MSL Palmerston-Dunedin [6] : Ravensbourne

Ravensbourne station was an island platform on the double track section from Dunedin to Sawyers Bay, seen here in 1962. It closed in 1981 with the end of suburban passenger trains to Port Chalmers, except for private siding traffic. (Whites Aviation)

Dominion Fertiliser’s factory at Ravensbourne in 1962 (the private siding traffic). It was one of two separate fertiliser plants in Dunedin, the other being Kempthorne Prosser at Burnside. Dominion and KP merged in the mid 1970s and were subsequently taken over by the Ravensdown famers cooperative whose name was an amalgamation of Ravensbourne and Seadown (the DF plant just north of Timaru that was covered in a previous posting). The Burnside plant is long gone today but Ravensbourne remains in operation to this day. (Whites Aviation)

Just north of Ravensbourne was a footbridge that led to a now-gone jetty into the harbour. The MSL between Sawyers Bay and Dunedin had a number of these overhead bridges with the larger stations often having two and one or two examples of lone bridges accessing jetties. On the Dunedin-Mosgiel section subways were mostly provided for passengers although Caversham station retained the use of overhead bridges.

The main Ravensbourne station has existed in its present location since at least the time when the main line was deviated – probably between 1925 and 1931. Prior to that unconfirmed date the original station from 1872 was adjacent to the current location. Ravensbourne had at one time two footbridges but the one at the south end was the first to go sometime between 1956 and 1962; the north end bridge is still in place today albeit without its ramp down onto the now-gone platform.

Just south of Ravensbourne station were two industrial premises: Humes Pipes and Dominion Fertiliser, as mentioned above. The latter still operates today but has long since ceased to be a traffic source. The buildings of the Humes factory remain in other uses; the factory, if it was a rail customer, appears most likely to have accessed the public sidings, without its own private trackage.