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Denniston: New Zealand

Denniston is an old coal mining town on the Mt Rochfort Plateau, in the hills 27km north-east of Westport, New Zealand. Now virtually a ghost town, the population has dwindled from over 2000 people to about two dozen. The famous Denniston Incline was an engineering feat of world renown that locals called the eighth wonder of the world. Railway wagons with 8 tonnes of coal plunged off the Hilltop down the slope as steep as 1 in 1, at speeds sometimes in excess of 70km per hour, restrained by an endless wire rope on a brake drum that pulled the empty trucks to the top of the hill. Between 1879 and 1967 it transported over 12 million tonnes of coal to the flats below.