Tangiwai means ‘weeping waters’, and the name seemed sadly apt on Christmas Eve 1953, when a lahar (volcanic mud flow) partly destroyed the railway bridge over the Tangiwai River. The Wellington–Auckland passenger express plunged into the river, killing 151 people, in New Zealand’s worst rail disaster.
Listen to a Roadside Story about the Tangiwai disaster. Roadside Stories is a series of audio guides to places around New Zealand.
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Archival audio sourced from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives. Sound files may not be reused without permission from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives (ID56 D355.2 Tangiwai rail disaster, 1953-12-24).