Saturday 3 June 2017

Otago Central Railway [22A]: Some street view shots

Wedderburn as seen in April 2016. On the right we can see the concrete edged passenger platform and on the left, a high level loading bank. As the goods shed can be seen in the distance, this neatly illustrates that the station buildings in their present location alongside the road are some distance from where they were placed when the railway was open.

Clyde with the freight shed to the left and the loading bank to the right, the 215 km peg is alongside the far end of this bank. The water tank on the end of the freight shed dates from NZR days and is a standard pattern for "modern" water tanks (vats) that were made out of steel panels that bolted together.

At the end of the rail trail this subway was installed as part of the rail trail recently to allow pedestrian and cyclist access under the highway due to the hazards of crossing above.

At Bridge 70, Manuherikia No.1, maintenance work was underway at the time.

 This location in the Poolburn Gorge at 102 miles or 164 km is believed to be a realignment that was necessary due to subsidence. The fence appears to go along the top of what was the old embankment and along with other evidence helps to support the idea that the track was pushed uphill here and the date is thought to be the 1950s.

Ranfurly still has many of its old railway buildings, this is probably a way and works depot then next to it are trolley sheds, then further on is the station building and goods shed. And further south there is the old engine shed and the turntable as well on private land alongside the track. When the trail was first opened Ranfurly still had most of its track in the yard and an old DJ locomotive was kept in the goods shed. In the intervening years the track has been reduced to a length along the platform and the DJ was moved to Middlemarch to be kept as spares for the Dunedin Railways fleet. 

Kokonga still has a loading bank and much of the track that ran to it is buried in the grass alongside the trail. Behind the photographer to the left was the site of the old engine depot dating from construction days and also a siding going down the hill to the ballast pit.

 The Capburn Creek bridge at Tiroiti is a little different from most other bridges as the guard rails have been left on the bridge. This is because when the trail originally opened it bypassed the bridge and trail users were directed onto the road that goes underneath for a good view of the bridge. This has been altered since to allow cyclists and pedestrians to cross the bridge but horse riders still need to detour underneath. The road underneath was the main highway for many years and crossed the railway again on the level in the middle of the Tiroiti yard.

Prices Creek Viaduct is another realignment, this one was opened in 1963 when the new bridge was built and the story is that the girder spans came from the closed Moutohora Branch in the North Island. The original rail route from the 1890s can be seen curving round below the hillside to the left. There are still remains of the original bridge at this site which was nowhere near as high as the present structure. Rumour has it also some stock wagons were derailed down the bank somewhere near this location and the ruins of them are still on the site today, having been burned in order to dispose of the sheep carcases easily.

Just north of Hyde was the old ballast pit that was opened when Tisdalls pit near Ngapuna closed in 1934 and closed a relatively short time later in 1952. I wasn't able to get aerial photos of it although there are some gradient diagrams in with the chainage charts. The siding went off to the right where the toilet is and down the hill into what is now a freight carrier's yard, this part was quite steep. It was effectively a switchback that reversed direction to go under the mainline via the bridge you can see in the background and then about 2 km further east where there are still gravel pits worked today.

The location of Hyde station where the trail goes around the station site as it was privately owned from the time of closing the line until just a year or two ago. We hope the rail trail people will keep the yard intact (unlike Ranfurly) as well as the station and wagons on display. The main line can be seen immediately to the right of the track and there is a points lever for the loop where the road curves slightly left. The railway wagon on the left is on a backshunt off one end of the loop and the trail actually crosses this backshunt to go around the yard, you can also see the home signal still in place and it has been quite well maintained. It will be good to see if the whole yard can be cleaned up as most of the track is buried in weeds, the station building is in very good condition overall, there is another signal at the far end and there are a number of wagons around the place.

Ngapuna is the first station after Middlemarch. The station building was removed in NZR days (the station closed in 1979 some 11 years before the line was closed), it has been found and relocated back since.

Tisdalls Ballast Pit between Ngapuna and Middlemarch. This was closed in 1934 having been opened when the line was under construction.

I will post some more Streetview shots later today.