Sunday 18 June 2017

Otago Central Railway [31A]: Alexandra Maps

So this post is the actual maps, and it will be updated as necessary. I can't show all the photos I used as source because I can't find all the people to ask their permission, but it's possible I might publish some pieces of their photos rather than the whole photo. For now I have attached a number of my own photos which I haven't put on any other post.

Anyhow in each case we have the aerial photography version and plain version of each map. I haven't bothered with an overview map this time around.

 So we start from the east end of Alexandra. The two Ds are the Way & Works depot buildings. The bigger one is the main depot and the smaller one is the trolley shed. We also have a railway house which is still there, next to the works depot.

More into the centre the two Gs are goods loading facilities. The smaller one is the goods shed, and to save time, I just copied the one from Clyde without any idea if it is the same size or not, as I don't have any measurements of it. The difference here is that the goods unloading was done under a veranda rather than inside the shed so the actual footprint would include this veranda.

The larger G is the loading shelter that was built for the fruit traffic. By the time the yard closed this traffic was well gone and the shelter was where station staff parked their TR locomotive, as shown in one of my photos.

The S is the station building and again to save time I simply copied the Clyde station, which like Alexandra had a veranda covering most of the platform.

L is the loading bank next to the goods shed. Out of all these facilities there is just one house and the passenger platform still there today. The rail trail has a carpark next to the works depot site. There is a concrete pad which I assume was at the back of the trolley shed.

 Continuing further west we have in addition to the facilities already discussed the following:
A = toilet block at the end of the platform. We can see where two more houses (H) were formerly located. We can also see the stockyards (Y) and where the Apple and Pear Marketing Board had its site, which took over part of the stockyards site at a later date and put a shelter there. I think they took over and fenced off an area of land next to the level crossing as well as the photos I have show.

The tracks coming down from the loading shelter sort of end in mid-air because I don't have any photos of this end of the yard. It's extremely unlikely there was a diamond crossing of the Apple and Pear siding (if that is what was served by it) - either that siding was removed by the time the shelter came along, or the sidings joined together.

Coming up the west end of the yard we can see one house which still exists and the oil company siding which came off the main and crossed over Chicago St. I suspect in later years this may be where the Fulton Hogan or Alexandra Transport yard was located. There is in fact a transport company located in that yard today.

We can see there was another oil company depot further west. The siding then went back into the main and that was the end of Alexandra.

See the numerically later posts in the Alexandra series for some depictions of what the oil company sites look like today and the remaining buildings from those sites.

Here now are a number of my own photos of Alexandra.

 Coming into Alexandra from the east end, we can see crossing alarms fitted at SH8 and the main to loop points. The slow 10 restriction basically was applied to all trains because of the proximity of the combined bridge which had this speed limit on it for traffic safety.

 The loading shelter with the TR locomotive parked under it. From all the photos there was clearly very little freight traffic by this stage.
 Our train stopping at the station.
 At the west end of the yard. Over to the right is the APB building / yard. Of interest on the left in the distance is the pitched roof of the loading shelter in the transport yard, which we can see on Google is still there today. Maybe that was where Fulton Hogans had their siding.

 Trolley shed. It looks like the tracks weren't cast into the building floor and therefore, that is why the tracks aren't obvious today.

Saturday 17 June 2017

Otago Central Railway [31D]: Alexandra 4

 So here again is the oil company siding 1959 with some wagons actually in it. This looks like the Caltex star.
The first site (leftmost in the top photo) is now Transworld, a transport company. In this 2013 Streetview, you can see the building to the right is the same as one of the buildings on the oil company site. However it has been knocked down as it doesn't appear in 2015 aerial imagery or the Rail Trail streetview of 2016.

Looking down the siding from the other end of it. This oil company depot site appears to have a building remaining as well.  This is the open shelter seen at far right (see next photo for more info).

2nd oil company depot seen from the street frontage (Russell St). This street did not exist at the time the depots were first built, obviously it went in later. Now if you look in the middle of the photo you can see a shelter with three skylight roof panels, this very much matches the one in the Whites Aviation photos and tends to confirm this being the same site and being a remaining building structure on the site.

Here we are having another look at those 1947 WA pictures and the west end of the yard. Now this shows me I have a loading bank alongside the goods shed. It also shows me how the stockyards siding and the APB or whatever siding came off the end of the yard. Although I'll show the stockyards in the next pic as you can't see them in this one.

