Driving Creek Railway

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Driving Creek Railway
Entrance building of the valley station
Entrance building of the valley station
Route length: 2.7 km
Gauge : 381 mm ( Liliputbahn )
Maximum slope : 70 
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Loading track
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Pottery operating track
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Pottery Station
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Wood storage
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Pottery operating track
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Bridge 1
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Bridge 2
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Bridge 3
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Bridge 4
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Bridge 5
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Ravington first hairpin
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former branch
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Chipman's 2nd hairpin
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Bridge 5
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8 banks tunnels
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Taniwha tunnel
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Double deck bridge lower level
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Reverse loop
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Double deck bridge upper level
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Hoki Mai
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Cascade 3rd hairpin
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Horopito 4th hairpin
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3. tunnel
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Bridge 10 40 m
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Rima 5th hairpin
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Eyefull Tower

The Driving Creek Railway (DCR) is a park and mountain railway in Coromandel on the Coromandel Peninsula on the North Island of New Zealand . The gradient of the route is more than 7% in sections. This makes it one of the steepest pure adhesion tracks in the world. The journey time (for the outward and return journey including a break at the terminus) is around an hour.

Technical parameters

Double deck bridge, lower level. Above: Linx railcar
Double deck bridge, upper level
Tunnel 3

The narrow-gauge railway has a track width of 381 mm and a route length of 2.7 km (without branches). The Pottery valley station is located in the pottery. The track is located in topographically demanding terrain and climbs a height difference of 110 meters. It rises on the steep slope of a mountain to a height of 167 m above sea ​​level . In doing so, she crosses five larger bridges , three tunnels and five switchbacks . It ends at a viewing platform , which - phonetic based on the English pronunciation for " Eiffel Tower " - bears the name Eyefull Tower . For Eyefull Tower in a separate building includes a toilet facility that the style of the terms Friedensreich Hundertwasser designed Hundertwasser Toilets in Kawakawa recalls.

One of the bridges is a double-decker bridge (span 13.90 m) and perhaps the only one in the world that is used twice on different levels on the same railway line (after going through a loop ). Only one train at a time - either on the upper or the lower level - is allowed to cross the bridge. During the construction phase, all tunnels were initially very steep and relatively deep cuttings that were subsequently converted into tunnels. Of the hairpin bends, hairpin no.5 is particularly noteworthy, the end of which is on a bridge-like construction that protrudes at a great height above and into a valley. Apart from the two stations on the route ends there in the middle the station Hoki May , the one siding has.


First DCR

The builder of the route is the potter Barry Brickell . In 1961 he bought a piece of land north of the town of Coromandel in order to operate a pottery and build a garden railway. This had a track width of 266 mm, a 20-meter tunnel and a wooden truss bridge that was in a 180-degree curve. In 1968, the facility was extended by a 250-meter-long track over a neighboring property to a pottery kiln and a clay pit . This first runway was broken off in 1973 and most of the material was used for the construction of the successor system.

Second DCR

Hairpin No. 5: On a bridge construction over the abyss

In 1973 Barry Brickell bought a 24- acre property to tackle the railroad and landscaping project on a larger scale. For him, it is about a harmonious total work of people, nature and technology. After measuring the first section of the route, which was marked by surveying pegs at a distance of 10 meters from the valley station - a system that is still used today for " kilometrage " - he built the first section of his second railway system in 1974. The model was light railways , "Bushtramways", which were used in forest operations in New Zealand at the end of the 19th and first half of the 20th century. The track material came first from the facilities of closed coal mines in Huntly , Rotowaro and Benneydale , later from the municipal building yard of Wellington . The project was financed initially from the income of the pottery, then through bank loans and income from tourism . Since 1984 it became apparent that the income from the operation of a railway aimed at tourists would exceed that from the pottery. From 1988 the railway was advertised as a tourist attraction. Since there was still no state approval for passenger traffic , initially only a donation was asked, which, however, only achieved poor financial results. In 1990 it was officially approved by the state to transport people, which meant that tickets could now also be sold . The official opening took place on October 20, 1990.

It took 28 years for the line to be fully developed in 2002. The railway is one of the few railway lines that have been rebuilt in New Zealand over the past few decades.


Elephant diesel multiple unit
Linx diesel multiple unit
Pottery valley station with the
Possum diesel multiple unit

All vehicles were built in-house. There are four diesel railcars and a locomotive:

Surname Type Construction year landing gear engine PS Passengers annotation
Diesel mouse Locomotive 1979 2-axis 8th 0
Elephant Railcar 1980 2 Heisler chassis Diesel engine 60 5 one-part
Snake Railcar 1992 4 powered chassis Perkins Engines diesel engine 60 36 three-part bi - directional vehicle, originally all axles mechanically driven, converted in 1997 to hydraulic and partly mechanical power transmission
Possum Railcar 1995 2 powered chassis Lombardini diesel engine 20th 14th Bi-directional vehicle, conversion from the 1994 passenger car, with hydraulic power transmission since 2002
Linx Railcar 2004 4 chassis, independent suspension , all wheels driven Diesel engine 60 34 tripartite bidirectional vehicle, hydraulic power transmission
Freight wagons

In addition, there are freight wagons for the transport of materials and in the early days of operations, flat wagons were also fitted with seats and temporarily used for passengers. A passenger car that was built in 1982 and normally used as a sidecar for the Elephant railcar was replaced in 1994 by a new vehicle with 16 seats. But in the same year, locomotive-hauled passenger trains were abandoned after an accident and the passenger car was converted to the Possum diesel multiple unit .

Traffic volume

The train is still used for company traffic to bring clay and firewood for the pottery to the workshops. So there is both freight and passenger traffic on the railway . In the winter season , two trips a day are offered for passenger transport, which takes place according to a timetable , and six in the summer season. With a high number of passengers, such journeys also run with several trains that are used in the same timetable immediately one after the other. Every year around 30,000 passengers use the train, at the turn of 2011/2012 the 1,000,000. Passenger are greeted. The frequency of visitors is so high that the operators and the tourism authorities recommend booking a space . In 2008 there were around 2,400 train journeys.

Embedding in the landscape

Embedding the route in the reforested rainforest

The terrain through which the railway travels has largely been renatured with a rainforest made up of indigenous New Zealand plants after the original jungle here was completely cleared in the middle of the 19th century in order to gain agricultural land. Numerous works of art from the pottery are placed along the railway line and many technical systems, such as embankments , have been artistically designed.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b long.
  2. Lawrence.
  3. Brickell, p. 195.

Coordinates: 36 ° 44 ′ 13.5 ″  S , 175 ° 30 ′ 15.8 ″  E