When Nelson Had a Railway
For almost eighty years New Zealand Railways operated a line that extended south from Nelson. The expectation of Nelsonians was that sooner, rather than later, their region would be connected to the rest of the South Island railway system as promised by various Governments.
Construction delays, rugged terrain, acts of God, politics, and the development of road transport all conspired against that happening. For over forty years Glenhope, a tiny settlement 59 miles from Nelson, was effectively the terminus of the railway, which after 1945 remained the only isolated section of the New Zealand Railways' network.
This book tells the fascinating and frustrating story of the Nelson Section, and of the men and women who worked on the railway. The Government, having abandoned its promise to complete the connection, closed the railway in June 1954. A storm of local protest saw the railway offered a reprieve, but unable to attain the level of tonnage the Government required for it to remain open, the railway was finally closed in September 1955. Despite further protests - one of which made headlines on the other side of the world - the railway remained closed, and by December 1956 the Nelson Section had ceased to exist.