| Places Along the Line
(34m above sea level)
From Wingatui Junction the Otago Central Railway heads
North-west across the Taieri Plains. As we leave the main
line, Wingatui Racecourse is on the right and 3 km beyond
on the left is Taieri Aerodrome and the industrial estate.
Panoramic views of the plain are revealed as the line climbs
to Salisbury. Construction of the railway was commenced at
Wingatui in June 1879.
(4.4 km from Wingatui,
59m above sea level)
Originally "North Taieri Tanks" this was an early
site for watering steam locomotives. In 1998 a crossing loop
was built to allow trains to pass each other.
(10.4 km from Wingatui,
148m above sea level)
Salisbury Tunnel (437m) is the longest on the line. There
are soda springs near the tunnel mouth. The Salisbury Estate
was originally owned by Donald Reid, whose name remains in
the mercantile firm of Reid Farmers. The line now follows
Mullock Gully to the Taieri River.
(12.7 km from Wingatui)
This viaduct, 197m long and 47m above Mullock Stream is
the largest structure on the line. It is still the largest
wrought iron structure in New Zealand.
Construction of the viaduct in 1887. Spans are being jacked into position.
(16.3 km from Wingatui,
54m above sea level)
This was formerly a crossing station which closed in 1967
but the crossing loop was reinstated in 1991. The railway
house, splendidly isolated, is now a holiday home. The railway
continues to follow the Taieri River for the next 27 km.
Parera is the Maori name for the grey duck.
(21.1 km from Wingatui,
59m above sea level)
This station formerly served a sheep run which had no road
access until 1970. After the homestead was ruined by the
1980 flood, the run was sold to Tasman Forestry and planted
in pine trees.
Little Mount Allan
(23.5 km from Wingatui,
64m above sea level)
Steam trains stopped at the Wingatui end of the curved viaduct
to take water from the big tanks there.
(25.3 km from Wingatui,
67m above sea level)
Here is another curved viaduct. This station served two
large sheep runs, Lamb Hill and Silver Peaks. A miner discovered
gold in the creek on Christmas Day, 1863.
(26.8 km from Wingatui,
71 m above sea level)
This is still a crossing station. There were refreshment
rooms here until 1949 when they burnt down. The first section
of the Otago Central Railway was officially opened to here
in October 1889, ten years after construction begun at Wingatui.
Station and refreshment room staff, 1908
(30.9 km from Wingatui,
95m above sea level)
This was a halt frequented by picnickers to enjoy a day
by the river or a climb in the hills. It is still a popular
stop for passengers to walk the viaduct. About here the line
begins to climb higher above the river to eventually emerge
from the Gorge near Pukerangi.
Passengers waiting for the train home, Christmas holidays, 1941.
(36.7 km from Wingatui,
191m above sea level)
On the slopes above the Halt a number of stone chimneys
and some wild gooseberries mark the site of a construction
workers' camp. This is worth a visit. Ahead are the Notches,
where the line is carried across four deep gulches.
(42.1 km from Wingatui,
248m above sea level)
A passenger halt was opened here in 1906 to serve the Barewood
Gold Mines which were some 2 km to the south.
(45.0 km from Wingatui,
250m above sea level)
The name means "Hills of Heaven". The line has
turned away from the Taieri River here but meets it again
near the Sutton Creek combined road and rail bridge some
7 km north. Ahead is the Strath Taieri Plain which is bounded
to the west by the Rock and Pillar range.
(57.1 km from Wingatui, 190m
above sea level)
Lying at the edge of the Strath Taieri Plain the station
building here is a much photographed landmark.
(63.8 km from Wingatui, 201m above sea level)
"March" is an old word meaning boundary, frontier
or border and the town is the largest settlement on the Strath
Taieri Plain. The line was opened to here in 1891 and what
was a busy through station for a century became the new terminus
of the railway when the line beyond was closed in 1990. With
its station and goods shed intact it is a popular summer
destination for Friday and Sunday Taieri Gorge Limited trains
as well as "specials" for
barbecue and barn dances trips.
Middlemarch station, February 1911. The mixed train is
arriving from Dunedin.