Tangiwai train wreckage

The wreckage of the Wellington–Auckland express and the remains of the railway bridge at Tangiwai, 25 December 1953.

Community contributions

3 comments have been posted about Tangiwai train wreckage

What do you know?

roy francis murphy

Posted: 15 Aug 2011

I have seen the site of the Tangiwai Disaster many times having trained at Waiouru in the Army and later taking many Senior Class trips to the area as a teacher. My personal response like many was to shiver and think of the struggle to survive in the water. That place to me did have a sad wairua that affected the spirit. To my surprise about !0 years ago my mother told me my family had been booked on that train to travel to Hamilton . On the advice of a workmate my father took the more scenic route by bus to Napier as a stopover. So I am one of the might have beens. Today I wonder what seat I might have been sitting in and in which carriage. As I've always said -it just goes to show how small this island is and how we are all so inter-connected .My respects and sympathies to the friends and families of those that did lose their lives in that disaster . We do remember.

Angela McMahon

Posted: 14 Aug 2011

I am 42, I recently visited the river where this terrible accident happened. I stood there for what seemed like hours and just stared into the water, the trees the banks, the river still hold the pain of what occured, I dont think the land has revealed all. I am still dreaming at times about what I felt, and probably always will.


Posted: 14 Aug 2011

Eleven days after this happened I went home on leave from the NZ Navy by train from Auckland to Wellington, the army had thrown a bailey bridge across the river so the train had to cross very slowly giving enough time to see the awful devastation and the sad image of the big locomotive lying on its side in the mud...even now I still get the shivers thinking about it...