All Aboard the Train From Napier to Woodville

the train



As a boy, my ambition was to be an engine driver. I knew all the types of steam locomotives that were used & even knew them by the tunes of their whistles.

My thoughts were steered off steam, & I took on engineering as a career.

During that career, I got involved in maintenance work on boilers & steam engines, as were used on haulers in the forests, just as crawler tractors came into use after W.W.2. My secondary school days were spent in Palmerston North, & I used the trains to travel by at holiday times. I got to know all the stops & timetables.

One evening when there wasn’t much of interest on the television, I started to write a story of the Waipawa Railway Station & what was there.

Having read numerous railway books, I decided to write about the line that hasn’t been written about before.

David Evans


Wheel Interprizer Photo: Late 1993
Purchased by the Taupo Totara Timber Company, then restored by the Glenbrook Vintage Railway, this train is still in use today.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise with-out written permission of the author.

This book was type-set and prepared by:
Jan Cairns Printing Consultant
P.O. Box 548 Hastings

AUTHOR:   Thomas F. Wheeler   ISBN No: 0473030519

PUBLISHED BY:   Thomas F. Wheeler
8 Tasman Street
Havelock North

First Published 1994


The author wishes to thank the organisations and personnel for their assistance.

Havelock North Library.
Hastings Library.
Dannevirke Library.
C.H.B. Museum.
Ormondville Preservation Group.
Old Te Aute Store Museum.
N.Z. Railway & Locomotive Society.
Licensee of the Tavistock Hotel.
Present Staff N.Z. Railway.
Hawkes Bay Museum.

B. Mellis.
M. Tong.
J. Ritchie.
I. Bradshaw.
A. Bradender.
E. Veale.
R. Green.
S. Anderson. (Rev) B.A.
W. Rodgers.
R. Stott.
M. Robertson.



Station Number:

1   H.B. Harbour Board – Port of Napier Ltd
Spit – Port Ahuriri – Ahuriri – Napier Freight Centre
2   Napier
3   Napier South – Te Awa
4   Awatoto
5   Farndon – Clive
6   Whakatu
7   Karamu – Tomoana
8   Hastings
9   Hastings Racecourse
10   Longlands
11   Paki Paki [Pakipaki]
12   Poukawa
13   Te Hauke
14   Te Aute – Opapa
15   Opapa Embankment
16   Pukehou
17   Kaikora – Otane
18   Waipawa
19   Tapairu Pa
20   Waipukurau
21   Hatuma
22   Marakeke [Maharakeke]
23   Takapau
24   Whenuahou Siding
25   Kopua
26   Papatu Siding



Station Number:

27   Ormondville
28   Makotutu [Makotuku]
29/30   Rakaiatai Siding / Te Ohu Siding
31   Matamau
32   Piri Piri [Piripiri]
33   Mangatara [Mangatera]
34   Dannevirke
35   Tamiki [Tamaki] – Tapuata
36   Taporiti [Tahoraiti]
37   Oringi
38   Maharahara
39   Victoria – Papatawa
40   Woodville

There were a number of stations that have changed their names. The original name/s and present names have been mentioned in the Contents Listing.

Private Sidings
Passenger Travel through the ages
Train Control
Railway Crossing Signs



Many authors of New Zealand Rail publications have concentrated on dates, when and where the rail was laid, tunnels, viaducts, types of rolling stock and locomotives used over the years. This information is worthy to tabulate for the future.

However, there is very little written on the actual stations and yards between Ahuriri and Woodville. There were 40 stations or sidings in existence; while some are still standing, others are no longer in use, and many have gone. As the years go by, one wonders how many will survive another century.

Many provincial lines similar to Hawke’s Bay had branch lines to other centres. Hawke’s Bay didn’t in the early days. In fact, it was about 1923 when the line north reached Eskdale and became operational, when Ahuriri became a branch line. This is recorded in the N.Z.R. timetable books.

The general government, (now known as central government) led by Prime Minister Julius Vogel, in the 1870s, gave approval and assistance to provincial government, in the form of a grant to construct a railway system between Ahuriri and Palmerston North. A survey for the route soon got under way.

1872 saw the start of the Spit – Napier section, (Spit became Ahuriri) then onto Hastings and reached Paki Paki early in 1875. The line was built going south, reaching Woodville about fifteen years later.

A large number of stations were manned with manual signalling and tablet systems in use.

Not all stations were manned 24 hours a day. In the early days, the trains were smaller, slower and more of them.


Frequent passing and mail trains, (later known as expresses) over taking freight were more common.

It is my belief that the heyday of the freight and passenger business would have been in the late 1930s to the 1950s.

As New Zealand moved out of the depression, the public were able to travel more.

Newman brothers started a bus service about 1935/36. There were stretches of the main road still in metal, so rail was still the most popular mode of travel

The Second World War broke out late in 1939, and owing to petrol restrictions, Newmans were forced off the road by the government.

The first train out of Napier left about 6am. It was commonly known as the slow train, but officially, it was called a mixed train, with a 2nd class carriage attached to the guard’s van at the rear of the train. These had a timetable of sorts, but could not be relied upon to be on time.

Next would be the Express, sometimes called the ‘mail train’, leaving for Wellington about 8am. It would have about 8 to 11 carriages attached.

The next Express would usually be a 3-carriage train, leaving at 5pm and would terminate at Palmerston North, thus connecting with the limited express to Auckland.

The first train arriving at Napier would be the express from Palmerston North, about noon. This would leave Palmerston North about 7am, after the over-night express had arrived from Auckland. This would allow business people and others to spend about 5 hours in Napier to do business, plus a direct connection from other parts of the country. Passengers would be very tired after spending 2 nights travelling. N.Z.R. hired out pillows for the overnight trip for one shilling (10 cents) each.


The next to arrive would be the express or mail train from Wellington, with its 8 to 11 carriages, about 5pm.

When the railway to Wairoa opened in 1939, a ‘standard’ type of railcar would carry passengers north.

It was early 1942 before the line was linked to Gisborne. Delays were caused by the depression, war, earthquakes and disastrous floods. Gisborne was an isolated town and welcomed the first passenger train with enthusiasm. The station was decorated, and the band played the train to the platform.

The last mixed train from the south would arrive at Napier about 7pm. (if on time).

There were other freight trains that travelled both ways around the clock.

The early 1950s saw the passenger trains go, and the 88-seater articulated railcars took over.

Rail rolling stock became a bit of a political football, with rapid changing of governments, and the railcars wearing out, and so now in the 1990s, only 1 passenger train travels the line. Often it has only 1, sometimes 2, maybe 3, (at busy times) carriages, with a buffet car attached.

It leaves Wellington about 8am, arriving at Napier about 1.30pm. The whole train is turned on a triangle and departs for Wellington about 2.30pm.

This is a far cry from the 8-11 carriage days, so the question is asked, “did the railways run down their rolling stock or was there a downturn in patronage?”.

Passenger trains travelling from Wellington in the early days had an 11 hour trip, now it is a 5 hour trip.

On the busy days, the express would make up to 15 stops, while today it is down to about 8, some of those only on request.


Prior to the arrival of the Express at the larger stations, the train signalman would pull 2 levers to lower the semaphore arms on the signal poles, thus allowing the train to pull up at the platform. He would also place the tablet on the exchange post. The platform would fill up with passengers, some would be obtaining their reserved seat numbers from the station’s clerk, while others would be depositing their luggage at the luggage counter. A porter would place the articles onto a four-wheel trolley, which would be wheeled along the platform to the luggage van, (usually known as the guard’s van) for transportation as the train drew into the platform.

Taxis would be waiting at the rear for fares. At the major stops, usually a policeman would be present.

When the Express arrived, passengers, and those seeing them off, and those waiting for passengers to alight would cause a bustling scene. While at the luggage van, usually 2 station porters, the train’s ticket collector, guard and the post office mailman would be more than busy loading off and on luggage, mail and small freight.

When everyone had themselves sorted out, the station master, who was recognised by a broad yellow band around his cap would call “ALL ABOARD”, then usually give 2 rings on the platform bell. The station master would give the guard the “ALL CLEAR TO GO”. The guard would blow his whistle and wave his green flag to the driver, who would respond by blowing the locomotive’s whistle and move off.

On busy days, such as the beginning and end of the school holidays, holiday weekends, often 2 expresses would run. The second one was known as the relief express, and would run about half an hour later.


Recently I saw the Bay Express at Hastings. There were very few people around and the guard, (now known as train managers) handed out and received the luggage.

There was no mail or small freight handled. The platform became vacant, and the train just moved off. There was no “ALL ABOARD” call, whistle or bell. The train manager gives his instructions to the driver by radio.

The older readers will probably remember the procedure well, but, the younger readers won’t. There are many younger readers who have never had the chance to feel the excitement of travelling by train, and have missed an enjoyable experience.

Future generations may ask, “What was a train?, and, “Why did you travel by train?”.



Now on to the purpose of this book, to comment on the buildings and yards on the Hawke’s Bay line.

Stations, buildings and yards were built to suit the growth of the district that they were to serve. Some buildings became too small, while others were too large and were never fully utilized. The larger ones were at Woodville and Napier, while the smaller ones were a waiting shelter alongside the track, like the one at Te Hauke. To mark a stopping place, only a sign would designate the station as listed in the N.Z.R. timetable. Some would not have had any sidings, signals or toilets, but many had a line side phone. Also they were used as drop-off points for freight and provisions for the local residents. The demand dropped off due to better roading, rural delivery and contractors took over, causing the closure of the small stopping places.

After W.W.2. Newman Brothers recommenced their bus service.

As the railways changed their style of operations, station buildings were renewed, made smaller and more compact. The railways had a policy to classify the station buildings from 1 to 5.

Class 1 was the largest station. Many of the Hawke’s Bay stations started off as Class 5, and were added to as business increased.

A Class 1 would measure about 4.3m by 11m. These consisted of a staff room on the left, and an office, main waiting lobby and a woman’s waiting room on the right. This style of station was built to aim at minimum expenditure.

The Prime Minister of the early 1870s, Julius Vogel, was very railway-minded.


With money borrowed from overseas, he wanted to use the money available to the best advantage.

There were over 100 built to the standard plan and were used nationwide. Many were added to as business increased.

On manned stations, there were 2 hand-held flags, measuring about 30cm. square. The colours were red and green. If an approaching train wasn’t required to stop, the signalman would hold the green flag out in front of the train, indicating to the driver to carry on. A green light was used at night. The driver would respond with a toot on the locomotive’s whistle. The red flag would be used if there was any danger, e.g. if the freight had moved.

On a rack of hooks, there would be up to 6 buckets holding about 15 litres of water. They were painted red with the word “FIRE” in white lettering on them and were only to be used in case of fire.

In later years, on most platforms the buckets were replaced by a hose reel. These reels were used to top up the railcars’ water tanks and radiators.

