The East Coast Main Trunk Railway
is a railway line in the North Island
of New Zealand
, originally running between Hamilton and Taneatua via Tauranga, connecting the Waikato with the Bay of Plenty. The ECMT now runs between Hamilton and Kawerau, with a branch line to Taneatua from the junction at Hawkens. The line is built to narrow gauge of 1067 mm (3 ft 6 in), the uniform gauge in New Zealand.
In 1880, the North Island Main Trunk Railway
had reached Frankton
, from Auckland
. From there, the line made its way to Morrinsville
in October 1884, Te Aroha
in March 1886 and Paeroa
in 1898. The route to Waihi
through the Karangahake Gorge
was surveyed in the next few years with construction starting in 1900, with three bridges, including a road-rail
bridge and a kilometre-long tunnel, which has a 1:50 grade and took three years to build, being completed in 1904. The line between Paeroa and Waihi opened in November 1905. Surveys were undertaken for the route beyond Waihi in 1907 and construction started in March 1912, but was suspended in November of the same year. The work started again in 1914, but was suspended again in March 1917 because of a shortage of staff due to World War I
. The works started again in 1918, and the railway through the Athenree Gorge opened to Tahawai
in 1925 and Tauranga
in March 1925. The remaining length of line to Te Puke
opened in 1928.
Original Intention of the rail...