A hundred years ago, the trip from Auckland to Tauranga would involve an overnight steam ferry. Today, it involves several hours of fighting through traffic. But, until surprisingly recently, there was a third alternative - you could take the train! This cache celebrates that bygone era. In discovering the long-lost stations of the East Coast Main Line, you'll be REALLY SideTracked.
The East Coast Line
A railway to Tauranga was first suggested in 1873 with various routes over the Kaimais suggested but the money was never available and, by 1887, the ideas had been shelved. However, by 1905 the railway from Hamilton reached Waihi and, in March 1912, Sir Joseph Ward, the Prime Minister, turned the first sod on the Waihi-Tauranga line. Unfortunately, the First World War intervened, bringing shortages of both materials and manpower and the North Island Main Trunk Line wasn't completed until the finishing of the Katikati – Wairoa Bridge section in 1928.
The Borell Road stop was too short-lived to appear either on the 1959 map or this 1969 map.
The railway was well used until the Second World War, for passengers, livestock, produce, goods and postal services but, after the war, these increasingly turned to the roads and the railway declined. However, a railcar service still operated from Auckland to Tauranga and, when the nearby Te Puna station closed to both passengers and freight on 21st December 1959, the Borell Road station opened the same day. Borell Road was very small, only consisting of a small platform and shelter shed. It only served passengers and, presumably, was a "flag station" or request stop where the train only stopped if there were passengers wanting to get on or off the train.
These New Zealand Railways RM Class - 88 seater railcars operated all over New Zealand.
The shelter shed at Borell Road had an interesting history. It started life as the shelter shed for the MacKay town station in Karangahake Gorge. When that station was closed on 28th July 1940 the shed was relocated to the Paeroa Township station, opposite the Paeroa Hotel, on 3rd October 1940. The Paeroa Township station was itself closed on 20th July 1959, due to the opening of the Paeroa South station and the shelter shed was moved to Borell Road before finally being sold by tender in 1969.
The Taneatua Express railcar service was withdrawn on 11th September 1967 and Borell Road station finally closed on 8th April 1969 although it has been frequently mentioned as a possible stopping place for the new Auckland-Tauranga passenger service that has been proposed by various governments over the last 20 years but is yet to appear. Perhaps it could be the answer to Tauranga's increasing traffic congestion.
About SideTracked Caches
This cache belongs to the SideTracked series. It is not designed to take you to a magical place with a breath taking view. It's a distraction for the weary traveller, but anyone else can go and find it too. More Information can be found on the SideTracked Series website at www.sidetrackedseries.info https://www.sidetrackedseries.info
This particular cache is part of the REALLY SideTracked series which celebrates former, disused or heritage stations.