Ferrymead Railway

Christchurch, New Zealand

Ferrymead Railway

The Ferrymead Railway is a New Zealand heritage railway built upon the track formation of New Zealand's first public railway, from Ferrymead to Christchurch, which opened on 1 December 1863. On the opening of the line to Lyttelton on 9 December 1867, the Ferrymead Railway became the Ferrymead Branch and was closed shortly thereafter. In 1964, rail enthusiasts began relaying track on the historic formation and the new 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) narrow gauge. Ferrymead Railway officially reopened in 1977. It now operates steam, diesel and electric trains regularly and is recognised as one of the most significant rail preservation sites in New Zealand.

The original line was built with the same 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) gauge as the Canterbury Provincial Railways to suit rolling stock imported from the Melbourne and Essendon Railway Company in the Australian state of Victoria. It serviced ships which docked at the Ferrymead wharf. Construction of the tunnel to the port of Lyttelton was in progress: when this was finished in 1867, the line to Ferrymead became a branch and thereafter carried little traffic. After 27 July 1868, the line was used as a siding, by which time the station buildings had been relocated to Christchurch and Heathcote station. It was the first railway in New Zealand to be both opened and closed.

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