Tangiwai – Buy 

10 kilometres west of the town Waiōuru in the central North Island, I arrived at a place called Tangiwai. The location of New Zealand’s worst railway accident where 151 died.

Having read a lot about the famous accident, it was a place I was very much looking forward to seeing. So, it was with intrigue and a touch of excitement that I parked my car and went for a look around. As I got out of the car, light rain began to fall and for the next half hour I wandered around the various information boards that detailed the events that took place on Christmas Eve, 1953. With the light rain that was falling and the grey, overcast sky, the place had a lonely, sombre feeling.  

The tragedy was caused when part of a carter wall containing a lake on the volcano Mount Ruapehu collapsed and a torrent of water surged down the Whangaehu River. Moments before the Wellington to Auckland express train arrived at the Tangiwai bridge, it had been damaged by the fast moving lahar and the bridge collapsed when the train began to cross it. Of the 285 passengers aboard the train, 151 died. To this day it remains New Zealand’s worst Railway accident.