Story: Bridges and tunnels

Daylighting a Manawatū Gorge tunnel

Daylighting a Manawatū Gorge tunnel

When New Zealand’s railway network was built in the last third of the 19th century, it needed a considerable number of tunnels because of the hilly terrain. In 1891 a track was pushed through the Manawatū Gorge to connect Wellington with Hawke’s Bay. The route along the north side of the gorge required five tunnels and 13 bridges. In 2008 three of the tunnels at the Woodville end were daylighted (dug out to create an open cutting) so large containers could be carried by rail through the gorge. Some 240,000 cubic metres of rock and spoil were removed. This is the third tunnel being cut away in September 2008. The two tunnels at the Manawatū end had their floors lowered to provide headroom for the containers.

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Photograph by Tony Batchelor

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How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'Bridges and tunnels - Rail tunnels', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 15 April 2021)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 11 Mar 2010