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Otago Central Line  
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  HOME  : Railways : Ghost Railways : Otage Central Line
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Some of the images can be clicked on to enlarge.  Click here for the South Island map.
I have joined these two locations on one page because, well, I felt like it.  And they both start with 'R'.
Central Otago rock formations  

This is the view before Middlemarch. For a flatlander like me (I'm from North Canterbury) the rock formations and flowing landscape was very interesting. I thought that this was the Rock and Pillar range but apparently that's after Middlemarch.

2008 Update: Angus McLean tells me that this is the Rock and Pillar Range! So much for my navigation skills.

 

At Middlemarch, we find a nicely maintained station, goods shed, a rake of wagons, and even a diesel loco stored in the goods shed. Apparently this bit doesn't actually qualify as a ghost railway, it's really an abandoned section. Who cares, it's interesting!

2008 Update: Angus also tells me that this section is still the terminal for the Taieri Gorge Railway, although most trips terminate at Pukerangi.


Middlemarch Railway Station
  DJ at Middlemarch
This is DJ3021, or the remains thereof. This was originally stored at Ranfurly (the second edition of the book still notes it as being stored there) but was moved to Middlemarch to escape further vandalism. I've always had a soft spot for the DJ's, which were withdrawn from use early because they couldn't be modified for single driver operation. Were the given the "DJ" classification because they were made in Japan? Or was it just an interesting coincidence?
The DJ had been well stripped but still looks handsome to me.
 

DJ in the goods shed at Middlemarch

  rake of wagons at Middlemarch Middlemarch station is a nice place to spend a few minutes wandering around. It really looks like a small country station, awaiting the next train. Well done to whoever looks after it! A real time-warp.

 

  YB Ballast Wagon at Middlemarch.
YB Ballast wagon
  Hyde Railway Disater memorial

This is the memorial to the Hyde railway disaster of 1943. It is located 400m east of the cutting where the accident occurred. The driver was charged over the accident (caused by high speed) and spent some time in prison.

 

This is the result of entering the cutting at high speed. You can see how the passenger coaches have 'telescoped' into each other. There's a lot more information on the accident in the museum at the Ranfurly station, further along this line. The book "Tragedies on the track" also deals with this accident in some detail. There were about 2 dozen people killed as a result.

I will probably get told off for having this image on the site, but hopefully it is small enough and of poor quality not to offend anybody!

Hyde Railway disaster, 1943
  Six mile creek bridge

Further along from the Hyde memorial we see this good looking former rail bridge to the left of the road. This is Six Mile Creek, and it is one of many nice bridges that now form part of the heritage trial.

  This is the former Hyde Station, now a private property. It's obviously being looked after and maintained, I hope the owner didn't mind an uninvited visitor for a few minutes
Hyde Railway station
  Hyde Railway Station

No country station is complete without sidings and a couple of rakes of wagons. The Water Tower had been disassembled and the vat moved to the far end of the station grounds.

  Travelling west from Hyde station we can stop and look to the right to see the entrance to Price's Tunnel. When i got to Ranfurly I found a better photo in the museum - if this is your view go a bit further east and you can see this and the viaducts near it!
Price's Tunnel, Otage Central line
  Ghostly Railway sign!

At Kokonga you can drive up behind the (very small!) town and see where the sidings used to be. This is the only remnant I could find, a ghostly image of a former railway crossing. Watch out for those Ghost Trains!

  This is the Rail Trail at Kokonga, with the bug-splattered Triumph blocking the walking and cycling track. With it's sweeping curves and comparatively gentle gradients formed for the railway, it must be an excellent cycling trac
My TR7 and a half on the Rail Trail at Kokonga
  Ranfurly Railway Station

At Ranfurly the Railway Station has been turned into an interesting Museum. The goods shed is also in use as a store (if I recall correctly for a stationary engine museum). I couldn't find the turntable or engine shed, but I was short on time. The DJ diesel-electric loco which was here has now been moved to Middlemarch, as I mentioned above.

 

My Otago Central photo trip ends here. I did drive on further to Alexandra and have a look around, but there is not much more there. Time was pressing and the Triumph was struggling in the 30+ degree Celsius heat of mid summer 2005. I should have gone on to Clyde but I diverted down to cover the Roxburgh line on my way to Invercargill for the night. Besides, the Clyde part can give me the opportunity to update this site sometime in the future!

There are lots more nooks and crannies to explore on this line, if you have more time get the book and explore!

>>>>----> On to Roxburgh > >>>---->

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  (c) Copyright Brian Greenwood 2012