Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 35, September 1991
By J A T Terry
When the Paeroa railway station building was moved to Waikino in October 1990 both the Ohinemuri Gazette and the Waikato Times reported the station as having been built in 1912. The date was well out for the station was brought in to use on Monday 31 August 1925.
The building of stop banks on the Ohinemuri River from the mouth of the gorge to its junction of the Waihou was the reason for closing the original station at the end of Station Road. In his report on the Improvements and New works presented to Parliament in 1924 (AJHR D 2A) the Minister for Railways had this to say on the rearrangement at Paeroa. "A commencement with this work has already been made. The improvement and stop banking of the Ohinemuri and Waihou Rivers has necessitated raising the railway line over the Ohinemuri River and placing the station further from the river. At the same time it is necessary to enlarge the yard as it will be a junction of considerable importance when the line through to Tauranga and eastwards is opened, and of still greater importance when the Pokeno - Paeroa deviation is constructed."
Far less convenient to the travelling public the new station was to be constructed facing Moore Road. By August 1925 the new yard had been laid down and the new station building erected. From the old station complex the stock yards and loading ramp were removed on Wednesday 19 August, the goods shed on 26th and on that date a start was made on the private refreshment rooms of Mrs Alp. This building was placed on the station platform to the rear of the proposed Waihi dock line. The platform concrete facings were later taken up and used on the Waihi dock platform and the verandah used to form part of one being constructed at the new station. What remained of the old station complex was demolished.
Paeroa Station in happier days looking towards Waihi. The signals at each end of the station came into use in June 1928. The refreshment room was at the far end of the building. Photo taken in 1948.
The Ohinemuri Gazette reported that on Monday 31 August 1925 smartly at 6 40am the Stationmaster despatched the first train from the new station. It was the mixed for Frankton. However, while staff operated from the new station building, not all the facilities for the station complex were complete. The Waihi train dock was not brought into use until 4 March 1926 and the platform not asphalted until later in that month. While the platform foundation was consolidating the porters had a hard time pushing their barrows through the loose sand. The engine shed was not moved to its new site until the weekend of 5/6 December 1925.
In line with modem signalling practice a 32 lever electric frame was to be installed in the station building to control electric motors for moving points and operating three position colour light signals. However it was not until 11 June 1928 that the new system was in operation. Finally the Railway Department purchased the private refreshment rooms from Mrs Alp. In his report to the Minister for Railways (AJHR D 2 1930) the General Manager said that the small refreshment room at Paeroa taken over during the year proved inadequate to provide the necessary facilities for the travelling public and in order to enable the Department to afford a suitable service an up to date room was erected and opened for business in October 1929. Mrs Alp's old room was later converted into a porter's room.
The new station in Moore Road was finally complete.
[In Journal 36 CW Malcolm adds the following information: - E]
The 6.40 am train from Paeroa described as "the mixed for Frankton." i.e. mixed goods and passenger train. I travelled on that early morning train on every one of my school holidays making a total of over 30 trips. The tram's final destination was Auckland, not Frankton. My journey was to Pokeno where I spent those school holidays on my grandparents' delectable farm of stream, valley, hill, and native bush. The historic fact of interest is that this dawn train connected Paeroa directly with the city. It was followed, some three hours later by the express from Thames to Auckland stopping at few stations whereas the 6.40 stopped at every one. With my boyhood interest in trains, I knew every station, every curve in the line, every bridge, and the components making up the composition of the train and I do not remember its ever containing goods wagons; though it lingered what seemed an eternity at various stations to allow other trains to pass, I have no recollection of any shunting on or off, of goods trucks. That would surely have delayed its arrival in Auckland with weary passengers picked up at stations where the following express from Thames just flashed through. As it was, it took nearly 6 hours to do the 80 miles from Paeroa to Pokeno - an average of 13.3 miles an hour