Completing The Woburn Triangle

At first glance it does not seem possible to complete the Woburn triangle. However inspection of the Randwick Road Bridge reveals that it is different in a significant way from the three other bridges also built when the Hutt Valley Deviation Line to Waterloo was constructed in the 1920s. The other bridges are at Hutt Road, Cuba St and Whites Line East.

On this page I present the circumstantial and concrete evidence that the planners of the junction at Woburn made provision for a third leg.

This is now of academic interest only - Gracefield Yard closed in April 2002.

Woburn triangle junction points

A down EMU between the Hutt River and Randwick Road bridges. The junction points would be about here and the ground would need to be raised for the third leg. Looking towards Randwick Road.

Did The Planners Allow For A Third Leg?

I have a theory that when the Woburn Junction area was laid out in the 1920s the planners provided for a future third leg of the triangle:

  • There is a triangular area of vacant land on the south side of the main line. There is sufficient space for the third leg to reach tangent main- line track. However the ground level needs to be raised
  • The southern embankment of the single span Randwick Road bridge is level for some distance. This suggests that a second bridge span was planned here. The nearby White Line bridge has two spans - one crosses the main line and the other the Gracefield Line.
  • On the eastern side of the Randwick Road bridge property boundaries are at an angle of about forty five degrees to Randwick Road - the alignment of the third leg.
Woburn Triangle locality diagram

The Branch right of way is used for water mains with an interconnection point in the junction area. The Ludlam Dairy is now closed (2006).

Land Reserved For Triangle

The Lower Hutt City Council District Scheme and Lands and Survay Cadastral plans define the land that was reserved for "Railway Purposes". Part of this land could realistically be used only for the third leg of the triangle. It is to be expected that the District Scheme plan would agree with the Cadastral plan - in earlier years the Council would have based its plans on paper Lands and Survey records; in more recent years the Council became a licensed user of the DCDB (Digital Cadastral Database).

Woburn triangle District Scheme diagram

1991 District Scheme   In the Lower Hutt City Council 1991 Approved District Scheme the mainline is defined as a "Transportation Corridor" and the Gracefield Industrial Line and the triangle area is labelled "Railway". The term "Railway", as used in the District Scheme, has a general meaning. For example, land in Cambridge Terrace (now used for car parking) has this classification. The point is that land whose only realistic railway use is the third leg of a triangle was reserved.

In the draft Scheme (1995) the term Transportation Corridor has been removed although I have not researched the significance of this change.

Woburn triangle cadastral plan

Legal Boundaries  Extract from cadastral plan NZMS 16 sheet 2 ( 1 June 1956). It shows legal boundaries. The land required for a full triangle, the Wellington - Wairarapa railway, the Gracefield Branch and even the Ford Motor Works siding is designated Wellington - Napier Railway (Lower Hutt Valley Duplication).

The cadastral plan does not list any registered documents for the railway land. Sometime I may use the new computerised LINZ system to try and find all documents relevant to the railway land.

Sketch 32741

Undated sketch 32741 confirms that a full triangle was proposed at the junction of the main line to Waterloo and the Hutt Industrial Line (name in 1937 WTT).

Future plans included doubling the branch, constructing a double track third leg and building a road from Woburn to the Hutt Workshops, parallel to the railway. Note also that Woburn was originally called Whites Line. The pedestrian overbridges were constructed closer to the platform than shown in the sketch.

Click on the image to view the diagram.

Woburn triangle 1920s sketch


The triangle area viewed from the Whites Line East Bridge. A down EMU is about to pass under Randwick Road. The Gracefield Line is on the left. The third leg would run right to left behind the EMU.

The mainline (left) and the Gracefield Line (right) pass under Whites Line East. Note the double span bridge. The southern pedestrian bridge at Woburn can be seen in the distance.)

A view of the mainline from the Randwick Road bridge, looking towards Ava. On the left, behind the vegetation, is the vacant land that would be used for the third leg.

Standing on the approximate alignment of the third leg, looking towards Woburn. The mainline curves to the left under Randwick Road. Behind the vegetation on the right the Randwick Road embankment is level, allowing the construction of a second bridge.

Standing in the triangle area on the approximate alignment of the third leg. Note that the Randwick Road embankment is level - this would allow the construction of a second bridge. The mainline runs left to right towards Woburn. A better view of the embankment and bridge has the bonus of a searchlight signal.   The two existing legs of the triangle can be seen very clearly in this view taken from the front of a red unit.

View of the alignment of the third leg from Randwick Road. Note the boundary fences. The third leg would run parallel to them and join the Gracefield Line ( left, just below the houses). Note also that the road is level at this point - this is where a second bridge would be constructed.

Last Updated: Wed Nov 8 08:20:39 NZDT 2006