A rescued piece of Greytown's railway past was officially opened in the town on Saturday.
The old railway goods shed in West St, built in 1880 by the Government's Public Works Department, was once one of around 450 dotted around New Zealand, according to its restoration manager Euan McQueen.
But he estimates it would be one of "a maximum of probably 10 still standing in its original location".
The 18m x 9m 135-year-old shed is evidence of a now redundant rail link between Woodside, Greytown's current railway station 4km out of town, and the town itself.
When that rail line closed in 1953, the shed became redundant for railway use and was bought by the borough council. It was used by the Greytown Catchment Board from 1956 until amalgamation in 1989, when Greater Wellington Regional Council took over catchment responsibilities, and it continued to be used by that organisation until 2010.
This continued use, Mr McQueen believes, explains the shed's survival despite its age - that and the sturdy construction of the shed and others like it.
"Many of those sheds have gone out to local farmers," Mr McQueen said. "They're quite sturdy; they were built to last."
The shed was a railway station for Greytown passengers, who transferred to the main Wairarapa line at Woodside, and a base for freight.
In its heyday the railway goods shed "was, if you like, the courier base for the local district", Mr McQueen said.
The Greytown shed had its own engine, and a worker who was goods manager, station agent and the guard on the train, Mr McQueen said.
Mr McQueen is a member of the Rail Heritage Trust of New Zealand, and almost three years ago he approached South Wairarapa District Council with a proposal to have the shed restored.
"The shed was vacant, in moderate condition, getting a bit creaky ... the roof was no good," he said.
The council was "very helpful and positive" in helping with the legal requirements, Mr McQueen said, and the $75,000 restoration was completed with help from Eastern and Central Community Trust, the rail trust, Trust House and KiwiRail.
The main builders were Wairarapa firm MB Brown, and the 50-metres of real railway tracks inside were laid by Greytown firm Pope and Gray. The shed is now "very much as it was", Mr McQueen said, and still contains "75 per cent of the materials used 100 years ago".