Railway museum proposed

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Invercargill's former railway station on Leven St.

INVERCARGILL’S former railway station could be repurposed as a railway museum if a group of rail enthusiasts are successful in gaining support for the proposal.

The Southland Heritage Railway Regional Group has presented submissions to the Invercargill City and Southland District councils seeking support for a proposal to establish a railway museum in the city.

Acting chairwoman Joan Scarlet said the group had spoken to many parties who were supportive of the idea.

“Everyone we have spoken to thinks it is brilliant, so that has given us the encouragement to go on with it,” she said.

The purpose of the museum would be to collect and preserve Southland’s railroad heritage and “heighten awareness, understanding and appreciation of the railway’s impact on the Southland region”, the group’s submission to the Southland District Council said.

“It will demonstrate how the growth of the railways directly affected the development and shaping of the Southland region as we know it today.”

The group had identified Invercargill’s former railway station on Leven St, currently owned by the YMCA, as a possible location for the museum.

The submission said the central city site would also be a good location for the iSITE visitor information centre and an inter-city bus terminal.

The group had already received several offers of historic railway artefacts for inclusion in the museum and planned to source other display items, either gifted or on loan, from railway collectors and organisations such as Ocean Beach Railway and Dunedin City Railways. The railway museum could also house many of the 900-plus railway artefacts held at the Southland Museum & Art Gallery.

Developing a railway museum in the CBD would be a catalyst to revitalise the inner city, an aim of the Southland Regional Development Strategy, and would provide another transport-related attraction for the city, complementing Bill Richardson Transport World and Classic Motorcycle Mecca, the submission said.

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