The signal box from 1908 was restored and was opened on 6 August 2008 in conjunction with a stop of the “Parliamentary Special” recreation of a century earlier. It serves merely a decorative role now; the men visible inside are just dummies.The photo here shows Jean Batten during her visit in 1936.
Most Kapiti people will notice the Paekakariki station without a second thought as they pass through and probably don’t even realise it contains a museum, but it’s worth a visit which is what we did today.
Paekakariki began life as a railway town back in the 1880s when the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company built its line through the settlement. For the next five decades plus it was a base for housing helper steam locomotives for the climb over the Pukerua Hill.
When the railway was electrified from Wellington in 1940 it became a changeover station from electric to steam.
A Weston Langford photo taken in December 1963 showing an Ed electric locomotive which has just been attached to a train (probably from Auckland) from which the steam locomotive has been detached and backed down to the sheds in the distance.
Throughout these years the station contained a refreshment rooms for train passengers and there was a hostel in the township for the several women who ran it.
In 1967 when tunnel floors in Pukerua Bay were lowered, diesel hauled trains began running right through, the Refreshment Rooms in the station closed and the locomotive sheds became redundant.
The sheds later became the base for the Steam Incorporated museum, and the station later still was turned into the Paekakariki Museum.
It doesn’t just contain exhibits of the railway, but also the general history of the town and the US Marine Bases during 1942-1944.