Otira Tunnel - Eastern Portal

Arthur's Pass
Arthurs Pass, Canterbury
A major engineering triumph, the 8,500 meter Otira tunnel was completed in 1923, sixteen years after tenders were first called. The initial contractors went out of business and the project was completed by the Public Works Department. From the start the problems of steam trains in long tunnels were avoided by using electric locomotives supplied by the English Electric company. (A steam powered electricity generator was installed at Otira).

The tunnel has a gradient of 1 in 33 from Arthur's Pass down to Otira.

The English Electric representative at the tunnel opening was its Chief Engineer, Evan Parry. Parry had been an outstanding first Chief Electrical Engineer of the Public Works Department and had a major role in the introduction of the technology to New Zealand.
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Note: Location is approximate.

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