The Daily Telegraph, Monday, October 20, 1975 TWENTYNINE
Where the Express used to stop
By Holmes Miller
The railway station at Tomoana served the Hawke’s Bay A and P Society for many years, but it was built long before the society took up the present site.
In the infancy of rail travel in the province, Tomoana was better known than Hastings. The Napier express used to stop at the station regularly. Tomoana was no whistle-stop siding.
The station had what was known as a shelter shed, but as the accompanying photograph shows, the building appears to have been the conventional railway station designed to serve small communities – and an all-weather building at that.
In all weathers the train would stop at Tomoana and be met by one of the Nelson family or by a senior member of the household staff at Waikoko, to collect the mail.
The record does not say if every day was mail day at Waikoko but there were mails for dispatch as well as receipt.
Tomoana is shown as a stopping place for express trains right through until it was dropped from the printed railway timetable in the 1943-1947 period.
The assumption, according to Mr A.C. Bellamy, of Taradale, who specialises in research dealing with rail- way matters in and beyond the province, is that the station building was demolished about 1947.
Rail was the main method of public travel to and from the Tomoana showgrounds until more recent times. The platform remained and one of the department’s portable ticket boxes was brought to the station on special days, such as People’s Day at the Spring Show.
Mrs H. P. Horne, a former Mayoress of Woodville, formerly Miss Constance Nelson, confirmed that the Napier express stopped regularly at Tomoana, the mail being for the company, Nelson Bros, not necessarily for the Waikoko household.
Nelson Bros’ office was the large squarish building seen in the picture – it is now used as the show society’s ﬁeld office for the secretary and his staff.
Mrs Horne said the Waikoko mail used to be sorted after the arrival of mail train (the express) and placed in a leather bag, that was brought to Waikoko the following morning.