Paremata Rail Bridge

This page outlines the history and description of the bridge at the Paremata entrance to the Pauatahanui arm of the Porirua Harbour.

The first bridge at Paremata was constructed in 1885 as part of the W&MRC line. This was a standard pattern Howe-truss bridge – a design in common use for railway work in New Zealand at the time – with timber trusses supported on concrete-filled cast-iron piers. The bridge had five 80’-0” spans and was 400’ overall in length (121.92 m). The rail bridge also provided convenient pedestrian access across the inlet until 1936 when a separate road bridge, built as part of the Centennial Highway project, provided a permanent way for pedestrians. [See Ref. xx]

Paremata Bridge, early 1930s.
Paremata Bridge, early 1930s. Note the Mana area is almost entirely undeveloped.
ATL ref 1/2-099939-G

In the mid 1950s work began on straightening out the road and railway line from Porirua to Paremata as part of the electrification and duplication of the line. In 1960 the original rail bridge was replaced with a new concrete and steel rail bridge 60 metres to the west. (see image in Heath p. 53). The timber bridge was dismantled two years later. [See Ref. xxi]

Hoy describes the new bridge as “…470 ft. long with twelve 30 ft. spans and two 55ft. navigational spans. ... The spoil for the bridge embankment and for the new Paremata Station ... came from a bluff alongside the old station.” [See Ref. xxii]

This bluff was once part of London’s Paddock, the section of the Wall farm nearest Paremata and the Wall family chapel was prominently sited on the top of it. Some cutting of the bluff had been done for the original station and tracks by W&MRC in the early 1880s, but the plans for the rail and motorway work required the substantial removal of the bluff – the cut to make way for the motorway and the spoil from the bluff to help fill out the harbour-side reclamation for the railway work. In 1953 the chapel was relocated to Paremata Crescent; today it is the church of St Philips Paremata. [See Ref. xxiii]

Work to cut back the bluff started soon after the move.

Paremata Bridge, 1960.
Paremata Bridge, 1960.
NZR collection, located on
http://www.tranzpressnz.com/RailwayPhotos.html.

References

xx Heath, Barbara, and Balham, Helen. The Paremata Story Paremata : Paremata Residents Association, 1994 p. 39
xxi

Hoy, D. G. Rails Out of the Capital Wellington : New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society, Wellington Branch, 1970 p. 24

xxii

Hoy, D. G. Rails Out of the Capital Wellington : New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society, Wellington Branch, 1970 pp. 70-71

xxiii Porirua City Council (2009) Places of heritage interest

Return to the 'Porirua's Rail Heritage' page or continue to the 'Airlie Road Bridge' page.