Between Wedderburn and Oturehua the highway has been realigned twice. The original route used this level crossing to get over the railway and there was another crossing closer to Wedderburn as well. The first alignment change was when this crossing got replaced by the overbridge you can see in the distance. We can only guess that there must have been a visibility problem with the curve and cutting to be able to see trains approaching from the east. Some years later the entire highway was moved to the other side of the railway line eliminating the need for the overbridge as well as the second level crossing near the line summit entirely (see below).
The first level crossing of the highway at the location referred to above was here and its significance in railway terms is being the summit of the entire railway line between Wingatui and Cromwell, at 618 metres (just over 2000 feet in imperial terms). The rail trail people have put a marker here for the purpose. The other interesting factor in the area is the crossing of the 45 parallel which happens twice and is also marked alongside the track, the first of the crossings is at the end of the straight in the distance. The line curved around nearly 180 degrees between here and Oturehua so that it went back across the parallel about 6 km further on.
There has always been an overbridge at this site just west of Wedderburn since the railway was constructed. The abutments of the first single-lane and probably wooden bridge can be seen in the foreground with its modern concrete replacement dating from about the 1960s behind.
Another ballast pit site near the 79 mile peg between Ranfurly and Wedderburn.
Another small ballast pit site just south of Ranfurly.
My next post will compare some shots with some of the photo stops we had on our trips up the line when it was still open.