The Lyttelton rail tunnel officially opened on 9 December 1867. The trip through the hill secion took less than seven minutes. This was New Zealand’s first rail tunnel, and for many years it was also the country’s longest. The Lyttelton rail tunnel was the first in the world that was driven through the side of an extinct volcano.
I recently attended David Welch’s Heritage Week talk about his upcoming book: Port to Plains; Over and Under the Port Hills, the Story of the Lyttelton Railway Tunnel.
No dry reading here! David loves a good social history so has concentrated on the real characters in the saga of constructing a tunnel through a volcanic caldera. In his talk he brought to life well-known early pioneer names such as Fitzgerald, Moorhouse, and Dobson in snippets of stories included in the book.
I for one am really looking forward to its publication. Place a hold on Port to Plains; Over and Under the Port Hills, the Story of the Lyttelton Railway Tunnel and we will let you know when a copy arrives for you to read.