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Come & Hang Out Beside The Castlecliff Industrial Line

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Published on Feb 18, 2013

Mothballed lines can come back to life! These clips were filmed in Feb 2013 when summer sun finally settled in.

Disused in 2002 and rehabilitated in 2011. Abandoned by the private sector and given the kiss of life by the tax payer owned KiwiRail.

The building of a milk powder plant in Wanganui's industrial zone in the last decade saw a large amount of product needing to be transported out of the city. The Castlecliff line provided a viable way of moving the freight on offer.

The Castlecliff line never 'lost' traffic like branch lines can in the lead up to closure. The then latter-era Tranz Rail decided to reduce the amount of shunting in Wanganui. The new way was that the train would bring the containers to the Wanganui freight yards from out of town and the truck would take the container from the train's wagons and place it at the customer's premises.

Gone were the locally based shunting locomotives and their crews. Gone were the many private sidings that once graced the Castlecliff Line. Some sidings were even taken away by the scrap-man to clear space for a paved area so that a truck could deposit a container!

In the mean time, a milk powder plant factory had opened in the industrial area, and during the height of the dairy season, there were many 40ft containers needing to be moved out of the city each day.

When the NZ Government bought back the train operating company in 2008, the large lucrative railfreight trucking fleet stayed in the hands of the private sector. Therefore; if you only have trains, then reopening a disused railway that parallels a busy road into the towns local industrial hub becomes an attractive option!

Local people took an interest in the return of the trains to the suburb of Castlecliff in 2011 and it was refreshing to see something being opened instead of closed in the modern railway scene.

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