 So here is the other part going right up to the crossing of the 1947 image. And in the background we have three railway houses but it looks like there could have been more at one time or another but who really knows. But it shows me there was a very small stockyards and the line of deckers says they definitely were using that stockyards then. So for that part of the issue, that doesn't look like more than a small loading pen, the actual holding pens must have been elsewhere. There were what looks like stock pens on a site across the other side of Chicago Street behind the oil company depots (look at my previous post) but not on the railway site, maybe Alexandra was big enough to have a separate stockyards that was near enough to the railway to just drove the stock across when they were loading.

Now this photo is from Steve Watts' Flickr and it is a Ray Matthewson photo. It was taken at Alexandra on 13 February 1991 and it shows track lifting at Alexandra. The main point of interest for me is the Apple and Pear Marketing Board premises which you can see part of the sign of to the left (and on the right some of the old houses). That premises must have taken over the stock loading site and track in later years. It looks like they didn't actually build on the stockyards site, just fenced it off. The site has been built over since.

This one is off some Facebook group I was in once and it doesn't show the credit but again you can see Apple and Pear Board signposting on the back of the shelter which was behind their depot building. Railbase Systems was the company in charge of lifting the track and the locomotive and wagons would have been here late 1990 or early 1991.

Out of interest I looked up F B Challis to see what relevance this name had and it turned up in the Legislation site of all places. Specifically Finance Act 1957 contains this clause

17 Validating grant by New Zealand Apple and Pear Marketing Board to dependants of the late F B Challis
The payment by the New Zealand Apple and Pear Marketing Board out of its funds during the financial year of the Board ending with 30 November 1957 of the sum of 1,000 pounds as a compassionate allowance for the benefit of the dependants of Frederick Bertram Challis, deceased, former Branch Manager of the Board at Dunedin, is hereby validated and declared to have been lawfully made.

So very interesting as essentially it means APB names this store as some sort of memorial to one of their staff.

This photo was essentially taken at more or less the same time as the previous one and it gives us a view of the building and shelter across the far end of the yard. Compare with the other photos.

I think looking at it I remember this photo was probably by Geoffrey White of Dunedin and he probably took the other photo as well for all I know.

So essentially those photos cover how I knew (as mentioned previously) there was an Apple and Pear Marketing Board store at the west end of the yard and how it is still there today.

Here are some of my own photos of Alexandra as well. All these were taken on the Photographers Special train of September 1989.

The biggest deal we can make of Alexandra is there was next to no interest in creating a heritage precinct. At the time the line closed the station building and goods shed still existed, however these buildings were knocked down, and in fact almost the whole yard was cleared so there is only the station platform remaining today. Compare that with the old Clyde station (closed 1980), Ranfurly and Hyde. Although over time the Ranfurly layout has changed with most of the yard tracks now lifted, and the Clyde buildings have been run down, the Hyde station has been taken over by the rail trail trust but it looks like they have pulled up some of the yard track to put the trail right through the yard.

Otago Central Railway [31B]: Alexandra 2

So I will shortly draw up the map for Alexandra, in the meantime here are some photos.

This one is from Weston Langford and it shows Alexandra in January 1964. We can see the goods shed did not have an internal track like most sheds did. Instead, the wagons were unloaded under a verandah outside. This would be a simple and cheap way of increasing the capacity of the shed but in the freezing cold Central Otago winters would not give pleasant working conditions. It's noted in D&E in a photo of Omakau that they had the only goods shed in NZ that had a fireplace inside it - Omakau is one of the coldest places in NZ in winter with -21 degrees recorded at Ophir in 1995. 

 The road rail bridge.
 The road and railway approaching the combined bridge.

 Combined bridge.

 Road approach to the bridge.

 Crossing the roadway, the footway to the right was added for the rail trail and is not original.

 Looking up the river.

 No ordinary pathway with a kilometre peg alongside.

 SH85 crossing at Alexandra.

 The station platform. The yard area has been sold into private ownership. There are no railway buildings on the former yard land. The station was demolished about 1992. The local service clubs have proposed building a replica of the station but this has yet to get off the ground.

 At one of the level crossings a railway mural has been painted onto an adjoining business premises.

Another view of this mural. In the foreground is possibly a trackside telephone box. There would not have been many crossing alarms on the line so I am presuming it was not controls for alarms.