beyond Belgrove was constructed between 1883-1885 and the formation can still be seen today in places, but it was never used operationally. As can be seen it went more or less in a straight line from the Pretty Bridge Stream Bridge to cross over the highway and then swing around east, crossing the highway again and heading towards the hills, then it appears to have crossed Wai-iti Valley Road and continued on the east side of it. A bridge would have been required over the Wai-iti River just east of the second highway crossing but no trace of this can be found, so probably it was never built. These days embankments and shelves can be found where the route went, 130 years after its construction. Belgrove station was moved with the change of alignment to a new site closer to the highway and there is still a windmill there preserved by DOC.
Here is the end of the 1883 formation with the 1890 formation to the left. The latter crosses the highway on an overbridge, the abutments of which remained in place after the bridge was removed on line closure, but the highway was later realigned to go around it. The alignment is shown as a trail after the bridge, due to it being the access to Spooners Tunnel which is a public walkway (opened by arrangement).
I’ll post this and then I have to do some other things, so I’ll carry on with the map production and post another article showing some of the other map features and points of interest, later tonight. As we can see the map style has changed a lot from the bitmaps used in the earlier map documents. A part of this is the multifarious conversion, from Qgis to SVG to EMF for Word. Hopefully if we produce Q5 from Qgis some way can be found to print pages directly from SVG to keep the map much closer to the original styles. As it is when I come to do my next map document, for the Otago Central Railway, I will have to revisit some of the styles to get them looking more like what I want, the contour lines for example are much too heavy here.