Local investors formed the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company in 1881. It carved a route through Wellington’s difficult north-western hills (following the present-day Johnsonville suburban line) and across Manawatū’s flax swamps to link up with the government line at Longburn, south of Palmerston North. This 1885 plan shows how the railway opened up land for closer settlement. It includes towns named after businessmen involved in the company, such as Levin (named after William Hort Levin) and Plimmerton (John Plimmer).
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