The railways also used to carry dogs, and for this purpose. Dog boxes were built into the guard vans. Usually on one end of the platform, there were dog boxes for holding dogs that were to be transported, or waiting to be collected.

As train numbers grew, some sort of train control was required. A system that was invented by Mr. H.J. Wynne [HB Knowledge Bank – incorrect according Barry Walker book review 1994] to was adopted, commonly known as the Tablet. A round disc was strapped into a carrier with 2 stations’ names on it.

The names were the station that the train was about to leave and the name of the next station, that the train had clearance to travel to. At one end of the platform was the tablet exchange post.


Both the driver and fireman would check the tablet and call to one another the name of the station to which clearance to proceed had been given, thus no other train could use that section of the line.

In the earlier years, companies, mainly freezing works, owned their own shunting locomotives which were mainly steam. In later years these were replaced by diesel shunters, most of them were purchased from the railways department.

The 1931 H.B. earthquake badly damaged the road and rail as far as Kopua. The railways worked very fast to get the line restored. It is reported that 3 days after the quake, the first hospital train left Hastings, probably to Dannevirke and beyond.

Wheel Interprizer photo: Mid 1993 at Glenbrook Vintage Station. The old & new fire protection. Even several cream cans are on the platform. Today, milk & cream are transported in bulk by tankers.



This is the end of the line. Major changes have been made over the years from the use of a river mouth, when sailing ships could be accommodated, to large container ships that use the port.

The port was originally known as the Napier breakwater. Later, it became known as the Napier Harbour, administered by the Napier Harbour Board. In more recent times it was changed to Hawke’s Bay Harbour Board. Then in the late 1980s, it was changed to the Port of Napier Ltd.


The ship at the breakwater is the Elingamite, which was wrecked a year later on

The Three Kings. The end of the breakwater can be seen protruding to the left of the wharf.  (photographer unknown)



HB Herald Tribune photo: Two Australian naval ships; Perth and Canberra (rear). The original breakwater ended about half way along, behind the cargo shed on the right.


Spit – Port Ahuriri – Ahuriri – Napier Freight Centre

This station was originally called Spit. The Railways classed the station as 3. It is not known when the station was renamed to Port Ahuriri. A 1909 N.Z.R. timetable lists it as Port Ahuriri. The name “Port” was dropped at a later date. This could have happened after the river mouth port became almost useless after the ‘31 earthquake.

The first port at Napier was at the mouth of the Tutaekuri River.

The mouth of this river was changed to come out to the sea south of Awatoto, because of its flooding. The main wharves were built on the eastern side of the river. Then came the freight wharf sheds and the railyards.

The first freezing works plant to be built in Hawke’s Bay was on the western side of the river, and had its own pier. The plant was built near the present Whakarire Avenue. Ahuriri had stock yards. There was not any direct rail laid to the works. Any stock that was transported by rail would have been driven by drovers to the works.

A start to build a railway from the Spit to Napier got the blessing from the general government. Early in the 1870s it got under way. The station and goods shed was built, along with a loading bank, stockyards, weighbridge, turntable and a crane.

The 3km. line to Napier became operational in 1874. A passenger train ran until 1908, after this it was freight only. It is believed that about this time the Napier Borough Council installed a tram service to the port, thus giving a better service, and the rail passenger train stopped running. The trams ceased running at the time of the ’31 earthquake.

A start was made to build a new wharf at Napier, which was known as the Napier breakwater. 1872 saw the rail


extended to those wharves and breakwater. The line from Ahuriri to the breakwater wharves was owned by the Harbour Board, and they owned and operated their own steam locomotives. However the railways took over these lines in 1957.

The earthquake in 1931 raised the ground level by about 2 metres, thus making the Ahuriri wharves almost useless. The yards at the original site were used for the wool trade, as the wharf freight stores were transformed into wool stores. Most of the freight that came off and went onto the ships, was loaded into railway wagons, shifted to the Napier yards and arranged for transportation to the other centres. There was not a station at the breakwater.

Later, the station building was moved across the main line and was attached to the goods shed and used as offices. At this time the tracks in the yards were re-designed and stayed in this manner to the Mid 1980s. At this time, new marshalling yards were built between Ahuriri and the breakwater wharves.

The Napier yards were closed down and removed. All freight from both north and south goes directly to the re-named yards, Napier freight centre for shunting. New trains are made up and dispatched.


Spit – Port Ahuriri – Ahuriri:

This drawing is taken from a photograph that is in a very poor condition.

The photograph was not able to be reproduced.


Spit – Port Ahuriri – Ahuriri – Napier freight centre:

Wheel Interprizer photos:   Mid 1993
The original site of the Spit (probably named by sailing ship seamen) then changed to Port Ahuriri.
When the breakwater wharves became operational, the “Port” part of the name was dropped. On the right is the first customhouse, while in the rear are the wool stores. On the left is the Tobacco Company.

This became the Ahuriri goods yards. With reconstruction, these yards have been re-named Napier freight terminal.



The servicing depot for the Hawke’s Bay area.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The Bay Express has just finished reversing, and waits for the signal to proceed to the Napier station for its return trip to Wellington.
To the left are the locomotive servicing bays, while further to the left are the wagon repair workshops.



With a fairly good sheltered port in the river mouth and the breakwater wharves, though the latter were exposed to the sea, Napier was coming into its own. The population grew to about 10,000 at the turn of the century. A 1905 report reveals that 10 trains daily left for the south and nearly 80,000 passengers moved through the station.

Napier, before the ’31 earthquake, consisted of Bluff Hill and a little flat land around the base, with two narrow strips of ground leading from it. One of these went north and the other going south, the latter leading into a prosperous pastoral province.

The station building was small, but was extended several times to suit the growing demands. This included a ladies’ waiting room with a coal fire, while the men’s waiting room was more exposed. The station’s classification grew to Class 1.

The original building again was added to, giving a refreshment room to meet the demands of the travellers.

On the southern end of the platform a departure platform was built. Passenger trains would depart from here as well as from the main platform for the larger trains.

On the seaward side of all this was the locomotive servicing section. This included a turntable, coal bunkers, (later fuel oil) and light running maintenance would be carried out.

In later years when the northern line was opened, a similar departure platform was built and was used by the railcars. It had a canopy type of verandah over the main platform only.

Across the tracks was a fairly large goods shed measuring about 20m x 10m.

Next photo courtesy of the Hawke’s Bay Museum:
The Napier Station in 1874. It appears to have been built on the same site as shown in the 1925 photograph.





Photograph courtesy of the Hawke’s Bay Museum:   believed to be taken about 1910.



Napier became a terminal for train marshalling. On the far side was the rolling stock (wagons), repair workshops. In the 1960s, the original station was gradually demolished and a new complex was built on the same site.

In the 1980s N.Z.R. Restructured nationwide and a new station was built on the other side of the yards and more to the western corner.

The building that was about 20 years old was demolished, along with the goods shed, locomotive servicing and rolling stock repair shops, and all the tracks were removed.

The new main line goes along by the new station where the Bay Express stops. The original station and the newer one that was built on the same site is now used as roadside parking.

The present one, built in the late 1980s, provide their own car park, using part of the old yards.

All freight trains go directly to the enlarged marshalling depot at the Napier freight centre.

A new depot to service locomotives, light wagon repairs and track maintenance was built at Pandora, about 1km. south of the freight centre.

It was at Pandora that a triangle was installed to turn locomotives and the Bay Express around. The line north to Wairoa and Gisborne leaves from this point.

Settlers on the Heretaunga Plains wanted the line south to go their way. One was via Farndon (later Clive), Gwavas, Maraekakaho, Tikokino, Ongo Ongo [Onga Onga] and on to Takapau.

The Havelock North community was also lobbying for the line to go their way. In fact, the settlement of Puhua [Pukahu?] had land deeds drawn up for the railway station and yards to be built there.

Already, there was a Presbyterian church, store and a hotel on site. This was across the road from the present Christian youth camp site in Te Aute road, just south of Havelock North.



Acknowledgement: Alan Bellany [Bellamy] photograph and the H.B. Museum:   Napier station in 1925. This building was demolished in the 1960s, and a new one was built on the same site.

Courtesy of the N.Z.R. Publicity department:
This was built on the original site.



Two factors determined the siting of the railway. The first was the Ngaruroro River that changed its course twice, and no one could forecast the future flow. Thus the Longlands rail bridge was built high, just in case the river did change its course again.

The second reason was that the “Hicks” family owned a large block of land in Hastings and gave a block to the Ministry of Public Works for the station and yards.

In Napier, small stock yards were built, in the very early days. It is not clear why they were built, as there was very little pastoral farming land around Bluff Hill. There is no evidence of plans to build a freezing works in Napier.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The present station with the car park in the foreground. Between the parked cars & the building at the rear, was the site of the station, yards to the left & locomotives depot to the right. The main line, (& there is no other) passes the station on the left. (not shown)


Napier South – Te Awa

In the 1926 N.Z.R. timetable, this station was named as Napier South, while in the 1932 timetable it was known as Te Awa. Somewhere between these two dates a name change occurred.

There was no building here, but had a sign alongside the line. There were no train signals or sidings.

A school train ran between Hastings and Napier in the days before there were any secondary schools in Hastings.

One of its stops was situated almost opposite today’s Napier Boys’ High School gates in Te Awa Avenue.

In the school train days the Napier Boys’ High School was in Napier, near the foot of Bluff Hill. I have spoken to five people who travelled on the school train. Many stories can be told of what happened on the journeys. One was that if a window got broken in a carriage, all pupils on that trip had to pay 3 pence towards the cost of repairs. On one occasion, the railways must have been short of carriages, so they threw a tarpaulin over a cattle truck and expected the pupils to travel that way. It was told that no one travelled that day.

The Checker Bus Company was formed, using 21-seater vehicles, and set up a passenger road service between Napier & Hastings, in the early 1920s. In the Mid 1920s N.Z.R. Road Services bought out the company, thus the school trains ceased running.

The first high school in Hastings opened in 1926, which depleted the Napier secondary school rolls, so to encourage the pupils back, the road services offered reduced fares to students for revenue and to maintain school rolls.

It is interesting to note that in the early 1990s, when the Regional District Council was discussing bus services for the


Napier South – Te Awa

region, a suggestion was put forward to investigate the possibility of running a railcar from Napier to Heretaunga Street, in Hastings.

Four years later, nothing has come of that investigation.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
On the right are the Norfolk pines alongside State Highway 2. The sign of the pines is a welcoming landmark of Napier.
In the centre is the district signal for Napier.
Above the houses on the left are some of the palm trees in the Napier Boys’ High School grounds.



The building was small, containing a porter’s room with signals, and was manned part-time. This style of station was known as a “flag station”. It had a passing loop, plus a small yard to handle freight. There was no goods shed.

