Map showing Rimutaka Incline

The Rimutaka Railway was built as part of an ambitious 1871 Government policy to construct a national railway network to attract immigrants and to help improve New Zealand’s economic base. The aim was to link agricultural hinterlands with major ports like Wellington.

Building this railway across the rugged Rimutaka Ranges threw up a technological challenge much greater than found anywhere else in New Zealand. A tunnel was the preferred option but could not be afforded. So the 'temporary' solution was a steep mountain railway.

Turn off SH 2, 9 km north of Upper Hutt, the turn off is signposted to Pakuratahi Forest. The carpark is 1 km along a metal road.

Photograph by Derek Cross/NZ Rail and Locomotive Society Archives

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