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Taupo Totara Timber Co

The TTT ran an extensive tramway system from Putaruru where it had its planing mills and timber yards, to the main breakdown mills at Mokai and from there out into the bush. The 50 mile long "mainline" from Putaruru to Mokai was built to a high standard and included a large wooden bridge across the Waikato river. The "spiral" section of the line featured reverse curves of 1 chains with check rails, and gradients of 1 in 16. The Putaruru to Mokai section was operated as a common-carrier. The Putaruru to Mokai section was built in steel rail, but the lines into the bush were wooden.

Locos at this time included a Dubs 0-4-0T ex NZR old "A" class (A71). This ran on the largely level section of line between Putaruru and Lichfield. The rest of the line was run by a Climax "A" and a couple of Heislers. [ Photo ] The Climax "A" was the only one ever imported into New Zealand and later worked on Great Barrier Island and at the Steel Brothers mill at Mamaku. It had the wide tread wheels for running on wooden rails. The Heislers seem to have had more conventional width tread, so I assume they worked the Mokai to Lichfield section with the Climax on the wooden rail into the bush. [ Photo ] The famous 0-4-4-0 mallet did not start running on the line until 1917.

In 1921 the government commissioned a report on the TTT line, with a view to purchasing the line and extending it to Taupo. That report includes the following information:

Locomotives 2 * Heislers, exA71, the mallet, and a 0-4-0T Barclay.
Rolling Stock 2 * car-vans, 1 * guards van, 25 * platform wagons.

All rolling stock had 30ft underframes,  32ft 6in over the buffers, 4ft 7in wheelbase bogies on 20ft centres. Overall width 7ft 6in. The appearance of the platform wagons was very similar to the NZGR "U" class timber wagons, whose dimensions they shared except the TTT wagons were 6in narrower.

Track 30lb rail, spiked directly to wooden sleepers spaced 21in apart. Ballast was subsoil including pumice. Speed limit varied from 6mph to 20mph.
1919 Revenue
Timber products 3834
Outside freight 1420
Passengers and Mail 228

The government concluded that the cost of upgrading the line to NZGR standards would be too expensive. The civil engineering required to ease the grades and to increase the minimum curve to at least 5 chains was extensive.

This page last updated on 09/02/00

David Kinzett 1998