New Plymouth Night Express

New Plymouth Night Express

New Plymouth Night Express

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The New Plymouth Night Express was a passenger express train operated by the New Zealand Railways Department (NZR) that ran between Auckland and New Plymouth. It ran in various forms from 1933 until 1983, though the 'express' designation was lost in 1956 and later incarnations did not operate at night and terminated in Taumarunui rather than Auckland. The New Plymouth Night Express should not be confused with the New Plymouth Express that operated between New Plymouth and Wellington.

Introduction

In 1933, the Stratford - Okahukura Line was completed, providing a rail link through northern Taranaki between the Marton - New Plymouth Line and the North Island Main Trunk Railway. On 4 September 1933, the new line's ownership was handed over to NZR from the New Zealand Ministry of Works, and early that morning, the first passenger service was operated.Geoffrey B. Churchman and Tony Hurst, The Railways of New Zealand: A Journey Through History (Wellington: Grantham House, 1991), pg. 140. This inaugural service left Auckland at 7pm on 3 September 1933 attached to the Night Limited, and it consisted of one first class carriage, one second class carriage, a sleeping car, and a guard's van. In Taumarunui, these carriages were detached from the Night Limited, as it was to continue to Wellington, and ran as a separate train to New Plymouth, departing Taumarunui at 12:45am and arriving in New Plymouth just after 6am. The return...
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