Saturday, 10 June 2017

Otago Central Railway [25]: Ida Valley

So in the last couple of days I have been working on Ida Valley station. It has taken a bit longer than Oturehua to put this one together but now it's ready to be published.

Overview map of Ida Valley

Starting from the eastern end the backshunt crossed over the access road to reach a stockyards area. Ida Valley at one time shifted a lot of stock, but this traffic was lost to road in the 1970s and the station quickly closed after this.

Coming down the yard further we can see the main facilities provided. The size of the goods shed and station building are known to be correct because both buildings still exist - the station in the Oteake Conservation Park where it is used as a musterer's hut, and the goods shed at Ranfurly where it was relocated to in 1975.

We are now getting into the area of the engine shed and turntable. I am guessing these were installed when Ida Valley became the railhead, which status it held for three years because of the delay in putting the line through the Poolburn Gorge. 

Finally at the west end there was a siding installed for the purpose of which is unknown as the copy of the chainage chart page that I have is a bit blurry. It's possible this could have been a ballast siding but this is not obvious today.

 A Streetview image of the Ida Valley Ballast Pit which was about 4.5 km eastern of Ida Valley at the 95 mile peg.

Looking from the road crossing westward up the station yard. Ida Valley is one of the few station sites at which there is virtually no trace of the line to be seen. Considering the degree of facilities that were there at one time or another including the five houses that were on the right hand side. The line between there and Auripo required a small hill to be surmounted so there was a climb at 1 in 50 for about 2 km and then a descent on the other side. The upgrade can be seen in the distance.

At the top of the climb to Auripo is this old work shed and a pipe bridge crossing.

Another ganger's shed at 95 1/2 miles, looking westward in the direction of Ida Valley. Whilst I have noted that Ida Valley sits at the bottom of the climb to the line summit near Wedderburn, the ascent is quite gentle to begin with, with the grades between Ida Valley and Oturehua mostly around 1 in 100 although there is a brief pinch of 1 in 69 on the eastern end of Oturehua. It's after Oturehua that the line really starts to climb for 7 km between 1 in 69 and 1 in 50, with about half at the latter grade.