Skip to content

Rail Trail: Day 4 to Middlemarch

It was chilly and overcast when we set off for our final day on the trail, a 27km tootle through to Middlemarch. First order of business was a side trip down to the cemetery. Just for a look, as you do.

Hyde Cemetery, Otago

Pointing back south, it was a couple of kilometres before we reached Hyde station.

Apple trees can be found in a few places along the trail, grown from apple cores thrown out of train windows

Apple trees can be found in a few places along the trail, grown from apple cores thrown out of train windows

The station was always this distance away from the town as there was no closer flat land. It’s in private ownership now but the owners have permitted Rail Trail access and they have kept a fairly authentic looking site. Buildings, wagons, sections of track, all in a happily run down state.

Hyde station has lots to see compared with other stops on the trail

Hyde station has lots to see compared with other stops on the trail

Collecting another stamp for the passport

Collecting another stamp for the passport

A few kms beyond Hyde station is the site of New Zealand’s second worst rail accident. In 1943 a locomotive carrying passengers to Dunedin derailed going round a curve. Excessive speed was blamed and 21 deaths resulted from the crash.

Straw Cutting, where the train derailed

Straw Cutting, where the train derailed

A couple of weeks before I prepared this post, around the 70th anniversary of the tragedy, an excellent documentary screened on TV. The second best/worst/biggest etc ‘things’ are often forgotten by the general population and the programme gave an appropriate and sensitive remembrance to this horrible event.

Memorial to the 1943 Hyde rail tragedy

Memorial to the 1943 Hyde rail tragedy

me

We pedalled on, next stopping at Ngapuna station.

The penultimate station stop

The penultimate station stop

Waiting for a train at Ngapuna station (re-enactment)

Waiting for a train at Ngapuna station (re-enactment)

A final straight-line dash took us to our finishing line in Middlemarch.

me

Almost there!

Almost there!

Our arrival in Middlemarch was, well, an anticlimax. It’s a small town and very quiet. We rode around a block or two, thinking “surely there’s more!”.

There wasn’t.

We did end up enjoying our time there but how that came to be I’ll carry over to another post or two.

So that was the end of the Rail Trail. It was a brilliant experience and one I often rave about. I would love to ride it again some time, probably in the reverse direction for something different – and because I think you could celebrate its completion better at the other end.

I might choose another season too. The publican back at the Lauder Hotel on day one said he thought May was the best time to ride the trail. A bit cooler, autumnal colours, maybe even a dusting of snow on the ranges… yes I could see the appeal.

Final day done. Station stamps collected from: Hyde, Rock & Pillar, Ngapuna, Middlemarch.

Advertisements
One Comment Post a comment
  1. Wonderful road trip by bike. Photos are so interesting to present landscapes on the opposite side of our world. I am happy that You love biking as we also here in Finland.

    4 August 2013

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: