NZR 1515 Sunday Palm North to Wellington early 1960s

This is a photo by Simon Rogers of the Sunday ‘Fields Express’ about to leave Palmerston North on its way south through Kapiti on its route to Wellington (see the previous photo of the opposite direction train passing through Waikanae in 1965).

This would have been taken in the early 1960s as the whole railway alignment was shifted to the west side of the city in 1963.  For those who drive along Main Street in Palmerston Street today, this shows what used to be there.

As Waikanae people know, a railway passing through the middle of a town at street level is quite disruptive, which is why it was moved in Palmerston North.  In Hamilton the beginning of what is called the East Coast Main Trunk to the Bay of Plenty was sunk underneath the town in a tunnel and then a new lower level bridge over the Waikato River in the same era.

The Mahara Gallery was playing a short video called A Train through the Trees about the building of the Wellington and Manawatu Railway through Kapiti in the mid-1880s which had a major impact on its development. Even if all freight traffic on the railway today is through traffic, the railway retains its importance for Kapiti passengers.

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