Taneatua Express

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The Taneatua Express was an express passenger train operated by the New Zealand Railways Department that ran between Auckland and Taneatua in the Bay of Plenty, serving centres such as Tauranga and Te Puke. It commenced in 1929 and operated until 1959.


The immediate precursor to the Taneatua Express, and victim of its introduction, was the Thames Express, which operated from Auckland to Thames. The East Coast Main Trunk Railway, in its first incarnation, diverged from the Thames Branch in Paeroa (this later became Morrinsville with the opening of the Kaimai Tunnel deviation), and when it opened in 1928, Thames swiftly declined in status as a railway terminus as services began operating through to the Bay of Plenty. A direct passenger service between Auckland and the Bay of Plenty terminus in Taneatua commenced upon the East Coast Main Trunk's opening, renderring the Thames Express superfluous as the Taneatua service ran all of the Thames Express's route except the final leg between Paeroa and Thames. Accordingly, the Thames Express ceased to operate and the Taneatua train was upgraded.


When the East Coast Main Trunk opened in 1928, track conditions were not optimal and the train took 12 hours to complete its journey from Auckland to Taneatua. Over the next year, the trackage was upgraded and the Taneatua Express commenced operating. It took 10.5 hours to run between Taneatua and Auckland via a circuitous route. It was nonetheless one of the...
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