It was about 1910 that the Napier Borough Council built abattoirs at Awatoto, almost opposite the station. There was a small stock yard, provided to handle stock that arrived by rail consigned to the abattoirs, but it was dismantled in the 1950s as road transport took over from rail transportation.

When the fertiliser works were built in the 1950s about 1km. south, they required larger sidings & marshalling yards. The works had their own diesel shunter.

The original station building was moved closer to the new yards and was placed between the main line and S.H.2. This was on the opposite side of the main line. The old yards were dismantled, Awatoto closed in the early 1980s and became a private siding.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The site of the original station and yards. The building was on the right, while the yards were on the left, beside S.H.2



Alongside the old yards, S.H.2 had a nasty dip in the road, plus a moderate “s” bend. It was the scene of some horrible accidents. With the yards gone, the road was able to be realigned, thus eliminating the mishaps.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The site of the new yards. When the sidings became private, the station building was removed.
From the left is the wool scouring works, then S.H.2, the main line, marshalling yards with the fertiliser works in the centre.


Farndon – Clive

On the eastern side of the Ngaruroro River, a community was coming to life and got the name of Clive. On the western side of the river the area was named Farndon, hence the station got its name of Farndon. It was changed to Clive in 1915 and the whole area became known by that name.

A Class 4, (minimum size) station was built with a canopy verandah covering the platform. This is the type with poles in the centre of the platform.

It was expected that this station would become very important and put through a large amount of business. It had a goods shed along with a loading bank, signals and was manned part-time.

In fact it did have a huge business through-put, the reason being that Whakatu Freezing Works, (3kms. south) was accredited to Clive. This included livestock that was transported to the works and the frozen product was railed to the Napier port for export.

In the early 1970s, fire severely damaged the original station. It was demolished and a small wooden one was the replacement. This was a similar station to the replacement that was built at Otane, except that the Otane one was concrete block.

A carriage from the former Wellington-Manawatu Railing [Rail] Company, is parked in part of the old railway yards. It is believed that the carriage is owned by the N.Z. Rail & Locomotive Society, Hawke’s Bay branch.

The rear carriage is believed to have been used as mainly a passenger car with a small portion used as a guard’s van. Its life, believed to have started as a suburban 1 carriage train pulled by a small locomotive in the Wellington-Hutt valley area, before the electric units were introduced.


Farndon – Clive

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The front carriage is ex-Wellington – Manawatu, while the rear was used on suburban trains.

November 1994 saw the removal of both carriages.

The front carriage was transported by road to Wellington for restoration.

The rear carriage was purchased by a Hastings man, who will restore the carriage, to either a bach or restaurant.


Farndon – Clive

Wheel Interprizer photo:  Mid 1993
The loading bank is in the foreground among the long grass, while the goods shed was a little behind it. The station was just in front of the large workshop in the centre. This has since been built. S.H. 2 runs to the left.

The replacement station, after the original building was damaged by fire.



As mentioned at Clive, it was the freezing works, established in the early 1880s, that made this station all go. It was manned part-time with signals. Originally it was a porters’ room with a waiting room attached. Later the waiting room was removed.

It wasn’t until 1914 that the works were granted a siding of their own. Now, the marshalling yards all belong to the works, except for a small line, for the local freight. There was no loading bank or goods shed.

It was in the Mid 1970s that the works built freezers on the eastern side of the main line, thus the sidings increased in size and length.

The Apple and Pear Board also built on this side, but a little to the south. The Board do not have a siding to these stores, as all the fruit from these premises is moved by road transport. The way the present freezing works lines are laid, and at a later date, some of the sidings could be extended to the Apple and Pear stores. The Hastings stores do have their own sidings.

Since central train control has taken over, the station’s buildings have been removed.

The station was closed in the early 1980s and all the sidings are now privately owned.

Originally, the works had a steam locomotive, but now have a diesel locomotive, that is used for shunting purposes.



Whakatu Station in its last year’s use.

The semaphore signal levers are on the left of the building.



Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The works, (now closed) are on the right of the main line.
The extended freezers are on the left of the siding and road.
The station was about where the sign is, centre right.


Karamu – Tomoana

Originally the name of this flag station was Karamu. The local Maori patriots took exception to the name. It isn’t known why this attitude was taken. History has it that after the station was named, the name sign was removed and replaced with the name “Tomoana”, and so it remained.

It is thought that Tomoana was very similar to the Whakatu station. The building of the freezing works on the western side of the line made this a busy station.

The station was built on the eastern side of the main line and backs onto the A & P showgrounds.

Train control signals (part of the station) did not last that long and was disbanded.

The 1909 N.Z.R. timetable shows the station as a flag station and trains would stop on request, for passengers and freight requirements. This carried on until about 1947. The shelter stood until about the early 1950s, before it was removed.

Special show-day trains ran what was known as “People’s Day”. This was on the last day of the show. The building acted as an alighting and pick-up point.

In the 1980s, the line was duplicated to Hastings, and all the sidings became privately owned. The works have their own diesel shunter. Originally it was a steam locomotive. The company retained it until the early 1990s, and it was on display and used to run on its own power on special occasions. It was transported to Auckland for preservation.


Karamu – Tomoana

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
Tomoana Freezing Works on the right, with some of their sidings.
The A & P showgrounds are on the left of the main line.
Some of the stock pens can be seen.
The station building was near the pens.



This line reached Hastings and the trains started to run late in 1874. Hastings was originally known as Hicksville [HB Knowledge Bank – this statement is incorrect], as the “Hicks” family had a large amount of property. To attract the rail to Hastings, and not Havelock, members of the family gave land for the station and yards. The station never had the name of Hicksville, as the township changed its name to Hastings about the same time as the rail became operational.

The station was a small wooden building with no verandah, but had a timbered platform. It also became a post office, possibly the first.

The stationmaster was also the postmaster.

It was built opposite Avenue Road East, but in Station Street, later re-named Russell Street.

Over the years the building was added to, including a ladies’ waiting room, with a coal fire, while the men’s room was less comfortable. A lean-to verandah was added and the station was upgraded to Class 2.

A goods shed, measuring about 33m. x 10m. was built, with a loading bank and crane.

The yards were between Heretaunga Street, (the main street) at the southern end, with only the main line crossing it, while on the northern end there were 6 tracks crossing St. Aubyn Street. Shunting operations caused many frustrations, especially at busy times.  At St. Aubyn Street, the warning bells and lights were manually switched on, and left on until the shunter decided that his job was finished. At the Heretaunga Street crossing, a similar situation would occur, but not to the same degree. This crossing was controlled most of the time by a “crossing keeper”.



As a train approached, he would stand on the street’s centre holding his ‘STOP’ sign.

Early in the 1960s all that changed. A new station and yards were built north of St. Aubyn Street, with only the main line crossing that street.

The next crossing going north was Frederick Street.

Instead of having only the main line crossing, there are now 5 lines. The new yards were designed so that shunting operations caused very little delays at both crossings.

Later on the line was duplicated to Whakatu, except for the bridging of the Karamu Stream.

There was a move afoot to carry the duplication to Napier, but it is very doubtful that it will ever be completed.

The new station is more compact, with gas heating in the waiting room, while on the other side is the ticket counter. At the rear, inter city buses, (was N.Z.R. Road Services) now privately owned, arrive and depart to and from Taupo and north as well, as from Wellington and south. Both stations use on-street car parking.

As containers are now extensively used, a gantry was installed to load and unload containers. As the railways restructured in the late 1980s, the use of the freight section is restricted to bulk cargo, while the smaller freight goes by road courier.

The Ngaruroro River in the early days was a threat to Hastings and the surrounding district. It is claimed that the river changed its course during heavy flooding. An embankment was built on the upper side of Roy’s Hill (about 15km. west of Hastings) to give protection which included the new railway line. The line from Hastings to Paki Paki was built on an embankment with deep drains alongside for protection from flood damage.



It is recorded that in 1893 [1897] the river did break through, thus cutting the line both north and south of Hastings.

Photograph courtesy H.B. Museum:   photographer unknown
This photograph was taken from about where the clock tower stands today.
The clock was built in the Mid 1930s.
The “Crossing Keeper” standing in the centre of Heretaunga Street.
(the main street of Hastings)



Wheel Interprizer photo:   Late 1994
The Bay Express about to cross Heretaunga Street.
The clock tower on the left, with a water feature just behind it.
There is no vehicle movement at this crossing.



Photo courtesy of the Hawke’s Bay Museum:   The freight yards at Hastings in the days where manual work was involved. What a contrast to today’s method of freight handling, now the container age is with us.



Wheel Interprizer photos:   Mid 1993
The present Hastings Station with the Bay Express about to arrive. On the right is the goods shed. St. Aubyn street crosses the line just south of the station’s platform. The original station and yards were on the other side of the street.

The Bay Express leaves Hastings Station. To the left is the gantry for lifting containers, and the freight yards. The 2 tall chimneys in the distance are J. Wattie canneries. On the right is the Nelson Park grandstand.



N.Z.R. Photograph:   Hastings station in 1951.
This station was on the original site, south of St. Aubyn street. The new one was built on the northern side of this crossing. In late 1994, The Warehouse Company has built a large store, where the rail yard used to be.


Hastings Racecourse

This station is listed as a station in the 1928 and 1947 N.Z.R. timetable.

It is recorded that the Hawke’s Bay Jockey Club was formed and the first race meeting was held in late 1870s. Opposite the racecourse, the railways erected a sign and levelled the ground in time for their first meeting. Race trains, as they were known, ran up to the 1950s before they were abandoned. It is possible that as more cars became available after W.W.2, train patronage dropped off.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
S. H. 2 is on the left. The shed on the right has been used for fruit packing, and in later years for fruit industry packing requirements.
This building on the right, was a well-known landmark as travellers approached Hastings, with the racecourse on the left of the main road.


Hastings Racecourse

“People’s Day”: When the A & P show was held at the racecourse, this train advice was sent to all sections of the department, that was involved in train movements on this day. This was the association’s “Jubilee Show”.



On THURSDAY, 23rd OCTOBER, 1913, pages 66, 67, 68 and 69 of Working Time-table will be suspended between Napier and Woodville, and trains will run as follows:-

T, U, V, X, Y and Z Napier-Port Ahuriri Special Trains (Napier T.A. 817) will not run.




Longlands came into being for the purpose of using the site chiefly for stock yards.

Stortford lodge sale stock yards came into being about 3km. West of Hastings, which was then in the country.

As Hastings grew, the sale yards almost became the centre of the town. Stock would arrive by rail at Longlands and be driven to Stortford Lodge sales. In later years trucks were used.

A contractor, who had the contract to load and unload stock, used a horse for many years to shift the wagons as required. The horse was replaced with a tractor in later years.

In the 1980s, the railways gave way to stock transportation. The yards were then used as a shingle dump for main line maintenance.

That operation came to a close in the early 1990s, and the sidings were removed. It had a train shelter, with an along-side-track telephone. Train signals were never installed.

