Ongarue Railway Accident

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Ongarue Railway Accident

On Friday 6 July 1923 the journey of two hundred passengers aboard the overnight Auckland to Wellington express, Train No.221, ended abruptly when it derailed near Ongarue, 160 miles (257.5 km) south of Auckland and 14 miles (23 km) north of Taumarunui.

With 17 deaths and 28 others seriously injured, the derailment was at that time the worst accident to befall New Zealand Railways. About two hundred rescuers from Ongarue, Taumarunui, Te Kuiti, Auckland, and Wellington dealt with the aftermath, among them doctors, nurses, railway workers, and dozens of local residents who provided care and support for the injured and uninjured passengers.

The stories in this A4 sized, 112 paged book have been collated from newspaper reports and witness statements presented to the Official Board of Inquiry and is an acknowledgement to all those involved in the rescue effort, and to the railway staff who cleared the wreckage and relaid the track to ensure the swift resumption of train services.


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