Featherston Yard

This page documents the Featherston Yard as it existed at the end of 2002. When I photographed Featherston I was pleasantly surprised that much of the infrastructure was intact, although most of it unused for many years. Sufficient infrastructure remains to indicate what Featherston may have been like in its heyday.

Today, apart from several commuter services a day and the crossing of a few freight trains, the only activity is the stabling of special passenger trains such as those for the annual Toast Martinborough wine and food festival. Featherston is also where bankers are added to/detached from steam specials using the Rimutaka tunnel. See my Banking the Daffodil Express page.

Note that when the photographs were taken I was wearing a hi-viz jacket and was accompanied by authorised Tranz Rail employees.

Local Instructions

Download Featherston Local Instructions L286. These instructions are dated March 1989 and so differ in some ways from current practice e.g. Tablet working is mentioned. However, the instructions are an interesting guide to how the Featherston interlocked station is operated.


The photographs are displayed in a south to north sequence. They were taken during two visits. On the second visit there were two banker locos in the yard.

Click on an image for a full size photo.....

2R Up Home and the Bell St crossing. The loop points and the truncated south backshunt can be seen.

Diesel bankers are about to set back over the crossing and couple to the Daffodil Express. Looking north.    (39/21 )

2LB Down Departure from Loop and Arrow Indicator 1A1. The latter is still operational. In the hut is 3A local panel. Looking south.    (38/2 )

The 3A panel diagram. Note that the signals have their pre-metric numbers. 4374 is now 5626.    (39/18 )

3A trap points and points indicator. From the left - Siding, Loop, Main. The signal is 2LB Down Departure From Loop. Looking south.   (38/7 )

2LB Down Departure From Loop (left) and 2LA Down Departure From Main (right). Somewhere in the distant Rimutaka Ranges is the portal of the Rimutaka tunnel and the right of way of the Incline. Looking south.   (38/9 )

1 Main to Loop points. A large location hut is just visible on the left. Beyond it is the Featherston Station platform. On the right is 3A switchlock and the old goods shed. Looking north.   (38/6 )

A large location hut beside the Main. Remarkably it has not been vandalised.    (38/3 )

Featherston Station. A commuter car park is behind the station building.    (38/10 )

Trolley shed beside the Main, just north of the platform. The commuter carpark is just visible on the left.   (38/12 )

3B traps and points indicator. The indicator is displaying purple because the Loop to Siding points have been reversed and the traps are closed. The loco is a Daffodil Express banker. The track on the far right runs past a loading bank and provided access to the goods shed. Looking north.   (40/20 )

3B traps closed with the Daffodil Express bankers in the siding. The old goods shed is on the left and the station bulding is on the right. The previous photo (left) was taken on the right (camera view) of the loco. Looking south.   (40/21)

3B switchlock. The Loop to Siding points are left foreground. The hut contains 3B local panel. The track on the right leads to a loading bank. In the distance on the right are what are believed to be stockyard sidings and a high level loading bank. Looking north.   (39/3 )

The high level loading bank. I believe that there were stockyards at the top of the bank.

(Photo Craig McSkimmimg )

One of the switches at 3B Loop to Siding points was damaged.   (38/14)

3B local panel. I wonder if the magneto phone still works? Click here for a close up view of the switches.

(Both photos Craig McSkimming )

The old goods shed and station building. The track on the far left passes a loading bank. 3B traps and points indicator in the siding can just be seen. This photo was taken on a different day to others, which show banker locos at this spot. Looking south.   (38/11)

The points on the left of the previous photo (left) have been spiked.   (38/13)

Two sets of points with weighted levers. Note the "elevated" switch. Just behind the camera some of the track is at an unusual angle and clearly unusable. The track on the far right leads to a building which is now a car wreckers. On the left is the 57.5km peg. The Up Departure signals are in the distance. Looking north.  (39/5)

Weighted points lever.   (38/18)

3C Siding to Loop points. From the right - Main, Loop, Siding. On the left is a building which once had rail access - now it is a car wreckers. The points with the weighted lever lead to the stockyard sidings. Looking south.   (39/11)

Loop to siding crossover. The hut on the right houses 3C local panel. The track on the far right leads to the north backshunt (top) and car wreckers building (bottom). The points in the foreground lead to the stockyard sidings. Looking north.   (39/6)

3C switchlock on the right. Looking north towards the Up Starting signals. The signals cannot be classed as Departures because Track Warrant Regulations apply north of Featherston. Authority to enter the single line section is a clear Starter and a Track Warrant. The loop to siding points do not seem to have an FPL (must check).   (38/19)

3C switchlock. The local panel is in the hut - the switches can just be seen. The diagram is above the switches. The loop - siding points are electrically detected.   (39/8)

3C local panel diagram. Note the Borrow Pit siding (now lifted) and the stockyards siding. Signal 4517 is now single unit Stop & Stay signal A8L.   (39/9)

7 traps in the Loop. The traps are operated by a dedicated motor rather than by rodding from the 7 points motor. On the left is the north backshunt. Looking south.   (39/17)

Signal 8L Down Home. Note the wooden beam bridge and 7 Main to Loop points. The pole on the left originally held the TWC Begins board until it was moved out to the Outer Home. Looking south.   (39/12)

Authority to enter the single line section is a clear Starting signal and  a Track Warrant. For shunting purposes a train may pass the Starter without a Warrant and proceed as far as this board. The rear of A8L Down Outer Home can be seen in the distance. Looking north.   (39/14)

A8L Down Outer Home and TWC Begins board. The other board says CTC Begins. The Tararua Ranges are on the left. Looking north.   (39/15)

Last Updated: Tue Mar 18 20:53:36 NZDT 2008

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