In the early 1990s, an along-side recorder was installed, this records all wagon numbers and weights as they pass over a censor [sensor].



Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
Longlands looking south. The stock yards were on the left of the telegraph poles. About 4 months after this photo was taken, the remaining rails were removed and the area tidied up. The wagon recorder is on the right. S.H. 2. goes behind this building.


Paki Paki [Pakipaki]

It was early 1875 when the line reached this point, becoming known as the Napier-Paki Paki railway.

A press report states that central government made a blunder. As the station building was almost completed, it was found that it was about 60m. away from where it should have been. Before it became operational it was moved to the planned site. The station was very close to the boundary fence, so parking would have been in the yards. (horse and gig days?)

It would appear that the second freezing works to built in H.B. was at Paki Paki, thus the importance of having a rail connection between the works and the port.

It wasn’t until 1904 that Borthwick and Sons, (the operators of the works) got the siding built into the works which crosses the main S.H.2 highway. The branch left the railyards on the north end. There is a short piece of rail still embedded between the road’s shoulder and the drain alongside railway land.

The works were severely damaged in the 1931 earthquake and were abandoned and never rebuilt. The station had no verandah over the platform. It was manned, and tickets would be issued when passenger traffic was using the service. An open type of waiting room was provided for the men, while the women had a more comfortable one. It was a Class 4 station.

It was from Paki Paki north that the Havelock North community wanted the line to go via Havelock, hence onto Farndon (now Clive). This is mentioned in the Napier section.

Just south of the station, a lime and brick works was established. They too had their own siding into the works.


In the 1940s this was abandoned, and the lime was road transported to the station and loaded into the wagons. This practise went on until the 1970s, when this type of fertilization for farm lands changed.

In the later years, it was used as a passing station only, being manned as required. In the early 1980s, the passing loop was lengthened to meet the requirements for longer trains. A fire burnt about half the building in the Mid. 1980s, hence it was abandoned and removed, including the sidings.

Photograph by Norman Daniel:   Mid 1980s
This photograph was taken only a few months before the fire. The signal levers are at the left of the building, and the tablet exchange post is near by.


Paki Paki

Original photographer unknown:
This photograph has been claimed to be Hastings, also Takapau. It is the firm belief of this author that it is Paki Paki.


Paki Paki

Wheel Interprizer photos:   Mid 1993

Looking north with the platform still there.
Behind the large sign on S. H. 2 was the siding turn to the freezing works.

The siding to the works. A piece of track is seen in the foreground. It is over 60 years since a train used this line.



The line pushed on, and Poukawa was a train shelter, with signals. There was also a small siding with stock yards, loading bank, but no goods shed. It was built to serve the local community.

The only public amenities in the area are the district hall and school. It is not known when these 2 amenities were opened.

The nearest store is on the main road (S.H.2.) about half way down what is known as the Te Hauke straight. This store operated from somewhere between the Mid 1930s to the Mid 1960s.

It was never a busy station, as its purpose was to serve the local settlers. The station and yards were about 4km. down a side road from the main highway. The station was on the northern side of the “tee” crossroads, while very near was the hall. On the southern side of the road crossing, a passing loop was built, but was accepted as part of Poukawa. The station and yards closed in the early 1970s and was removed.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid. 1993
The station was in the foreground. Among the long grass is broken asphalt, with the track on this side of the fence. On the other side, the concrete of the stock yards is still there.


Te Hauke

The railways provided a “train shelter” type of station. There was no raised platform, only an extended gravel path alongside the track. There were no train signals or sidings. The local Maori people agreed to have the railway pass through their land if the trains stopped at the station. This was agreed to.

As the rail came alongside the main road and with the roads improving, the demand by passengers dribbled away. The station building was removed in the late 1950s.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The station was situated opposite the Te Hauke memorial archway, the entrance to the marae and cemetery.


Te Aute – Opapa

This station was originally called Te Aute. The reason to change its name was to avoid confusion with a similar name Te Hauke.

This was a manned station with train signals, stock yards, sidings but no goods shed. The station had a closed-in waiting room, but no verandah over the platform. It had its own off street parking.

It is recorded that the Wellington-Manawatu Railway Company were the first to use dining cars in New Zealand, and the railways followed suit. It is also recorded that the railways attached a dining car to the Hawke’s Bay trains from about the 1890s until 1916, when they were withdrawn as a World War 1, economy measure. It is presumed that refreshment rooms were opened here for a short time. It is believed that these rooms closed in the late 1920s.

The 1909 timetable lists this station as Te Aute, while the 1926 timetable lists this station as Opapa. It is not known when the change of name occurred.

For many years and up to recent times, the station was used for passing. As the trains got longer, an alternative station had to be used.

Most steam locomotives would fill their water tanks here, as just ahead was a 4km. steep climb.

Often, another locomotive would be at the station and would come up behind and push heavy trains up the hill. When the leading loco or loco’s could cope, the ‘pusher’ would return to Opapa. If a ‘pusher’ wasn’t available, half the train would be taken up the hill, parked onto a siding (built for that purpose) the loco would return to bring up the second half, couple up and carry on. This is known as banking.


Te Aute – Opapa

The incline was originally known as the Te Aute grade, but was renamed Opapa grade, possibly to come into line with the renamed station.

In the early 1980s, the signals were removed, but the station and passing loop still remained, possibly as a matter of convenience, now in the early 1990s that is no longer in use. The station is still there.

There is a move for a preservation group to be formed to restore the station, which is in a fairly good state of repair.

Wheel Interprizer photo: Mid 1993
It is believed that the northern end (right-hand end) was where the refreshment rooms were situated (which have since been removed). S.H.2 runs behind the station.
The sign on the pole tells the loco crew where they are. At times, train control may tell loco crews to proceed to Opapa and wait for further orders.


Te Aute – Opapa

Photo courtesy of the Hawke’s Bay Museum:
The original water vats were square, where the later ones were round. Note the amount of advertising hoardings attached to the station.


Te Aute – Opapa

Te Aute railway cup:

It was made much thinner than the N.Z.R. Cup that was used in the 1930 – 1950 period.

This piece of cup was found in the Te Aute district. It is of actual size.

On the 10th October 1985, the station was destroyed by fire, it is thought that the new station, which still stands to this day, was rebuilt on the original site.


Te Aute Grade – Opapa Grade

Actually, the correct name was Top Te Aute Grade, later to be renamed Top Opapa Grade. The general public nearly always referred to the grade as Te Aute Hill. Near the top of the climb, Te Aute Trust Road crosses this line, and it was at this point that this became a stopping place for 2 trains only. It was for the first mixed train out of Napier, to pick up secondary school pupils for the Waipawa District High School, and for the same type of train late in the afternoon. This stopping place is listed in the 1947 timetable.

The siding that was used for train banking was about 1km. further up the line. This was removed in recent times.

At the top of the embankment, there is a small lake. The line follows around the side of the lake.

It is a very popular setting for railway enthusiasts to photograph and video passing trains.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
This was the stopping place for school pupils. There are a few changes at this crossing. There is a tar-sealed road over the lines, with warning alarm bells and lights. The cattle stops between the lines and fence rails have been removed.



It is claimed that this station was originally called “Carlson’s Siding”. It is not named in any of the N.Z.R. timetables known to the author. It claimed that the “Carlson” family owned property in the Argyll district, west of Pukehou. Part of their farming was bush felling and they had a tramway to Pukehou to transport the logs and timber out.

This station was a few kilometres after the incline. It was a Class 5 station with a small waiting room, porter’s room and a small platform, but no verandah. It had signals, stock yards, but no goods shed. It was not manned very often, as the passing loop wasn’t that long. Again, there was an agreement reached between the landowners, (mainly Maori) and the railways that trains would stop on request.

This was the closest station to what was known as Te Aute Maori Boys’ College. Its name was changed to Te Aute College. From the early 1990s, girls now study there. The college is about a km. away. Again, being alongside the main road, patronage dropped off as the roads improved.

In the mid 1960s, the station, yards and sidings were removed.



Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The station was near the woolshed, on the right-hand side of the line. Just behind the car is S.H. 2. Down this road is Te Aute college. The gate beside the car, was the gateway to the stock yards, while the one in front, was the way to the platform.


Kaikora – Otane

This station, along with the township, was known as Kaikora. It is believed that the name change took place in 1911. There was much confusion with a similar named town in the South Island, especially with the mail. There is only one different letter (u) in the letters name, (Kaikoura). It is believed that the post office requested a name change.

The station was originally a Class 5, but was added to over the years and became fairly large for the community it was servicing.

There was a ladies’ waiting room with its open coal fire, and a closed in waiting room for the men, with the ticket window on one side.

It was manned most of the time, with train signals. A stationmaster was in charge, with a small staff up to the late 1950s. The sidings were plentiful, with its stock yards, goods shed and loading bank.

N.Z.R. purchased a large block of land on the northern side of the yards. This was to be planted in oak trees. At that time steam locomotives used oak wood for firing, as it was one of the best for fuel.

Just before planting commenced, coal became available, thus the locomotives were changed to suit the new fuel. It is interesting to note that in the late 1950s and early 60s, many locomotives were converted to use heavy fuel oil.

Water vats were installed. Any loco that didn’t re-charge their water tank at Opapa certainly had to at Otane, after the 4km. climb.

As a point of interest, 3km. north of Otane is the halfway point between Wellington and Gisborne.

In the early 1960s the station was demolished, and a new compact concrete station was erected on the same site. It still retains the train signals.


Kaikora – Otane

Otane was one of the last, if not the last to have semaphore signalling, that is a wooden arm on a high pole. In the stop position, the arm would be horizontal, while a 45-degree angle, would be the signal to proceed. The top arm would control the main line, while the bottom arm would control the turn out for passing or shunting purposes.

In the late 1980s, the station was closed, including the goods shed and sidings, except the passing loop, which was made longer to accommodate the longer trains. Central train control uses the passing movements when required.

Photographer unknown:
Photo courtesy of Mrs. Hokke
The district and the station changed its name to Otane in 1911. This building was demolished in the early 1960s, and the new station built on the same site.


Kaikora – Otane

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The goods shed was in front of the station, while the stock yards were behind the cameraman.
About 2 months after this photograph was taken, the station building was demolished.
Vandals had already demolished the interior. (the outside concrete block must have been a bit hard to destroy.)



Originally this was a small Class 5 station, with porters and waiting rooms.

The township was originally known as Abbotsford, but was changed to Waipawa before the rail arrived. The station was added to on several occasions as the demand required it, including a lean-to verandah, and finished up about the same length as the goods shed. The ladies’ waiting room was enclosed with its coal fire, while the men’s had an open type with seating and the ticket office on one side. The yards were fairly large with a swinging 2-ton crane by the southern end of the goods shed. On the eastern side of the yards was a timber mill and a siding went past its boundary. Logs that came by rail could be offloaded direct into the mill. The mill still operates, but without the rail connection.

The output was timber, which in the main was dressed and cut for fruit boxes and trays for seedlings. A large quantity of the finished product was loaded direct onto rail wagons.

The firewood section, slabs from the logs and offcuts from the box-making plant were purchased by a Mr. Bob Reid, who for many years operated the business. He had a contract with the Railways to supply slab wood kindling, for the steam loco’s, for firing up. It would be cut into about 1m. lengths, stacked into open types of wagons and transported to the loco servicing depots.

The depots supplied would probably have been: – Napier, Waipukurau, Dannevirke and Woodville.

It was well-known when Bob had made a sale and received payment, he would go over to the local pub, (just behind the station) and wash down the sawdust.



The local lime works, (about 8km. away) would road transport lime to the stations loading bank for rail transportation. Before bulk handling came about, the lime was bagged in hemp sacks. These would weigh about 50kg. each. The stock yards were quite large and were well used.

There was a stationmaster, clerk and 3-4 porters. The passing loop line wasn’t that long, but in the 1940s it was extended at the northern end to accommodate longer trains.

It was in this era that the station had a small shunter. Like many stations that were doing a fair amount of business, small shunters were installed to have wagons at the ready for trains, so that shunting times for main line traffic were kept to a minimum. It was a very busy station.

Williams & Kettle, a local stock & station agent had their own goods shed alongside the track, not far from the sawmill.

Over the 1970s, freight and passenger business dropped off.

The mid 1980s saw the station closed, dismantled and all the tracks pulled up. The goods shed is now used by Waipawa Timbers Ltd., as well as a part of the yards. Waipawa was one of the stations that had its own car park.



Photo courtesy of the central Hawke’s Bay Settlers Museum:   the photo shows the station complete with its verandah. Looking south, S.H.1 goes below the house in the distance. The Imperial Hotel, at the rear of the station, was destroyed by fire in the 1960s.   Photographer unknown

Photograph courtesy of the Central Hawke’s Bay Museum:   taken in the 1800s. Great North Road is in the foreground (S.h.2). The line snakes up the hill towards Otane. The little building behind the hotel is the station, and the larger building is the goods shed.





Photograph opposite page:
Photograph courtesy of the Hawke’s Bay Museum:   The photo was taken from about where the war memorial town’s clock stands today. S.H.2 is in the foreground. Victoria Street turns to the right, in front of the locomotive. The locomotive is a Class “F”, of which about 90 were manufactured.
These were a very successful locomotive.
Note the gas light on the right.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The platform is still there, as well as the goods shed.
The shed now has a new use.


Tapairu Pa

The line was opened to Waipukurau late in 1876, and reached Woodville in 1887.

This station was closed in 1890. Its life was very short, only 13 years in use for the north-bound passengers, and 3 years connection with Woodville. As the name suggests, it was opened to suit the pa (later called maraes) and the community. It is very uncertain as to whether a building was built, more than likely just a sign. The marae is about 3km. away from the stopping site. The main road used to go round the face of the hill and the line alongside it. There was a gateway between the two. The sign at the gateway read “ETU” which means “STOP”   and underneath,  “KIA MATAARA KI TE TIMA” which means “BEWARE OF THE STEAMER”.

It appears that this was later changed to “LOOK OUT FOR THE ENGINE”, which became a standard sign at crossings. The “ETU” sign has been photographed many times and is probably by now, worldwide. This was the stopping point for trains.

A footway was attached in the railway bridge, as a short cut to Waipawa from the marae. If it wasn’t provided, pedestrians would have walked on the lines, and as the bridge was long, this would have been a dangerous practice. The bridge was replaced in the late 1939 -1940s, with steel girders an concrete piles, and the footway was transferred over. The road bridge was about 2km. upstream, and when it was replaced, it was built very close to the rail bridge in the 1960s. At this stage the footway was removed from the rail bridge, as the road bridge was built with a footpath.

Photos next page:   Photo N.Z.R.   Waipawa River Bridge
Maintenance gang, complete with adzes, a 3 wheeled “jigger”, and 2 youthful overseers pose on the footway about 1885. The steps were replaced with a ramp, making it more accessible for bicycles, prams and pushchairs.


Tapairu Pa

Photo N.Z.R:   Waipawa River Bridge:


Tapairu Pa

F.A. Wheeler photo:

A railway steam crane swings a girder onto the concrete piers in the 1938-40 era.


Tapairu Pa

Wheel Interprizer photo:   October 1994
This replica sign was erected in the same spot as the original.
The lettering is different from the original, (which is in the Central Hawke’s Bay Museum).
The replica was unveiled in mid October 1994, and caused much controversy among a number of people.


Tapairu Pa

Photograph courtesy of M. Robertson:
Mr. Robertson took this photo in 1935. It is the original sign, believed to have been erected before 1880.
In 1989, this sign was taken down because of industrial developments near the crossing.
It was presented to the Waipawa Settlers’ Museum for safe-keeping.



Waipukurau town was originally known as Tavistock, but was renamed before the rail arrived. This station became quite an important station for the railways. It wasn’t that big at the start, but was added to as the years went by. The station was opened in 1876, and a special excursion was run from Napier to mark the occasion. The Tavistock Hotel (still carries the name, but is in a different location), provided the meals and drinks. The result was that a number of passengers got a little ‘carried away’ and were left behind. It would be about a 2½ hour trip from Napier.

It is believed that refreshment rooms were added in the mid 1920s, and a Mr. Cecil Seymour was appointed manager of the rooms.

A small locomotive servicing depot and turntable were provided. At times, freight and or mix trains, would terminate here, usually with an overnight stop. The first type of rail south is believed to have been a tramway, and went as far as Ormondville.

There were several small private tramways leading into the bush. A large area of bush was purchased by William Nelson to mill mati [matai] wood for firewood. The wood was used for firing the boilers at the freezing works at Tomoana. Near the station a large timber mill operated. They had their own tramway, including a connection to the N.Z.R. system. It is believed that the firewood would have been used by the railways.

A reasonably large goods shed was erected, plus an overhead sliding gantry for the loading and unloading of freight. On the western side of the yards, which were fairly large, was the stock sale yards. These were one of the largest in the country. On sale days a large portion of the trains would be made up with stock.



At the end of the yards, was the stock wagon cleaning department. Usually there was a large number of stock wagons parked, both sheep and cattle, waiting to be cleaned, or having been cleaned. The keen gardeners of the district did well in fertilising their gardens.

There was train signals, a station master and several staff. There was a large diesel shunter stationed here. Oil companies had a siding on the southern end of the yards, to their installations, while almost opposite, the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Co-op. had a direct siding to its store.

Like other stations, it suffered a downturn of business. The locomotive servicing section and goods shed were dismantled. Now no stock is transported, and there is very little freight.

What did give the station a boost, was a lamb cutting plant, which was established on the southern end, and a siding was extended into the works. The early 1990s have seen the station close and very little activity goes on. The lines crosses the main road (S.H.2) near the southern end of the yards. For many years, a “crossing keeper” would stand on the road’s centre line, with his “stop sign” as a train approached.

In later years, automatic alarm bells and lights were installed.



Photograph courtesy F.G. Radciiffe collection:
Alexander Turnbull library.   Ref. No. G6643 ½   photo taken 1890
The shed on the left was the coal shed, as there is still a little coal left in the comers.
At the far end is S.H.2 crossing, while just past the crossing is the water vats. Note the horse and drag [dray] on the right.



Photo. Courtesy of N.Z.R.
The “Endeavour Express” at Waipukurau with its own buffet car.
This was introduced in the late 1960s, and saw the end of the refreshment room operations.



Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The station’s name has gone, the windows are boarded up, the paint has worn off and it is in a sorry state. The shunter waits for a job, with the gantry on the left. The Bay Express stops.



Photograph courtesy of licensee Tavistock Hotel:   Mid. 1993
The original Tavistock Hotel at the turn of the century.
The Porangahau stage coach departing (right).
It would have been at this hotel, where some passengers off the special from Napier got a little carried away and missed the train back to Napier.

Stagecoach Restaurant



This was a small station that served the local residents. To the local community, it would have been a very important link, as it is about 8km. from the main road. It was little more than a train shelter, with a porter’s room operating train signals. It was manned part time. It had a platform, but no verandah to cover it.

The yards were small, but did have stock yards, which were sold to a local farmer, and still stands today. A loading bank was provided, but no goods shed. There was off-road parking behind the station, with a lane to the road.

The station and platform have been removed, as the station closed in the mid 1970s.

Photograph courtesy of Mrs. M. Lee:
In the first World War period, private J.B. Rice returns from final leave.



Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid. 1993
The station was in the foreground, and the yards in front of the houses.
The stock yards are still there in front of the two-storey house and trees to the right.


Marakeke [Maharakeke]

This station was not built when the line went through. It is not listed in the 1909 timetable, but is in the 1926 timetable. The year that it came into operation is not known.

It is believed that the Hatuma Lime Company commenced business in the mid. 1920s, very near to where this station was built. It could be the reason that Maharakeke came into being.

This station was similar to Hatuma. It was a train shelter, with signals and porter’s room. There was a small platform,but no verandah over it. The yards were small, with no goods shed, but did have stock yards. There was a lane from the road to the station for parking.

A rail siding was laid into the lime works as most of its products were railed out. The quality of the lime was, and still is, very high, and is sought after in many areas of New Zealand. The sales are very high and the company bought the station building, and shifted it to Marton and used it as an office.

The station closed in the mid. 1970s, thus the station and yards were removed. The siding to the lime works still has the link to the main line. These sidings are private. An N.Z.R. employee from Waipukurau travels by road to Maharakeke to shunt when required. The company use their own front-end loader to move the wagons on their own tracks.



N.Z.R. photograph:   photographed 1951
A steam-hauled train at the tiny platform.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid. 1993
The station has gone, but the platform is still there. The lime works quarried faces, in the hills can be seen in the background. The trees have grown in the 40 odd years.



This station was originally built at the southern end of the town. The station served the district well. Over the platform was a canopy type of verandah.

The sidings were of a medium size, with a goods shed, loading bank and stock yards. Like many other railway stations, post & telegraph business was carried out. Other government departments also conducted business from the building. In its heyday, there was a stationmaster and a small staff. Takapau is about 4km. off the main road, thus making it an important station in the early days.

In the early 1980s, a new freezing works was built about 4km. north of the original station. This one was closed and dismantled with all other amenities. A new station with a long passing loop was built opposite the new works. The works had their own line connection to the loop. All the lines are privately owned. It had train signals and was manned part-time.

The new building is built on an “island type of platform”, with the main line on one side, while all the passing and shunting occurs on the other.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid. 1993
The old Takapau station site where the building on the right of the line stands.
The hotel and township are in the background. Where the yards once were is now grassed and nicely kept.



