The Arrival of the Railway
Construction of the Otago Central Railway continued at pace in the early twentieth century and by 1904 the line had gone from Dunedin as far as the Ida Valley.
The Poolburn Viaduct took over three years to build, beginning in 1901 and involved hard physical labour with up to 300 workers employed at the peak of construction around 1902. Ida Valley station became a busy rail and coach terminus while the difficult Poolburn Gorge section with its two tunnels was completed.
On 29 November 1904, the new railway section from Ida Valley through to Omakau was officially opened. A train left Dunedin at 5:30am carrying officials led by Sir JG Ward, Minister of Railways, and they were joined at Ranfurly by Premier Rt Hon Richard Seddon along with many excited passengers.
Lauder now became a hive of activity as the trains rolled into town after previously being a small cluster of houses round a local store.
The creation of a railway station put the wheels in motion for a community to build.
The Lauder Railway Hotel was built soon after, followed by the Lauder Railway School in 1906. The Post and Telegraph Office became part of the station itself, with saleyards, a stationmaster’s house and surfacemen dwellings along the line from the station.
11 May 1964, Ab782 in the Lauder loop with Goods #345 to wait for Goods #352 to cross. G.W.Emerson Collection
12th Jan 1962, Lauder Station. Track gang watches workmate fixing the jigger