Pokeno to Paeroa Railway
First proposed in the early 1900’s work commenced on this railway route in January 1938.
The Hon Bob Semple was on hand to turn the first sod in Paeroa while work also commenced at the Pokeno end of the line.
When completed this new line would avoid the lengthy dog leg via Frankton and reduce the trip time from Auckland to Paeroa by nearly two hours.
A similar time saving would also accrue to the trip to Tauranga and eventually to the end of the line at Taneatua.
At that time there were also plans to extend the line from Taneatua to Gisborne with some work already underway near Gisborne.
There were a number of gangs at work on the earthworks for the line, working in two shifts and at times being paid a bonus based on the length of earthworks completed.
Unfortunately WW2 resulted in work being brought to a halt and much of the earth moving machinery being seconded for the war effort with some being shipped to Singapore.
Despite good intentions work did not start again after the war as the nation was by then putting a greater emphasis on improving the road network.
Today evidence of the earthworks can be seen at many places near SH2 with the last completed section within a few meters of Dimmocks Road.
Had this railway link been completed, then the economics of drilling the Kaimai tunnel, completed in 1978, may have been questionable.