Railway construction at Trentham Camp

Railway construction at Trentham Camp

Railways were essential to the mobilisation, training and equipping of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force during the First World War. Trentham in Upper Hutt was established as the national military training camp in October 1914. Like almost all of New Zealand’s Great War military camps (the main exception was Narrow Neck Camp on Auckland’s North Shore), it was connected to the mainline railway system, with extensive sidings serving the adjacent Trentham Racecourse. In this 1915 photograph the New Zealand-gauge (1067-mm) line into the camp is being extended to connect to the new stores area.

In the first months of the war racecourses were widely used for the mobilisation of recruits, including Alexandra Park in Auckland, Awapuni Racecourse in Palmerston North and Addington Racecourse in Christchurch – these offered not only wide open spaces but already had good rail links for transporting horses and race-going crowds.

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