Eketahuna has just become the proud owner of a railway station, many years after regular trains stopped coming through the town and the plan is for it to become a vital link in rail tourism ventures.

The station became surplus to requirements in Waikanae and was firstly offered to the Wairarapa Railway Restoration Society in Carterton which, in turn, offered it to Don Selby, president of the Pahiatua Railcar Society.

Mr Selby jumped at the chance of taking the station as the society is always looking to expand rail excursions and to build up interest at stops along the way.

Greater Wellington Regional Council gave Mr Selby the nod to take it for free and he then enlisted the support of the Eketahuna community through community board chairman Charlie Death and Bridget Wellwood, team leader at Eketahuna Museum.


Funds were needed to shift the building from its temporary home in the Gold Coast Building Removals yard, to settle it down on the concrete pad constructed by Eketahuna builder Brent Dickson and for other incidental costs.

The entire $8000 was raised from grants and two private donations, each for $500.

Steam trains and a few other rail excursions already use the line with stop-offs for tourists to visit such events as racing at the Woodville racecourse and for bussing to the Middleton Model Railway on Morgan's Road, Eketahuna, but the Pahiatua Railcar Society wants to add to those with weekend rail tours perhaps three or four times a year.

With these in mind, Mr Selby says society members now plan to "tidy up" the rail stop further south at Mangamahoe, an old flag-stop station, and in the future would dearly love to recreate a station stop at Mauriceville.

The Eketahuna station building is in very good condition and has a lot of original features, including a slatted wooden seat attached to the front of the building for waiting passengers.

Mr Death said the building would be a tremendous town asset and he hoped everyone would get behind the tourist rail ventures.

He said an official opening had been planned, probably taking place in April.

On opening day, a Pahiatua railcar will be running excursions north and south of Eketahuna.