Canterbury Museum photo:   Ref: 1163b   June 1901
2,000 4-tooth fat wethers from Orua Wharo Station leaving Takapau for Longburn Freezing Works, on a special train for 35 wagons.



Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid. 1993
This is the new Takapau station, with the main line on the right, and the passing loop on the left.
Next to it, are the marshalling yards, and the freezing works are over the fence.
The freezing works use a tractor to move the wagons around on their own tracks.


Whenawahau [Whenuahou] siding

There was only a siding here, again to serve the local district.

As the line progressed into the Seventy Mile Bush and rugged country, this siding was important for the storage of materials for the viaducts that needed to be erected. In later years it was used for train passing and the train crews would have to do their own switching of points. Those were the days when every train had a 3-man crew. Another use for the siding was that it was at the southern end of the Takapau Plains; there is a sudden rise of the line as it elevates onto a higher plateau.

The lower-powered locomotives could get stuck on the incline. When a train could not make the grade, the locomotive would take half the train up and park it on the siding, then return for the other half; take this portion up, re-couple and carry on.

There appears to be no record of it, but seeing that the line was getting into the Seventy Mile Bush, private bush tramways could have made a connection at this siding, to transport logs and timber out.

It was closed in the mid. 1950s and removed. In the 1990s the incline is still there, but there are no signs of where the siding was.



This was a small station to serve the local community.

It had train signals installed, but these were infrequently used. The station was similar to Maharakeke. This stopping point was some kilometres from the main road, thus the rail was an important link to the outside world.

Kopua is about 100 kms. south of Napier. For some reason, a general holiday was declared in Napier. It is reported that a special train with 22 carriages ran to Kopua. This would have been a sight to see in 1878 when the station opened.

The yards were small with stock yards, but no goods shed. The people of Norsewood were waiting for the line to pass through their settlement. It came as a great disappointment when the line was routed through what was known as the Seventy Mile Bush, from Takapau to Dannevirke.

The station was closed in the late 1970s, and was sold by tender. It is believed to have been transported to Norsewood, where it was incorporated into another building.

Nearby, N.Z.R. granted permission to build a tramway under a railway bridge. It is presumed that it would be for transporting logs and timber from the bush areas.

There were a number of tramways built in these areas for the logging and timber trade.



Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid. 1993
The station building was by the first telegraph pole, where the author’s wife is fossicking around.
There is a lineside phone attached to this pole.
Note the sign “Kopua” on the left.
The reason for the sign is that train control could request a train to stop at a given point and wait for further instructions.



Photograph courtesy of the Hawke’s Bay Museum:
The originally timbered trestle Kopua viaduct, taken about 1885.
It was replaced by a steel viaduct in the early 1900s, as locomotives got heavier.


Papatu siding

This siding is listed in the N.Z.R. 1909 timetable, but not in the 1926 one.

There is little known about the siding.

There were many sawmillers in the region.

The easiest way to get the logs and timber out was to build their own tramways, which in most cases would have rails made of timber, to make the connection with the N.Z.R. siding or station. It is recorded that the siding was about 3 kilometres north Ormondville.

The log trolleys would have been pulled by horses or bullocks. This would have been on the northern side of the deep ravine, which the well-known Ormondville viaduct spans. The viaduct was also known as Mangarangiora viaduct.

A number of these plateaus had tramways.

The newspaper “Waipawa Mail” in mid. 1895 reported an accident, in which a logging trolley hit a child.



This was to become an important station, with a fairly large building, but it did not start off that way. Like many, it was Class 5. Train signals were installed, and it was manned most of the time. Like many other railway stations around the country, the post office was a part of the business, so the stationmaster wore 2 hats, being the master of both.

A comfortable ladies’ waiting room was part of the structure, with the men’s not quite as good. There was a platform covered by a canopy type of verandah. It was virtually unaltered since about mid. 1907.

The sidings were not that large, mainly because of the amount of flat ground available, but seemed to cope over the period of time. A goods shed, stock yards, crane and a loading bank were provided.

The line, now just over 100 kilometres from Napier, was getting into the Seventy Mile Bush. (70 miles = 112 kms)

Settlers got to work cutting sleepers for the railways. It is reported that the cutters received one shilling and threepence, (13 cents) each. The finished product was stacked alongside the line, which stretched for 3kms. and was about 3ms. high. A press report stated that about 1910 the post office moved into its own building. Late in the 1910s, semaphore signals and the tablet system were installed. (The tablet system was introduced after a train smash in 1899 at Rakaia.)

Twenty years on, electric light replaced the oil lamps.

The original viaduct was all timber, which was cut from the nearby bush. This was replaced with mainly steel girders on concrete piles, and is 39 ms. high. A part of it is built on a curve, and is probably the best-known one on the line.



There is from the viaduct to the station, a steep climb for a short distance.

With the proposed new viaduct to be built, it caused a bit of a problem with the station. To get the new approach to the station, from the viaduct, it was found that the station was in the wrong place. To overcome this problem, the station was moved to the other side of the yards and the whole complex re-designed. It shortened the line by about 1km.

Time took its toll, and the station closed in the early 1990s.

In the late 1980s, the Ormondville Rail Trust was formed for the preservation of the station.

It was established in 1987, known as the Ormondville Rail Preservation Group, P.O. Box 11937, Manners Street, Wellington.

In the 1990s, the station was repiled. The plans are to restore the whole complex as it was.

A triangle or a turntable will be installed so that locomotives can be turned, as well as a water vat.

It is intended to run excursions (including steam) to the station. As a street ran behind the station, no off-street parking was required. In 1993, horse hitching rings were still attached to the fence.

Over the years, the sidings were a convenient servicing yard for maintenance of the track and about 6 large viaducts in the area.

Ormondville is about 6 kilometres from the main road, and there is no public transport in the area. The Bay Express stops on request, both from Wellington and on the return trip from Napier.



N.Z.R. photo:   From the Hawke’s Bay Museum collection
This was the 1st viaduct, which has become known as the “Ormondville Viaduct”. Plenty of timber was available for construction. It is 281m. long & 37m. high. The new viaduct shortened the distance from Kopua by about 1km.A fire danger was ever present with the wooden structure.


The Oxford Dictionary designates a ‘viaduct’ as a long bridge-like structure… esp; a series of arches.

There are no viaducts on the Hawke’s Bay line, with a curved arch, if it is accepted that an arch has to be curved.



Perhaps the most classical of all train poses is this; on a high viaduct silhouetted against the sky. This fine photo taken by Mr. F.H.E King, (an early rail fan) shows the up (northbound) Napier express crossing the impressive Ormondville viaduct. It is “Ab” hauled, with 8 total, comprising 5 wooden “main trunk” cars, a bird-cage car, a guard’s van, and a roadsider van. It represents the typical Napier express of the depression years, and makes a very harmonious and gracious-looking train. The photo predates 1935 when the first steel side cars were built.

The piles were strengthened just before the heavy “K’s” class locomotives started to use the line.



Drawings courtesy of the Ormondville Rail Preservation Group.



Drawings courtesy of the Ormondville Rail Preservation Group.

Ormondville yard layout 1879



Wheel Interprizer photos:   Mid. 1993

TOP: the station during re-piling.   BOTTOM: the Bay Express departs.



Photograph courtesy of the Ormondville Rail Preservation Group.

Note the dog-holding kennel on the platform.



This script with acknowledgement from Ormondville Rail Preservation Group

It is difficult to believe today, but Ormondville station began life exactly as this building, a Class 5 station of the Vogel era. Over 100 stations were built to this standard plan, beginning about 1872.  Apparently the last built was Lauder, opened in 1904 on the Otago Central Railway. None exist on site in this original form anymore. This example, Hindon, was built in 1889 on the section of the Otago Central Railway still in tourist train operation.

Class 5 stations were built to serve small towns where an office for railway staff was required. They measured 12′ 9″ x 32′ 6″ and contained 3 rooms. On the left was the staff office, centrally was the main waiting lobby, and on the right the women’s waiting room. They were basic buildings containing only 4 windows and 2 doors, and the waiting lobby was unlined.

They demonstrate how the Vogel construction policy was aimed at minimum initial expenditure to make the overseas loan money go as far as possible. The only concessions to decoration were the vertical sawtooth valancing over the lobby, the door and window mouldings, and the 4 cappings on the vertical pilasters.


Makotutu [Makotuku]

This station was built similar to Ormondville in the late 1880s, but added to at a later date, including a canopy verandah. There was thick bush surrounding the station and township. As the bush was cut and cleared, about the only way that timber could be transported out was by rail. Also, possibly this would apply to the settlers in the region.

The yards weren’t that large, but must have been large enough to meet the demands. There was a loading, small goods shed & stock yards. Locomotive water vats were also installed. The water was pumped by the windmill.

As the line was built, the station became a rail head. It had a locomotive servicing department, turntable and houses. Within the station were the post & telegraph services.

It has been recorded that by the turn of the century, passenger fares were as follows, 1st. class: 3 pence per mile; 2nd class: 2 pence per mile. Each passenger was allowed 112lbs. (about 50kg.) of free luggage. The police and their prisoners travelled free. Just to make a comparison, Newman’s bus service had an advertisement running in the late 1950s, early 1960s for 3 pence per mile.

The roads improved and road transport was used more, killing Makotuku like many similar stations and districts. Early 1980s saw the end.

As the trains got longer, a suitable passing could not be made available at this station or Ormondville.

About 2km. south of Makotuku a 1¼ km. loop was built in the early 1990s. It is known as the Makotuku Loop. The loop is fairly well used, as evidenced by the shine on the rails.

The station was sold by tender, and it is believed that it was reconstructed within the district. Also the water vat was sold. It was transported by road to Norsewood. (On the way, a department of transport officer, stopped the truck driver & prevented him from going any further, as he



didn’t have an over-size vehicle permit.)

It was dismantled and lays in Norsewood in pieces, awaiting restoration. It is known that the Ormondville Rail Trust would like to erect it in their yards, sometime in the future.

N.Z.R. photo from W.W. Stewart collection:
Makotuku in the 1890s, with one of the many F Class 0-6-0 tank locomotives in the foreground.
Note the windmill and the water vat at the southern end of the station.
The main business would be in transport of timber, as seen in wagons and awaiting loads



A close-up photograph before the verandah was added.



Both Wheel Interprizer photos:   Mid. 1993
The station was on the right, while the goods shed was opposite. The loading bank is in the foreground.

The entrance into the present passing loop



Wheel Interprizer photo:   Late 1993
This water vat is on the Glenbrook Vintage Railway. The original water vats were square, but in later years N.Z.R. changed to round ones.
A locomotive was taking on water when this photo was taken. (note the filling hose protruding to the right at the bottom of the vat).
The square one at Makotuku was changed to a round one very similar to this.

Rakaiatai Siding

The distance between the Makotuku and Matamau stations is about 6 kilometres. Between these 2 stations there are 2 sidings listed in the 1909 N.Z.R. timetable, but were not in the 1926 issue.

