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Saturday’s opening of the Lauder Railway Station marked the end of eight years of hard work and determination.

In a story of the little town that could, the tiny community of Lauder worked to restore the town’s railway station to its former glory.

The station was closed in 1985 and the buildings and goods shed were sold to private buyers.

The railway station building was moved to private property and used as storage until Bruce and Esme Macdonald, having moved to Lauder in 2012, gave it back to the community.

Quiz nights, car boot, book and bulb sales, raffles and ukulele festivals were enlisted to raise funds, as well as grants from the Central Lakes Trust, New Zealand Lottery Grants and the Omakau Lions Club.

Restoration of the railway building is now complete and provision for ongoing management and maintenance is in place.

The Lauder Railway Station was officially opened at its new site next to the Otago Central Rail Trail with more than 60 people present.

Led by the Lauder Beautification Society, and in collaboration with the Otago Central Rail Trail Trust and Department of Conservation, the restoration project included installing panels which detail the area’s history, landscaping the site with native plants and relocating a toilet.

Jess Armstrong, of Heritage NZ, reads information panels in the newly opened Lauder Railway Station. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan said it was “wonderful” to see the area’s history restored for people to see.

“I think it’s been a magnificent effort by the community,” he said.

Otago Central Rail Trail Trust chairwoman Kate Wilson said the project was an example of grassroots governance, and bringing the community together on the journey of heritage protection.

“I think it epitomises the Rail Trail which is a long, slow experience and for these guys, who have been working on it for years, it just shows good things take time.”

The newly opened Lauder Railway Station building. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON