Shannon Railway Train Station

We interviewed Mrs Rose Couling about our Shannon Heritage and our Shannon Railway Station and here is what she had to say.

"The Shannon Railway was built in 1894 and eight trains came past a day. There was no timetable for the train from Auckland to Wellington. Many Shannon passengers wanted to go to the capital, so they always bought a two way ticket from Shannon to Wellington."

"There used to be a railway track from Foxton to Shannon however when roads came, the track was no longer used so it was cleared. There would be a goods train that would carry lots of living equipment such as groceries, haberdashery, furniture etc... The goods train was only allowed to travel 40 miles per hour with its goods. When the goods arrived in Shannon, a truck would come to the train station to pick up the goods and then deliver them to Gunnings which was a everything-kinda-store.”

In 1842-1920, George Vance Shannon was the boss of the train station. In 1885 was the first 25km between Wellington and Paremata was constructed. Over a year later the track was completed. In 1870 there was a growing interest in opening up the land for settlement between Wellington and Foxton. The government began a West Coast route out of Wellington in 1979. The first railway station was built in 1886 and in 1993 it was moved to Paraparaumu, the station was known as a 'Vogel Class 4'. Shannon Railway Station is interesting as very few ‘Vogel Class Four’ buildings remain in New Zealand.

In 1882 the government signed a contract for a railway between Wellington and Longburn. The first contract was signed in 1882 and construction began from several sections rather than from each end. The Shannon Railway was the only surviving railway privately built by the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company. It was taken over by New Zealand Railways in 1908.

“In the early days the only transport was the train. Later the people invented a cart.
Before trucks were invented there was a goods train that dropped off the goods for the Gunnings store,’’ said Mrs Law.

In between 1921 and 1924 with the power at the Mangahao Power Station more use of the railway station was made, bigger loads of passengers also increased. In 1936 a brand new luggage room was built. The later half of the twentieth century the completion of road transport led to less railway traffic. In 1992 the Horowhenua District Council wanted the railway station from New Zealand Railways.

The station was reopened for the community in March 1998. Today, the railway station has an information centre with displays on the history of the station and the Shannon community. The passengers travelling between Wellington and Palmerston North are still stopping at Shannon.


Rose Couling
Mrs and Mr Law (photos From Bush and Swamp by Mrs Marjorie Law and Information from key note speakers).
New Zealand Historic Places Trust

Team effort by Kara (Year 5) and Lily (Year 6).