Mandeville Railway Siding

Information supplied is taken from an article in New Zealand Railfan, June & September 2015 written by Jim Brown.


10m 65ch (17.4km) from Gore, Alt 335ft (102m):

This siding was the first small settlement on the Waimea Line.  The siding was a bit more extensive than most country sidings with a crossing loop, a 40x20ft (12.x6m) goods shed on a loop plus a back shunt to the stock yards, along with a loading bank and of course a shelter shed.

As the Waimea Plains Railway was being built by a private company, they had the perogative of deciding the name for the stations and also to survey where future settlements could be established.  Mandeville was the first of these settlements.  Before the railway arrived, there was only a hotel in the area, later to be named the Railway Hotel, a store soon followed and before long another country town had started.


When the railway went through, it was anticipated that Mandeville would be a centre of some importance, and the proposed town survey had no less than 18 streets all named afterplaces in North America.  Although the directors of the Railway Company had high hopes for their settlements, many of their dreams did not materialise and in the case of Mandeville there was only a population of 129 at the start of 1890.

Over the years there has been much discussion on the origin of the name given to the area 'Mandeville'.  It would seem that Patrick McCaughan, the name giver, named it after Joseph Clarke's home at Macquarie Plains in Tasmania called 'Norton Mandeville'.  Joseph Clarke was at the time one of the leading men in the Agricultural Company, which set up the Waimea Plains Railway.

   Mandeville 1969

In 1887 a flour mill was established at Mandeville when a Robert Doull shifted his plant and equipement from a similar mill at Wyndham.  This was quite appropriate as the Waimea Plains was becoming the prime grain growing area in the province.  The mill was worked by a waterwheel some 13feet (3.9m) in diameter, with water directed from the Otamita stream using a water race that was just under 4,000ft (1.2km) in length by 7ft (2.1m) width.  During the course of the next 25 years the mill had two other owners before closing in June 1911.

After leaving the Mandeville yard, the railway line swung around to the right and headed out over the 207ft (63m) Waimea River Bridge, the largest on the Waimea Plains line.  Then a short distance further on swung to the left crossing the main road and headed in a northwesterly direction direction in a straight line for 8m60ch (14.08km) across the lower Waimea Plains. 

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