As the country breaks into plateaus and deep valleys, Rakaiatai was on the first plateau. Bush tramways, believed to have been owned by Gamman & Company, were built from the bush to this siding for the timber trade. Reports have it that the loop was capable of holding 40 wagons.

As the bush cutting came to a close, the siding was not in use for very long.

Te Ohu Siding

This siding was built on the next plateau, with valleys all around.

Again it was listed in the 1909 timetable, but not in the 1926 issue. It would appear that this siding suffered the same fate as Rakaiatai did.

Bush tramways were used to get the timber products out to the N.Z.R. Stations.

The siding was small; it only had the capacity to hold 13 wagons.



Matamau Station and yards didn’t grow that much over the years. It still would have been important for the locals to link with other areas. Originally, there was only one line alongside the main line, but this was added to later on.

Tramways were laid from the bush and permission was given to erect a loading skid in the yard. As the bush was cleared, farm lands came into being, thus the station was upgraded with signals and manned part-time.

This is the highest station on the Wellington – Gisborne line via the Manawatu. It reaches to just over 1,000 ft. (about 330m.) above sea level.

There is a move afoot to purchase the building for removal by a local group for restoration and preservation.

In this area there were a number of tramways operating, to get the logs and timber to the station. Some were pulled by horses, while others used small steam loco’s. It is believed that some of N.Z.R. stations had more than one private tramway running into their yards. It is presumed that the transfer of timber would have been done by hand.

N.Z.R. photo:
Matamau in the mid. 1880s. Plenty of timber awaits transportation.



N.Z.R. photo:   Mid. 1951
No trace of the Seventy-Mile Bush here.

Below    Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The building still stands, but the platform and edging has been removed. The house that was behind the station has gone.


Piri piri [Piripiri]

The railway and the main road (S.H.2) come together again. The latter crosses by way of an overbridge.

This was built in the late 1920s and was one of the first overbridges to be built.

Very early in the 1900s permission was given by N.Z.R. to erect a tramway from the bush on railway land, as well as to build an overbridge nearby.

The station was small, not much more than a shelter with a porter’s room. It had signals, but these were seldom used.

There was a loading bank, stock yards, but no goods shed.

The country in this area was flatter and close to the main road, thus the district was not so isolated.

The station did not do big business.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid. 1993
Looking south from the overbridge. There is not much left of this station. The loading is by the 2nd pole in the centre, while the station alongside the track, was opposite the farmer’s shed.


Mangatara [Mangatera]

This was a train shelter only.  Mangatera being a northern suburb of Dannevirke. There were, in its busy days, a large engineering works which had a siding into it, a timber yard and other industrial businesses. There were stock yards here instead of Dannevirke, which is about 4km. south. There were no signals installed.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid. 1993
In the foreground among the long grass is the loading bank. The shelter was in front of the house to the right, with the main line passing between the two.
In the background is the engineering works building.
Looking north, and behind these 2 buildings is S.H. 2.



It must have been quite a day when the line reached Dannevirke in 1884, about 14 years after the start was made from Napier.

Between Takapau and Dannevirke, progress was slow, as several viaducts and bridges had to be built, but no tunnels were needed. In fact there are no tunnels on the Hawke’s Bay line between Ahuriri & Woodville.

The town was well-developed before the line reached here. Tramways from the bush lead into Dannevirke.

Originally, the line was to go by a strip of bush that was cleared alongside the eastern side of the Mangatera Stream, and onto Tahoraite, thus missing the town’s centre by about 3kms.

It appears that someone, and/or the local authorities managed to get the line to go through the up & coming town.

A fairly large station was built, using a canopy verandah over the platform. Along with this a goods shed, loading bank and crane appeared. Later a shunter was supplied. At the northern end of the yards was the locomotive servicing depot & turntable. On the southern end of the yards was a 2-storey signalling box. It was a regular occurrence that freight trains would terminate here. As it is a heavy climb to Matamau from here, trains needed to be re-shuffled to suit the climb ahead. Stock and perishable freight would take precedence.

There were not any freezing works in the area, the closest being Tomoana & Whakatu to the north, and Longburn to the south; therefore stock trains would have priority. In the 1970-1980 period, new works became operational at Oringi & Takapau. By this time the railways ceased transporting live stock.

There was a stationmaster and several other staff.



In the 1980s the station was re-built on the same site. The local community wanted the same style of decor retained. The railway agreed to build a new station, more modern, and leaving the canopy as it was.

The new station is about ½ its original length, and it is reported, that it’s not quite what the community expected.

Time also took its toll and the station closed in the early 1990s. The Bay Express stops both ways. The freight section is used for wagon lots. An employee from Woodville travels by road to Dannevirke to assist with shunting as required. On-street parking was provided. In 1993 there is a sign attached to the station, “For Lease”.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid. 1993
This is the present station, with the line phones attached to the wall. In front is one of the old-style seats, which it appears the local community retained.



Photograph Alexander Turnbull library:   REF g45615 1/2
The train at the station is carrying stock. These are double-decker sheep and pig wagons. Note the double-arm semaphore signals. On the left the two-storey signal can be seen. To the far left, is a steam locomotive firing up



Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The new station with its original canopy over the platform. A sign at the end of the station reads “For Lease”.
A corner of the freight shelter is on the right. This photo is taken looking south.


Tamaki – Tapuata

This station was called Tamaki. It is listed in the 1909 timetable, but had a name change by 1930. Bush tramways ran to this station, in the bush felling days.

The Dannevirke racecourse was nearby. When extra trains were run for race days, one wonders if the passengers realised what went on behind the scenes, with work that was involved beforehand and on the day. The arrangements for the same event which ran on the 26th. – 27th. February 1930, used the same timetable. By that year the station had changed its name to Tapuata.

Later it became used for stock. The local sale yards were nearby, so fairly large yards were provided to cope with stock movements. General freight was handled by Dannevirke, and stock by Tapuata.

The siding was dismantled when the railways ceased transporting live stock.

Hargreaves Transport Ltd. still have a line into their fertiliser store, farm fertiliser being the main freight.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The shed on the left was the “office”. The main line & Hargreaves’ store is on the right. Among the grass, is concrete from the old stock yards.


Tamaki – Tapuata

Train Movements on “Race Days’


No. 318


To be read in conjunction with Train Advice No. 207.

29th FEBRUARY AND 1st. MARCH, 1928.

THURSDAY, 1st MARCH, 1928.


No. 914 will not run. Special Trains will run, and Nos. 929 and 934 will run instead of working per Time-table. Nos. 929 and 934 will observe the usual stops. No. 913 will cross M2 at Dannevirke.

Service of M2 will return from Dannevirke to Palmerston North as arranged by Station-master, Napier and Palmerston North.

M5 may be propelled between Dannevirke and Tamaki siding in which case Guard is to ride on leading vehicle on trains

Nos. 732 and 825 (Thursday, 1st March) will connect with M2 and No. 929 at Woodville,

M2 must run sharp to time. S.M. Woodville to see that ample engine power is provided from Woodville to Dannevirke.

M2 will stop at Terrace End, Ashurst [Ashhurst] and Woodville only, to lift passengers for Tamaki Siding and Dannevirke.

All trains (Nos. 913 and 612 expected), will stop at Tamaki Siding for passengers, if required.

There will an Officer in charge at Tamaki Siding on 29th February and 1st March from 10.30 a.m. until after departure of No. 929 and during such hours all trains will be signalled at Tamaki Siding.

S.M. Dannevirke, to provide member of staff fro Tamaki Siding.

Engine, cars and vans of No. 934 will run M5 and M6

Nos. 901, 912 and 931 must run sharp to time. Nos. 929 and 934 must run strictly to amended schedule. The load and work of these trains must be regulated to permit of trains running to time. No. 929 will take through loads only.

Returns are to be rendered promptly of bookings on 29th February and 1st March, to Tamaki Siding and Dannevirke by Nos. 732 (1st March), 912, 932, and M2 trains, and to Dannevirke, Tamaki Siding and Nos, 901, 909 and 913. The total booking for each day, including P9 issues, showing ordinary and excursion first and second class separately, together with the total revenue in each are required.

Guards of Nos. 732 (1st March), 910, 909, 912, 913, 929, 931, 932 and M2 trains on 29th February and 1st March, to report on Mis. 7 short particulars of passenger traffic by their trains to and from Tamaki Siding to Dannevirke.

Guard of M6 and No. 934 on 29th February and 1st March to take count of passengers leaving Tamaki Siding, Ormondville, Takapau, and arriving Waipukurau, and report particulars on Mis. 7.

Guard of No. 825 on 1st March to take a count of passengers ex Tamaki Siding and Dannevirke leaving Woodville, and report particulars on Mis. 7.

S.M. Dannevirke, will arrange for all horse-boxes to be thoroughly cleaned before being used for return journey of racehorses; this to include the cleaning of the manger and the passenger compartment. The horse boxes are also to be disinfected.


Taportiti [Tahoraiti]

This was a small wayside station. About the only freight that was moved, was fuel (petrol & diesel).

The Vacuum Oil Company, later to be taken over, & renamed Mobil Oil Company, had built a fuel depot here for distribution to southern Hawke’s Bay, and the northern Wairarapa regions.

It had no train signals, nor was it manned. It was closed down in the early 1970s, as road tankers got larger and took over the cartage.

Being in the bush area, tramways were used in the early days. N.Z.R. granted that private sidings could be laid on their land, within their yards.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
This photo is taken from one of the very few main road level crossings on the
Hawke’s Bay line. Looking south, the crossing is a fairly tight “Z” one, thus making motorists almost stop to make a comfortable approach and to cross. The brick building, in the centre of the photo, is the only one left from a number that were here.



This was a Class 5 station originally, but over the years it was updated. It had a goods shed, loading bank, stock yards and signals. It was manned as required.

It was not a busy station, as the main road ran close by. It was closed in the early 1980s. A new freezing works was built near the northern end of the yards. The original station lines were lengthened, and became private marshalling yards. It is only the works traffic that keeps the station operational.

The freezing works purchased a fairly large diesel shunter from N.Z.R. and used it to move the wagons from the Oringi yards to its freezers. An N.Z.R. employee travels by road from Woodville to assist with shunting when required.

When sawmilling was in operation, tramways were established to bring the timber and logs to the station.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The loop and marshalling lines are about twice as long, as seen in the photo.
Stock yards and S.H.2 are on the left. Behind the cameraman is the siding to
Richmond Freezing Works (Oringi), and overbridge.



This was a train shelter only. There was a loading bank and stock yards. The yards were small, being designed to meet the district’s requirements, which were not that great. There were no train signals.

Where the shelter was, there now is only a line-side phone box.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
This photo is taken from S.H. 2, with the phone box towards the left.
A railway gate is towards the right.



Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
A railway gate was built with very heavy material, and was meant to last.
The heavy hinges swung the gate on 250mm. posts.
This one is still in a very sound condition.

The notice on the gate reads,


Vandals have scratched out “TEN POUNDS” which is now “TWENTY DOLLARS”


Victoria – Papatawa

It is recorded that this station was called Victoria in the 1904 timetable. The 1909 timetable calls it Papatawa. It is not known why the name was changed.

Sawmillers were given permission to build tramways to the station, prior to the turn of the century.

It had stock yards, loading bank, train signals, but no goods shed. Like many stations on the Hawke’s Bay line, it did not do big business, but served the community well.

It was a useful holding place for trains, if Woodville got overloaded with trains. There were several railway houses here, as it was a stepping-off point for main line maintenance. There was a dairy factory nearby which helped business.

Again, being on the main road, it closed in the mid 1960s, and was dismantled. The S.H. 2 main road overbridge crosses the line on the southern end of the yards.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The station was on the left, with the entrance from the southern end of the overbridge, and the houses were by the second fence line. On the right is a line-side phone box.



What a day it was, when the line from Napier reached Woodville. It opened on the 22nd March 1887. The Napier booking office was rushed off its feet, when 100s of people purchased tickets for the trip of about 150kms. The report reads that 3 large steam locomotives, with 19 carriages, vans and 1500 passengers were used, which would have been a wonderful sight to see. It also would be interesting to know how many times this has happened. The carriages would have been smaller and this makes about 80 people per carriage. One wonders how accurate the report was.

Woodville was to become a junction, between the Wairarapa, Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay. The connection to Palmerston North and Longburn wasn’t made for another 4 years. Longburn was the northern terminal for the Wellington-Manawatu Railway Company. This made a through railway connection to Wellington, with a change at Longburn. The government bought the company out in 1908, so it was possible to make a through trip on one ticket and one train.

The Woodville to Wellington, via the Wairarapa (government line) was not opened until the mid 1890s.

There would have been much excitement in Woodville, to have a 3-way outside connection from Napier in 1887, from Wellington and Palmerston North in 1891, and from Wellington via Masterton and the Wairarapa in 1897.

With foresight for this very important interchange, the station and yards were built to suit future growth, including refreshment rooms.

The main platform was long, and was covered by a canopy verandah. At each end of the platform there was a departure platform, for the smaller trains and railcars.



Trains or parts of them, from the Hawke’s Bay, had to be pulled in reverse for Wairarapa destinations.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that another loop line branched off the Woodville – Palmerston North line, which runs behind the station, connecting with the Wairarapa line, thus limiting the reversing of wagons. This became a very large triangle.

In the 1970s the original station was demolished, and a new one was erected on the same site, but was more compact. Many freight trains would terminate here, then reassemble and move out.

A reasonably-sized locomotive servicing depot was needed. This included sheds, bunking (coal) and later fuel oil and a turntable. In the freight yards there was a goods shed, gantry for loading and unloading, loading bank and stock yards.

There were 2 signal boxes, one at each end of the main platform, and were manned full time. There was the stationmaster, clerk and many other staff to work the various sections, such as shunters, signalmen, train crews and refreshment rooms staff.

Local business for this station has almost gone.

There is very little movement for train reassembly.

The Bay Express from Wellington and Napier stops here. This is the only regular passenger train that passes through Woodville.

The railways provided their own car park.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The Hawke’s Bay line bears left, while the Wairarapa line, goes to the right, at the far end of the yards. The car park is on the left. The yards are on the right.
The locomotive depot, (which has now gone) was at the far end.



N.Z.R. publicity photograph:   Woodville as in the late 1950s
It was just after that this photograph was taken that work commenced on the new station & yard improvements. The lop [loop?] line was extended to about 2km. along with the sidings to handle longer trains.



The following companies, had or still have sidings direct to their premises. In some instances a line was built directly to their business, where as in others, the business was built alongside a siding.

“Closed”, means that, that company no longer has a siding, but may still be in business.

The line from Ahuriri to the Napier breakwater wharves, was owned and shunted by the harbour board locomotives and staff.

In the early 1980s, these were taken over by N.Z.R. and they do all the shunting.

The private sidings near the wharves are:
Milburn Cement Limited
H.B. Export cold stores limited
Golden Bay Cement Limited
Belspray Bulk Bitumen Limited
Wool stores, operated by a number of companies (closed)
Fletcher Steel
Oil companies
Thompson & Hill Limited – food processors (closed)
Napier Gas Company (closed)
Robert Holt & sons Limited – timber merchants (closed)
Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-op – fertiliser manufacturers
Awatoto Shingle Company
Belspray Asphalts Limited
Hawke’s Bay Meat Company – freezing works
Weddel Tomoana Limited – freezing works



H. B. Farmers Co-op – stock & station agents (closed)
Williams & Kettle Ltd – stock & station agents (closed)
N.Z. Apple & Pear Board – fruit distributors
J. Wattie Canneries Limited – food processors
Hastings Gas Company – gas manufacturers (closed)
De Pelichet McLeod Ltd – stock & station agents (closed)
Robert Holt & Sons Ltd – timber merchants (closed)
Knight brothers – sawmillers (closed)
Their premises were, where the present Women’s Rest is.
(closed) The siding they used was the forerunner of De Pelichet McLeod & Hastings Gas Company siding. (closed)
Daily Freightways – now known as Refrigerated Freight Lines Limited
Barry Brothers Limited – coal merchants (closed)
Vacuum Oil Company – oil distributors (closed)
Caltex Oil Company  – oil distributors (closed)
N.Z. Fruitgrowers’ Federation – storage shed (closed)
Now privately owned.
Borthwick & Sons – freezing works (closed)
Paki Paki Brick & Lime (closed)
The 1909 timetable lists a private siding. Its use is not known. It’s claimed that the “Carlson family” did bush felling and could have had a siding into the bush.
Waipawa Timbers Limited – sawmillers (closed)
Waipawa Firewood Suppliers – (closed)
Williams & Kettle Limited – farm merchandisers (closed)



William Nelson – firewood (closed)
They supplied firewood to Tomoana freezing works boilers
H.B. Farmers Co-op – farm merchants (closed)
Vacuum Oil Company – bulk depot (closed)
Affco N.Z. Limited – boners of meat cuts
Operators of the stock sale yards (closed)
Hatuma Lime Company
Richmond Meats – freezing works
Log & timber trade (closed)
Log & timber trade
Dannevirke Engineering Works Ltd (closed)
Timber company – sawmillers (closed)
Hargreaves Transport Limited – fertiliser depot
Vacuum Oil Company – bulk depot (closed)
Richmond Meats – freezing works



These are only a few types of carriages, and by no means cover all the varieties that were used.

Wheel Interprizer photo:   Late 1993
This carriage belongs to Glenbrook Vintage Railways. The carriage has the seats from end to end, with the passengers’ backs to the windows. More than likely, it would have been gas-lit, but converted to electricity for convenience.
It would be a 2nd class carriage.


Wheel Interprizer photo:   Late 1993
This carriage is a later vintage, with the seats and back rests, which turned over to suit the way of travel, except those that are on the very end. The seats were either single or double. The ends were made of cast iron and not too comfortable, with red-covered seats and back rests. Most of these cars had electricity.
Carriage belongs to Glenbrook Vintage Railway.


Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
This is the present-day car used on the Bay Express. These seats are up swept on the Endeavour cars.
They are arranged in pairs and covered in sheepskin covers.


Wheel Interprizer photo:   Mid 1993
The buffet car, as attached to the Bay Express


Photo courtesy of Bob Stott:
A Wellington-bound holiday express at Waipukurau in 1963. The locomotive is being re-coupled to the train, after having taken on water, while the passengers down a quick cup of tea.


N.Z.R. photo:
Ten years further on & this photograph, again taken at Waipukurau brings the Hawke’s Bay line up-to-date in the mid 1970s. This is the Endeavour Express, headed by a Dg class locomotive. It is on the run to Wellington, but the Dg will not need water, and the passengers have the use of a modern buffet car, as well as a refreshment service in all coaches.


N.Z.R. photo:
In the same way that goods haulage passed from steam to diesel so did passenger work pass to newer forms of motive power – and the beginning of the end for steam came in 1939 when the standard railcars, resplendent in silver and green paint first ventured on to the Hawke’s Bay line. This is Rm 31, “Tokomaru” at Hastings in 1939 during a special run with an official party.


Photograph courtesy Bob Stott:
In 1955 the 88-seat articulated railcars which worked the Hawke’s Bay line first appeared in the bay. Their arrival saw the end of regular steam-hauled passenger trains, although for some years steamers were still used on holiday expresses. This is Opapa in 1962, two south-bound railcars in the passing loop and the north-bound service just departing. The north-bound morning run has since been taken over by the Endeavour.



Tyer’s Train Tablet Apparatus: this type of train control equipment was adopted by the railways department after the Rakaia smash of 1899. Its proper use ensured that only one train at a time should occupy a block between tablet stations.

Automatic Exchange of Tablet:

The approaching train will pick up the sling with its tablet from the lower arm. This entitles it to proceed along the section which it is about to enter. Upon pick-up on the upper arm it will deliver the tablet which gave it passage over the section it is about to vacate. This it will accomplish at speed. The turning movement of the horizontal shaft consequent on the picking up of the new tablet releases a catch and allows a spring to rotate the stationary tablet exchanger out of the way.

This type of exchanger, invented by Mr. H.J. Wynne, was adopted after trials between Christchurch & Rolleston in August 1905.

(Railways publicity)



Track Warrant No.   Day   (Date)
(Designation, Name, Train, etc.)

1.   Track Warrant No is cancelled.
*departure   *from
2.   After
arrival   at
3.   Proceed from   to
4.   Work between and
5.   Enter at   *to cross
6.   Main line reported clear *(except for   )
7.   No other track warrants were issued between these limits after
8.   Is switched out
9.   No. will NOT be signalled at
(Reg. 19 applies)
10.   Call train control at
11.   Clear main line before   hrs.
12.   Other instructions

Train Control Operator

Relayed to   at   hrs.
Repeat correct at   hrs.
Limits reported clear by   at   hrs.

(Mark ‘x’ in box for each item instructed)
(*Delete words not required)



All Wheel Interprizer photographs:

Original “Compulsory Stop” replaced with the same type as used at road intersections.
This one was at Otane.

A very “standard” type of sign which is used at most crossings.


This crossing is very close to the Napier Station.

This sign replaced the top one.
This is just north of Paki Paki.


All Wheel Interprizer photos:

S.H. 2 crosses the line at Waipukurau.

A private crossing, south of Longlands.


Wheel Interprizer photo:

All railway crossings would be solved if all the crossings were like this one.
The north-bound Bay Express enters a tunnel type of crossing.
The early types of overhead bridges were a concrete structure as seen in the
Papatawa section.
The Express has just passed Matamau Station.

Original digital file


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