National Park railway station

National Park railway station

The threatened closure of the Overlander service in late 2006, which was subsequently averted, provoked a mixture of nostalgia, protest and apprehension, especially in affected central North Island communities such as National Park. The daytime Auckland-Wellington service has since been renamed the Northern Explorer.

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Murray Wilson

Posted: 13 Jun 2008

National Park is the highest Railway Station in New Zealand at 809 metres. Tranz Scenic's The Overlander stops at National Park for a 45 minute lunch break. On "Steam Engine Saturdays" this is reduced to approximately 30 minutes. There is a licensed cafe on the platform. To the northwest of the town the railway performs the convoluted dance that is the Raurimu Spiral, one of New Zealand's most impressive feats of engineering. The line descends 150m off the volcanic plateau to Raurimu. Originally the town was known as Waimarino (calm waters). In 1926 the New Zealand Railways renamed the railway station as National Park. This was to avoid confusion with other Waimarino entities and also the name had come into common useage from its location relative to the Tongariro National Park. The opening of the Main Trunk Line in 1908 created a vast opportunity to log and mill the large trees in the native forests with 30 saw mills and associated bush tramways established in the National Park area alone. With the arrival of caterpillar tractors in the 1930’s the extraction process was accelerated with National Park station having one of the greatest throughputs of timber in New Zealand. Today Tongariro Timber is the last surviving mill operating at National Park. In the 1960’s National Park became the railhead for all the heavy equipment and machinery for the Tongariro Power Scheme Development with local pumice roads substantially upgraded to take the heavy traffic.