Now let’s have a look at Parnassus. Because an aerial photo was available from 1972 and with the aid of the Linz aerial photography I have drawn in a basic station layout in the maps that are included in this post.
Parnassus was at exactly 133.0 km. Because of that, the map doesn’t have the 133 km peg marked separately as would usually be the case. It used to be possible to still see things at the site which had some track remaining in place (sidings) even though the main part of the station closed in 1981, it was kept as a crossing loop for some time afterwards but I don’t know exactly when the loop was finally taken up. I remember a visit there in 1986 as the sidings had bullhead rail in them and I have a vague recollection we may have found a turntable pit (Parnassus was a railhead for many years, from 1912 until about 1940 when the MNL extensions north resumed). 1940 was also about the time a new rail bridge was put in across the Waiau River just south of Parnassus reverting the combined bridge to road-only usage, in which role it continued until a new highway bridge was opened about 1980. At that same time as part of that project SH1 was bypassed around Parnassus and an overbridge just north of the township replaced a level crossing. Since the closure of the station however the local government of the area have had a local road put across the railway line going close to the station site probably also affecting some of the remains of the station. However there are a number of traces if you know where to look and these are documented in the maps and photos, including the bufferstop of the siding and the bridge in the yard.
South of Parnassus, the approach onto the old combined bridge. This was opened 1912.
Combined bridge which was used used by both road and rail traffic until about 1940 when the new rail bridge was built just alongside. The bridge was then used only by road traffic until about 1980 when the highway was moved onto the new bridge at the bottom of the map. In its latter years traffic lights were fitted on the old single lane bridge and weight restrictions meant heavy vehicles had to travel via the inland route through Waikari, Culverden and Waiau, using the Leader Road to rejoin SH1 just north of Parnassus.
Coming off the north side of the old bridge. The highway carried on at the western side of the bridge as it ran through the middle of Parnassus originally.
Coming into Parnassus from the south. The best location I can come up with for the turntable pit, would be just south of where the road originally curved in to meet the railway station (where the word CLOSED appears at lower right).
The main station facilities are all visible in this photo. The bridge had a double width section for the main and loop which is still fully in place, and a separate section for the siding which still has the abutments in place but the span removed.
North end of the yard showing where the buffer stop is still visible, and where also the line originally was intended to go inland via the Mendip Hills.
Showing the overbridge at this location. Since this was not built until after 1980 it seems oddly convenient it was able to be numbered as Bridge 84.
A small scale map showing the entire Mendip section. This was never operated as the formation works and bridge were never finished. There is still a lot of formation work that is visible even today virtually 100 years later.
Whites Aviation view of the station yard in 1972.
Station as seen as a 2016 aerial photo.
Bridge in Parnassus yard as seen from the railway yard side. the abutments for the siding clearly visible.
Bridge seen from the other side, i.e. the old roadway inboard of the present highway.
Site of the old station. The station building was at the side of the road and the goods shed was just opposite it.