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The Railway Station, Timaru

The railway station in 1923 Timaru was the hub of the local universe.

On the platform.

Beatty, photo. General view of the railway station and yards, Timaru.
The same photo appeared in the Otago Witness, 29 May 1907, Page 40

April 2008. Photo taken by Margaret Todd.
Timaru Railway Station platform and Station St. and April 2008 and compare 1915-1916

Looking south towards the Werry Hotel and the Timaru railway station.

April 2008. Photo taken by Margaret Todd.
George Street, April 2008 looking towards the railway station.

Timaru Herald, 22 April 1916, Page 3
Railway crossing,
Speeding car,
Fragments tossing,
Gates ajar!

1927 derailment. A crowd has gathered to see the wrecked engine and wagons after the derailment of an express train at Timaru, June 4, 1927. The train was approaching Timaru on the main trunk line and the derailment was caused by stones having been placed on the line. No lives were lost and there was miraculously little personal injury to passengers and crew.

Star 9 April 1904, Page 4
Our poet has gone south but the following mournful, ditty reaches us from afar.
Should you purpose voyaging southward by the train they call express.
There's a hint which, very possibly may save you some distress;
When selecting your compartment you should always get as far
As you possibly can manage from that awful Dining Car.

A newsboy is a nuisance he's constructed in that way
As he wanders through the carriage with his never-ending bray,
"Weekly Times" or "Star" or "'Erald— latest pictures of the war!"
But he doesn't hold a candle to the dreadful Dining Car.

Then the chaps who sell the Dreadfuls and the magazines and fruit
Bang the doors and bump against you as from car to car they skoot
Whilst your neighbour munches apples o'er a, portrait of the Czar,
But your troubles don't begin, until they rush that Dining Car.

When the luncheon-time approaches, then the "empty-traveller" mob,
Wander wildly through your carriage, feeling for the useful "bob."
There's a constant draught and clatter, with the banging door ajar,
Whilst for two long, restless hours, they invade the Dining Car.

To and fro they jam and bustle, squeeze and bump and shove and pass,
Sometimes spilling incense o'er you from a tilted plate or glass;
Vainly do you try to read before you realise "a par"
There's another bang and hurtle to that dismal Dining Car.

Finally they fill the car and overflew into your lap,
Till the whole proceeding brings you memories of a football scrap;
And St Peter, in amazement, wildly ringing up the "Star,"
Learns that all these "Damns" proceed from sufferers next the Dining Car.

Marlborough Express, 11 August 1919, Page 3
The long drawn out agonies of the railway journey between Christchurch and Timaru are graphically and poetically expressed in the following verses which, have been sent, to a Christ-church paper:

One morning—oh, so early—ere my wisdom teeth I grew,
I embarked for Christchurch City in a train from Timaru.
I was going to get spliced, and did not wait for the express,
And that would poke about a bit, I easily could guess;
But when I gaily lit my pipe and skimmed my "Herald" through,
How little I foresaw that awful trip from Timaru.
We shuffled through the cutting at a fairly decent gait,
And the first two dozen stoppages did not seem very great;
But when we'd been two hours out, and made about ten miles,
And wandered up a side track for a load of unbarked piles,
When we'd started, stopped, and jolted, until life a burden grew,
I began, to blanky-blunk that, early train from Timaru.

 I've sailed the Mississippi on a washed-out lumber raft,
I've crossed the Western Ocean in a half-wrecked two-knot craft,
I've swaggered across Australia with no tucker and no "stuff,"
I've punched a team of bullocks right from Nelson, to the Bluff;
But the most unhappy pilgrimage that ever I went through
Was that mushroom picking snailway crawl from good old Timaru.

With now the engine in advance and then the luggage van,
We worked that southern country like a tinker's caravan,
We jolted up to lonely farms to earn a brace of bobs,
We strolled around the universe prospecting for odd jobs;
And when those cockies saw ME there they gazed and said "Whee-ew!
"Some chap going up to Sunnyside— got in at Timaru."
My hair and beard grew long and wild —my front teeth passed away,
The fresh young guard we started with got old and bent and grey.
The palsied fireman chucked, it up— the engine-driver died,
But still we tottored on and stopped to pant at every "side."
"Christchurch at last! I'm saved, thank God!" I cried with trickling tear;
"Alas, it was ASHBURTON! and I couldn't got a beer!
And when at last we doddered thro' the last yard of the way,
I was blindly paralytic from old age, extreme decay,
And the girl I came to marry had expired at ninety-two,
But her great-grandson met me at that train from Timaru.  

26 April 2014 Timaru railway yard. Sunrise.

 DSC 2406 Builder: NZR Introduced: January 1964 Current Livery: Tranz Rail Blue Status: In service April 2014 Timaru. The DSC class is a heavy shunting locomotive used throughout NZ.
Note the chimneys have been removed from the roofs of the homes.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project

The six-day-a-week Southerner passenger train service between Christchurch and Dunedin ended in 2002.