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AB 693 AB 795 Train 345 - Dunedin to Cromwell train at the Rock and Pillar station, 25 December 1948. Photographer: Arthur Rockliff, Rockliff Collection, Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, [2161]

Central Holidays and


When the Railway opened to Hyde, much of the road traffic by horse, wagon or by foot, bound for Central Otago changed over to rail. Passengers were a mixture of those travelling to and from Dunedin for business, visiting relatives, or on holiday. 


Refreshments were available for rail travellers at Hindon (at the 26.8 km mark) from about 1892 when Mrs Mary Gridgeman opened her rooms. You had to be quick though - trains were timetabled for a five minute stop at Hindon!


The train also carried a lot of freight typically parcels, mail, groceries, milk, bacon, manufactured goods, bags of grain and rabbit skins.

Photo on right:

Rob Roy locomotive,

Subject Photograph Collection Box 47, Number 26/1,

Toitu Otago Settlers Museum


In 1908, a violent storm caused a large slip at Mount Allan. The passenger train slowly made its way to Hindon Station, through a blinding rainstorm and arrived at Middlemarch 4 hours late.  The surfacemen frantically cleared wash-outs and slips ahead on the line in the treacherous weather. The rain turned to snow as the train crept towards Hyde, lying 6 inches deep in places. The train carried a surfaceman who jumped out regularly to clear the tracks and the train successfully made the journey!


The train travel was a significant improvement and avoided the hills out of Dunedin but was still relatively slow.  The average overall speed of the first mixed train services was less than 24 km/h, taking approximately 4 hours.


Photo on left:

New Zealand Railway Poster - Tourist Tickets, New Zealand

Government Railways c.1925,

Archives Reference: AAOK W3241 R18837508, Archives New Zealand

Photo on right:

New Zealand Railway poster - Come out for Labour Day by Train 1930-1939, 

Archives Reference: R18837546, Archives New Zealand

Photo above:

16 Jan 1968, Train #439 with pair Dh crosses Hyde bridge. Ballast siding started eft of engine uphill then reversed downhill under the bridge to ballast pit.

G.W.Emerson Collection

Photo above:

4 Jan 1968, Train #352 from Ranfurly as seen from the Dh locomotive cab at Hyde. Railway house on left. One of these is in main street of Hyde. 

G.W.Emerson Collection

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