Kaiapoi railway station

Location: 57 Charles Street, Kaiapoi

The second Kaiapoi railway station was officially opened by Sir Joseph Ward on 3 February 1904. It was designed by George Troup who was the Senior Railways Architect from 1896 to 1925. The design was one of his more ornate designs and was officially listed as 'Major Suburban Design No. 3' - it is the only railway station of that design remaining in New Zealand.

The new station was sited about 200 yards further south down the line than the original station. Troup's design for the Kaiapoi railway station was a wooden structure with Victorian Jacobean architectural characteristics. It was half-timbered and was roofed with Marseilles tiles. The windows were latticed and a turret sat at the northern end of the building.

The building had minor internal alterations over the years until it was damaged in a storm in November 1976, when the southern half had to be removed. Passenger services from Kaiapoi ceased in 1976, although railway services tickets continued to be sold at the station until 1986, when it closed for good.

The building became neglected and became a target for vandals. It survived three fires, one of which was a lightning strike, and was twice saved from demolition by the actions of residents and the Historic Places Trust. There were several proposals for its reuse

In October 2000 the Kaiapoi Railway Station Trust was formed to shift the building and restore it as a visitor information centre. The Trust bought the station for $1 from its then owner, Robert Cooke. Money was raised through grants and community donations and construction of the new foundations on the Kaiapoi riverbank began in 2002. The old building was shifted to its new site on 3 April 2002. Rotting exterior boards were replaced, a new Marseilles tile roof was put on, many of the ceiling and floorboards were replaced and everything repainted. The restoration was overseen by retired builders Mel Dalzell and Murray Eder and much of the work was carried out by Taskforce Green crews.

The fully restored station was officially opened on 1 June 2003 by MP Clayton Cosgrove. It was used as the Waimakariri District Information Centre until the September 2010 earthquake which shifted the building on its foundations and left it leaning towards the river. Apart from the verandah, the building was basically undamaged and has now been shifted to Charles Street, awaiting a decision on its ultimate future site. The Kaiapoi i-SITE Visitor Centre moved back into the railway station building in April 2013.

The Kaiapoi railway station building was given Landmarks status at a ceremony held on Friday 16 August 2013, with the plaque being unveiled by Prime Minister John Key. The building has a Historic Place  Category II registration.

View photos from the ceremony on Flickr.

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