Future of railway still undecided

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The future of the Oamaru Railway Station remains undecided.

About three weeks ago the Whitestone Civic Trust sought legal advice after the North Island buyer of the railway station was having second thoughts.

Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust chairman Peter Garvan said they will wait until one board member is back from America and new member Richard Vinbrux is up to speed.

“We will have a meeting in about a fortnight and will have decided more then.”

The deal fell through and now it is uncertain what exactly will be done with Oamaru’s historic railway station which is a category two historic building and under the sales agreement, it cannot be demolished and the exterior features and appearance must remain the same.

While the name of the buyer and the purchase price remain confidential, the sale went unconditional on Thursday July 24. The official handover period was expected to take place in late September, 60 days after the sale.

The trust received a conditional offer on May 22 from a North Island buyer who has a heritage background and from here he was offered a 20 day due diligence period which ended on June 22. The railway station was sold unconditionally a month later.

A condition of the sale was that the buyer could not demolish the building and had to maintain the building’s identity.

The railway station, which was built in 1900, was designed by the New Zealand Railway Department architect George Troup, who also designed the Dunedin Railway Station.

The trust has advised that the proceeds from the sale would be set aside for specific major projects and acquisitions.

It had been expected the sale of the railway station would be completed in June, but due diligence was granted to the buyer.

The possibility of moving the train station to Friendly Bay had been considered but Mr Garvan felt the best option would be to entice more trains to Oamaru.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY