Topic: The Rotorua - Taupo Railway saga 1920s

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The 1920s saw an attempt by local organisations and individuals to petition Government for a Rotorua to Taupo railway.

 First Camp in Rotorua 1925 Rotorua to Taupo Railway Line 1920s

 In 1920 a campaign was waged for the early construction of a railway between Rotorua and Taupo. According to Don Stafford the Taupo Tramways Lands and Timber Royal Commission ‘duly brought forward a unanimous finding that: “There is urgent necessity in order to avoid great national waste, for an extension of the Rotorua Government railway to Waiotapu with as little delay as possible.”’

 The Rotorua -Taupo Railway League with Thomas McDowell as chairman made the point that there were enormous timber resources approaching maturity in the Waiotapu area whilst Mr Earle Vaile, president of the Reporoa Settlers’ Association also petitioned the Government.  

 The Royal Commission of May 1922, however, considered there was ‘no likelihood of such a railway returning sufficient revenue from working to meet expenditure incurred, together with the interest on the cost of construction…’.  A to Js Online Report

 In June 1923 further consideration had lead to a recommendation that a trial survey should proceed and in 1924 the “Railway Authorization Bill” included the Rotorua to Reporoa line.  

 Survey parties of the Public Works Department started in 1923 and had reached the vicinity of Waiotapu (18 – 20 miles) by 1925.  

 The work of constructing the line commenced in 1928 and £44,000 was expended before the project was stopped by Sir Joseph Ward in 1929. 

The photographs accompanying this article were found in a photograph album bought by Mr Fowler in Taupo, New Zealand. The original owner is unknown but on a page holding four photographs is the caption William Fairley Young PWD 1925; My tent at 81/2 M Camp and In field.

 Thanks to the Don Stafford File ‘Railways’ and the J.K. and H. D. Fuller Collection.               

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The Rotorua - Taupo Railway saga 1920s by Su Potter is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License