Thursday, 3 August 2017

Stillwater Ngakawau Line [8]: Tawhai

Tawhai is currently the last station before Reefton. Its present facilities are a crossing loop and siding, however it is not a public station, so these facilities are for KRL purposes only.

Tawhai is. as a name, more commonly associated with the tunnel of the same name, which is the first tunnel on the Stillwater Ngakwau Line. The section of the railway between Tawhai and Reefton is known as the Reefton Saddle, and the tunnel is the summit tunnel of this hilly section of track. In steam days, Tawhai would have serviced steam locomotives on the Stillwater side of the saddle, as assisting or banking engines would have been added at Reefton for eastbound trains, and then taken off at Tawhai and added to the next westbound train to return to Reefton. In the earlier years of dieselisation, pairs of DJ locomotives were added to laden coal trains to get them over the saddle, so such a train would have two locomotives on the head and another two pushing in the rear.

No.1 or Tawhai Tunnel between Tawhai and Reefton.