About Old Coach Road
What to Do
The Local Area
New Zealand Historic Places Trust granted the Taonui Viaduct a Category 1 Classification (HPT Record No.9266) on March 27th, 2009.
The viaduct is 460 feet long, 115 feet above the Taonui Stream, has a 1:60 gradient and is built on a 10 chain radius curve.
The Ohakune Coach Road under the Taonui Viaduct.
Curved shape of the Taonui Viaduct
It was completed in April 1908 and used until the new electrified alignment was opened in 1987.
Building materials were brought from Ohakune to the Taonui Viaduct site along the Ohakune Coach Road.
At the north end of the Taonui Viaduct is the famous “Just in Time” narrow railway cutting with near vertical sides.
The Old Level Crossing in the Taonui Section
The Same Crossing Made Safe.
The New Foot Bridge Across The Taonui STREAM
The cutting was made wide enough to allow a Public Works test train to fit through, and then hastily further widened to allow the new wider Parliamentary Special carriages to pass.
The first official train to pass through the cutting was the Parliamentary Special on August 7th, 1908.
The politicians were on their way to Auckland to greet the Great White Fleet from the U.S.
Workers lived on-site at the Taonui Viaduct, surrounded by bush at about 2400 feet above sea level. Not a pleasant place during the cold winter.
Further north are the piers of the original Haeremaere rail bridge and another narrow railway cutting.
Historic Places Trust has now classified the whole of the railway corridor through this area. Any new historic discoveries associated with the North Island Main Trunk railway construction along this route will now be protected.