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Ross and Reefton  
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  HOME  : Railways : Ghost Railways : Ross and Reefton
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Some of the images can be clicked on to enlarge.  Click here for the South Island map.
I have joined these two locations on one page because, well, I felt like it.  And they both start with 'R'.

Ross was the southern-most point of the NZR Network on the West coast.  It was closed in late November 1980.  There is now no sign of the Station or Yards except for a small section of asphalt and some rusty twisted rail.  There is, however, a couple of very nice truss bridges.  We managed to see the one nearest the yard (buy "Exploring New Zealand's Ghost Railways" to find out how to get there!).  I was amazed that the Hokitika to Ross section was only abandoned 19 years ago, it looked more like 60.

F13 at Ferrymead   This magnificent bridge is the most tangible part of the remains of the Hokitika/Ross section.  It is just north of the area where the Railway station used to be. The instructions in the 'Ghost Railways' book are pretty well right, except don't look for the "Ross Pony Club" sign, just look for the timber mill, and turn right - there is a paddock with a couple of rugby goal posts in it. After this is the area where the station used to be, then the track leads down to the river and this bridge. This picture, unlike the rest on this page, was taken on a visit to the site in late December 2004. The rest of the photos were taken on a dreary August day in 1999.
  The sign said not to venture on to it (despite the relatively new hand rail) so we didn't.  Honest.  Nice part of the country.
W192, Kaiapoi


  Ja1250 and J1211 crossing Rough Creek, Arthur's Pass, New Zealand
If you do go to Ross, have a peak over the fence on the eastern side of town.  It's the biggest 'ole I've ever seen!  This photo doesn't do it justice.  It is apparently an open cast gold mine, you could fit the whole town in and not notice.   I wonder what they are going to do with it when they're finished?

Reefton is not really a Ghost, it is still a very active part of Tranzrail's network  And a pretty town as well, come to think of it.   It has a restored single road loco shed and the magnificent R28, an extremely valuable "R" class Fairlie locomotive.  The Fairlies were used one of New Zealand's earlier imports, R28 arrived in New Zealand in 1878.   In W W Stewart's book "When Steam was King" there is a photo of R28 hanging off the end of the wharf at Lyttelton (the port nearest Christchurch) after a brake failure.  Only the cab remains on the wharf, the whole boiler section is dangling over the sea.  Fairlie's patented idea was to have the steam engine (cylinders, valves, etc) attached to a separate bogie containing the driving wheels.  (this is the best way that I can describe it!).  This section has fallen into the sea, saving the rest of the loco.  I'm reasonably sure that this is the same R28, but the NZR renumbered a couple of times and I'm sure that someone will will let me know!

Here's R28 in the park at Reefton.  The colour scheme looks good in the photo and is  an approximation of the early NZR scheme.  This is a brilliant looking wee loco, it was used as a "Bush lokey" in it's later years on a Sawmill tramway.  We are extremely lucky that it survived, a big thanks for those who had the foresight to rescue it. 

J1211 at Rolleston

  Ka942 over Kowhai viaduct This view gives a better idea of the wheel arrangement, which is 0-6-4.  Wouldn't it be great to see this loco steaming? A nice wish, but it costs a fortune and thousands of man hours to do this.


  The restored loco shed at Reefton.  You can just see the curved edge of what was once a turntable pit they seem to be exhuming.  How about putting R28 here, Reefton?    Just my 0.00 cents worth (New Zealand got rid of 1, 2, and 5 cent pieces some years ago, therefore my 2 cents worth, with swedish rounding, equals...).   Somebody deserves a pat on the back for this building.
Ka942, Kowhai Viaduct

The Reefton Railway station is a typical medium sized Kiwi country station.  Somewhat neglected, but at least still standing!

That was 1996, must go back some time and see what it's like now,

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  (c) Copyright Brian Greenwood 2008