Tangiwai Rail Disaster – 24 December 1953

Tonight – Christmas Eve 2013-  is the 60th anniversary of the Tangiwai disaster. NZers will know the story but briefly, a lahar from the crater lake on Mt Ruapehu undermined the rail bridge at Tangiwai in the Central North Island. The Wellington-Auckland express collapsed it a short time later, leaving 151 dead of the 258 on board. They say that most people in NZ – then 2 million – had connections with someone involved.

The train is in the distant left background. The switchbox is at Ohakune, 10 or so kilometres from the new bridge . The landscape is volcanic, so that and the story dictated the reds and oranges – odd colour scheme perhaps with the cold blue foreground and reds at the back but it works in this context I think.

Best wishes for a relaxing and happy 2013 Christmas.

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